One of the hardest basketball-related questions to answer involves choosing the top 15 worst NBA players of all time. While there are dozens of metrics and stats which show who the best NBA players are, few highlight the worst. Well, Bet Station has taken the time to dive through the ages and find some of the worst players to set foot on the court.
When we say “the worst NBA players of all time”, what exactly does that mean? For starters, the worst NBA players need to have spent a fair period in the NBA itself. This rules out players like Sun Yue and Chris Jent, as they had ten and six appearances, respectively. We want players who have had ample opportunities to prove the critics wrong but failed to do so.
No list of the worst NBA players is complete without some honorable mentions. At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of players who deserve some time in the spotlight but missed out on being included. If you would rather read about the best NBA players of all time or the ten greatest coaches in basketball history, you know what to do.
15. Keith Closs
Keith Closs is the joint sixth tallest player to play in the NBA standing at 2.21m, which is 7ft 3in. Typically, players this tall have a reputation for being good blockers, and Closs was no exception. During his NCAA days, he was the division leader for blocks for two consecutive years. He is also one of 18 players to make 13 or more blocks in a single NCAA Division 1 game. During his collegiate career, he recorded 5.35 and 6.36 blocks per game, resulting in the NCAA record of 5.9 blocks per game.
Although Closs had a sparkling college career, he could not deliver even half of what he promised once in the big league. He was only in college for two years before joining the LA Clippers in 1997 as a backup center. As a backup, they limited his game time over his short three-year stay in the NBA. Closs only made 130 NBA appearances, which saw his blocks per game plummet to 1.3 over the three seasons with the Clippers. After leaving the NBA, Closs performed well for teams in the CBA, ABA, NBA Development League, and one incredible last season in China.
It always feels harsh putting a player like Closs on the list. Not only did he have a record-setting college career, but he went on and played well after his stint in the NBA. His final season playing basketball was with the Yunnan Bulls in China, where he averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 blocks, and 9.9 rebounds every game. Although he did not perform in the NBA, Closs came close to the top when he played in less competitive leagues.
- Games: 130
- Points Per Game: 3.9
- Rebounds Per Game: 2.9
- Assists Per Game: 0.3
- Blocks Per Game: 1.3
14. Elliot Williams
Elliot Williams was the 22nd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft after only two years of playing at college. Perhaps Williams was over-hyped, as he only played 37 college games across these two years, 27 for the Duke Blue Devils and then ten for the Memphis Tigers. It was the performances with the Tigers that got him picked in the draft, averaging 14.9 points per game. Williams picked up a knee injury the year of his draft, the start of what would be an injury-filled career.
Williams missed most of the 2011-12 season after dislocating his shoulder, leaving him to make his NBA debut in December 2011. Unfortunately, his tough time with injuries did not end there. He missed the entire 2012-23 season with an Achilles tendon problem. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Williams in September 2013 but waived him just a month later. In November, he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, but that did not last long and they sent him to the Delaware 87ers before they waived him.
After an extremely successful stint with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Williams ended up back in the NBA. His fine form did not last, causing him to drop from the Jazz to the Pelicans, and from there back to the Warriors. Once again, he raised the roof in the lower league, earning him a stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. Unfortunately, he just did not have what it takes to make it in the NBA. You can’t help but admire how Williams got so many chances to play in the NBA with different teams and yet they all ended the same way, back down to the lower leagues.
- Games: 109
- Points Per Game: 4.9
- Rebounds Per Game: 1.5
- Assists Per Game: 0.9
- Blocks Per Game: 0.1
13. Pete Chilcutt
Pete Chilcutt had a significantly longer career than either player mentioned above. He had nine seasons in the NBA, starting in 1991 with the Sacramento Kings. He was a first-round pick in the 1991 NBA Draft, the 27th overall. After the Kings came the Pistons, then a brief stay in Italy with Allianz Trieste. He came back to the NBA with the Houston Rockets for two seasons before joining the Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis). In his last season in the NBA, Chilcutt played for the Jazz, Clippers, and Cavaliers before retiring.
