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Who’s the NBA’s Worst Offensive Player? (or, Some Jason Collins Numbers From 2009)

Posted by Neil Paine on September 4, 2009

No, this isn't meant to excoriate new Hawk Jason Collins in the same brutal fashion as when we went after Desmond Mason a few weeks ago (BTW, sorry Des, but man, you've sucked for four years now)... In fact, I was once a big Jason Collins supporter because of his tremendous defensive impact, as quantified by his adjusted +/- and his on/off team defensive efficiency numbers. And I wasn't the only stat guru high on Collins' D, either. But in recent years, it's been harder and harder to find anything redeeming about Collins' play, even on defense. His 2-year adjusted plus/minus, one of those "hidden impact" numbers where Collins once thrived, was an horrifying -8.66, meaning that for every possession he was on the floor, he'd cause an otherwise average team to play like a 20-win one. Yikes.

Here are some more J.C. numbers from last year... Among players who played as many minutes as he did, here are those with the fewest Pts/36 min.:

Rk                Player  Season Age  Tm  Lg    PTS
1            Chuck Hayes 2008-09  25 HOU NBA    3.8
2            Ben Wallace 2008-09  34 CLE NBA    4.5
3           Joel Anthony 2008-09  26 MIA NBA    4.9
4          Jason Collins 2008-09  30 MIN NBA    4.9
5            Bruce Bowen 2008-09  37 SAS NBA    5.1
6           Theo Ratliff 2008-09  35 PHI NBA    5.5
7          DeSagana Diop 2008-09  27 TOT NBA    5.9
8        Dominic McGuire 2008-09  23 WAS NBA    6.2
9           Greg Buckner 2008-09  32 MEM NBA    6.4
10       Trenton Hassell 2008-09  29 NJN NBA    6.4

Here are those with the worst TS%:

Rk                Player  Season Age  Tm  Lg    TS%
1          Jason Collins 2008-09  30 MIN NBA   .346
2            Chuck Hayes 2008-09  25 HOU NBA   .375
3      DeShawn Stevenson 2008-09  27 WAS NBA   .410
4          Brevin Knight 2008-09  33 UTA NBA   .414
5           Donte Greene 2008-09  20 SAC NBA   .416
6            Marko Jaric 2008-09  30 MEM NBA   .417
7             Malik Rose 2008-09  34 TOT NBA   .424
8          DeSagana Diop 2008-09  27 TOT NBA   .425
9            Johan Petro 2008-09  23 TOT NBA   .429
10             Roko Ukic 2008-09  24 TOR NBA   .430

Here are those with the worst PER:

Rk                 Player  Season Age  Tm  Lg    PER
1           Jason Collins 2008-09  30 MIN NBA    3.3
2            Donte Greene 2008-09  20 SAC NBA    5.2
3              Malik Rose 2008-09  34 TOT NBA    5.3
4             Bruce Bowen 2008-09  37 SAS NBA    5.4
5            Matt Carroll 2008-09  28 TOT NBA    5.5
6           Adam Morrison 2008-09  24 TOT NBA    5.7
7            Greg Buckner 2008-09  32 MEM NBA    6.3
8        Yakhouba Diawara 2008-09  26 MIA NBA    6.4
9            Quinton Ross 2008-09  27 MEM NBA    6.9
10      DeShawn Stevenson 2008-09  27 WAS NBA    6.9

Here are 7-footers with the worst rebounding percentages:

Rk               Player  Ht  Season Age  Tm  Lg    TRB%
1         Jason Collins 7-0 2008-09  30 MIN NBA     9.7
2       Andrea Bargnani 7-0 2008-09  23 TOR NBA    10.0
3      Rasho Nesterovic 7-0 2008-09  32 IND NBA    10.9
4           Robin Lopez 7-0 2008-09  20 PHO NBA    11.2
5          Nenad Krstic 7-0 2008-09  25 OKC NBA    12.8
6         Dirk Nowitzki 7-0 2008-09  30 DAL NBA    12.8
7          Ryan Hollins 7-0 2008-09  24 TOT NBA    12.9
8           Roy Hibbert 7-2 2008-09  22 IND NBA    13.3
9           Yi Jianlian 7-0 2008-09  21 NJN NBA    13.7
10      Francisco Elson 7-0 2008-09  32 MIL NBA    13.8

Similarly, he was the worst rebounding center in the league as well.

Here are the players with the fewest total Offensive Win Shares since 2005-06:

Rk                Player From   To  Tm  Lg    OWS
1          Jason Collins 2006 2009 TOT NBA   -3.1
2          Desmond Mason 2006 2009 TOT NBA   -2.8
3          Adam Morrison 2007 2009 TOT NBA   -2.8
4           Orien Greene 2006 2008 TOT NBA   -2.7
5             Malik Rose 2006 2009 TOT NBA   -2.7
6          Mardy Collins 2007 2009 TOT NBA   -2.4
7        Jamaal Magloire 2006 2009 TOT NBA   -1.8
8            Earl Barron 2006 2008 MIA NBA   -1.6
9         Antoine Walker 2006 2008 TOT NBA   -1.6
10       Marcus Williams 2007 2009 TOT NBA   -1.6

