Was Toronto’s selection of C/PF Andrea Bargnani with the number one overall pick the worst such selection in NBA history? It has to be up there.
When thinking of other possibly worse choices, Portland’s selection of the infamous LaRue Martin comes to mind. But Martin, like the Rump Parliament, at least had the decency to leave. Kwame Brown? Actually, Brown has proven over time to be just a slightly below 0.500% player, which isn’t bad, particularly for a center.
By contrast, Bargnani is a well below average center who seems intent upon doing the maximum amount of harm he possibly can do to the team that selected him, the Toronto Raptors. Bargnani is an annual selection to my “20 Most Harmful” list, so it is no surprise he is on this season’s list. And its not all that surprising that he ended up on top of the list.
The surprise is the extent of his triumph. He is the NBA’s Most Harmful Player, and there really is not a close second.
I determine Most Harmful Player according to what I call a “Value Rating” (GLOSSARY). A player’s Value Rating is the sum of the wins he produced for his team plus the number of those wins that were above the 0.500% mark.
Bargnani finished the season with a Value Rating of an incredible (-8.9). Here is Bargnani’s full stat line for the season (MWS stats for every player on every team will be posted tomorrow):
The first column is Bargnani’s ”Win Score per 48″. The average WS48 for a center, the position Bargnani played for Toronto, was 12.13. As you can see, Bargnani’s WS48 of 5.98 is way, way below average, and his Opponent WS48 is well above average. Meaning, the guy does nothing particularly well.
His problem is he is essentially a small forward playing center. Bargnani does not rebound like a center, grabbing a pathetic 7.1 boards per 48 minutes. Those are small forward numbers. His counterpart centers averaged 12.7 rebounds per 48 against him. Bargnani does not block shots like a center, averaging an anemic 0.7 blocks per 48 minutes.
Bargnani is an efficient scorer, averaging 1.1 more points than scoring attempts used, but he gives that back by being a poor scoring defender. His opponent centers average 3.6 points per scoring attempt used for a marginal total of -2.5 efficient points per 48 minutes. Those are losing numbers.
But they probably explain why Bargnani is allowed to continue to reap his destruction. He scores points. That tends to blind coaches to the sum total of his contributions. The sum total of his contributions to the Raptors are severally negative. Yet he is given a large percentage of Toronto’s floor time. That is why he is the runaway winner of this season’s NBA MHP award. Congratulations.
The Minnesota Timberwolves annually stock the 20 MHP list. They did so again this season, placing four players on the 2010-11 list, including three in the top ten. That’s how you can employ one of the NBA’s Most Valuable Players (Kevin Love) and still win only 19 games.
And how about Minnesota PG Jonny Flynn? He makes the list despite missing almost a third of the season!! Outstandingly bad work by the Syracuse second year player.
You will notice three former Bucks made the list. Mo Williams wrought destruction in two different locations – Cleveland and Los Angeles. Mo did most of his harm for the Cavs.
Charlie Villanueva makes his debut appearance on this list. He always plays piss poor defense, but normally he does just enough offensively to miss the list. Not this season. This season he was terrible on both ends, particularly in the second half of the season. Plus he’s goofy. What was the deal with chasing Ryan Hollins to the locker room?
And then there’s Yi Jianlian. The Chinese “superstar”, we thought. Never happened. Instead, the most you can say about Yi is that he is remarkably consistent. He has maintained his horrible play for three separate teams now.
One other player deserves mention — Glen Davis of the Boston Celtics. He is on this list, yet he is a starter on a championship contending team. This underscores the stupidity of Boston’s trade of its former starting center Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City. It wasn’t that Perkins was a great player, it was that Davis was such a bad player. And the trade forced even more minutes upon him. In desperation, the Celtics now turn to a barely ambulatory Shaq O’Neal. Good luck with that!