Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The 15 Worst Efforts By Starters In an NBA Finals Games During the Past 30 Years

There were some criteria imposed.  First, the game had to be in the www.basketball-reference.com database.  Second, the game had to be in a loss (playing in a win means that, arguably, you did something at some point in the game to help your team win -- these guys did not help a team win).  Third, you had to be a starter.  I am not going to criticize players like Bob McAdoo or Rasheed Wallace who are on their last legs and have a shitty game when they are 100% washed up. 

Finally, I am going to judge by "Game Score" which is allegedly a function of your game productivity. 

One might argue, for example, that John Starks' horrendous gunning of 2-18 and 0-11 from 3 should be the worst game, instead of only the 14th worst.  But statistically it was somehow better on Game Score.  Look, everyone who was a fan of the losing team will think that their guy sucked the worst, so we will  let the computer give the objective Game Score and then you can subjectively evaluate the terrible performance.

With that in mind, I give you the 15 statistically worst starter efforts in a Finals loss:

 15th worst (so, the best of this awful bunch)

Paul Pierce, Age 30, 2008 NBA Finals --  32 MP      2 for14 FGs  (0-4 from 3) NEGATIVE 3.1 Game score.
The Celtics would go on to defeat the Lakers in the series anyway.

John Starks Age 28  1994 Finals  42MP  went 2-18 from the floor (0-11 from 3)   NEGATIVE 3.4
Game Score
Starks single-handedly cost the Knicks the NBA title as his shameless gunning simply would not stop.  The Knicks lost to Houston, making Hakeem a legend and tarnishing Ewing's NBA legacy.

Larry Johnson  Age 30   1999 Finals     37MP   2-8 (0-3 from 3)          NEGATIVE 3.4
The Knicks were overmatched and lost to the Spurs in 5.

Chris Dudley Age 34     1999 Finals     24MP     0-3          NEGATIVE 3.6
Look, the computer says that Dudley started for the Knicks and (as we all know) he sucked.  No wonder they lost in 5.

Tyrone Hill  Age 33  2001 Finals 26MP        1-7          NEGATIVE 3.8
It was an utter miracle when the Sixers got Game 1 off the Lakers -- their success lasted all of....one game.  They lost in 5, thanks, in part, to this Ty Hill effort.

Robert Parish Age 32    1986 Finals    25MP    3-15   NEGATIVE 4.5
Smoked in this game by Hakeem and Ralph Sampson, but the Rockets would fall to Parish's Celts 4-2 in the series. 

Sam Perkins   Age 29     1991 Finals     43MP       1-15  (0-3 from 3)        NEGATIVE 4.5
Perk hit a huge shot to win Game 1.  That would be the only game the Lakers won, as Michael's Bulls steamrolled Magic and his pretty mediocre crew 4-1.   Ended up being Magic's last Finals as he contracted HIV the next year.


Ralph Sampson  Age 25   1986 Finals   27MP     1-13        NEGATIVE 3.9
Ralph was truly awful this game, and he really was never thought of the same as an NBA player after this series was over.  Rockets lost the series to Parish and the Celts.
Harrison Barnes Age 24   2016 Finals      16MP    0-8  (0-5 from 3)      NEGATIVE 5.1
We jump right over the negative 4s and end up with this wretched effort from Mr. Barnes, who, despite being left WIDE OPEN every possession could not make a shot and who was so ineffective he was forced to the bench with only 16 MP.   Warriors blew a 3-1 lead and lost to Cleveland in 7.  The result cemented LeBron James' legacy as a top 5 player, as he earned his 3rd title and 3rd Finals MVP.

Tony Parker Age 21  2003 Finals  31MP     1-12 (0-2 from 3)       NEGATIVE 5.3
Few recall that there were serious efforts by the Spurs to dump Parker after this series and acquire Jason Kidd.  The Spurs won the series, but largely no thanks to Parker, who was generally terrible throughout.   Pretty sure Tony was forced to split minutes with Speedy Claxton.
Kenyon Martin Age 25   2003 FInals     39MP     3-23 (0-2 from 3).  NEGATIVE 6.0
Do you know how difficult it is to go 3-21 from 2-point range when you are 6'9" tall?  Very, very hard.  And the level of stubbornness that it requires is remarkable.  KMart was able to do it, nonetheless, helping his Nets lose the series despite the generally poor play of Tony Parker on the other side.
Ray Allen Age 34  2010 Finals   42MP,   0-13  (0-8 from 3)        NEGATIVE 6.9
Despite an injured Kevin Garnett, the Celts were in a spot to win another title, but that effort was not helped by this historically terrible Ray Allen effort.  The 4th worst Finals game of the past 30 years.  Kobe went 6-24 in Game 7, yet was awarded with a curious MVP decision despite being outplayed by his own teammate Pau Gasol.

3rd Worst
Byron Scott Age 30  1991 Finals 43MP   0-8 (0-3 from 3)      NEGATIVE 7.2
Now, Byron Scott was never a great overall player; he was a very good scorer.  So for him to play 43 minutes and provide ZERO made baskets and yet stay on the floor that long indicates how overmatched the 1991 Lakers were that Finals and how finely Magic had honed his scoring, rebounding and assist games by 1991.  Jordan had a better team and was a slightly better player than Magic at that time.  Bulls won in 5. 

2nd Worst
Harrison Barnes Age 23   2015 Finals     19MP     0-8  (0-1 from 3)  NEGATIVE  7.3
In an eerie preview of the 2016 Finals, Barnes' terrible play would allow LeBron to singlehandedly gain a lead for the crippled Cavs.   The Warriors were able to regain their balance and overcome the "LeBron and almost no one else" Cavs, in part because Barnes' generally poor play was overcome by the play of controversial Andre Iguodala who became the second consecutive Finals MVP awarded the honor because he could at least bother LeBron James and could make a wide open shot.  Warriors won in 6. 

Mario Chalmers Age 273  June 11, 2013 NBA Finals, MIA at San Antonio 20MP,  0-5  (0-1 from 3)       
Chalmers somehow managed to put up a NEGATIVE 7.4 Game Score in 20 minutes, helped by the fact that he had only 2 rebounds, 1 assist to 4 turnovers and committed 4 fouls while the opponent was +19 while he was on the floor.  He was certainly not alone, as the Heat lost by 36 in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1.  The Heat would rally and actually get an OK game from Rio in Games 2 and 6, taking the series in 7.  The only time a Tim Duncan team was ever defeated in the NBA Finals series

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