Determining the worst player, team, or coach is an inexact science full of opinion and guesswork and often ends in barroom brawls.
In the NBA the best advanced metric to use to determine the best (or worst) players is Player Efficiency Rating (PER). The best apples-to-apples comparison is to look at PER by position - guard, forward, center. Based on PER, here are the five worst guards from 2011-2012.
As a Lakers fan I am not surprised which two guards finished at the bottom.
Worst PER 2011-2012 Guards, Minimum 40 G's and 20 MPG
1) 8.0 PER - Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder: 23.9 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.7 APG, 37% FG
After spending 43 games with the Los Angeles Lakers with a PER of 8.8, veteran Derek Fisher signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder for their final 20 games preparing for a championship run. Fisher's PER plummeted to 5.9 with the Thunder, dropping him to the NBA's worst PER among guards at 8.0.
2) 8.5 PER - Steve Blake, L.A. Lakers: 23.3 MPG, 5.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 38% FG
So when the Lakers lost Derek Fisher mid-season, their solution was to give the backup PG minutes to Steve Blake. When a team can trade out the worst guard in the NBA for the league's second worst guard, you just have to do it! Blake struggled all year for the Lakers on both ends of the floor, including shooting a career-low 34% from the 3-point line.
3) 8.5 PER - Mickael Pietrus, Boston Celtics: 21.9 MPG, 6.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, 39% FG
Pietrus is largely a one-trick pony who makes his living from beyond the 3-point line with nearly 50% of his career field goal attempts (1,846 of 37,23) coming from downtown. So when Pietrus hit just 34% of his 3-point attempts in 2011-2012, his PER plummeted to the lowest level of his nine-year NBA career. Pietrus performed even worst in the playoffs, hitting just 12-54 (22%) of his 3-pointers and posting a PER of 4.3.
4) 9.0 PER - John Salmons, Sacramento Kings: 27.2 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41% FG
The versatile Salmons has seen his PER drop in each of the past four years from 16.0 to 14.7 to 12.8 to a brutal 9.0 in 2011-2012. Injuries limited Salmons to just 46 games and noticeably hampered his on-court effectiveness. Salmons struggled mightily to score, hitting just 30% of his 3-point shots and 64% of his free throws.
5) 9.2 PER - Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta Hawks: 25.8 MPG, 6.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.8 APG, 41% FG
The veteran Hinrich was limited by injury in 2011-2012, playing in 48 games in his ninth NBA season. He posted career lows in points, rebounds, assists, and steals as his play noticeably declined. The Hawks lost in six games in the first round of last year's playoffs as Hinrich played 23.5 minutes but produced just 5.7 points and 1.0 assists per playoff game.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Derek Fisher
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Steve Blake
- Mickael Pietrus
- John Salmons