With the regular season approaching, bloggers and basketball writers will soon be announcing their predictions for winners of the NBA’s various awards. At the beginning of last season, in a bout of malaise and general curmudgeonliness, I created a handful of awards for some of the worst and most discouraging achievements in basketball. Here are my preseason predictions for The 2011-2012 NBA Anti-Awards.
The Shawn Bradley Award – This award goes to the player 6’10″ or taller who has had the highest percentage of his shot attempts blocked (minimum 500 minutes played).
Bulls’ rookie, Omer Asik, took home this award last season. Although Asik appears to have put on a significant amount of muscle this off-season, he still has the tools to be a contender here. Zaza Pachulia lost out to Asik by just 0.1% last season and looks to bounce back strong. Two-thirds of the Cavaliers center rotation, Semih Erden and Ryan Hollins, will be lurking as well.
The Shawn Kemp Award – This award goes to the player who has fouled out of the most games. From 1986 up through the present, Shawn Kemp is the NBA’s leader in foul outs with 115, 35 more than his next closest competitor.
This award requires a special blend of fouling prowess and importance to one’s team. It’s tough for a bit player to win this award because they just might not be on the court enough to foul out. DeMarcus Cousins won last season by fouling out twice in his last eight games. Watch out for Hasheem Thabeet, Semih Erden, Derrick Favors and Ryan Hollins.
The Jahidi White Award – This award goes to the player with the lowest ratio of Ast/FGA (minimum 500 minutes played). The award is named for White who assisted on just 1.7% of his teammates’ baskets over a 334 game career.
Serge Ibaka took home the award last season, totalling 21 assists against 613 field goal attempts, for a ratio of 0.03. Again, playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook means Ibaka doesn’t touch the ball often, unless he’s expected to shoot it. I see no reason why he can’t take this award home two years in a row.
The Darrick Martin Award - This award goes to the player with the lowest FG% and a minimum of 300 attempts. The award is named for Darrick Martin, a career 38.2% shooter who played 514 games over 13 NBA seasons.
Pacers’ second-year point guard, A.J. Price, won last year by shooting 35.7% on the season. Unsurprisingly, Price is expected to be at the bottom of the Pacers’ point-guard rotation this year, which may make it difficult to repeat. Gilbert Arenas hasn’t yet found a home after being released by Orlando, but seems to be a strong candidate. Steve Blake and Jonny Flynn are also players to watch in this category.
The Jason Kidd Award – This award goes to the player with the most turnovers in a single game. Jason Kidd has had a Hall of Fame career with many terrific positive statistical contributions. He’s also had 3 career games with more than 12 turnovers.
Last year’s winner Amare Stoudemire is the clear favorite here. He had 3 of the 20 highest turnover games last season. He had 11 games with at least 6 turnovers last season. Stoudemire is lean, hungry, and obliviously aggressive with the ball. Needless to say, he’ll be tough to catch.
The Matt Bullard Award – This award goes to the player 6’10″ or taller with the lowest Total Rebound Percentage. (Minimum 500 minutes)
Last season several players, including Brook Lopez, Danilo Gallinari, Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani, were out in front. Donte Green of the Sacramento Kings ended up winning but Lopez, Gallinari, Turkoglu and Bargnani will be back and eager to redeem themselves for faltering down the stretch last year. This is easily the most wide-open category.
The Kobe Bryant Award – This award goes to the player who has missed the most shot attempts in a single game. The award is inspired by Kobe’s performance in Game 7 of the Finals last season.
To me this looks like a two-man race between Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant. Rose made a strong bid for this award last year and the Bulls have done little to take the offensive load off his shoulders. Bryant has a lethal mix of declining ability with no corresponding reduction in confidence. This should be one of the most exciting races to watch and could go down to the very last days of the season.
The Nick Anderson Award - This award goes to the player who missed the most free throws in a single game. Anderson was actually a decent free throw shooter. But his four missed free throw attempts in the 1995 Finals against Houston kind of stand out in my memory.
Dwight Howard. Done. Locked up. The award is already in the mail.
The Chris Childs Award – This award goes to the player who has posted the highest Turnover Percentage so far this season. It’s named after former New York Knick Chris Childs, who retired with a career Turnover Percentage of 22.8%. (Minimum 500 minutes)
Joel Pryzbilla was last year’s winner. Although an awkward big man with questionable athleticism is a tempting option here, I’m partial to some of the point guards this season – Rajon Rondo trying to do too much, Jonny Flynn trying to find himself, Greivis Vasquez a little too excited to be on the court. I think this year is a small man’s year.
The Andrea Bargnani Award (Formerly the Darius Songaila Award)– This award goes to the player who has provided his team with the least overall production. I use Wins Produced to determine the winner here. (Minimum 500 minutes)
Andrea Bargnani led wire to wire, walking away with the award by a fairly wide margin. In terms of negative production we really haven’t seen anyone else on Bargnani’s level. As long as Dwayne Casey keeps him on the floor for 35 minutes a night, this is Bargnani’s award to lose for years to come.