The Least Valuable Players in the NBA
The Least Valuable Players in the NBA

by Ben Leibowitz

Recently, PointAfter unveiled Player Value Index (PVI) to determine the most valuable players in the NBA.

Now, it's time to examine the other, darker side of the spectrum: the least useful players. The guys who commit bone-headed turnovers, chuck up ill-advised shots from all over the court and exhibit a painful lack of understanding on the defensive end.

To review, PVI incorporates the following statistics into its formula: Player Efficiency Rating (PER), Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), box plus-minus (BPM), win shares and usage rate. These statistics are all at the forefront of the NBA sabermetrics movement, and are widely used in measuring a player's efficiency and/or value to his team.

The players highlighted here aren't the benchwarmers who rarely saw court time -- the 323 players who qualified for consideration all played at least 41 games. Because when a losing squad reviews its season and wonders what could have been, the finger of blame isn't pointed at the roster filler who barely got to play. It's aimed toward the guys who had the chance to prove themselves but couldn't seize the moment. The 25 players deemed least valuable by PVI ultimately should have seen a hefty portion of their minutes allocated to more efficient contributors.

#25. Nick Young

Player Value Index: 34.6

If a so-called shooter can't actually shoot, does he deserve a spot on an NBA roster? "Swaggy P" probably doesn't after enduring the worst season of his nine-year NBA career, posting career lows in scoring (7.3 PPG) and shooting percentage (33.9%).

Oh, in case you've been living under a rock, he was also caught telling his teammate about cheating on his fiancée. Overall, not a great 2015-16 campaign for the gregarious 30-year-old who often acts like a teenager.

#24. Nik Stauskas

Player Value Index: 34.3

Vivek Ranadive has overseen an extraordinarily dysfunctional period in Kings history. One of the most glaring instances of this was his borderline insistence on drafting Stauskas, which was gloriously captured in a behind-the-scenes look at Sacramento's war room. In the linked clip above, Ranadive cited Stauskas telling scouts he once made 91 of 100 three-pointers in practice.

Two years into his NBA career, Stauskas has a career shooting percentage of 37.8% and now plays for the dreadful Philadelphia 76ers. His "Sauce Castillo" nickname is really the best thing he has going for him.

#23. Randy Foye

Player Value Index: 33.4

In 2012-13, Foye set Utah's franchise record for most three-pointers in a season. This season, he barely cracked Oklahoma City's rotation after coming over in a midseason trade from Denver despite the Thunder desperately coveting guards with shooting range. The 32-year-old made just 30 percent of his long-range attempts, signaling a decline that came faster than anyone expected.

#22. O.J. Mayo

Player Value Index: 33.3

A free agent this summer, Mayo picked an awful time to post the worst shooting numbers of his career across the board. A string of hamstring and ankle injuries that cost him 41 games didn't help his value, either. He was one of many disappointments on a Milwaukee Bucks team that wildly underachieved expectations following a surprise playoff berth last season.

#21. Dante Cunningham

Player Value Index: 33.2

Cunningham started a career-high 46 games for New Orleans this season and posted a career-low 8.6 PER. Part of that could be attributed to his move to small forward, which was necessitated by the Pelicans' crowded frontcourt. Cunningham just doesn't have the shooting stroke or shot creation skills necessary to thrive out on the wing in today's NBA.

#20. Steve Blake

Player Value Index: 32.8

Detroit leaned on Blake as its backup point guard behind Reggie Jackson. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy probably should have invested more time in developing one of the team's other young point guards to take Blake's place.

The 36-year-old was presumably expected to provide a steady hand, but instead logged a ghastly turnover rate of 24.6%. That was the third-worst mark among qualified players, worse than only Nick Collison and Rajon Rondo.

#19. JaKarr Sampson

Player Value Index: 31.5

Sampson was bad enough this season to be cut by the Philadelphia 76ers in February. The second-year wing's awful shooting just couldn't cut it on a team already lacking spacing.

Sampson's agent somehow convinced the Nuggets to sign him to a multi-year contract, where he started 22 games and marginally improved. His -1.0 VORP tied for the worst mark on this list, and ranked 322nd out of 323 qualified players.

