Nylon Calculus: Presenting the 2016-17 NBA Anti-Awards

Mar 26, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shake hands after a game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shake hands after a game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to the seventh edition of the NBA Anti-Awards, a playful way of recognizing some of the worst and most discouraging statistical achievements of the season. These awards originally lived on my personal blog, the now-defunct Hickory-High, and found a home on Nylon Calculus the past fe seasons. If you’re curious about the history of these awards, you can find the full list of previous winners here.

The Shawn Bradley Award

This award goes to the player 6-foot-10 or taller who has had the highest percentage of his own shot attempts blocked (minimum 500 minutes played).

This season, we had the opportunity to witness history, as an incredible player continued a remarkable run. Omer Asik has won this award in four of the last six seasons, including the last three in a row. When the 2016-17 season wrapped his numbers were once again near the top of the league — a cool 20 percent of his shots were blocked this year. Unfortunately, Asik was starved for minutes and at 482, he did not qualify to win this award.

Ed Davis had 14.8 percent of his shots blocked, a paltry sum compared to Asik, but he had the benefit of more floor time and thus wins the award. Congratulations to Mr. Davis. As to Asik, this may be the end of an era. His defensive play has declined and we may never again see him on the floor for more than 500 minutes in a season. If that’s the case, it’s been an honor to watch him get blocked over, and over, and over again.

The Shawn Kemp Award

This award goes to the player who has fouled out of the most games. From 1986 up through 2011, Shawn Kemp was the NBA’s leader in foul outs with 115, 35 more than his next closest competitor.

For the second year in a row, and the third time in this award’s history, we have ended the season with a tie. In another victory for consistency, DeMarcus Cousins will finish with at least a share of this award for the fifth time. Cousins fouled out of seven games this season, as did Alex Len of the Phoenix Suns. While Cousins racked up his seven foul-outs in 72 games, compared to 77 for Len, Boogie also played nearly a thousand extra minutes. If we compare the two just by fouls per 100 possessions, Len looks like the real winner — 7.4 per 100 to 5.7 for Boogie. If Len could just get on the floor a little more, he could probably get himself kicked off it a little more as well.

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.

One of the unlikeliest award winners this year, Jarell Martin of the Memphis Grizzlies edged out an impressive field here. Hassan Whiteside and JaVale McGee, both previous Jahidi White Award winners, were near the top of the leaderboard, but ultimately it was Martin and his ratio of 0.05298 (yes, I had to go to four decimal places on this one) beating out fellow newcomer Shabazz Muhammad. Martin’s creation futility is certainly not for lack of trying — he made 714 passes this season, netting just eight assists. Martin can thank his teammates for this award as well, he actually had 25 potential assists but the Grizzlies only converted eight of those into made baskets. Truly a group effort.

The Darrick Martin Award

This award goes to the player with the lowest FG% and a minimum of 350 attempts. The award is named for Darrick Martin, a career 38.2% shooter who played 514 games over 13 NBA seasons.

This award has never had a repeat-winner in its seven-year history and another new face has won for the 2016-17 NBA season. Andrew Harrison of the Memphis Grizzlies nearly lapped the field, shooting a putrid 32.5 percent from the floor. This is the second-lowest mark to ever win the award, trailing only Mike Bibby’s 28.2 percent shooting in the 2011-12 season. Harrison, a rookie, revealed himself to be an equal opportunity bricklayer, making less than half of his shots within three-feet of the basket, and shooting under 30 percent on all jumpshots. It was a special season from a special young player, definitely someone to watch for the future.

The Jason Kidd Award

This award goes to the player with the most turnovers in a single game. Jason Kidd had a Hall of Fame career with many terrific positive statistical contributions. He’s also had three career games with 12 or more turnovers.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook spent most of the season battling for the MVP Award. While it seems likely that Westbrook takes that honor, Harden doesn’t have to finish the season empty-handed. On Nov. 23 against the Toronto Raptors, Harden turned the ball over 12 times — an NBA season-high. Just for good measure, he also had a game of 11 turnovers on Jan. 23. In fact, Harden had five games with double-digit turnovers this season, an impressive feat. Westbrook also had five such games but was never able to get over the hump of 11. Just one more aspect of the history-making duel between these legendary players.

The Matt Bullard Award

This award goes to the player 6-foot-10 or taller with the lowest total rebound percentage. (Minimum 500 minutes)

It takes a special combination of skills and physical attributes to take home the Matt Bullard Award. You have to be tall (obviously) but it helps if you have a strong perimeter game that keeps you away from the paint and those pesky box-outs. A player who is unencumbered by quickness or physical strength also has an advantage. This year, the award has been won by Spurs’ rookie Davis Bertans, who came in with a total rebound percentage of just 6.9. In doing so, Bertans leapt ahead of an impressive field, including previous award winner, Danilo Gallinari. To see young players already separating themselves and winning awards makes one optimistic about the future of the NBA.

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 2009-10 Finals.

Russell Westbrook has been chasing history all season long and while he did enough to win this award, he fell just short of best-ever (worst-ever) territory. In the Thunder’s second game of the season, a 113-110 victory over the Phoenix Suns, Westbrook notched the first of his 42 triple-doubles. This one came with 50 points. It also came with 27 missed shots. Westbrook shot 17-of-44 from the field but made it over 50 points with the help of 20 free throw attempts. While this was the most missed shot attempts in a single game this season, it fell one brick short of Kobe Bryant’s epic 28-miss game from last season. Regardless, this is a nice piece of hardware that should look beautiful next to Westbrook’s MVP award.

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 stand out in my memory.

Only three players have ever won this award — Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan. Those three are basically the Destiny’s Child of inaccurate, high-volume free throw shooting. The award was first handed out for the 2010-11 season, Howard took it that year and the three following seasons as well. Jordan won in 2014-15. Then Drummond took it last season, with an insane 23 missed free throws. The musical chairs continued and this year the award went to Jordan and his 13 missed free throws on March 3. The league’s crackdown on intentional fouling seems to have put a damper on this race — Jordan’s 13 misses are the lowest total to win the award since 2010-11.

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 percent (minimum 500 minutes).

Man, Andrew Bogut had a tough year — struggling through injuries with a discouraging Dallas Mavericks team, being released and walking into a chance to battle for a ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers, only to have that plan dashed by a broken leg just minutes into his first game with team. Well, hopefully this shiny trophy brings some sunshine to his summer. Bogut had a staggering turnover percentage of 33.4 this season, more than 10 percentage points higher than the second-place Jose Calderon.

Next: Which NBA players can help you survive the zombie apocalypse?

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 VORP to determine the winner here. (Minimum 500 minutes)

This was an extremely close race this season, with seven players separated by less than three-tenths of a point. We had heavy-hitters like Jeff Green battling it out with rookies like Brandon Ingram, Isaiah Whitehead, and Domantas Sabonis. In the end, the savvy veteran experience of Matthew Dellavedova won out. Delly finished with a VORP of -1.3, a product of his inefficient shooting (50.1 true shooting percentage) and high-turnover (18.8 turnover percentage) game.

A huge congratulations to all our winners. Cherish these awards and may they serve as an enduring reminder of an incredible season.