The Biggest Dead Weight for Every NBA Team
The Biggest Dead Weight for Every NBA Team

by Ben Leibowitz

From the alpha dogs to the 12th men, everyone on an NBA roster must contribute. Unfortunately, there were players on every team in 2015-16 who failed to do so.

In the NBA, stars like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James run the show. Their exploits helped lead their respective teams deep into the playoffs, but basketball remains a team game.

As such, each player on the roster -- from the alpha dogs to the 12th men -- need to pull their share of the weight. However, no roster is perfect. Looking back at the 2015-16 season, PointAfter, part of the Graphiq network, set out to determine the biggest piece of dead weight for every team.

"Dead weight" can be determined in a variety of different ways. A guy hauling in a huge salary while underperforming, someone cashing checks without playing games (due to injuries or other factors), a player being a poor enough fit to necessitate his trade or release and/or flat-out poor performance on both ends of the court can earn the infamous label.

In most cases, we opted to avoid young players still getting their feet wet in the NBA. Additionally, a player who had a larger role on his team while underperforming would be considered bigger dead weight over a guy who played worse but didn't suit up as much.

Players were ranked by the sum of their box plus/minus and win shares from the latest campaign. Only the first three players on the countdown graded out with a positive number by this measure. The others merely cost their teams points and wins on a regular basis.

#30. Tiago Splitter, Atlanta Hawks

Box Plus/Minus: -0.8
Win Shares: 1.7

During an offseason in which DeMarre Carroll signed a big money contract to play north of the border for the Toronto Raptors and Kyle Korver was forced to undergo two surgeries, the Atlanta Hawks put a lot of stock in big man Tiago Splitter.

The Brazilian center was acquired for virtually nothing from San Antonio as the Spurs (successfully) pursued free-agent prize LaMarcus Aldridge. The only catch was that ATL would have to pay Splitter's salary, and at $8.8 million in 2015-16, he was the third-highest paid player on the Hawks' roster. He didn't live up to that figure, playing just 36 games (two starts) before undergoing hip surgery that ended his season. Perhaps injury should negate him from being considered "dead weight," but his first season in Atlanta was still a huge disappointment. His 13.7 PER when he did play was the worst of his career.

#29. Jeff Green, Memphis Grizzlies

Box Plus/Minus: -1.7
Win Shares: 2.2

The Memphis Grizzlies have been held back in recent years by their inability to make three-point shots. When Jeff Green was acquired from the Boston Celtics last year, he provided a spark from long range by converting 36.2 percent of his three-point attempts. In 2015-16, however, Green's percentage from deep tanked to 30.9 percent.

During a season in which Memphis was forced to suit up and play a whopping 28 different guys, Green struggled to move the needle. He was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Lance Stephenson and a 2019 first-round pick -- so he at least provided some value thanks to Doc Rivers' shoddy skills as president of basketball operations.

#28. Arron Afflalo, New York Knicks

Box Plus/Minus: -2.4
Win Shares: 2.7

Arron Afflalo's stats have declined rapidly since posting 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 42.7 percent from long range in 2013-14 for the Orlando Magic. He simply hasn't been the same player since, but New York rolled the dice by signing him to a two-year, $16 million deal last July.

He made a respectable 38.2 percent of his threes, but was ultimately demoted from his starting shooting guard role and denied that a conversation between him and head coach Kurt Rambis about his demotion took place. That accompanied a (since-deleted) cryptic post on Instagram saying, "s--t won't be forgotten."

When you're making $8 million for a single season, perhaps it's better just to quietly collect your checks.

#27. Rodney Stuckey, Indiana Pacers

Box Plus/Minus: -2.5
Win Shares: 2

As the Pacers moved on from big men Roy Hibbert and David West to embrace a small-ball mentality, it became the guards' time to shine in Indy. Rodney Stuckey, however, saw his numbers dip significantly.

After shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc last season en route to 12.6 points per game, Stuckey averaged just 8.9 points and made a ghastly 24.1 percent of his triples. Provided Stuckey made $7 million and missed 24 games, he didn't exactly justify himself as anything other than dead weight to the Pacers this season.

#26. Lance Stephenson, Los Angeles Clippers

Box Plus/Minus: -1.6
Win Shares: 0.9



Coach Rivers believed that offseason acquisition Lance Stephenson would help the Clippers, but after 43 games played and a -2.4 offensive box plus/minus, "Born Ready" was traded along with a first-rounder to Memphis in exchange for Jeff Green.

Stephenson never fit in with the Clips, and while his advanced stats were superior to the likes of Paul Pierce, it's clear his locker room presence didn't bring as much to the table in terms of being a veteran sage.

Rivers gave up Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes for the dead weight of Stephenson, then traded Stephenson and a 2019 first-round pick to net 27 mediocre games from Jeff Green. Not a good look for LA's president of basketball operations.

