worst nba champs - walker
Note that, in his championship wallpaper, Antoine is waving a towel.

On August 2, 2005, the Miami Heat acquired Antione Walker in a five-team, 13-player deal that went down as the largest trade in NBA history. And get this: The trade included Greg Ostertag! I kid you not. I can think of no better way to begin this post.

Anyway, here are the details:

Walker traded by the Boston Celtics to the Miami Heat; the Memphis Grizzlies traded Greg Ostertag (whom they had received from the Sacramento Kings) to the Utah Jazz; the Miami Heat traded Qyntel Woods, Alberto Miralles, a 2006 2nd round draft pick (Edin Bavcic) and a 2008 2nd round draft pick (Nikola Pekovic) to the Boston Celtics; the Miami Heat traded Eddie Jones to the Memphis Grizzlies; the Miami Heat traded Rasual Butler to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets; the Utah Jazz traded Curtis Borchardt to the Boston Celtics; the Utah Jazz traded Raul Lopez to the Memphis Grizzlies; and the Utah Jazz traded Kirk Snyder to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
Now that's some serious player movement. Actually, it's more like a bowel movement, considering the players involved. But I digress.

The Walker acquisition was part of Heat GM Pat Riley's "all-in" attempt to win a championship before Shaq aged himself out of dominance. To that end, Riley also brought in Gary Payton, Jason Williams and James Posey. Riley believed his team was in an all-or-nothing situation...and history has proven he was right.

Some people might say this is an unfair selection. After all, it could be argued that 'Toine made reasonably significant contributions to the 2005-06 Miami Heat (in fact, Basketbawful reader Arouet did just that in yesterday's comments section).

For the season, Walker averaged 12.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG and 2.0 APG while shooting a career-high 43.5 percent from the field (yes I said "career high 43.5 percent") and 35.8 percent from downtown (which was the third-best mark of his career). He was the team's fourth leading scorer and his Player Efficiency Rating of 14.4 (which was fifth best on the team) ranked him somewhere between "in the rotation" and a "pretty good player."

So why am I picking Walker? History, dear readers. History.

The Boston Celtics selected Antoine with the sixth overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, ahead of players like Kobe Bryant (the 13th pick) and Steve Nash (the 15th pick). He was supposed to revive a Celtics squad that had won only 33 games the season before. The Walker Hype Machine led to the following totally awesome commercial:


Unfortunately, that commercial represented one of the last times Employee Number 8 ever went to the basket. During his rookie season, 'Toine led the C's in points (17.5) and rebounds (9.0)...but Boston actually dropped from 33 wins to 15. That's right: Adding Walker made the Celtics 18 games worse.

Of course, in all fairness to Walker, the Celtics were tanking in hopes of winning the Tim Duncan lottery. Unfortunately, they had stiff competition from the Vancouver Grizzlies (who went 14-68), the San Antonio Spurs (David Robinson missed 51 games and their leading scorer for the season was a one-foot-in-the-grave Dominique Wilkins) and the Philadelphia 76ers (who managed only 22 wins with a trio of Allen Iverson, Jerry Stackhouse and Derrick Coleman).

We all know how this turned out. The Spurs got the first pick and and took Duncan with it. The Sixers got the second pick and wasted it on Keith Van Horn. The Celtics actually had the third and sixth picks (the latter of which was acquired in a trade with the Mavericks that involved, giggle, Eric Montross).

Tracy McGrady was available...but Boston didn't pick him. (Knee-Mac went ninth.) With the third pick, the Celtics wisely took Chauncey Billups. Sadly, they traded Billups the very next season (along with Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas) to the Toronto Raptors for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones and Zan Tabak. Boston fans can thank Rick Pitino for that bullshit.

With the sixth pick, they unwisely selected Ron Mercer, who lasted a season and a half before getting shipped to Denver (with Popeye Jones and Dwayne Schintzius) for Danny Fortson, Eric Washington, Eric Williams and a 2001 1st round draft pick (Kedrick Brown). Thanks again, Pitino.

So I guess it wasn't all Walker's fault that the Celtics continued to suck. And he was a workhorse of sorts. During his second season, he played all 82 games, averaging 22.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.3 APG and 1.7 SPG. Unfortunately, he was still a rather inefficient scorer (42% from the field, 31% from downtown, 64% from the line). What's more, despite all the steals, his individual defense wasn't great. Those two things -- inefficient O, shaky D -- were recurring trends for Walker, who never once finished a season with a better Offensive Rating than Defensive Rating. In fact, his finished his career with an O-Rating of 97 and a D-Rating of 105.

That's right: 'Toine was worth -8 points per 100 possessions over his career.

Whatever discipline Walker had under coach Pitino disappeared when Jim O'Brien took over during the 2000-01 season. That campaign began a stretch of three straight seasons in which Antoine led the league in three-point field goal attempts: 603 (or 7.4 per game) in 2000-01, 645 (8.0 per) in 2001-02, and 582 (7.5 per) in 2002-03. Unbelievably, he still couldn't get his Offensive Rating over 100 (it was a dismal 92 during the 2002-03 season...which might explain why his Offensive Win Share score was -1.6).