On the surface, 584 games in the NBA with a 1995 NBA Championship ring and you might think Chilcutt is on the wrong list. That is until you look at the stats. During the 1995 NBA Finals, involving the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic, Chilcutt made three appearances in the four-game series. He averaged one minute per game, registering no shots, blocks, assists, or any noteworthy attempt for any statistic. Although he will go down in history as an NBA winner, it is in name only.
Chilcutt finished his career at the respectable age of 32 and moved into teaching. He taught math and science at Folsom Middle School in California. His basketball career might not have reached the heights he wanted, but at least he is inspiring the next generation of kids. He might well be on the list of the 15 worst basketball players of all time, but he is not a terrible teacher!
- Games: 584
- Points Per Game: 4.3
- Rebounds Per Game: 3.3
- Assists Per Game: 0.8
- Blocks Per Game: 0.4
12. Michael Olowokandi
Michael Olowokandi was a Nigerian basketball player who played in the NBA between 1999 and 2007. He made appearances for three franchises: the Clippers, Timberwolves, and the Boston Celtics. During his three years in college, Olowokandi played 77 games. He averaged 13.5 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks. His last season at college was his best, scoring on average 22.2 points per game and 11.2 rebounds. This led to him becoming the first pick in the 1998 NBA draft.
Unfortunately for Olowokandi, the NBA was experiencing its third-ever lockout. This meant the Clippers could not contact Olowokandi. However, he trained with one of the best basketball players of all time, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Forgoing patience, Olowokandi signed with Kinder Bologna, two days before the end of the lockout. He got his contract in Italy terminated early so he could make his NBA dream come true. Unfortunately, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare, with several injuries and multiple surgeries on both knees.
It was not just the constant injuries that ruined Olowokandi’s basketball career; it was his attitude. In 2002, the Clippers fined him $50,000 for “behavior that was detrimental to the team”. Towards the end of his stay with the Clippers, Abdul-Jabbar, who was an assistant coach, said Olowokandi was “talented but uncoachable”. His poor attitude and persistent injuries affected his time at his next two clubs. He was arrested for refusing to leave a nightclub in 2004 and suspended for four games in 2005 following a fight with Nenê. Olowokandi had the height to become a dominant player in the NBA. Unfortunately, it all went to his head, and he rarely performed on the court.
- Games: 500
- Points Per Game: 8.3
- Rebounds Per Game: 6.8
- Assists Per Game: 0.7
- Blocks Per Game: 1.4
11. DeSagana Diop
DeSagana Diop was a Senegalese center drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was the eighth pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, behind the number one pick Kwame Brown. Unfortunately for Diop, he joined the team during a period where they struggled to finish a season with a positive win-to-loss ratio. This changed once they signed one of the best NBA players of all time, LeBron James, in 2003, but Diop left the team soon after that.
Diop became a bit of a cult hero when he joined the Dallas Mavericks. He put up good numbers for rebounds and his game time grew. In 2005 and 2006, Diop made 81 appearances and finished the season with 4.6 and 5.4 rebounds per game, respectively. Diop’s reputation as a shot-blocker became infamous when fans remixed the song Jump by Kriss Kross. The song gained popularity and would play during Mavericks’ home games. Diop saw the funny side of the song and said:
I remember the first time they played the video during a timeout and I was trying to pay attention to what coach was trying to say, but I was sneaking looks at the video.- DeSagana Diop
In the 2005-06 season, Diop ranked 14th in the league for blocks per game and 11th for total blocks. Next season, Diop helped the Mavericks to the Western Conference first round, but they suffered a shock defeat to the Golden State Warriors. After this, they traded him to the Jets. He made a brief return to the Mavericks but his last five seasons in the NBA were with the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 points, and 0.7 blocks per game.
- Games: 601
- Points Per Game: 2.0
- Rebounds Per Game: 3.7
- Assists Per Game: 0.4
- Blocks Per Game: 1.0
10. Darko Miličić
Darko Miličić is the youngest foreign player to play in the NBA and the fifth-youngest NBA player of all time, behind Kobe Bryant. Miličić is also the youngest player to have played in the NBA finals and is subsequently the youngest to win the NBA Championship. Although his career started brightly with a championship ring, things only went downhill for the seven-foot Serbian.