#25. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz

Box Plus/Minus: -2
Win Shares: 1.2

From top to bottom, Utah's 2015-16 roster had plenty of promise. Were it not for a rash of injuries, there's clout to the argument that the Jazz would have made the playoffs this year.

The point guard spot had its problems. Dante Exum was sidelined for the year due to a torn ACL suffered during the summer, which thrust Trey Burke and Raul Neto into more action. Burke was a net negative across the board, as Utah's offense and defense were superior with him sitting on the bench.

#24. Kyle Singler, Oklahoma City Thunder

Box Plus/Minus: -2.5
Win Shares: 1.1

Kyle Singler had logged a negative player efficiency rating throughout the early stages of the 2015-16 season. (Honestly, I didn't even know that was possible until I saw Singler bringing up the rear in the PER rankings.) Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver catalogued Singler's remarkable stretch of minutes without an assist during the season's first month as well.

The Duke University product showed mild improvement from there, but he made just 30.9 percent of his threes (a career low) and has since been limited to garbage time appearances. Even though his five-year, $25 million contract with OKC is modest -- especially with the cap set to rise -- it still looks downright egregious when accounting for his disastrous 2015-16 campaign.

#23. Kevin Martin, San Antonio Spurs


Box Plus/Minus: -2.4
Win Shares: 0.4

Choosing dead weight on a Spurs roster is often a fool's errand. Head coach Gregg Popovich has extracted the best out of virtually every player he's ever coached, and with the system put in place in San Antonio, it's tough for players to look bad.

So while Kevin Martin wasn't exactly terrible for the Spurs in a limited stint, he was the only player on the team this season who posted a negative offensive and defensive box plus/minus. Typically a reliable scorer, Martin made just 35.3 percent of his shot attempts in a Spurs jersey.

#22. Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers


Box Plus/Minus: -0.2
Win Shares: 1.7

Iman Shumpert gained strong consideration here for his ineptitude on offense (37.4 percent shooting from the field, 29.5 percent from long range) and hefty salary (Shump earned more than $8.9 million this season). Ultimately, though, his defensive acumen saved him the shame -- Shumpert's defensive box plus/minus was second only to LeBron James among Cavaliers who played at least 30 contests.

Instead, Mo Williams and his -3.3 box plus/minus takes the cake for Cleveland. He was a defensive sieve and wasn't nearly as effective offensively as others on the roster. At least his $2.1 million salary wasn't a tough pill to swallow.

#21. Marreese Speights, Golden State Warriors


Box Plus/Minus: -4
Win Shares: 1.8

The man nicknamed "Mo Buckets" has become a fan favorite in the Bay Area. His three pointers at the end of games essentially act as victory cigars. His jovial nature is infectious to teammates and fans.

But while it appeared Speights was a solid role player for the NBA's 73-win squad from the eye test, the advanced stats peg him as one of the worst players in the game. His box plus/minus is an ugly -4.0, and his value over replacement player, also known as VORP, was a team-worst -0.4.

You'd think it would be impossible to find dead weight on a 73-win team, but Speights sticks out like a sore thumb.

#20. P.J. Hairston, Charlotte Hornets


Box Plus/Minus: -3.2
Win Shares: 0.9

With P.J. Hairston on the roster, the Charlotte Hornets went 27-26. After trading the small forward to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Buzz went 21-8.

Hairston was clearly not the best option to plug into the small forward slot when Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was sidelined due to injury. After Charlotte made the decision to trade him away for Courtney Lee, the team was vastly improved. Now that's dead weight.

#19. Steve Blake, Detroit Pistons

Box Plus/Minus: -3.5
Win Shares: 1.1

Detroit's $80 million investment in point guard Reggie Jackson paid off handsomely in 2015-16. The floor general continued to build off a great stint in Motown post-trade last year, but his primary backup didn't aid the cause.

Veteran Steve Blake continued to see his productivity decline. He made just 38.8 percent of his field goals and finished with a team-worst -0.4 VORP. Guard depth was an issue for Detroit all season -- mainly due to injuries -- but that's an area Stan Van Gundy should look to address this offseason.

#18. Omer Asik, New Orleans Pelicans

Box Plus/Minus: -4.2
Win Shares: 1.7

New Orleans' decision to sign center Omer Asik to a five-year, $60 million deal last summer was ... well, head-scratching. To be sure, Asik was a capable big man in terms of defense, rebounding and durability in the past. However, his fit alongside Anthony Davis -- especially with offensive-minded head coach Alvin Gentry set to run the show -- was far from a sure thing.

Asik was totally lost on offense throughout 2015-16, notching a career-worst -4.0 offensive box plus/minus. His PER of 11.0 was also the worst of his NBA tenure, and he managed to block 0.3 shots per game (again, a career low).