Walker's inefficiency was (partially) masked by O'Brien's run-and-gun offense (O'Brien was doing the whole Seven Seconds or Less thing years before Mike D'Antoni "invented" it and "made" Steve Nash). So his averages (20-ish PPG, 8-ish RPG and 5-ish APG) earned him a spot on the 2002 and 2003 Eastern Conference All-Star Teams. In fact, I believe it was during one of those All-Star weekends when 'Toine was famously asked why he took so many threes, to which he infamously responded "Because there are no fours."

Classic.

During the second round of the 2003 NBA playoffs, Boston got swept by the New Jersey Nets. Walker was terrible during that sweep, going 23-for-67 (34 percent) from the field and 3-for-15 (20 percent) from beyond the arc. Remember: Walker was known for being a shooter. I can't stress this enough.

The Celtics decided it was time to go in a new direction. On August 4, 2004, 'Toine (along with Tony Delk) was sent to Dallas for Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills, Jiri Welsh and a 2004 first round draft pick. Mind you, LaFrentz -- who had averaged 9.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG the previous season -- still had six years and almost $70 million left on his contract. That's how badly the Celts -- GM Danny Ainge in particular -- wanted to get rid of Walker.

And Walker was pissed about it:

"I didn't have a relationship with [Danny Ainge, the team's new director of basketball operations and a former Celtic], period. They're going to say cap reasons and this and that. But anybody who knows basketball knows this was a personal situation. He didn't like me. It's either him or the owners. Somebody didn't like me.

"I figured I had too much power for them. I think I had too many friendships off the court. I think he felt he couldn't have a relationship with me. And I just think he never had a high regard for my game. He's entitled to that opinion. I'm 99 percent sure coach [Jim] O'Brien didn't want me to leave."
Maybe...maybe not. As far as I could tell, the C's were united in their desire to exile their All-Star forward:

In a news conference at the Celtics' training facility, Ainge denied that the move was personal, but then allowed that Walker's strong personality was a factor. Ainge said Walker's outspoken presence may have "stifled" the leadership of other Celtics.

"Antoine had a grasp on our franchise," Ainge told The Globe. "If Antoine is Michael Jordan, it's OK to have a grasp. If Antoine is Larry Bird, it's OK to have a grasp, or Bill Russell. I think those players had grasps on their franchises.

"But I didn't perceive Antoine's grasp on us as a positive thing."

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck also denied the deal was made because of a personality conflict.

"It was a unanimous recommendation from everybody involved in basketball," Grousbeck told The Globe. "The two people that [owner] Steve Pagliuca and I met with on Saturday, Jim O'Brien and Danny Ainge, both recommended the deal. The coaching staff, the scouts, player personnel, and Danny unanimously backed the deal. It was not personal."

It has been well-documented that Ainge, in his capacity as a television analyst, had been critical of Walker and his style of play.

"I think Antoine Walker is an excellent player and he's done an excellent job in this organization," Ainge told The Globe. "This is simply basketball. This has nothing to do with anything personal. I don't know Antoine except from basketball observation, from a fan, coaching, and general managing perspective. Maybe I didn't have as high a regard for his game as he had for his game, but I certainly respect Antoine Walker as a player."
Still, things could have been worse for Walker. He was joining a Mavericks team that had won 60 games the season before (which tied the Spurs for best in the league) and led the Association in Offensive Rating (110.7 points scored per 100 possessios). But in the 2003 Western Conference Finals, the Mavericks had lost to the Spurs in six games.

Now, it's worth noting that Dirk Nowitzki got hurt in Game 3 of that series and didn't play again. So who knows what might have happened with a healthy Nowitzki. Still, Mark Cuban was freaked out enough to pull an "all-in" stunt of his own, bringing in both Walker and Antawn Jamison.

The stunt failed. Oh how it failed.

Despite Walker's 27 percent three-point shooting, Dallas once again led the league in Offensive Rating (112.1) but their Defensive Rating fell from ninth in 2002-03 to 26th in 2003-04. The team had no depth and was forced to rely on bench players like Josh Howard (a rookie), Eduardo Najera (declared "legally useless" by productivity scientists) and Shawn Bradley (a.k.a. NBA bitch). Worse, the chemistry the Mavs had displayed the previous season was blown to hell. The result: Dallas dropped from 60 wins to 52, finished third in their own division (barely ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies) and got schooled by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the playoffs.

That was the end of the Walker Era in Dallas...not to mention the Nash and Jamison Eras. The Mavs traded 'Toine Dallas (again with Tony Delk) to the Atlanta Hawks for Alan Henderson, Jason Terry and a future first round draft pick. Walker was actually leading Atlanta in points (20.4) and rebounds (9.4), and he was second in assists (3.7) and steails (1.2), but the Hawks still wanted nothing to do with him (these days that kind of production would have earned him a six-year, $119 million contract).

