Every team in the NBA has their weakest link. From championship contenders to bad teams, there is always one missing piece in the puzzle that teams may desperately want.
A great example is the 2011-12 Miami Heat. With the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all in their primes, the Heat looked nearly unstoppable on paper. Then they realized one thing: the team has no centers. No teams were willing to trade because if Miami acquired a dominant big man, it would be a guaranteed championship for them. The team had to go to their last resort, bench player Joel Anthony. Anthony was an undersized player who had no skills on the offensive end, and could only block shots.
Most of the time, the weakest link is a decent player with better players around him, but in some rare cases the player is just flat-out terrible.
Here are the five worst starters in the NBA.
5. Zaza Pachulia
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 19, 2017
Warriors veteran center Zaza Pachulia has been gaining quite a bit of attention this season. Whether it’s from his ridiculous amount of All-Star votes, or the over-the-top fouls he commits. Either way, the spotlight is glowing on him.
Like the 2012 Miami Heat, the Warriors only have one weak link, and that’s Pachulia. Almost every game Golden State loses it’s because of the lack of defense he shows. When matched up against star centers such as DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Nikola Jokic, he is at his least aggressive state, as points and rebounds are easily allowed. Pachulia is averaging 6.0 points and 6.1 rebounds – his worst efficency in five years.
Being a starter in the NBA is tough, and Pachulia might not be up for the challenge anymore.
4. Michael Carter-Williams
After claiming the Rookie of the Year award in 2014, Carter-Williams has been slow to get his career on track. Numbers including points, rebounds and assists have dropped significantly. Now averaging a career low in many different categories, he must return to his old self from the last few years.
With Rajon Rondo being dethroned from the starting point guard spot, it’s Carter-Williams time. He has to be an asset now. Otherwise, the front office will think the bench might just be where he belongs.
3. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 26, 2017
On a struggling Nets team, it would be easy to think that a young, athletic player like Hollis-Jefferson would be putting up big numbers. It’s nothing like that, in fact, it is the exact opposite. Jefferson has definitely not been a great starter – he’s racking up 8.1 points (on 42% shooting), 5.3 rebounds and a 12.74 PER. Brooklyn badly wants a player to rely on, and Jefferson is probably not their guy.
2. Luc Mbah a Moute
Luc Mbah a Moute is not a productive player. Being a full-time starter, he has failed giving the Clippers the missing piece that is needed for LA to become a contender: A reliable small forward to have on the wing. Not to mention his 9.81 PER, which needs drastic improvement. It’s clear that Mbah a Moute is not a fit in the starting lineup.
Los Angeles might have limited options at the small forward position, (Wesley Johnson, Paul Pierce) but they need to figure out their lineup. Because when playoff time comes around, they will flourish with a great wing player.
1. Luke Babbitt
Luke Babbitt pulling up from Broward!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 26, 2017
The Miami Heat have finally come to a conclusion – Chris Bosh is not coming back. With little options and the trade deadline passing, the Heat are stuck with Luke Babbitt at power forward, whether they like it or not. Babbitt has had some good games including a game against Golden State, where he scored multiple times in the 4th quarter to secure the win. However, other times his atrocious rim protection/rebounding has left Hassan Whiteside doing all the work in the paint.
Inconsistency has earned Babbitt some tremendously low stats (4.6 points, 2.2 rebounds). Babbitt’s lack of experience at the position will not help Miami in the long run, so the best place for him to be is the bench.