The Turkish 7-footer has shown the ability to impact games defensively in the past, but ultimately he may not be a fit under Gentry in NOLA.

#17. O.J. Mayo, Milwaukee Bucks

Box Plus/Minus: -3.5
Win Shares: -0.1

You could make the argument that Rashad Vaughn, whose atrocious true shooting percentage of 39.8 percent ranked dead last among 350 qualified players, was the biggest dead weight on a Milwaukee Bucks team that failed to reach expectations after making the playoffs a year ago. And while that's certainly justified, Vaughn is a 19-year-old rookie who's still getting his feet wet in the NBA. His jumper and the net were like opposing magnets, but his youth and lack of experience provide a fair excuse.

That's not so for veteran shooting guard O.J. Mayo, whose numbers were comparably ugly. The key difference was that Mayo played more minutes than Vaughn despite suiting up in 29 fewer games. In his 41 contests (24 starts), Mayo shot 37.1 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from long range.

#16. Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls

Box Plus/Minus: -4.1
Win Shares: 0.4

As a defensive-minded wing, Tony Snell fell out of favor under the offensively-inclined Fred Hoiberg -- and for good reason. The youngster converted a career-low 37.2 percent of his field goals and even graded out as a negative on defense in terms of box plus/minus.

The 6-foot-7 swingman showed plenty of promise in the past, but his third year in the pros was a rough one.

#15. Marco Belinelli, Sacramento Kings

Box Plus/Minus: -4.2
Win Shares: 0.5

After two seasons spent playing under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs, Marco Belinelli signed with the Sacramento Kings on a three-year, $19 million contract. Like with Singler and Afflalo, the contract looks quite modest on paper. So long as Belinelli could keep up his reliable outside shooting, he'd be an inexpensive asset for Sacramento.

Instead, the Italian guard shot just 30.6 percent from beyond the arc on the West Coast -- by far the worst mark of his career. Add poor defense to the mix and "Beli" was a net negative on both sides of the court.

#14. Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets

Box Plus/Minus: -4.1
Win Shares: 0

It would be easy to pick on Emmanuel Mudiay following a rookie campaign fraught with growing pains, but 19-year-olds who are learning the ropes can't exactly be deemed "dead weight."

Instead, that infamous moniker for Denver falls on Randy Foye. In addition to a -4.1 BPM, the 32-year-old guard made a measly 29.6 percent of his treys in a Nuggets jersey. As a career 36.9 percent shooter from deep, Foye's 29.6-percent mark was by far the worst of his career.

Denver decided to trade Foye in February to Oklahoma City.

#13. Beno Udrih, Miami Heat

Box Plus/Minus: -4.6
Win Shares: 0.4

Mid-range scorer extraordinaire Beno Udrih was traded to the Miami Heat in November for Mario Chalmers and James Ennis. The Slovenian point guard played 36 games (five starts) in Miami, collecting a -4.6 BPM during that stretch.

Udrih didn't even last through the month of February in South Beach, as the Heat waived him on Feb. 29.

#12. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

Box Plus/Minus: -3.8
Win Shares: -0.5



After the Phoenix Suns traded Markieff's twin brother Marcus to the Detroit Pistons, "Keef" made it abundantly clear -- with his Twitter barbs and poor play -- that he'd force his way out of the desert somehow.

Morris was a locker room cancer for the Suns, and as he shot 39.7 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from deep, the front office was given little choice but to move on from the former Kansas Jayhawk. It wasn't a complete loss, though, as the Suns were able to land a 2016 first-round pick (No. 13 overall) in exchange for the ornery power forward.

#11. Charlie Villanueva, Dallas Mavericks

Box Plus/Minus: -4.6
Win Shares: 0.2

The most effective Charlie Villanueva looked on the court all season in 2015-16 was when he attempted to interrupt a pre-game dance between Russell Westbrook and Cameron Payne of the Oklahoma City Thunder -- and even that didn't go so well.

Statistically speaking, Villanueva shot 38.2 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from downtown over the course of 62 games. Add shoddy defense to the mix and there was virtually no reason for head coach Rick Carlisle to play the UConn product as much as he did.

#10. Ty Lawson, Houston Rockets

Box Plus/Minus: -5.1
Win Shares: 0.4

General manager Daryl Morey's decision to acquire Ty Lawson to pair in Houston's backcourt with James Harden was met with a fair amount of excitement. Sure, Lawson had more than his fair share of off-court baggage coming with him, but the diminutive floor general has undeniable talent.

Unfortunately for Morey, the move did not work out. Lawson failed to develop any sort of chemistry in the same backcourt as Harden, and he was waived by the Rockets on March 1.