So at the trade deadline, Atlanta shipped Walker back to the Celtics for Tom Gugliotta, Gary Payton, Michael Stewart and a 2006 first round draft pick (which became Rajon Rondo after the Hawks traded it to the Suns who traded it back to the Celtics). Supposedly, Walker was brought in to bolster Boston's playoff run...only the Celtcs lost in the first round to the post-Brawl Indiana Pacers. Even worse, the C's lost Game 7 in Boston by the humiliating score of 97-70.

So Walker had failed as a) a savior, b) a roleplayer, and c) a returning hero. Which brings us full circle to his time with the Heat and why I can't stomach the fact that Antoine Walker has more NBA titles than Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Steve Nash, John Stockton, and whoever else you want to name.

Look: Walker was an inefficient ballhog who preferred chucking up ridiculous shots to attacking the rim. In the rare event he did make it to the line, he tended to brick his free throws. I mean, honestly, how does a "shooter" hit only 63 percent of his foul shots for his career? The most frustrating thing was that Walker had a solid set of NBA skills. If he'd had a higher basketball IQ, and a more realistic grasp of his place among the NBA elite, he could have been a truly great player.

Instead, he piggybacked his way to a championship in Miami. During the 2006 playoffs, Walker took more treys than any other player (148 of 'em) despite shooting only 32 percent from three-point range. He averaged 13 PPG, but he was the only Heat rotation player to have an Offensive Rating below 100 (it was 97) and an negative Offensive Win Share score (-0.2). And his postseason PER of 10.6 was seventh on the team behind Dwyane Wade, Shaq, Alonzo Mourning, Udonis Haslem, James Posey and Jason Williams.

During Miami's four wins in the Finals, Walker went 6-for-17, 5-for-11, 2-for-7, and 6-for-17. Oh, and he was 3-for-21 on threes. So, yeah. He wasn't exactly lighting it up. Again remember: HE WAS A SHOOTER.

The next season, Riley suspended Walker for being too fat. The season after that, Riley had the same complaint before saying "fuck it" and trading 'Toine (with Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien and a 2009 first round pick) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mark Blount and Ricky Davis.

Think about that: Riley preferred having Mark Blount and Ricky Davis over Antoine Walker. If that doesn't say everything, nothing will.

Anyway, you know the rest of this sad story. Walker played about half a season in Minnesota (14.9 PPG, 36% shooting, 32% on threes) before the Timberwolves told him to just stay home. Unable to come to a buyout agreement, the T-Wolves shipped him to Memphis the next summer. After a few months of paying him to sit at home eating Twinkies, the Grizzlies decided to pay him $9 million to go away forever.

Which is more or less what he did. But his name was still in the news because of his ongoing legal problems (from Wikipedia):

On January 5, 2009, Walker was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving at Miami Beach. He had been driving with his headlights off and reportedly had a strong odor of alcohol. His case is still pending and thus has not been convicted.

On July 15, 2009, Walker was charged with three felony counts of writing bad checks related to gambling debts he had incurred at three Las Vegas casinos. Walker was arrested on July 15 at Harrah's Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The charges stemmed from over $800,000 in gambling debts. Walker was in Tahoe to play in the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic the following day.

On June 30, 2010, Walker entered a plea of not guilty on felony bad check charges stemming from his failure to pay $770,000 in gambling losses to Caeser's Palace and two other casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Then there was his bankruptcy (again from Wikipedia):

On May 18, 2010, Walker filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Florida (Miami) as case number 10-23558 with total assets of $4.3 million and debts of $12.7 million. The filing listed four pieces of real estate including a $2.3 million Miami home that is underwater with a mortgage of $3.6 million, and three other properties in Chicago, one listed for $1.4 million. Nazr Mohammed paid half the fee of Walker's bankruptcy attorney.
Mind you, this is a guy who made almost $110 million in salary alone. And did I mention he was a slumlord too?!

His professional and financial lives were so totally screwed that he actually signed on to play with a Puerto Rican team called the Guaynabo Mets for $7,000 a month. Only the Mets cut him after eight games...during which he went 6-for-27 from downtown. Sorry. I had to.

Now Walker is trying to make an NBA comeback. Supposedly, "four to six" teams are interested in him. I can't imagine for what, unless these teams need some poor sap to sample room service on the road so their star player doesn't end up with food poisoning.

In the end, my problem with Walker is that he wasted so much: talent, potential, money, and so many opportunities. He failed to rejuvenate the Celtic legacy (some might say he even dejuvenated it). He failed to push the Mavericks over the hump. He failed...whatever the hell the Hawks were trying to do (those dysfunctional bastards). He squandered vast, almost unimaginable amounts of money. He couldn't stay out of the way of the law. And he put human beings in danger with criminally careless property mismanagement. The whole Walker story is one giant, goddamned shame.

But he has a ring.

Update! Bonus video: Basketbawful reader zyth sent in video of the Walker Shimmy. How could I omit his shimmy from this post? Inexcusable.


But wait, there's more. How 'bout an example of 'Toine's brilliant shot selection:


Triple team? SHOOT IT, ANTOINE!!


And 'cause chris demanded it:

Labels: ,

65 Comments:
Blogger zyth said...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLUy7-X4ba0

SHIMMY IT

also,dare i say James White?