#18. Alonzo Gee

Player Value Index: 30.5

Gee actually posted the best field-goal percentage (51.8%) of his career, but that's largely because the swingman was only trusted to take shots at the rim. Whenever he ventured outside of the restricted zone, things got ugly. His 9.2% usage rate, the fourth-lowest mark in the NBA among qualified players, illustrates just how useless he was on offense.

Gee played in 73 games before a ruptured hamstring ended his season, as he became one of many Pelicans to sustain a serious injury during the team's seemingly cursed campaign.

#17. Kelly Oubre Jr.

Player Value Index: 29.9

The Wizards traded up a few spots to nab Oubre in the 2015 NBA Draft, but the former Kansas Jayhawk had a rough go of it during his rookie year. That's not exactly a surprise, since he didn't turn 20 until December 2015. But the rangy wing didn't show much to get excited about, averaging 3.7 points in 10.7 minutes.

#16. P.J. Hairston

Player Value Index: 28.7

I was stunned to learn Hairston started 43 games for Charlotte before he was traded to Memphis midway through the season. This was a guy who shot 32 percent and tallied more turnovers (22) than assists (21) during his rookie campaign in 2014-15.

Hairston was marginally better in his "sophomore" year in the NBA, but only just. The Hornets were 27-26 before they moved Hairston and 21-8 after the fact. That's probably no coincidence, as the 23-year-old was one of the 10 worst players in the NBA by PER (6.9).

#15. Marcelo Huertas

Player Value Index: 28.7

Huertas was one of 10 qualified players who accumulated negative win shares this season, which means he actively cost the Lakers wins. The 32-year-old rookie, who played several years in Europe, made a name for himself early on this season due to his uncanny knack for getting crossed up on defense. On the plus side, his most notable defensive play relied on the sort of wonderful trickery you'd expect from a crafty Euroleague veteran.

#14. Nick Collison

Player Value Index: 28.4

Everyone who praises Collison says the 35-year-old veteran does the little things that don't show up on the box score. That's not necessarily true, though -- his league-worst turnover rate of 28.8% sticks out like a sore thumb.

#13. Ty Lawson

Player Value Index: 28.4

According to PVI, Lawson was the least valuable point guard in the league. The Rockets tried desperately for months to make the Lawson-James Harden backcourt partnership work, but the two ball-dominant guards just never clicked together. Lawson's turnover rate (20.3%) was nearly as high as his assist rate (22.4%), a harbinger of utter failure at the point guard position.

#12. Kyle Singler

Player Value Index: 27.3

In the past, the only reason you'd want Kyle Singler on your team is to shoot threes. You might not have even wanted him to do that this season.

Even though nearly half of his attempts were from downtown, Singler barely converted 30% of those shots. It was by far his worst shooting rate after previously making at least 35% each year and peaking at 40.5% in 2014-15.

#11. Noah Vonleh

Player Value Index: 27.0

The 2015-16 season represented the perfect chance for Vonleh to break out in Portland. The Trail Blazers acquired him in the Nic Batum trade, dropping him into a frontcourt that lost both its starters from the previous year.

Instead of seizing the opportunity, Vonleh averaged 3.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. There's still hope for the raw 20-year-old to grow into his game, but after two years of uninspiring play, the clock is ticking.

#10. Luc Mbah a Moute

Player Value Index: 26.6

Mbah a Moute won the final roster spot in LA after earning a non-guaranteed contract in the summer. He ended up starting 61 games after he outplayed Wesley Johnson, while Paul Pierce turned out to be more washed up than his former coach Doc Rivers expected.

Though Mbah a Moute might not have hurt the Clippers as much as this ranking indicates, he was certainly one of the league's worst starting small forwards. He was essentially a non-factor for the Clippers on offense, as his 9.5% usage rate was the fifth-lowest in the NBA. That enabled opponents to double stars like Chris Paul or Blake Griffin without having to worry about Mbah a Moute, who averaged 3.1 points in 17 minutes per game -- both abnormally low numbers for a starter.

