Without naming all of Philadelphia 76ers – with the exception of Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams – this is a list of the Top-10 least talented starters in the NBA. Some of these players have been in and out of the starting line-up all year, but if they have started more games than they have come off of the bench, they qualify for this list. That is why none of the Milwaukee Bucks are on this list, even though everyone but Brandon Knight could easily be on this list. However, the constant juggling with the Bucks starting line-up due to injuries and coaching indecisiveness, leaves them all off of this list.
Of course, there are players that are less talented than this group, but these are the least talented starters in the NBA, not the least talented players in the NBA. Often times, the least talented starter on the team is better than the 6th man on the team. But even that is not a guarantee anymore, since many coaches prefer to keep the better player coming off of the bench than in the starting unit if the 6th man can provide a better scoring option off of the bench..
For example, Gregg Popovich has stated Manu Ginobili on the bench virtually his entire career and the same has happened to Jamal Crawford, even though both players are much better than some of the players in the starting unit.
The other occasion for starting a player that might really be a bench player is because they are the tallest guy on the team. A lof of times, starting centers in the NBA play in the first three quarters, but do not play a second in the fourth quarter because the frequency in which small ball is utilized nowadays.
So, there is actually an abundant supply of mediocre players that are in the starting units of a lot of teams. Some of the players on this Top-10 list were dominant during the primes of their careers, but these are the least talented starters for specifically this year.
10 Alec Burks, Utah Jazz
Alec Burks has been in and out of the starting line-up all year. Burks has had some break-out games during this season, particularly when Trey Burke was out in the earlier part of the year. But much like Avery Bradley, Burks is a one-dimensional player that has a mediocre three-point shot. Burks’s 3.3 rebounds per game and 2.7 assists per game, make him a black hole on a team that has always thrived on their ball movement during the days of Stockton and Malone. Burks is still very young and if he can figure out how to shoot from long distance, he can have a very long NBA career.
9 Kyle Singler. Detroit Pistons
Kyle Singler is like Mike Dunleavy, but Dunleavy at least averaged 19 points per game at one point in his career and is also a very underrated rebounder. Singler, on the other hand, is averaging only 9.6 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. He is shooting a respectable 38.2% from 3-point land, but his inability to penetrate off the dribble and finish in the paint makes him one of the worst two-guards in the league. If Singler was able to defend other two guards better and if he was able to create his own shot, his stock would be a lot higher, but as a spot-up shooter, he is severely limited.
8 Derrick Williams, Sacramento Kings
The former number two pick has still been unable to live up to his draft status. Now, in his fourth year in the league, Derrick Williams is struggling to figure out what position he should play in the NBA. Williams has the build of a small forward, but the game of a power forward. There are some undersized power forwards that have thrived in the NBA. Paul Millsap, for example has flourished as an undersized four. But the major difference between Williams and Millsap is that Millsap can shoot the ball from downtown. Williams has all of the athletic abilities of a superstar, but unless he can learn how to improve his 29.6% from downtown this year, he will be a major liability for any team on offense. And to make it worse, his inability to guard lanky power forwards will make him a liability on defense.
7 Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
Avery Bradley was able to capitalize a little bit with Rajon Rondo out for half the season. However, his heavy dosage of minutes and high usage rate with the ball in his hands has really exposed how many holes Bradley has in his game. Bradley has improved his 3-point shot a little bit, but his 6’2” frame makes him a very small shooting guard. Head Coach Brad Stevens tried using Bradley as a point guard in the beginning of the season, but his lack of vision severely limited the Celtics on offense. Now that Rondo is back, Bradley is back at his natural position, but he can still go long stretches with zero assists in a game, which is inexcusable for a point guard or a shooting guard in the NBA.
6 Ryan Kelly, Los Angeles Lakers
Ryan Kelly possesses a great amount of size at 6’11”, but his weak build makes him a huge liability as a power forward and he is too slow to play small forward. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni thinks that Kelly can be a good stretch four in the league, but so far this season he has only averaged 33.8% from downtown. Couple that with his 3.7 rebounds per game as a big man, and it is no coincidence that the Lakers are as bad as they are.
5 James Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have juggled their starting line-up more than a clown at a circus, but one of the main constants in the starting unit has been James Anderson. The former Oklahoma State standout has had some explosive games this season, like his 30-point game on March 27th against the Houston Rockets. But he has only averaged 10.1 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game on a very, very bad Sixers team. This was Anderson’s opportunity to shine in the NBA, but unfortunately, he has not been able to take advantage of the copious amount of time he has been given.
4 Tayshaun Prince, Memphis Grizzlies
Tayshaun Prince was a defensive specialist when he was with the Detroit Pistons. Prince is now 34-years-old and clearly on the downside of his career. The left-handed small forward never had a great jump shot. He sort of has a hitch to it. But he made up for it in the past with his ability to finish above the rim. This year, Prince is averaging only 6 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, a field goal percentage of 40.7%, and a three-point percentage of 29%. If Prince were averaging at least 1 steal per game or 1 block per game, his offensive woes would be excusable, but his lateral movement has slowed down so much that his length cannot even make up for it.
3 Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers
Kendall Marshall was not even in the NBA at the beginning of this season, so he has done quite well for himself from an individual standpoint. He has also had blow up games where he looked like the second coming of John Stockton with all of the assists he is tallying. However, Marshall still has a lot of weakness in his game that are very easy to attack. His defense is woeful at best due to his lack of speed and his jump shot (or set shot) is released at a very low point, which is why he struggles creating his own shot off the dribble. Marshall has let the NBA world that he is a NBA player, but he has also let everyone know that he isn't a starter as well.
2 Wesley Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
When Wesley Johnson was taken with the 4th pick in the 2010 draft, many believed that he was going to be a dynamic player in the NBA, especially since he was one of the older rookies. However, already at the age of 26, Johnson has failed to carve out a niche for himself in the NBA. At 6’7”, Johnson has great size and explosive athleticism, yet he has only averaged 9.1 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game this season on one of the worst Lakers teams in franchise history. Johnson’s shot still remains inconsistent, his playmaking abilities are very limited and his defense is hardly intimidating. With Johnson’s talents and athletic ability, there is no excuse for him to be so mediocre at this junction of his career.
1 Raymond Felton
Ray Felton was good at one point in his career. He really was. However, this year, he suffered severely from weight problems and the tight jerseys this year did not help his look. The Knicks were desperately trying to unload Felton in search of a new point guard, but to no avail. Felton shoots three-pointers with regularity, but only hits 31.8% of them. And his field goal percentage is not that much better at a paltry 39.5% per game. The Knicks struggle with getting easy shots, and one of the main reasons for that is because Felton struggles creating for others. Couple that with his off the court problems this year, and Felton has looked like a shell of himself this entire year.