NBA Anti-Awards: 2012-2013 Pre-Season Picks
The NBA regular season will be here in just a few days. Now that the preseason is winding down and rotations have taken shape it’s time to take a look at the NBA Anti-Awards
. These Awards recognize some of the worst and most discouraging on-court achievements. Here’s how they may shake out this year.
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).
There are so many wonderful possibilities here to be excited about. There’s the perennially injured Joel Przybilla, looking to add one more line to his legacy before age and lower-leg creakiness finally catch up with him. There’s Tristan Thompson, the hungry youngster with no post game to speak of, and an increasingly suspect ability to sniff out opposing shot-blockers. But for my money, the favorite has to be Omer Asik, who won this award the very first time it was handed out, two seasons ago. Asik is in a new situation with the Houston Rockets, one where he’ll actually be expected to shoot from time to time. Forcing an extra shot or two a night while trying to earn that giant new contract could put him in the driver’s seat for The Shawn Bradley Award all season long.
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.
Projecting this award is tricky because it requires finding someone with a high foul rate, but one who is also important enough to their team that they will be kept on the floor long enough to rack up all six fouls. That’s why I like Jan Vesely as a dark horse. Vesely averaged 5.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes as a rookie last season, playing just 18.9 minutes a night. He could have the opportunity to play more minutes this season while being asked to provide little besides energy, physicality and defensive intensity. Mix those three ingredients with the recklessness of youth and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a foul machine.
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.
Tyler Hansbrough came on strong down the stretch last season, totaling just 11 assists to 220 field goal attempts in March and April. This is a make or break season for Hansbrough and my guess is he’ll be looking to keep himself in the league by improving on his 40.5 FG% from last season and not his 0.46 Ast/TO ratio. So many of these awards come down to players trying to force a basketball play through, regardless of defensive opposition. Honestly, can you think of a better way to describe Hansbrough’s on-court demeanor and style of play?
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.
My favorite for this award, and several others, is the Wizard’s Jordan Crawford. Crawford actually increased his FG% last season, but topped out at 40.0%. What separates him from the rest of the pack is not just shaky accuracy from the outside, it’s his complete aversion to the constraints of reasonable shot selection. He attempted 5.6 three-pointers per 36 minutes, despite making them at a 28.9% clip. He’s also an inconsistent mid-range shooter, with no qualms about pulling up off the dribble with a defender in his face. Throw in below-average finishing at the rim and you’ve got the total package.
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.
Although he didn’t come out on top last season, Jeremy Lin did manage to put together four games of 8 or more turnovers. The fact that he played in just 35 games makes that an even more impressive accomplishment. Lin’s turnover tendencies, combined with a new team, and a slew of young, inexperienced teammates, has to make him the odds-on favorite.
The Matt Bullard Award – This award goes to the player 6’10″ or taller with the lowest Total Rebound Percentage. (Minimum 500 minutes)
For the past few seasons this has been one of our most competitive categories. But towards the end of last season a new face emerged, one who seems poised to establish a dynastic stranglehold on this award for years to come — Steve Novak. In a category where tenths of a percentage point are of the utmost importance, the difference between Novak’s 5.9 TRB% and runner-up Hedo Turkoglu‘s 7.0% was a canyon decidedly grand. Novak is not just a perimeter-oriented big, he’s a perimeter-only big. As long as a call for his dead-eye shooting keeps Novak on the floor, he will be difficult to beat.
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 2010 Finals.
I picked Jordan Crawford as the champion for season-long inaccuracy, and I think there will be at least one evening this year where he is able to stretch that to its single-game extreme. It may take an injury to John Wall or Bradley Beal for Crawford to have the opportunity to take and miss upwards of 25 shots, but if the opportunity presents itself you know he will be ready.
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.
Every season that Dwight Howard plays in the NBA will end with him adding another tiny, golden Nick Anderson to his mantlepiece. Lock.
The Chris Childs Award – This award goes to the player who has posted the highest Turnover Percentage for the season. It’s named after former New York Knick Chris Childs, who retired with a career Turnover Percentage of 22.8%. (Minimum 500 minutes)
This award usually comes down to a stone-handed big man or a sloppily aggressive point guard. Reggie Evans, Earl Watson, Kendrick Perkins and Chris Duhon are all in play. But don’t count out rookie, Austin Rivers. He’ll have the ball in his hands plenty and has demonstrated that his decision-making doesn’t always fall in the positive side of the ledger. An always aggressive ball-handler, Rivers could be the only rookie to take home an award this season.
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)
This is another award that relies on individual incompetence and on having a team desperate enough to keep a struggling player on the floor. This season I think you have to take a long look at Byron Mullens. He’s a low-efficiency, high volume shooter who provides below-average production for his position in every statistical category except turnovers and fouls. Most importantly he plays for the Charlotte Bobcats and could find himself as the centerpiece of their terrible front court.
We’ll be continuing the Anti-Awards discussion all day on Twitter, Google+ and the Hickory-High Facebook page. Use your chosen media, or the comments below, to tell us who you think should be the favorites for each of these awards.