He even has Mason beat... In fact, what's so striking about Collins is how much offensive damage he's done to his own teams in so few possessions. Typically we'd expect low-usage guys to have a built-in advantage in terms of shooting percentages, because they're able to pick their spots and restrict themselves to only the highest-percentage looks they can find -- putbacks, dunks, etc. Not so with Collins, though, mainly because the majority of his shots in recent seasons have been jumpers, despite the fact that he's one of worst jump shooters in the game (witness the unthinkably low .128 eFG% on J's last season). Among players with 10,000 career post-1978 minutes and a Hollinger Usage Rate of 10.6 or worse, only 3 other low-usage players have hurt their teams more on offense than Collins:

Rk             Player From   To  Tm  Lg    OWS
1          Manute Bol 1986 1995 TOT NBA   -6.9
2           Greg Kite 1984 1995 TOT NBA   -5.0
3    Harvey Catchings 1978 1985 TOT NBA   -1.1
4       Jason Collins 2002 2009 TOT NBA    1.3
5       Charles Jones 1984 1998 TOT NBA    5.0
6          Jon Koncak 1986 1996 TOT NBA    6.0
7      Joel Przybilla 2001 2009 TOT NBA    6.8
8       Ervin Johnson 1994 2006 TOT NBA   13.0
9           T.R. Dunn 1978 1991 TOT NBA   19.2

Given that and the fact that few centers have a worse defensive rating since 2006-07, it's hard to imagine why Collins is still getting calls from NBA teams anymore. I know there's a dearth of 7-footers out there (heck, centers in general), and I know that he won't see the floor much and that he's there for locker-room purposes, but Collins has provided a lot of evidence in recent years that he's one of the worst players in the league and that his defensive reputation -- well-deserved, once upon a time -- is no longer in keeping with his actual abilities. Maybe it would have made more sense to take a chance on a younger player who actually has some chance of being decent instead of signing a vet who has very little chance of even producing at a replacement-level rate.

10 Responses to “Who’s the NBA’s Worst Offensive Player? (or, Some Jason Collins Numbers From 2009)”

  1. Sean Forman Says:

    Neil, don't you live in Atlanta? Are you sure you want to throw one of its newest residents under the bus so thoroughly? :)

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Ha, what can you say, I guess this is my way of rolling out the welcome mat for him. But at least I said that there used to be a time when I appreciated his play. There are some players I've always thrown under the bus...

  3. Jason J Says:

    What's really staggering to me is the rebound percentage. Pretty much everyone else on that list is a perimeter big. The reason they miss out on rebounds is built into the area where they have success. But Collins has absolutely no success as a shooter either, so he's not losing rebounds because of playing a role as a spacer / scorer.

  4. J.D. Hastings Says:

    I guess I owe Kwame Brown an apology. I'm shocked he didn't show up in here at all.

    Scary to think that Memphis once fielded a frontline of Collins, Kwame and Darko Milicic. Maybe they traded for the first 2 just to artificially inflate Darko's +/-?

    But for Brook Lopez and I guess Josh Childress, the nba's all Stanford team from the past 10 years is a bit of a wasteland. Though I'd say that's a reason for players to go to Stanford because players from there are able to eek out inexplicably long careers despite a lack of talent (see also Madsen, Mark; Collins, Jarrod, and to a lesser extent Knight, Brevin).

  5. Bobbo Says:

    This may shock you, but not all GM's are as invested in obscure stats as you are. Jason Collins has made more that $30 million in his career...and in spite of all this data entry work, he is still getting paid in his ninth year...$1.3 million this season.

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    Oh no, it's definitely not a shock, seeing as how the majority of NBA GMs don't even last 5 years in their job before being fired. Just a thought, but maybe if they invested more in these "obscure stats" (ones that correlate highly to winning, btw), they might stay employed longer...

  7. Ben Says:

    I'm a nets fan and support collins still to this day. These stats don't prove anything at all. The rebounding statistics doesn't show how many times he boxes his man out for his other teammates to grab the rebound. Does it show how many screens he gives that are perfectly executed no. And to top it off he doesn't even shoot the ball that much on offense so that's not killing the team either. Last 2 years his +- hasn't been as good because he has been on HORRIBLE TEAMS! The Grizzlies, Twolves give me a break how can his plus minus be good if he is on bad teams. Now he is on a good team i guarentee his plus minus will be better.

  8. Rashidi Says:

    I'm inclined to agree with the previous poster. Team philosophy and strength does affect statistics. Collins is a great fit on a team where all five guys are playing defense, but a terrible fit on a team like Memphis where NOBODY is playing defense except reserves Greg Buckner and Quinton Ross (who also uncoincidentally appear on the worst 2009 PER list). The Hawks have a defensive mindset and are much better than the Grizz or Wolves offensively as well. If Collins has another bad year despite playing for a playoff team, it'll be his last in the league.

    It's also worth noting that Randolph Morris didn't qualify for this analysis. Collins is a definite upgrade as far as a 3rd center goes. He at least provides the mystical "veteran presence" that is valued on playoff teams.

  9. Jason J Says:

    My overwhelming memory of Collins will always be the horrible beating he was subjected to along with Todd MacCulloch and Aaron Williams, at the elbows of Shaquille in finals. The refs allowed Shaq to completely brutalize those three. Collins didn't back down, but like everybody else, he got bulldozed.

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