Anonymous james said...
posey and williams were included in that huge trade in the intro. sent from memphis to miami.

Blogger chris said...
THIS NorthMass classic HAS to be posted.

CAPTCHA: "shirti," i.e. "If there's one thing King Crab loved to toss at opposing players, it was a shirti or two."

Blogger Sorbo said...
Are you sure he still has a ring? He probably gambled it away by now.

Anonymous Heretic said...
I sacrifice a goat every Sunday to the basketball gods so that walker will come back. It will be the ultimate proof that there is no just and loving god.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Unrelated, but did you guys see what Milos Theodosic just did? I'm going to start calling him the Serbian Mamba.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Glad it wasn't GP, the guy flat out owned for most of his career. Sure, he was a loudmouth, and he piggybacked on a few contenders ('04 Lakers), but as the years pass, it's becoming more apparent that he carried those mid-90s Sonics teams. As for the Heat, sometimes some teams need to be yelled at in order to get everyone back on the same page. Crap, even Phil had nice things to say about Gary in his book "The (Not So) Last Season."

Blogger Junior said...
It's sad to read that even though this is the biggest trade in history of the league, Walker is the second best player in her and someone may argue that he's the best one

Blogger Drake said...
'Toine was only following the sage advice of Celtic legend, Kevin McHale: "If there are three guys on me, shoot. If there are four guys on me, pass."

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Unrelated, but did you guys see what Milos Theodosic just did? I'm going to start calling him the Serbian Mamba.

Yep: dribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribble contested three-pointer from 5-7 feet behind the line...GOOD!!

Blogger Basketbawful said...
In case you want to see Theodosic's shot, go to the 3:50 mark of this video.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Like Mankind, Steve Austin, and The Rock before them, don't mess with chair throwers. But the last sequence was absolutely bawful. Doesn't FIBA have the 5-second rule? (The rule that says you're not allowed to dribble for more than five seconds if a defender is within five feet of you for that entire time.)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Walker was never known as a "shooter." No one was that dumb. Why would anyone look at his percentages and classify his role as the shooter? He was known as a chucker and all-around threat. The only shooting he was known for was volume shooting.

Not working inside a lot isn't to blame for his offensive inefficiency either. He was terrible inside. His touch was horrible, producing an incomprehensible amount of lip-outs and having to rush his shots up to avoid get blocked didn't help matters either. It didn't make much of a difference as he still was atop the leaderboard every year for shots blocked.

The sad thing about Walker was that he was so multifaceted, like Odom: a PF who could start the fastbreak, a good rebounder and very good passer. He had the skills to be a glue guy, one of those beloved and much appreciated players of good teams. If he wasn't so focused on scoring, he could have put up lines of 15-9-7. He had such great vision. Maybe his career could have turned out differently if he had strong veterans early in his career who forced him into a supporting, complementary role.

Anonymous cw said...
Add about 15-20 more dribbles to that and then you've got what Theodosic did...

Blogger Sorbo said...
Spain may have gotten robbed. Hate to double post, but this is the rule from FIBA's own book:

Art. 27 Closely guarded player

27.1 Definition - A player who is holding a live ball on the playing court is closely guarded when an
opponent is in an active guarding position at a distance of no more than one (1) m. (note: one meter is just over three feet.)

27.2 Rule - A closely guarded player must pass, shoot or dribble the ball within five (5) seconds.

Anonymous Mladen said...
You know what? I used to criticize Teodosic last year, at the Eurobasket, but he shut me up with a 36-point outburst against Slovenia in the semis, which featured a lot of shots like that. It's like he's a pick-up baller playing on the national team. Sure he's reckless, but God damn, he's good.

Also, who ever said that the WBC was boring probably changed their minds after this game, and not to mention Brasil-Argentina last night.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
All your brain are belong to us!

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-oTNHjNAd_E/SWJWa9H6V0I/AAAAAAAAALg/ECapx9eqp6k/s1600-h/antoine.jpg

Anonymous ivn said...
Unrelated, but did you guys see what Milos Theodosic just did? I'm going to start calling him the Serbian Mamba.

how fitting that this happens during a post on Antoine Walker.

as for the next post, I'm going to guess/suggest...Beno Udrih maybe? that 07 Spurs team wasn't exactly ripe with mercenaries and/or guys who wasted their talent. Udrih was supposed to be their Tony Parker insurance but was awful during the 05 title run and I seem to remember him getting phased out in favor of Jacque Vaughn and Brent Barry during the 2007 playoffs.

Blogger Sorbo said...
I wish you could say Bowen for tomorrow, because he's a cock-punching a-hole, but he served a purpose. I'm always amazed by these Bowen career stats: 39% for 3s, 57% for FTs. That is amazing in every way possible.

Blogger Coy de Leon said...
What really grinds my gears is the Heat gave up Rafer and EJ for him? Sure they got Shaq, but those two probably deserve a ring more than Antoine "there are no 4-point shots" Walker.

Anonymous Mladen said...
@Sorbo:

I don't mean to be a dick, but read those rules again:

27.1 Definition - A player who is holding a live ball on the playing court is closely guarded when an
opponent is in an active guarding position at a distance of no more than one (1) m. (note: one meter is just over three feet.)

