Welcome friends, to the annual NBA Bad Awards.
Every year around playoff time, I like to take a look back at the regular season and reflect on all the bad we’ve witnessed over the past six months. This season did not disappoint. Without any further ado, here are your 2015 winners.
LVP (Least Valuable Player):
Lance Stephenson, Hornets
When the Hornets brought in Lance Stephenson, they thought they were getting their long-term answer at the two-guard spot — a long, rangy, playmaking guard with the ability to defend, rebound and take over late in games. What they got instead, was a 6-foot-5, flailing turnover machine who forgot how to hold a basketball. A year after leading the league in triple-doubles with Indiana, Stephenson’s output has dropped in virtually every category. After beginning the year as a starter, he was benched after 25 games. On the season, he averaged only 8.2 points per game, shot 17 percent from three, and led his team in turnovers. His -0.9 total win shares is the worst in the NBA.
Least Outstanding Team: New York Knicks (17-65)
I know the Timberwolves technically had a worse record, but Andrew Wiggins and that island of misfit toys pale in comparison to the Hindenburg disaster that was the 2014-15 New York Knickerbockers. Don’t be trying to backtrack and pretend this a rebuilding year, Phil Jackson. We all know what really happened here. You legitimately thought this team was going to be good. You thought sad-Carmelo and the ghost of Amar’e Stoudemire could figure out the triangle offense. How’d that work out for you? I could sit here and rattle off a bunch of sad Knicks statistics to prove my point — but this is all you really need to know — in their last game of the season, the Knicks’ starting lineup was: Tim Hardaway Jr., Langston Galloway (who?), Cole Aldrich, Lance Thomas and Jason Smith. They lost to the Pistons by 22.
Vinny Del Negro Award: Erik Spoelstra, Heat (37-45)
The worst coach of the year award goes to head coach of the Miami Heat and Bruno Mars stunt-double, Erik Spoelstra.
There is absolutely no excuse. None. This is the Eastern Conference we’re talking about here. The BROOKLYN NETS made the playoffs. Sure, Chris Bosh went down with an injury, big deal. You still had Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, a hungry Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic (for the last 26 games of the season). There’s no way in hell you should’ve finished 27th in scoring offense.
It’s funny what happens when the best player in the world isn’t on your team anymore.
Kwame Brown Award: Dante Exum, Jazz
The Kwame Brown award goes to the most underwhelming rookie. This year, that was Dante Exum.
For the guy selected fifth overall in last year’s draft, 2015 was a year to forget. He played in all 82 games, but averaged only 4.8 points and 2.4 assists in 22.2 minutes per game. The problem, for the 19-year-old, is that he’s not particularly good at anything. He can’t really shoot — his 34.9 field goal percentage is third to last among rookies; he’s not a good distributor — his 2.4 assists per game rank 73rd among point guards; and despite his long frame, he’s been exposed time and again on the defensive end. At a certain point, the Bobs have to ask — “What would ya say… you do here?”
Rashard Lewis Award: Kobe Bryant, Lakers
The worst contract of the year award goes to Kobe Bryant, who essentially made $23.5 million to be one of the balcony hecklers from “the Muppets” this season. Even if Kobe doesn’t get injured these last two seasons, that contract was a terrible idea. Do you know what happens when you give a 36-year-old, injury prone former superstar a two-year, $48.5 million contract? You get to start the season with Carlos Boozer as your starting power forward. The Lakers, a team in desperate need of fresh bodies, had no room under the salary cap to sign any. Oh, and Kobe’s salary goes up to $25 million next season, so that should be fun.
Lightning Round: Let’s go!
JaVale McGee Award (Biggest Knucklehead): Nick “Swaggy P” Young, Lakers.
Sam Cassel Award (Ugliest Player): Joakim Noah, Bulls.
Derrick Rose Award (Most Tragic Injury): Kobe Bryant, Lakers.
Angry Mummy Award: Kevin Garnett, Minnesota.
Stupidest Decision from the Commissioner’s Office: Jerseys with sleeves. Quit that.
Player I Hate the Most Award: Josh Smith, Rockets. (It’s always been Josh Smith.)
Sad White Guy Award: Cameron Bairstow, Bulls.
I just wanted to give Cameron Bairstow an award.
Everybody deserves an award.