Miličić began his NBA career in 2003, with the Detroit Pistons as the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He stayed with the Pistons until February 2006, when he joined Orlando Magic. The Magic withdrew the offer of a professional contract when Miličić’s rookie contract expired in 2007, so he joined the Memphis Grizzlies until 2009. Misery plagued Miličić at the Grizzlies, including injuries and regret of joining the team. He had a brief stay with the New York Knicks in 2009 before moving to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he had his best NBA performances.
In his second season at the Timberwolves, Miličić’s court time was diminishing after failing to deliver as the starting center. The Timberwolves waived Miličić under the amnesty clause in the league, allowing him to join the Celtics. In 2012, he played for five minutes before asking for release because of personal reasons. In typical Miličić style, he retired from basketball to focus on a career in kickboxing, which was just as disappointing as his NBA career.
Did Miličić Deserve Criticism
While representing his country at EuroBasket 2007, Miličić went on a furious rant at the end of an overtime defeat at the hands of Greece. While we won’t tell you exactly what he said, let’s just say a lot of swearing and threats toward the referee’s mother. This level of unprofessionalism is exactly why Miličić is on our list of the worst NBA players of all time.
Miličić is now a farmer who spends his time maintaining over 150 acres of land, which is certainly for the best. He did not deliver on the court and there is no way of knowing how his outburst would have gone down with modern-day social media. We can’t judge Miličić on what he could have been. Instead, we can only go on what he delivered, and that was disappointing.
- Games: 468
- Points Per Game: 6.0
- Rebounds Per Game: 4.2
- Assists Per Game: 0.9
- Blocks Per Game: 1.2
9. Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown was the first pick of the 2001 NBA draft. He joined the Washington Wizards and then the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005. He only lasted a few years before they traded him in 2008 to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies did not offer him a deal, so he joined the Detroit Pistons on a two-year contract. After the Pistons came the Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, and finally Philadelphia 76ers.
Brown has risen in popularity recently after speaking out about being labeled a bust. He claims US sports media unfairly targeted him over his entire career and there is a negative focus towards black athletes. While we won’t argue that mainstream sports media can be relentless for athletes, the attention did not appear overnight. Instead, a series of poor performances helped the boos follow Brown across his NBA career and beyond.
Brown made 607 appearances in the NBA, 281 as a starter. His career average point per game (PPG) is only 6.6, nowhere near the averages he set in high school. He only had one season where his PPG was ten or higher, and his career averages for assists, steals, and blocks were all below one per game. The Wizards team president, Michael Jordan, picked Brown in 2001, which only increased expectations. Whether the media played a part in his downfall, or whether it was just Brown’s arrogance doesn’t matter, he failed to deliver for his entire NBA career.
Was Kwame Brown Treated Harshly?
We here at Bet Station admire Brown for speaking up about the treatment he got as a basketball player. However, that does not change the facts. Brown had many opportunities to succeed but never showed he ever really gave a damn. If we are taking former players’ words as gospel, then his former teammate Gilbert Arenas had plenty to say about Kwame.
There is no denying that basketball can be a cutthroat business, but that does not mean players do not earn their criticism. Brown may not have been able to thrive under Jordan’s shadow, but he had plenty of opportunities after that. Whichever way you look at it, he deserves his spot on our list of the worst NBA players of all time.
- Games: 607
- Points Per Game: 6.6
- Rebounds Per Game: 5.5
- Assists Per Game: 0.9
- Blocks Per Game: 0.6
8. Rafael Araújo
Rafael Araújo was a center who played in the NBA for three seasons. Araújo gained a lot of attention thanks to his performances at college, where he dominated the court at junior and senior levels. The Associated Press named him an Honorable Mention All-American. Plus, Basketball Times included him in the NCAA All-American second team. Araújo was no stranger to controversy, getting a 24-month FIBA suspension for testing positive for a banned substance in 2002 and a reprimand in 2004.