27.2 Rule - A closely guarded player must pass, shoot or dribble the ball within five (5) seconds.


The way you interpreted it, it would be the shittiest rule ever (but then again, it would do wonders against ballhogs...)

Also, @Coy: Eddie Jones was the man! I loved that dude, and I was really sad to see him doing time in Memphis...

Blogger Sorbo said...
You're right, Mladen, fucked up on that one. Confused it with the NBA's back-to-the-basket rule, although shouldn't there be a five-second rule so that we don't get awful sequences like the above one: dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble dribble...shoot.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Oh, and no Jordan in NBA Jam, but you can play as Pippen...or Carlos Boozer.

Blogger Sorbo said...
Sorry, I'm posting 50,000 times here. NBA Jam, Eastern Conference rosters:

http://www.1up.com/news/nba-jam-eastern-conference-rosters

You can play as the Raptor. (I hope on rollerblades)

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Yep: dribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribble contested three-pointer from 5-7 feet behind the line...GOOD!!

I would hardly call that contested, as Garbo was sagging way off him, but yeah, that was from no-man's land.

And on a side note, Rubio is such a goddamn disappointment, considering the way he was playing equally well when he was 16. I'd say Llull played more efficient minutes then him.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Why can't more players be as entertaining as Ron Artest:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Ron-Artest-lives-his-life-a-quarter-mile-at-a-ti?urn=nba-268154

The man is a misunderstood genius.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Well not surprised. I still feel his 05-06 season was praiseworthy (considering who he was) and we dont win game 6 without his 3rd quarter, but yes the rest of his career is truly kind of sad considering he is penniless.

Bonus: The rarest of the rare Walker play http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ2HlrWz6tE

Anonymous Mladen said...
@Sorbo:
Tell me about it - even though we won, that sequence almost gave me a heart attack. While he was dribbling it away, I was actually thinking "We're fucked!". Another frequent offender on the Serbian team is Milenko Tepic. Except he almost never hits a three, but it doesn't stop him for shooting them (after he's used up most of the clock time). In fact, I'd say he's the most Walker-like on our team. Every time the coach puts him in the game, I scream "Whyyyyy?!?" at the TV.
Also, The Raptor in NBA Jam? Holy fuck. Is it possible that the video is so influential?

@Czernobog:
Yeah, I'm losing what little respect I had for the kid. I especially don't like how much he gambles on D, going for steals.

@Heretic:
Oh. My. God. Fuck me if they don't make a movie about Ron-Ron's life.

Blogger chris said...
Mladen: You know, we still need some video footage of the Rodman made-for-TV movie! :D :D

Blogger chris said...
Mladen and Sorbo: Did someone bring this up?

Yes, yes, you guys did.

Thanks. :D

Blogger Sorbo said...
@Chris: I was going to post it, but I didn't want to deprive you of the pleasure.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Antoine Walker is the ultimate Worst NBA Champion ever.

When he and Paul Pierce were on the same team, I HATED the Celtics, and both of those players. Yet: when 'Toine won a ring, all I could think about is how unjust it is for PP not to have one when 'Toine does.

That is how much I hate Walker: he made me actually feel sorry for Paul Pierce. Of course, now that PP has a ring, I can go back to hating him. The universe has righted itself, in a small way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not suggesting he should replace Antoine Walker as the choice for Worst NBA Champion, but I seem to remember Alonzo Mourning behaving like a clown during this period. His play clearly dropped off as a result of the kidney problem, which is not his fault of course. He sits out the entire 2002-03 season and when he is ready to play again he finds his Heat have gone from being a decent team that flame out annually in the playoffs to a struggling team in transition that could only manage 25 wins.

So he attempts to piggy-back with the New Jersey Nets, signing a four year deal. This would have to be one of the lamest attempts at piggy-backing in the history of the game. The Nets??? But regardless, they were back to back conference champions and Alonzo wanted a piece of that action. He manages to play only 12 games for the Nets in 2003-04 before having to sit out the entire year because of his kidney problem.

By the time he is ready to play again the following season, the Nets hardly resemble the team that were in the NBA Finals two years running. The Vince Carter era had begun and they had started the season 5-13. Piggy-back fail! This was not what Mourning signed up for. So he demands a trade and ends up being shipped to the Raptors, who were 8-17 at the time. Once again, probably not what he signed up for.

So what to do in that situation? Easy. He doesn't report to the Raptors and demands to be bought out. Once that is settled he swiftly signs a contract back with the Heat because in his absence they had traded for Shaq, Wade had blossomed into a star and the Heat had become legit title contenders. The team that wasn’t good enough for him a few years earlier was suddenly the perfect option. And it was spun as a good news story…Alonzo was coming home!!!! I mean, I felt for the guy fighting through his kidney disorder but I threw up in my mouth every time this was presented as a feel good story. The guy chased that title hard!

So like Payton, his fellow championship winner with the Heat, Mourning was far more successful with his second piggy-backing attempt than his first.

