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 big men (mostly centers) from 2011-2012.
As a Lakers fan I was not worried about seeing Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol on this list. As a side note, Howard had the best PER among big men at 24.2. Gasol was sixth at 20.5.
Worst PER 2011-2012 Big Men, Minimum 40 G's and 20 MPG
1) 8.7 PER - Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder: 26.8 MPG, 5.1 PTS, 6.6 REB, 1.1 BLK, 48.9% FG
Yes, the best team in the Western Conference rode the NBA's worst regularly playing big man all the way to an NBA Finals appearance last year. No part of Perkins' overall game is particularly effective, though his PER would improve if intangibles like "scowling" and "toughness" showed up in the box score.
2) 10.3 PER - Joel Anthony, Miami Heat: 21.1 MPG, 3.4 PTS, 3.9 REB, 1.3 BLK, 55.9% FG
Ironically the NBA's least effective big man (Perkins) faced off against the second least effective big man (Joel Anthony) in last year's Finals. Of course Anthony and the Heat won the championship by having the distinct advantage in the post - when a 10.3 PER faces a 8.7 PER in the post it's game over! (Or maybe the Heat won because Anthony only played two minutes in the Finals?)
3) 11.2 PER - Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs: 25.0 MPG, 6.4 PTS, 4.9 REB, 0.4 BLK, 44.4% FG
With Boris Diaw on the roster the San Antonio Spurs lost to Kendrick Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Are you seeing a trend here? If you want to succeed in the NBA playoffs, play terrible big men! Diaw began the season as a Charlotte Bobcat and flirted with nightly triple-doubles. But by March the Bobcats had reached their limit with the chronically out-of-shape Diaw and waived him. San Antonio - one of the NBA's smartest franchises - knew that to succeed in the postseason they needed a low-PER big man and quickly signed Diaw as a free agent.
4) 12.9 PER - Brendan Haywood, Dallas Mavericks: 21.2 MPG, 5.2 PTS, 6.0 REB, 1.0 BLK, 51.8% FG
Continuing on our theme of Bad Big Men = Playoff Success is Brendan Haywood. Haywood was a key reserve on the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 title team. Last year Dallas was obliterated in a 4-0 first round sweep by - wait for it - Kendrick Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder!
5) 13.0 PER - Byron Mullins, Charlotte Bobcats: 22.5 MPG, 9.3 PTS, 5.0 REB, 0.8 BLK, 42.5% FG
Okay, Byron Mullins playing for the Charlotte Bobcats and their NBA's all-time worst winning percentage last year destroys the premise that successful playoff teams have the least effective big men. Mullins did flash potential, including a 31-point 14-rebound game and another 20 and 14 night. But over the course of the season Mullins posted the fifth worst PER among big men. Unlike his peers on this list, however, Mullins suffered through a ridiculously bad losing season as well.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- Kendrick Perkins
- Boris Diaw
- Brendan Haywood
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- San Antonio Spurs