#9. Omer Asik

Player Value Index: 26.1

An old-school sort of center, Asik and his brick hands haven't aged well. He's not an elite defender anymore, either, so it's unclear what the Turkish center can do that Anthony Davis can't. If he starts 64 games for the Pelicans again next season, something will have gone wrong in New Orleans.

#8. Adreian Payne

Player Value Index: 26.1

Payne was somewhat of an understudy to Draymond Green at Michigan State. Atlanta probably tried to replicate the success Golden State found with Green by drafting Payne in the 2014 NBA Draft. They quickly discovered he didn't hold the same sort of potential as his fellow Spartan.

The Hawks traded him last season to Minnesota for a lottery-protected first-round pick, and they probably don't regret it one bit. Payne logged a 5.6 PER and -6.2 box plus-minus, both the second-worst marks among 323 qualified NBA players.

#7. Tony Snell

Player Value Index: 24.3

Some are probably surprised to see Snell here, since he's a decently well-known youngster who averaged 20 minutes for the Chicago Bulls. But under rookie coach Fred Hoiberg, his play dropped off quite a bit from his rookie year in 2014-15.

It was hard to pinpoint what exactly went wrong for the Bulls this year, since most of their stars like Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol recorded pretty solid statistics. But giving 20 minutes per game to Snell, a 37 percent shooter from the floor, probably wasn't the wisest decision Hoiberg's ever made.

#6. James Anderson

Player Value Index: 22.2

After a one-year detour to Lithuania, Anderson returned to the NBA and played 51 games for Sacramento, starting 15. The Oklahoma State product sank just 38 percent of his shots, including 27 percent from deep. Shooting guards can't afford to put up those type of numbers these days, so Anderson will probably have to go back overseas to find a roster spot next season.

#5. Johnny O'Bryant III

Player Value Index: 20.1

A second-round pick of Milwaukee in the 2014 NBA Draft, O'Bryant doesn't do much besides take up space down low and pull down boards. Even with that minimal assignment, he's averaged 2.4 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game in his career -- so it's honestly unclear what the Bucks have planned for him. Even though O'Bryant played 66 games this season, he's a prime candidate to get cut during training camp in the fall. He might not even last that long.

#4. Mike Miller

Player Value Index: 19.4

No player who played at least 41 games this season averaged fewer points than Miller, a 36-year-old three-and-D guy who's a liability on defense against athletic wings. It'd be a shock if he was still in the league next year.

#3. Tayshaun Prince

Player Value Index: 15.9

Prince has practically never been a plus on offense, but his value on that end hit a new low in 2015-16. His teammates in Minnesota kept the ball away from him like they were playing Hot Potato, as his 8.1% usage rate was the lowest in the NBA. Prince's self-awareness also plays into that figure, but his 6.3 PER (fourth-worst among qualified players) speaks toward his overall inefficiency.

#2. Rashad Vaughn

Player Value Index: 14.4

Vaughn posted the worst PER (4.2) out of 323 qualified players. He also finished second-to-last in VORP (-1.0) and win shares (-0.8), and third-to-last in box plus-minus (-6.1). It was simply a nightmarish season in Milwaukee for the No. 17 overall pick of last summer's draft, as he barely made 30 percent of his shot attempts.

And yet, there was one legendary figure who "outperformed" Vaughn in terms of PVI.

#1. Andrea Bargnani

Player Value Index: -6.3

Apologies if that tease had you expecting Kobe Bryant here. But as a former No. 1 overall pick, Andrea Bargnani qualifies as a legend in my book.

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. The gap between Bargnani and the owner of the second-worst BPM, Adreian Payne (-6.2), was bigger than the difference between Payne and the 15th-worst ranked Alexis Ajinca.

The utter lack of interest in Bargnani after he was released by Brooklyn in February indicates he probably won't latch onto another regular season roster in 2016-17, which is a shame. The goofy seven-footer provides endless entertainment for NBA fans, if nothing else. We can always hope a team like the 76ers takes a gamble on the seven-footer's unrealized "potential."

Article: Courtesy Point After

NBA Basketball: "The Least Valuable Players in the NBA"