Man, I hated that Heat team like no other. They were gross.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This article is bad, it's awful, etc. And let me preface my remarks by saying I don't even feel very strongly one way or the other about Antoine Walker. But the distortions presented here are too great to ignore.

Walker was huge for Miami in some critical key playoff moments. Look at games 3-5 of the New Jersey series. Miami was in big time trouble after game 1, but Walker was dynamite after that. In my opinion he was the difference that made the difference the rest of the series. Also, he was the team's second leading scorer in the finals. His 3 point shot was off but he was not intimidated by the big stage (actually he was 7 for 16 from threes in games 1 and 2; yes he was 0-6 in game 6 from 3's but that was offset by his 14 and 11). He was also the only Heat player to play in all 82 games, continuing a trend of remarkable career-long durability.

As for the rest of his career... more distortions. Boston was 3rd in the NBA in opponents field goal % in 2001-02 with Walker among the league leaders in minutes... Boston even made the conference finals in 2002 for the first time since 1988... yet you choose to describe his time in Boston as a failure to rejuvenate the Celtics legacy? I realize your purpose is to knock Walker, but you lose major credibility for trying to fit his career into a negative narrative. What happened to Boston after Walker left? They sucked again; in 2004 they became the first team in the history of the modern playoff format to get swept AND lose all 4 games by double figures. They realized their massive mistake in trading him by reacquiring him in mid 2005, and Boston went from a below .500, mediocre, dead in the water and uninspired group to a sleeper championship contender after winning 11 of its first 12 games following the trade. After Walker left the second time the Celtics got bad... again.

Listen, you're great at throwing out the stats and I don't have time to get into the Dean Oliver stuff, but context would be nice... In 2002-03 when Walker was playing hurt, an undrafted rookie named J.R. Bremer was forced to start half of their games at point guard (he was out of the league within a year). As a result, Walker was basically the team's point forward, doing a little bit of everything, making life easier for Pierce both on and off the court, supplying the leadership. And without a true point guard both Walker and Pierce's 3 point shooting suffered (Walker shot 32% from 3's that year and Pierce shot 30%). Walker never had the benefit of playing with a good center until Miami with Shaq in 05-06 (if he had played with all-time center greats Olajuwon and Shaq at the peak of his dominance I'm sure Walker would have been at least a 34-35% 3 point shooter for his career... he shot 35.8% in 05-06 with Shaq, which was better than 5 out of the 7 3 point %'s Horry had while playing with Shaq in his prime). Also, in 05-06 Walker's effective field goal % was higher than Pierce's. Boston was 24-58 in 06-07, how about you knock Pierce?

That's laughable that you blame the Dallas failure on Walker; he was arguably the team's best all-around player those first few months when Dirk was shooting 36% in December and both he and Nash I think were still tired from summertime basketball obligations. That team's problems preceded Walker. How about we knock the other Antoine... Antawn Jamison.. no championship, and failed to successfully assimilate himself in Cleveland last year?

If anything Walker is underrated. The guy never gets credit for anything. Yes he made financial mistakes but his biggest problem was that he was too generous with his money. This article is a joke, I could keep going but it's not even worth it.

Anonymous Arouet said...
"That's laughable that you blame the Dallas failure on Walker; he was arguably the team's best all-around player those first few months when Dirk was shooting 36% in December and both he and Nash I think were still tired from summertime basketball obligations."

Yep, he's a troll.

Anonymous TransINSANO said...
Lighten up, it's pretty clear Bawful's choices don't merely reflect the worst no-name scrub on a championship team to get a ring any given year, but the greater context surrounding their careers that makes them a most unlikely or "worst" champion. Someone that didn't otherwise exude championship qualities as either a star or role player. Antoine Walker, for all his relative accomplishments, certainly fits the bill when you examine him through the lens of Basketball history... but he has a ring.

Anyway, can we skip the '07 Spurs? I just can't wait to read about Scott Pollard, Sasha Vujacic, and Adam Morrison!

Blogger 80's NBA said...
Walker definitely has a place on the All Time Overrated First Team.

He is without a doubt one of the dumbest players who's ever played basketball. Stupid shots, stupid passes (when he did pass), and absolutely no defensive skills (or effort).

Bawful, you could have just posted two words ("Antoine Walker")in this edition of Worst NBA Champions . No explanation was needed. Anyone who knows anything about basketball would immediately nod in agreement.

Blogger Tristan said...
Greatest post ever (Bawful's, not the anonymous one above). The 'Toine saga truly encapsulates the essence, nay, the mission of this site -- the best of the worst of professional basketball. The NBA: Where Dejuvenation Happened.

In the immortal words of the great John Lithgow, uttered in one of the all-time film classics (Cliffhanger) and in a bad-ass (i.e. hilarious) attempt at a British accent, "Walker. You resilient bastard."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
wow, a vociforous defense of antoine walker. that is crazier than ron artest driving around l.a. in a fucking race car.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Philadelphia 76ers (who managed only 22 wins with a trio of Allen Iverson, Jerry Stackhouse and Derrick Coleman).

How the hell did that happen?

