Commentary

Ranking the top 10 worst Finals performances

Originally Published: June 12, 2008
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Finals performances: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

With the good sometimes comes the bad. Here are the 10 worst Finals performances since the merger, in chronological order:

Henry Bibby, Philadelphia, 1977
Sixers vs. Blazers -- Bibby's PER 7.4
Bibby was awful in both Finals appearances -- he had a 5.6 PER in 1980 -- but this one takes the cake because he played 38 minutes a game and still couldn't do anything right. For the series, the Sixers point guard shot 31.3 percent and averaged just 4.2 assists per game.

John Johnson, Seattle 1978
Sonics vs. Bullets -- Johnson's PER 7.9
Dennis Johnson's 0-for-14 Game 7 is more famous, but for the series he wasn't even the worst Johnson on the Sonics. John Johnson shot 38.2 percent in the seven games and only took three free throws all series -- on 68 shots -- for a miserable 38.9 true shooting percentage.

Michael Cooper, L.A. Lakers 1988
Lakers vs. Pistons -- Cooper's PER 1.3
The Lakers repeated, but let's just say Coop wasn't a big reason. He shot 9-for-44 for the series, including 3-of-20 on 3s, and in more than 25 minutes a game, he put up 3.7 points, 1.6 boards and 2.1 assists. His only positive contribution was getting Isiah Thomas to sprain an ankle after Zeke landed on Cooper's foot in Game 6.

Mark Aguirre, Detroit, 1989
Pistons vs. Lakers -- Aguirre's PER 5.8
As with Bibby, Aguirre has two contenders for this list -- he came back with a 9.3 PER in the 1990 Finals against Portland. His effort against L.A. takes the prize because even in going up against the likes of Tony Campbell and Jeff Lamp, he still shot 12-for-33 for the series, with only eight foul shots.

Kevin Johnson, Phoenix, 1993
Suns vs. Bulls -- Johnson's PER 9.8
Although he did a halfway-decent job guarding Michael Jordan, KJ's offensive game completely tanked. He dipped to 42.3 percent shooting, committed 4.23 turnovers a game and twice came up short in the clutch. Johnson dropped an inbound pass at the end of Game 4 to seal Chicago's win, and then he had his last-second shot spiked to close out Game 6.

Nick Anderson, Orlando, 1995
Magic vs. Rockets -- Anderson's PER 11.4
Anderson shot 36.0 percent in the series and 30 percent from the line, including his infamous four straight misses in Game 1 that allowed Houston to steal the opener and set the stage for a Rockets sweep.

Larry Johnson, New York, 1999
Knicks vs. Spurs -- Johnson's PER 3.9
"Grandmama" played like an old lady in this one, shooting 14-for-49 for the series and finishing with more turnovers than assists. Included in his "effort" was a 2-for-18 performance from 3-point range.

Stephen Jackson, San Antonio, 2003
Spurs vs. Nets -- Jackson's PER 6.7
Jackson was a huge part of the Spurs' run to the Finals, but then he was a train wreck once they got there. It wasn't just that he shot 37.8 percent, or that he earned only 12 free-throw attempts from his 61 shots. Jackson made 26 turnovers in the six games -- an amazing total for a player whose main job was to spot up as a shooter -- and finished with more miscues than baskets (23).

Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers, 2004
Lakers vs. Pistons -- Bryant's PER 14.2
With his feud against Shaq escalating and the series getting away from the Lakers, Bryant began taking whatever shot struck him. Mostly, they struck the rim -- he shot 38.1 percent and had nearly as many turnovers (18) as assists (22) as Detroit romped in five games.

LeBron James, Cleveland, 2007
Cavs vs. Spurs -- James' PER 14.3
The King's first Finals visit wasn't a memorable one. Bruce Bowen hounded him into 35.6 percent shooting, and James committed 5.8 turnovers per game as San Antonio swept the Cavs in four. It didn't help that he couldn't get a whistle as he tried to draw a foul on a last-second 3-point try at the end of Game 3.

Finals performances: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.