NBA / Aug 14, 2009 / 8:00 am

The worst starter in the NBA

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace

The names and the teams may change, but NBA training camp is annually littered with position battles. This year, for example, you’ll have Steve Blake trying to keep his starting PG job safe from Andre Miller in Portland; Brandon Jennings and Luke Ridnour (and perhaps Ramon Sessions) fighting for top QB duties in Milwaukee; and in Washington, Nick Young, Randy Foye, Mike Miller and DeShawn Stevenson will vie for the starting backcourt spot next to Gilbert Arenas, while JaVale McGee and Fab Oberto challenge Brendan Haywood for minutes at center.

Most of the time, you can predict the winners fairly accurately before camp even opens. Not so much in Detroit. While Pistons president Joe Dumars has been active in free agency and looks to have had a solid Draft, he’s still being criticized for failing to (at least effectively) address the hole at center left by Rasheed Wallace. As it stands going into camp, the candidates to start at the five are Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox and Ben Wallace. In yesterday’s Detroit Free-Press, columnist Michael Rosenberg speculates on who could win the job:

The Pistons ostensibly signed Wallace to back up Kwame Brown, but I already can hear Pistons PA announcer John Mason doing the pregame introduction: “Aaaaaaaaaat center … Kwame Brown?!?!?”

I suspect newly acquired Chris Wilcox will be the starting center before long. Wallace’s role should be limited: 5 to 20 minutes per night, depending on matchups and his energy level.

While five minutes a night seems like a low number, there’s no argument that Big Ben shouldn’t be a starter at this point in his career. Kwame is getting better (really), but I doubt he’ll ever get out of the “just focus on defense and rebounding and don’t try to do too much” mode. Ideally, he’s a backup. And then there’s Wilcox, who isn’t too undersized (6-10, 235) for center, but is a natural power forward and leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to rebounding (5.3 rpg for his career). Wilcox is also wildly inconsistent — in production and effort — and not somebody you can depend on to log major minutes for you 82 games per year.

The only guarantee is that whoever wins the job, he’ll automatically become the front-runner for the 2010 Mike James Award as the NBA’s worst regular starter. And, more importantly, he could be an easy scapegoat if Detroit misses the playoffs for the first time since ’01.

Who is the worst starter in the League?

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  • Daddy Dollars

    If JR Smith doesn’t start in Denver, I would give that honor to Arron Afflalo.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Whoever it is, it has to be at the center position more than likely just off of first thought.

  • http://www.imeem.com/dialogs/standaloneplaylist/?p=ztKqfEZj smoove chips

    breaks my heart to see big ben in that position.This is why i say cats gotta learn to manage they paper.i don’t think its the love for the game any more.Even when he wasn’t playing injured,its like the game’s left him.time to ride out into the sunset.you can’t have spent all 60 mill that you got from the chi!!

  • rick773

    Unless the sixers start Lou Williams it’ll probably Royal Ivey….Or Corey Brewer unless they start Ellington

  • K-Bear

    Whoever starts at power forward in Milwaukee.

  • wiz

    Stevenson is gonna keep that starting job in Washington foye is the backup point and mike miller is the back up small foward that leaves stevenson starting and nick young (red rooster aka the city aka the bean burrito)as his back up. If any one takes stevenson job it would nick young.

  • bone0315

    I think this should be re-named the Dhantay Jones Award for his contributions to Denver last season – play the first seven minutes of each half, then waive towels the rest of the time.

  • Kobeef

    Worst starter in the NBA, 100%, hands down is…Houston’s entire starting lineup this October.

    Seriously, T-Mac probably won’t be ready for the start of the season, Yao is out and Ron Ron is gone, so who is starting? Battier, Ariza, Brooks, Scola, Landry? That is not good.

  • Dennis Castro

    Willie Green has had this title on lock for 2 years now. He’s almost eligible for the lifetime achievement award for this title now.

  • karizmatic

    Nah the lifetime achievement award for this goes to Eric Snow. I don’t know who the worst starter would be. Hmm Varejao? Who’s going to play center for the Heat? Maybe Spencer Hawes should be considered for this award.

  • King

    You actually said a of batlle between Andre miller and Steve blake??!?!?

    But who knows one time this season me and a friend had a convo talking about why does Steve Blake always start on teams he plays for

  • Borgs

    Erick Dampier.

  • Sanssasin

    what about cj miles of the jazz? would he even be on another teams roster that is a playoff contender?

    deshawn stevenson is one. cat has no game.

    what about the bucks pf? who starts? amir johnson? if so, that’s it hands down. it’s either him or joe alexander.

  • shake&bake

    I guess since I don’t watch too much of him, I never realized Chris Wilcox was that bad.

  • MSkittle

    When they start him, Brian Scalabrine



    Ericka Dampier

  • TJ

    How about Roy Hibbert, whoever starts at SG for the Wolves (Ellington, Brewer, Carney???), or Varejao?

    As a Cavs fan, I vote for Varejao.

  • brickhouse

    Erick Dampier

  • jryu

    3rd vote for erick dampier..

    i dont know wtf mark cuban was thinking…

  • http://dime fan

    Chris Duhon.