His NBA career began as the eighth pick in the 2004 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors. In his first season, Araújo averaged a measly 3.3 points per game from 59 appearances, significantly less than the 18.4ppg he delivered the year before in college. His second year at the Raptors was even worse, averaging 2.3ppg and a dismal .366 field goal percentage; once again, nowhere near the .567 he achieved in college. Fortunately for Araújo, the Raptors traded him to Utah Jazz, where he worked hard to drop 20 lbs for the new season. Unfortunately, he did not fit into the Raptors’ offensive lineup and managed 28 appearances with no starts. This marked the end of Araújo’s rather disappointing NBA career.
Araújo moved around after his time in the NBA, with a brief stint in Russia, before finding his feet in Brazil. He won the South American League and Brazilian Championship in 2009 with Flamengo, and his PPG average increased to 14.1 in the same season. Araújo made headlines in 2011 for shattering the glass backboard during a FIBA Americas League game, which you can see above.
Was Araújo Awful?
Players like Araújo are common in the NBA. Promising young players that failed to replicate their college performances at the top level of basketball. If we were to look at his career across Brazil and internationally, then he has a lot to be proud of. However, the short stint he had in the NBA was nowhere near what he achieved elsewhere. It might be harsh in some people’s eyes, but we think he deserves a place among the worst NBA players of all time.
- Games: 139
- Points Per Game: 2.8
- Rebounds Per Game: 2.8
- Assists Per Game: 0.3
- Blocks Per Game: 0.1
7. Hasheem Thabeet
Hasheem Thabeet was the second pick from the 2009 NBA draft and many consider him to be one of the biggest busts in basketball history. Thabeet was a 7-foot-3 Tanzanian who made a name for himself at college thanks to his incredible rebound and blocking ability. In his three-year college career, he played 100 games and had an average of 10.3PPG, 8.5 total rebounds, and 4.2 blocks. These performances made him a two-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and a Big East co-Player of the Year.
When the Memphis Grizzlies drafted him ahead of James Harden and Stephen Curry, the expectations were high for the first Tanzanian NBA player. However, in 2010, the Grizzlies assigned Thabeet to the Dakota Wizards, a team in the NBA Development League. At the time, he was the tallest and highest-drafted player sent down to the D-League (now known as the G League). The Grizzlies traded Thabeet to the Houston Rockets, who also sent him down into the development league with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He didn’t last long with the Rockets before getting traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. He was on the move again to Oklahoma City Thunder, then a series of teams before the Grand Rapids Drive in 2014.
It was at this point that Thabeet gave up on the American dream and played his basketball in Japan and Taiwan. Here he finally had some success, becoming the P.League+ rebound leader, blocks leader, and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. Unfortunately, good things and Thabeet don’t seem to mix as he signed for Tainan TSG GhostHawks in October 2021, but failed to join the team. Instead, he went back home and guided Savio to an RBA title and became the Finals MVP.
Was Thabeet one of the Worst NBA Players Ever?
Some players get drafted unfairly high in the NBA, but that does not seem like the case here. Both Curry and Harden are the better picks in hindsight but don’t forget that Thabeet was looking like the real deal. Now that his career is almost over, we can safely say that he only played well in the easier leagues and could not defend against the best players in the game. If he delivered even half of what he did at college, he would have avoided the list of the worst NBA players easily.
- Games: 224
- Points Per Game: 2.2
- Rebounds Per Game: 2.7
- Assists Per Game: 0.1
- Blocks Per Game: 0.5
6. LaRue Martin
LaRue Martin was the first pick of the 1972 NBA draft, which was a year containing three Hall of Famers; including number two pick Bob McAdoo. Other big names in the draft include Paul Westphal, Julius Erving, Jim Price, and Don Buse. It’s not surprising that when talk of the biggest draft busts comes around, we can’t help but mention LaRue Martin’s name.