Anonymous Karc said...
Potential future worst NBA champion - Matt Barnes.

http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2010/09/ex-kings-player.html#mi_rss=Kings/NBA

Yes, felony domestic abuse. And the guy's defense, they always arrest the guy. No shit. Walk away from that nonsense. Unless you're planning on a sex change. Which you should. Because you're a pussycat...without the cat.

As for his run with the Lakers, me thinks he's done. Ron Artest was a model citizen for a reason. Besides, Barnes played for UCLA. Every Bruin that plays for the Lakers is destined to fail (Jeloni McCoy, Ariza, Farmar, numerous others). Call it the Kareem curse. Because he was good. And Wooden was good. I doubt the skill of any player brought up by Steve Lavin. Just saying.

Anonymous Mladen said...
Don't know if this has already been mentioned, but - Ron Artest is promoting mental-health awareness.
You know, I won't even joke about this, 'cause it actually seems a bit touching, especially 'cause he's...wait for it...planning to never put on his championship ring. He'll sell it to help raise funds for his cause.

WV: "boody" Feel free to submit examples of word usage.

Blogger Roger Williams said...
A couple of things here ...

Having lived through the the ML Carr years, it's definitely not fair to say that drafting Antoine Walker made the Celtics worse. That 15 win Celtics team had no business winning that many games, as they nakedly tanked for Tim Duncan. This is a team that STARTED Marty Conlon and Brett Szabo for pity's sakes. Antoine Walker was more or less the only bright spot of that entire season, and just about the only reason the fans didn't burn down the Fleet Center in disgust that year.

Secondly, the Celtics didn't trade Chauncey Billups the next season - they traded him for Kenny Anderson his ROOKIE season. Yeah, I know, right?

Anonymous caseta said...
Yep: dribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribbledribble contested three-pointer from 5-7 feet behind the line...GOOD!!

Would you people stop being dumb ?! Can you ?!

Complaining about the "dribbledribbledribble" part shows you have no understanding of context or strategy and you're just a pretentious prick trying to look like he knows shit about basketball and cares "playing the right way". Yeah, you're the next Larry Brown, fo shizzle.

It was the end of the game, 25 point something seconds left, score tied. You don't start throwing passes around and risk an interception just cause dribbling for 20 seconds is not pretty. And for sure you don't rush a shot to leave your opponents enough time to set up a play.

Was this the best shot they could get ? MAYBE NOT. Was it the worst strategy ? SHIT NO. Here's why:

* trying to pass inside would have risked an interception, especially with the refs allowing A LOT of contact.

* same thing for trying to penetrate, as FIBA rules allow hand-checking.

* a long shot means a long rebound, a long rebound means some more time off the clock before the argentinians rebound the ball and call time out; even if he misses they get 2-3 seconds tops. Also, long rebounds often end in the hands of the attacking team.

* had he waited right to the end of the 24 seconds the defender would have closed in, forcing him to take a contested shot

Their strategy was pretty clear: put up a shot that leaves the other team with very very little time to put up a shot of their own. If it goes in, WIN, if not, overtime.

Whining about them not passing the ball around, or setting up a play, or trying to get and take an open shot with 10-15 seconds left on the clock is just stupid. A play at the end of a tied game is not the same as a play in the 2nd quarter.

/rant

Blogger Cortez said...
"They realized their massive mistake in trading him by reacquiring him in mid 2005..."

Talk about revisionist history!

"If anything Walker is underrated."

Please, take my wife!

"The guy never gets credit for anything."

Because he doesn't really deserve any.

"Yes he made financial mistakes but his biggest problem was that he was too generous with his money."

The casions and luxury auto industry thank him for it.

"This article is a joke, I could keep going but it's not even worth it."

Replace [This article] with [My comment] and you'll be on to something.

Blogger Cortez said...
"as FIBA rules allow hand-checking."

FIBA rules don't actually allow hand checking.

FIBA refs sometimes allow hand checking on a random and non predictable basis.

Blogger Preveen said...

Anonymous Barry said...
I came here for Eastern Conference NBA Jam roster discussion, hoping an expecting the Raptor mascot video......you always deliver chris!

Anonymous Marc d. said...
I'm going to have to agree with the 1st anonymous rant and disagree with the 2nd.

Zo gets way more respect than he is due. At least Antoine is known and correctly portrayed as a fuck-up, but the American media never has anything but kind words for Zo just because he survived a kidney transplant and went on to win a ring. Good for him, but that doesn't make him any less of an asshole.

In Antoine's defense, however, those 4 pointers sure were fun to watch.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I can't believe I missed this day.

I loved the suggestion from the last thread to make the entire 2006 Heat team the Worst NBA Champions.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Marc D. I am on the opposite fence. I dont totally agree with Anonymous 2, but he made some fair points and I agree that he was the Heat's 3rd best player that year. Anonymous 1 is way off base

This Zo bashing is nonsense (ok so he's my favorite player and he signed my jersey I'm biased). When he came back to the Nets, he wanted to contend naturally, but they blew that team up. After his second season, he learned that his kidney struggles were not over and he could've dropped DEAD playing in a game. He was advised to retire again.

Now the toronto thing wasn't laudable, but he still wanted to play and didn't wanna waste his time with a team going nowhere.