  • sh!tfaced

    Beno Udrih. Worst starter for the league’s worst team (last season).

  • sh!tfaced

    …and Ericka Dampier.

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    @ Kobeef everyone you just named went to the Western Conference Finals and took the Lakers to 7 Games.

  • Phila25

    Willie Green

  • Willsway

    I’ll nominate the whole Raptors team, Except Bosh.
    Colangelo is the worst GM.

  • Mack Brownee

    Varejeo…I don’t care how much money Cleveland throws at sideshow bob, that guy belongs in the circus more than the starting line-up

  • Mark

    What’s he earning, a veteran’s minimum of 1.3 million for 5-20 minutes a night? If he plays all 82 games, that’s ~$15,800 per game, so aside from working out, that’s works out to be (estimated, 30 minutes a night)… ~$550 per minute, or about $9.00 per second.

    And yet, nobody expects anything from him. If only our lives could be so easy.

  • Tim

    It’s impossible the Pistons miss the playoffs

  • http://verizon.net pdxballer

    how can you guys say anything bad about blake?
    he wasnt spectacular but he did everything he was supposed to without many turnovers. he provided great clutch shooting in at least 5 games and was one of the most reliable hardworking blazers all season…

    and by the way, nate mcmillan has already said blake is likely to start.

  • Arno

    I don’t know if Bargnani will be the worst. But, after an horrible first game vs France, where he was eaten alive by Flo Pietrus, he had a 5 pts (2/9) and 5 rb in the back game, letting Turiaf, Batum, Diaw and Pietrus dunk at will on Parker’s assists.
    It looks bad…

  • the cynic

    Ericka Dampier. He may not technically be the “WORST”, but i’m giving him bonus point for being one of the top 5 worst starters in the league for like 6 or 7 years

  • Kellan

    Worst Starters

    Houston Nominees
    Landry/Hayes/Anderson (whoever starts)
    Brent Barry (Could start if Battier starts at 4 and Ariza at the 3)

    Minnesota Nominees
    Everyone except Love, Flynn and Jefferson
    Wing Options
    Ryan Gomes, Corey Brewer, Damien Wilkins

    I would like to point out the season finale last year the T-Pups started Kevin Ollie, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Mark Madsen, Jarron Collins aka the worst starting 5 in the history of basketball at any level.

    Pistons Nominees
    Wallace, Wilcox, Brown

  • tindore

    @ 27 that was the best f’in post, thank you 4 that!
    Im mean he makes minimum wage 4 his profession, wtf! lol.

  • David_Brandon

    i’ma have to agree w/ sh!tfaced… beno couldnt lead the kings outta the locker room. and i know we got my man tyreke, but he’s not a pure point and thats what the kings keep looking for and arent finding yet.

  • kevin

    Ben is still good. He’s getting hold thats all

    Michael Jordan! sportsupdates4you.blogspot.com!

  • Luigi

    Alright. my vote goes too……Nenad Kristic. OKC startin C….then also for last yr. Beno Udrih. then this year….the starting Center for the NYKs. Either David Lee comes back or that thing goes to Eddy Curry. kuz we all know that Al Harrington cant play C…..then we’ll see what goes on this yr

  • James

    come on guys…

    last year the bulls opened the season with Aaron Gray as the starting C.

    the ben miller trade/noah emergence late in season put a stop to it, but it was real bad.

  • Griff

    Why is it that Detroit gets picked on for this? There are a lot of worse off centers and other starters in the League then Wilcox, Brown, and Wallace… Just for example: 1. NJ Nets- SF = Simmons? 2. Houston- C = Anderson? (who is that? LOL) 3. IND- C= Jeff Foster (gimme a break I would choose any of the 3 Pistons over that joke). Burton has no clue wtf he’s talkin about here at all…

  • http://dontmatter.com dont matter

    lmao r u serious u cant be serious thats the best you can do come on my dude….u point out ben wallace as the worst starter in the nba r u serious…..let me help u dummy…ok just for centers alone starting,i can point out 2 thats better than ben thats,superman and superman jr…and ben gives dwight a run for his money because ben has a)a ring b)is a four time defensive player of the year c)a four time all star…now lets look at the rest of centersdummy…..joakim noah,brad miller …zaza pachulla..eric dampier..oh yea cant forget nene…marcus camby he’s injury prone…Andris Biedrins ok…. eddy curry yea he’s nice,,so you must really like spencer hawes and calvin booth…oh no not the twin towers hibbert and foster…channing frye….marc blount i could go all day my dude…

  • Seven Duece

    that a living person could play worse than Eddy Curry is hard to fathom. Dampier sucks because he doesn’t have the talent, Eddy just wants to eat. us. all.

  • Sean

    A nominee for the lifetime achievement award might be Jason Collins…

  • Greg

    It has to be Bruce Bowen form last year!!!!

  • BT

    Chris Duhon is not getting enough hate, if he wasn’t in the SSOL system he would be laughed out of the D-League. And Curry, damn my Knicks suck.