Martin gained popularity by shining in an otherwise awful Loyola Ramblers college team. The team often lost more games than they won, including 4-20 in his junior season and 8-14 in his senior year. Despite that, his college stats were mighty impressive, including 67 games, 18.2PPG, and 15.9 total rebounds. He remains Loyola’s all-time leading rebounder.
The 1972 NBA draft was controversial because a secret American Basketball Association (ABA) draft was rumored to have taken place. They held the ABA draft from 1967 to 1975 until it merged with the NBA in 1976. The Portland Trail Blazers chose LaRue after NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy advised NBA teams not to draft McAdoo. LaRue Martin played four seasons with the Trail Blazers before retiring from basketball.
Was LaRue Martin out of his League?
LaRue was outspoken and honest when asked about his brief NBA career in an interview with the Portland Tribune. He had this to say when asked why coach Jack McCloskey did not give him more game time at Portland:
Jack wasn't a believer in my ability, He came from Wake Forest in North Carolina, and he wanted Bob McAdoo. Hey, Bob was a hell of a player. I know that. Maybe I wasn't the right guy for Jack. So be it. But I never gave him any grief when I was playing for him. I'm not into that. I just kept my mouth shut and did what I was told. I guess it wasn't good enough.- Martin LaRue
Looking back, it appears LaRue was a victim of unfortunate circumstances. This particular NBA draft was controversial, given the secret ABA draft. That certainly contributed to the expectations around LaRue. While he claims he never made waves for the coach, others could argue he didn’t try hard enough to change the situation. It’s easy to say it now, but LaRue never tried to prove the haters wrong with another franchise. Instead, he drove off into the sunset as a UPS driver and became an executive vice president for the supply chain management company.
- Games: 271
- Points Per Game: 5.3
- Rebounds Per Game: 4.6
- Assists Per Game: 0.7
- Blocks Per Game: 0.5
5. Michael Ruffin
The Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Ruffin in round two of the 1999 NBA draft. He played as a power forward and center across his basketball career but established a reputation for being a defensive presence on the court. He played 414 games in the NBA, averaging 1.7 points per game, 3.9 rebounds, and 0.6 assists.
Ruffin moved from the Bulls to the Philadelphia 76ers, which did not help further his career. He then moved to Spain to play for Caprabo Lieda until 2003, when he joined Utah Jazz. Ruffin didn’t stay long at any of the next teams. Including short stints for the Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, and a return to Spain with Obradoiro CAB. In September 2021, Ruffin joined the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach.
On the surface, Ruffin seems like an ordinary player; a defensive-minded player who played his best basketball in college. However, there was one decisive moment that sealed his notoriety forever. In 2007, Ruffin was playing for the Wizards who were three points up, with 3.8 seconds on the clock, against the Toronto Raptors. Ruffin makes a crucial interception, and instead of playing down the clock, he throws the ball up aimlessly in the air. The ball drops in the hands of Morris Peterson, who lands one heck of a Hail Mary three-pointer to take the game to overtime; which the Wizards lost.
Did Ruffin get the Rough Treatment?
Players like Michael Ruffin are a disaster for any betting fans out there. Imagine losing your bet to a blooper like in the clip above. Some of the best betting sites can offer you protection from moments like these, with free bets or parlay insurance. I know some of you may think it’s not fair to put someone on the list for one mistake, but there is absolutely no defense for Ruffin here. Just watch the clip and you can decide just how bad it is.
Comparing Ruffin’s college stats against his NBA performance yields an unsurprising result. He made 128 appearances in college, 115 as a starter, and had a 9.4PPG average plus 9.5 total rebounds. Compare this to his professional career, he made 414 appearances, only 58 of those were as a starter. Add the disappointing 1.7PPG and average of 3.9 rebounds and you have a solid case for Ruffin being one of the worst NBA players of all time.
