While I was growing up the A’s, Raiders, and to a lesser extent the Warriors were good. I know they were, because people hated them, and the only reason you hate a team is because they are good. Lately I’ve noticed when I tell a new found friend my sports affiliations I hear pity more than anything. Tuesday, I was watching the Cavs-Lakers game and it hit me, I needed to make an anti-power rankings, and tried to decide which is the worst team in the NBA. I used some criteria for this glorious list. One, obviously team record, and second, how much hope they have for the future with their core players.
#7 Minnesota – Kevin Love is an All-Star. Nobody does what he does. He hits threes while scoring 21.1 ppg, and pulls in 15.8 rebounds a game. If Griffin owns the air above the rim, then Love owns everything below the rim. If the second best player on that team wasn’t Luke Ridnour now that Beasley is hurt, they might have some more wins than they do. I bet if they were in the East, they’d be the 8th seed. They have a solid young front court. If Kahn can finally use these guys to build off, they might be relevant again one of these years.
#6 Toronto – They’ve been hit hard by the injury bug this year, and on second thought, maybe losing Bosh was a bigger deal up there than I originally thought. Somehow they are only a couple games outside of the Eastern Conference’s 8th seed, which shows you why there are so many Eastern Conference teams on my list. Hockey still rules Toronto, the Raptors will be extinct there one of these days up there.
#5 Detroit Continue reading
Some of the NBA’s greats have taken a stab at putting together a basketball team. The logic has been that great players should be great talent evaluators. While Larry Bird had some relative success – I think – we all know how Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas fared. Meanwhile, less decorated ex-players like Otis Smith, Rod Higgins, Geoff Petrie, and Danny Ainge have had some solid runs at the helm of a franchise. Under this logic, it’s only inevitable that teams will look for the worst players to run the show. New Orleans took a step in that direction when they hired Dell Demps this offseason. The Phoenix Suns, however, saw their lousy ex-player and raised them quite possibly the worst player in NBA history.
Enter Lance Blanks.
Alright, so he may not be the worst player in NBA history, but if you hung around my friend Aaron and I in the early 90s he was. We were pretty big into collecting basketball cards. We spent a lot of time swapping cards, usually the obligatory guy he likes for a guy I like. I believe over time, I traded him all my Shaquille O’Neal rookie cards for all of his Kenny Anderson rookie cards. Pretty sound investment, huh? Anyway, for the guys we didn’t have an opinion on, their value pretty much hinged on scoring average. For example, Kelly Tripucka was pretty much nobody to us, but with a 20+ ppg average, we knew he was legit. Based on this scale, we were able to determine who the most worthless player in the NBA was: LANCE BLANKS. There must’ve been a hundred proposed card trades that ended in the line, “Dude, I’ll give you a Lance Blanks for him!” See, Blanks averaged an impressive 1.7 ppg in his rookie season, and only experienced a minor sophomore slump when he put up 1.5 ppg the following season. In 1992, he was the main piece in a blockbuster deal that sent him and Brad Sellers to Minnesota, in exchange for Gerald Glass and Mark Randall. They were arguably four of the worst players in the league at that time. Clearly Minnesota saw something in Blanks, and were able to harness that talent, and watched him blossom to career highs across the board. Blanks put up an astonishing 2.6 ppg, nearly a full point more than his previous career high. He averaged double digit minutes (10.5) and even earned a spot in the starting lineup twice!
Overall, I’m excited to see what Lance Blanks can do as the Suns GM. First order of business should be trading Steve Nash for the next Lance Blanks. He ought to look at Atlanta guard Mario West. In 39 games played last year, West dropped 30 points on the season, for a 0.77 ppg that Blanks could only have dreamed to achieve.
I get it. John Kuester isn’t exactly Joe the Plumber off the street. Sure, he has a legitimate resume, even if it’s being an assistant coach on the team that requires the least coaching in the league, i.e give the ball to Lebron and stand around the three point line. But my concern is this….
Ok, so they didn't hire Coach Finstock from Teen Wolf, but you get the idea
Over the last three hires, the Pistons have hired coaches with less and less experience. They went from going to the NBA Finals two years in a row under Larry Brown, to losing in the Eastern Conference Finals three years in a row under Flip Saunders, to getting bounced in the first round under first year coach Michael Curry last season. If that pattern holds, Detroit will be in the lottery next season. Seems like a backward step to me.