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Was Telfair the Worst Starter in the NBA?

Sep 15, 2008 – 9:21 PM
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Tom Ziller

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In a recent post about Shaun Livingston, I tossed out a casual line which called Sebastian Telfair "one of the worst players in the league last season." This claim was made without research and is completely, 100% wrong. There were much worst players in the NBA last season. Ask Clippers fans. Ask Heat fans. Ask Knicks fans.

But let's set some parameters based on the role Bassy was asked to fill and the quality of his performance. With Randy Foye knocked out much of the season, Telfair was a starting point guard in the National Basketball Association. Heavy stuff. There are only 31* starting point guards in the league any given moment. An elite class, if you will. The same goes for NBA starters: it's a limited group of the best ballers in the world.**

And it is my opinion that last season, Bassy Telfair was the worst.

Only one player who averaged at least 30 minutes a game finished with a worse PER: Bruce Bowen, who happens to be the second best defender on a perennial top-3 defense. Raja Bell's in the neighborhood, and has a possibly undeserved defensive reputation. But Bell can also string threes at a 40% rate, a vital skill which overwhelms his lack of offensive creativity and box-score potency.

Ben Wallace, Tim Thomas and Jamaal Tinsley figure as Telfair's greatest challengers, in my book. But Wallace can still rebound like Hell. Thomas can score and rebound a bit. Tinsley's divinely awful, but even he racked up for more assists per minute than Bassy, and had similar (which is to say "terrible") shooting rates.

Sorry, Wolves fans. Your point guard sucks. Hope he's the back-up.

UPDATE: Canis Hoopus has a really great response.

* T. Jose Caldeford.
** Give or take a Josh Childress.
Filed under: Sports