- Games: 414
- Points Per Game: 1.7
- Rebounds Per Game: 3.9
- Assists Per Game: 0.6
- Blocks Per Game: 0.5
4. Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett was the number one pick in the 2013 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before the draft, he only had one year at college where he played 35 games, averaged 16.1 points, and 8.1 rebounds. He played 52 games for the Cavaliers with zero starts and only averaged 12.8 minutes per game for the season. It took him 33 games to score double digits in an NBA game, around three times longer than any other number-one draft pick. In this season, he averaged 4.2 points and only 3.0 rebounds per game.
In 2014, they traded Bennett to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he made 57 appearances with three starts. His minutes improved to 15.7, which saw his points per game rise to 5.2, and rebounds to 3.8 for the season; nowhere near the level of most first-round picks. The club waived him in 2015, allowing him to join his hometown team, the Toronto Raptors. What he thought might be a homecoming was a nightmare. He requested to join the Raptors 905 team in the NBA Development League. Bennett made history by becoming the first number-one pick to play in the Development League.
His final NBA season was with the Brooklyn Nets, a stint that only lasted from 2016 to 2017. Once again, he spent time in the development league and did not take advantage of his 23 appearances that season. He had a couple of okay games for the Nets, but it was certainly too little too late for Bennett. He moved to Turkey in 2017 to play for Fenerbahçe, who won the EuroLeague that year. But they released Bennett four months after he joined the team.
How Bad was Bennett?
Bennett spent 2017-2019 with NBA G League teams until a surprise move to Israel after failed attempts to join the Houston Rockets and a team in the Puerto Rican league. He played for Hapoel Jerusalem until he was waived on January 2, 2022. Some players on this list had bad times in the NBA but some success elsewhere, unfortunately for Bennett; disappointment has followed him around every corner.
- Games: 151
- Points Per Game: 4.4
- Rebounds Per Game: 3.1
- Assists Per Game: 0.5
- Blocks Per Game: 0.2
3. Nikoloz Tskitishvili
Nikoloz Tskitishvili was a Georgian basketball player who was the fifth pick overall in the 2002 NBA draft. The Denver Nuggets drafted Tskitishvili, and he stayed with the franchise until 2005 when they traded him to the Golden State Warriors. After 12 games for the Warriors, he was a free agent and signed for the Minnesota Timberwolves. They also traded him during the season to the Phoenix Suns. In 2006, the Portland Trail Blazers claimed him off waivers, but they waived him shortly after. This happened again with the New York Knicks before Tskitishvili got the message and played his basketball elsewhere.
In four seasons in the NBA, Tskitishvili made 172 appearances with only 16 starts. He averaged 2.9 points a game with only 1.8 rebounds. His field goal percentage was .304 across his career and he averaged 0.3 blocks. He tried to mount a comeback to the NBA in 2015, where he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately, he was waived a month later and tried his luck in Asia.
Tskitishvili did certainly dedicate himself to basketball, playing in 25 teams in his 22-year career. During that time, he played in Italy, Iran, Lebanon, Spain, Georgia, America, Greece, Slovenia, Japan, Bahrain, and China. Plus, he had some success in his lengthy career, winning the Italian League and Supercup in 2002, the Iranian Super League, the WABA Champions Cup, and the Asia Champions Cup all in 2012.
Was Tskitishvili Really that Bad?
Tskitishvili is a name that comes up whenever someone mentions NBA draft busts. Many regard him to be one of the worst draft picks of all time. David Schoenfield, a senior sportswriter for ESPN, rated Tskitishvili as the 30th worst draft pick of all time, across NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. He said:
No, this isn't a rant against the NBA's infatuation with European players; it's a rant against 7-foot stiffs who can't play. Tskitishvili is already on his fourth team with a career scoring average of 2.9. Think the Nuggets would rather have taken Amar'e Stoudemire?- David Schoenfield
Schoenfield might have been blunt about Tskitishvili’s scoring, but he makes a brilliant point about Nikoloz bouncing from team to team. Tskitishvili Played for more teams than years spent playing professional basketball. If that doesn’t say something is wrong, then I don’t know what will.