#9. Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

Box Plus/Minus: -4.8
Win Shares: 0.1

When your primary, secondary and tertiary skills on the basketball court are shooting the ball, it's usually best to be at least average at it. Nick Young, however, put together a grotesque shooting season, making 36.3 percent of his two-point shots and 32.5 percent of his threes.

The Lakers had a number of players that didn't pull their weight throughout the franchise's worst season in history, but "Swaggy P" and the lack of his usual swag was hard to top.

#8. Shabazz Napier, Orlando Magic

Box Plus/Minus: -4.9
Win Shares: 0.1

The Orlando Magic are a young team on the cusp of a breakout. As such, they have a lot of inexperienced pieces trying to find their niche at the pro level -- which could be viewed as underperforming.

As far as "dead weight" goes, however, Shabazz Napier is the clear choice. He made just 35.1 percent of his two-pointers and 32.7 percent of his treys.

#7. Drew Gooden, Washington Wizards

Box Plus/Minus: -5
Win Shares: 0

An instance similar to Vaughn with the Bucks where a rookie swingman couldn't get into a groove (in this case, Kelly Oubre Jr.), we instead pegged veteran forward Drew Gooden in this spot.

His -5 BPM was truly atrocious, and it wasn't eased by the fact that he earned $3.3 million this season. His contract for 2016-17 is non-guaranteed, and following his performance this year, it would be very surprising if Washington opted to keep him aboard.

#6. Chris Kaman, Portland Trail Blazers

Box Plus/Minus: -5.1
Win Shares: 0.1

When you earn approximately $1 million for every negative point per 100 possessions you brought to the table throughout a 16-game sample size, you're dead weight.

That was the case for Chris Kaman, who earned more than $5 million this season by playing 16 regular season games. Head coach Terry Stotts brought the former All-Star off the bench for four games during the postseason, and he responded by shooting 38.9 percent from the field. Oof.

#5. Terry Rozier, Boston Celtics

Box Plus/Minus: -6.6
Win Shares: -0.3

For the most part, we've strayed away from calling rookies dead weight for their teams because they're typically on cheap contracts, don't play much and don't have NBA experience to fall back on.

But in the case of Terry Rozier and the Boston Celtics, there wasn't much choice. On top of Rozier's woeful first year in the pros (27.4 percent shooting, 22.2 percent beyond the arc), he simply wasn't a fit on the roster among Boston's glut of guards.

#4. Andrea Bargnani, Brooklyn Nets

Box Plus/Minus: -7.9
Win Shares: 0.2

Andrea Bargnani earned PointAfter's title of Least Valuable Player of the 2015-16 NBA season, so it's no shock he's deemed the biggest dead weight for the hapless Brooklyn Nets.

As my colleague Will Laws wrote, "If you could praise Bargnani at all before, you could at least say he was a good shooter for a center. That wasn't even the case this season, though, as his conversion rate from beyond the arc plummeted to 18.8 percent. Bargs' defense was as awful as its ever been, so his box plus-minus (-7.9) was the worst in the entire league by a wide margin."

Brooklyn released the former No. 1 overall pick in February, and he didn't get another NBA gig.

#3. Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves

Box Plus/Minus: -8.2
Win Shares: -0.1

Remember Nikola Pekovic? The hulking Montenegrin center built like a sequoia tree who showed enough promise just a couple years ago to net a five-year, $60 million contract? Well, he still exists, but you wouldn't know it by watching NBA basketball in 2015-16.

"Pek" played just 12 games (three starts) before being ruled out indefinitely in February to continue recovering from Achilles surgery. With the emergence of No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns, it's unclear where Pekovic fits in with Minnesota even when (if?) he gets healthy.

#2. Anthony Bennett, Toronto Raptors

Box Plus/Minus: -9.4
Win Shares: 0.1

Former No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Bennett was waived by the Toronto Raptors in February -- the second team to release him in less than a year -- which forced me to question whether the bulky Canadian is the worst NBA draft bust of all time.

He played in 19 games for Toronto, and averaged 1.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in that time. He made just eight of his 27 field goals.

There's a genuine chance Bennett's NBA career has come to an unceremonious end.

#1. Tony Wroten, Philadelphia 76ers

Box Plus/Minus: -13.4
Win Shares: -0.8

When you get waived by the Philadelphia 76ers, well, I don't think I need to finish my thought.

Although Tony Wroten was a terrible three-point and free throw shooter coming out of college, his size (listed at 6-foot-6) and ability to penetrate to the bucket made him an intriguing point guard prospect. Fast-forward through four NBA seasons, however, and Wroten's NBA future is murky at best.

Few players on Philly's roster could be considered something other than dead weight. Even coach Brett Brown said, "I love some of my current players," after the 2016 NBA Draft lottery. But it takes a little extra to be released by the worst team in the league.

Article: Courtesy Point After

NBA Basketball: "The Biggest Dead Weight for Every NBA Team"