When the heat got him in 04-05 it was to please the fans rather than be shaqs backup (he was 3rd string) but they soon realized he was far better than Doleac and even shaq at times

To say he didn't contribute to that team is nonsense. Heat don't win game 6 without him. 8 pts 6 rebs 5 blocks

I believe Jerry Stackhouse said that the mavs hated to see Shaq get in foul trouble (rather than be happy about it) because it meant Zo would come in and he gave a shit. He played his ass off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AnTgjW46rM

So in short, Walker, disappointing chucker, but not a bad player (that year) who did contribute greatly to the heat

Zo - Past his prime center who wanted a ring. Admirably played backup center and was still among league leaders in blocked shots. Crucial in game 6

/endrant

Anonymous kazam92 said...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7YZHr8vmaM&feature=related

I found the video of what Stackhouse said. Skip to about a minute or so

Blogger Sorbo said...
@Marc d: Zo played defense, so he gets love here.

@caseta: That last sequence was just ugly. I'm not saying they need to run the regular motion offense, or even run the picket fence ("don't get caught watching the paint dry"), but a pick-and-roll, an off-ball pick, anything but the dribble-and-hurl strategy. It works one out of 20 times, at best. Kobe was embarrassed of that play.

Blogger David said...
Zo was one of the most deserving members on that Heat team. Few people have ever poured as much of their heart and soul into the game as Zo did, and he was probably the Heat's second best player in those finals. Go watch the youtube video of Zo's performance in game 6. Amazing stuff.

I don't give a crap that he left the Heat to chase a ring with the Nets. The dude had just came back from a life threatening kidney problem. That gives him a pass to do whatever the hell he pleases with the rest of his athletic career, in my opinion.

For Heat fans, the Antoine Walker experience was a huge mountain of fail..... except for one thing. His performance in games 3, 4, and 5 of the East Semis against New Jersey was great.

He scored over 20 PPG in those games and, if I recall correctly, shot over 50% from 3 in all of them. He was one of the biggest reason's the Heat were able to finish that series in 5.

The rest the team got from closing out that series in 5 gave us the energy needed to go into Detroit (who had just come off a 7 game series against Cleveland) and steal game 1.

Anonymous caseta said...
@marc d

if every player cared about the game and winning at least half as much as zo did, this website would have no reason to exist.

there'd be no vince carter, no mcgrady, no contract year phenomenon, no jerome james, no erick dampier, no painful-to-watch wasting of talent, no 50% FT shooters, no coasting during the season, virtually no risk of a lock-out, as even players that were overpaid would at least give their best and players with big contracts wouldn't stop performing once they got that long term guaranteed deal.

zo deserves love and appreciation just for being the anti-vince carter.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Well said all of you. I posted the videos needed to back the claims here

Anonymous Marc d. said...
I understand that Zo did have the heart and hustle that is becoming rarer and rarer in this league, I just don't like how he gets a free pass in the media for screwing over (spoiler) my Raptors.

I remember how key he was to that championship Heat team (moreso than Shaq, arguably) but it was kind of a kick in the nuts to watch him play so well for another team after demanding a buyout from mine. The classy thing to do would have been to not have accepted any money at all, instead he demanded it.

Everyone remembers how McGrady and Marbury and Iverson and whoever else you wanna name was getting paid millions to sit on the bench, but Zo was getting paid millions to not even be there.

In the end, it was Rob Babcock's fault for making the shitty trade, and I will always have a special place in my hate-heart for Wince, but as far as I'm concerned Alonzo does not deserve the undying respect he gets.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Oh well you're a raptor fan. Well no offense, but your team was pretty awful. If Zo had come to play in 2004, then he would've likely retired right after that year. The guy didn't wanna ruin his body for nothing. I think it struck him when (as a net) the doctor said he could've dropped dead at any moment on the court (similar to Reggie Lewis)

Anonymous Marc d. said...
Sounds like the very definition of a championship piggyback to me.

Just sayin is all...

Anonymous kazam92 said...
You must have missed my previous post

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7YZHr8vmaM&feature=related

Stackhouse: "If Alonzo Mourning is not on that squad, WE are the NBA champions, not the heat"

So I dont see how that is defined as piggybacking when you are a big reason your team won a title. The same reason why I disagree with walkers inclusion to a large degree (his reputation and style of play made people hate him, but he really helped the team win)

Anonymous gebwel said...
i kinda agree with those who say that zo deserves to be mentioned. if you can put mitch richmond as one of the worst champions ever (a good guy throughout his career but more or less piggyback his way to a title), you have to mention zo as well. i'm not a raptors fan, but i still dont appreciate what he did to them.
sure, you can say that zo put winning above everything else, but he was also not being respectful to his contract. not cool

Anonymous Anonymous said...
yep, zo is the anti-vince carter, indeed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcU66xdeGck

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Blogger Cory R. Wall said...
Well the Miami Heat had quite a run there, I was honestly surprised LeBron went back to Cleveland. I know its his home but after the way he was treated when he left plus his promise for multiple "contract" championships to stay.

Wall Legal Solutions

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