- Games: 172
- Points Per Game: 2.9
- Rebounds Per Game: 1.8
- Assists Per Game: 0.7
- Blocks Per Game: 0.3
2. Cherokee Parks
Cherokee Parks was a center and power forward who was the 12th overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft. The Dallas Mavericks picked him before they traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996. In 1998, he moved to the Vancouver Grizzlies before making another move in 2000 to the Washington Wizards and then the Los Angeles Clippers. In 2001, he joined the San Antonio Spurs before going back to the Clippers in 2002. His last move came in 2003 when he played one last NBA season with the Golden State Warriors.
Looking at Parks’ college stats, he was a force to be reckoned with. He made 131 appearances and averaged 12.5 points per game. He had a sensational .755 free throw percentage and a solid field goal percentage of .551. His total rebounds were also impressive at college, scoring 6.7 per game. However, this fine form did not follow him into his professional career, and he never established himself as a starter on any of the seven teams he played for.
Looking at his NBA stats, Parks played in 472 games and only made 151 starts. His point average per game was only 4.4 across his career, and his rebound rate was 3.6. Even his free throw percentage took a downturn, dropping to .630 and a .470 field goal percentage. These are stats from the same player who was NCAA Champion in 1992 and a two-time First-Team Parade All-American in 1990 and 1991.
Is Cherokee Parks the Worst NBA Player of all time?
In his nine-year career in the NBA, Parks had nearly 500 games spread across seven teams in the NBA, none of which kept him for over two seasons. While it’s not uncommon for players to move around, they often hold the outstanding players back to help make up the team, but that was not the case for Parks. There was expectation surrounding him after winning gold at the FIBA U19 and U21 World Championships. However, it did not materialize during his playing career.
- Games: 472
- Points Per Game: 4.4
- Rebounds Per Game: 3.6
- Assists Per Game: 0.6
- Blocks Per Game: 0.6
1. Javaris Crittenton
Javaris Crittenton was a shooting/point guard who was the 19th pick in the 2007 NBA draft. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Crittenton, and he stayed with the team until February 2008. They traded him, along with Kwame Brown, to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies then traded him in December 2008 to the Washington Wizards, where an incident with a teammate in the dressing room sparked the end of his NBA career.
The incident involved Gilbert Arenas and Crittenton in the Wizards’ locker room around Christmas time. Crittenton insulted Arenas on the plane ride back from a game where the team usually plays cards. Arenas laid out four unloaded handguns in the locker room. Crittenton then responded by revealing a loaded concealed firearm and brandishing it at Arenas. They suspended both men for the rest of the season, with Crittenton getting released after his suspension expired.
Now, it may seem that Arenas is just as guilty in this situation, but Crittenton went one step further in 2011. On August 29th, Crittenton was arrested and charged with the murder of Jullian Jones, a mother of four. While out on bond, they arrested him again along with 13 others accused of selling large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm and voluntary manslaughter and is currently serving 23 years in prison. If you would like to read more about the story, you can read this ESPN article covering the story at the time.
What does that Have to do with Basketball?
Crittenton was an undeniable talent in high school, averaging 28.4 points as a junior in 2005, and 29 points per game as a senior. They named him Mr. Georgia Basketball in 2006, as well as McDonald’s All-American and ACC All-Freshman Team in 2007. He had a 3.5 GPA in high school and his coach considered him a leader even as a freshman at college.
However, he acted like a petulant child as he grew up, fighting with teammates and joining the Crips after signing for the Lakers. Who in their right mind would join a gang while playing basketball at the highest level? Either way, Crittenton had it all going right, which is what makes it so remarkable that he is in prison right now for manslaughter. We might have featured some poor players on this list, but none of them can conceivably compare to the embarrassment that is Javaris Crittenton.
- Games: 113
- Points Per Game: 5.3
- Rebounds Per Game: 2.4
- Assists Per Game: 1.8
- Blocks Per Game: 0.1
No list of the worst players is complete without acknowledging the players who, by the skin of their teeth, missed out on a spot among the worst NBA players of all time. If you enjoyed this list, check out the 15 best NBA teams of all time.
- Greg Oden
- Sam Bowie
- Sun Yue
- Chris Jent
- Lazar Hayward