With the NBA regular season coming to a close, it is time for a new Page 2 annual tradition -- taking stock of the players who committed the worse acts of grand larceny.
Take a look at our list of the 10 most overpaid pro ballers on earth for the 2001-2002 season, then see how Page 2 readers ranked their list. And be sure to vote in the poll to finger the No. 1 offender in pro hoops.
|Bryant "Big Country" Reeves was a big NBA flop.|
1. Bryant Reeves, Grizzlies ($11,555,554)
The massive but slow-moving 7-footer, whom Memphis signed to a six-year, $65-million deal that runs through 2004-05, averaged about 25 minutes and eight ppg. in 1999-2000 and '00-01, and was never much of a rebounder. He retired in late January, after not playing a single game this season due to injury.
2. Shawn Kemp, Blazers ($12,770,000)
For eight consecutive seasons, Kemp averaged 17.8 ppg or higher, but the 12-year veteran has averaged a little more than six points a game over the last two seasons,
and has twice been suspended for drug violations -- so, on top of his diminishing productivity, he's not exactly someone you can rely on. (Of
course, when he's suspended, the Blazers save $141,889 every game he misses, or he might have been No. 1 on our list.) Since the Blazers have him signed for big
bucks through 2003-04, he's almost certain to make this list Perennial contender for at least two more years.
3. Juwan Howard, Nuggets ($18,750,000)
The poster child for overpaid players. Used to play 40 minutes a game; now he's down to about 33. In points and assists, he's about two-thirds the
player he was during his best years in Washington.
4. The Knicks: Allan Houston ($12,750,000), Charlie Ward, ($5,110,000), Latrell Sprewell ($11,250,000), Marcus Camby ($6,250,000)
You could make a good case for all four individually -- plus overpaid and seldom-used subs Howard Eisley and Shandon Anderson -- but this would not do
justice to the Knicks as an overpaid team. This is the one place they really mesh as a unit.
5. Grant Hill, Magic ($10,865,000)
|Remember Grant Hill?|
Played only four games last season because of an ankle injury, and in the 14 games he played this year before succumbing to another season-ending injury, he didn't perform like -- or even look like -- the Grant Hill of old.
6. Vin Baker, SuperSonics ($11,250,000)
Baker has played only 50 games this season, and he has never played as well in Seattle as he did in Milwaukee early in his career. In mid-'90s Milwaukee,
he averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds a game. Now he averages about 15 points and six rebounds, and, to put it as nicely as possible, he's a whiner
and kind of immature.
7. Scottie Pippen, Blazers ($18,083,564)
It must be the intangibles, because the fifth-highest paid player in the NBA is an astonishingly average player statistically. His 10.7 ppg. average this season is way down from his career average of 16-plus.
8. Austin Croshere, Pacers ($6,310,000)
As ESPN.com's Chad Ford wrote in a recent NBA Insider column: "A major disappointment, Croshere seems to get time only in garbage minutes, despite the fact that some of the Pacers' key frontcourt players have been down with injuries. Is he that bad or does Isiah Thomas hate him that much? It's a combination of both, but blame Thomas for his 17.5 minutes per game this year." Croshere's $51 million contract with the Pacers extends through 2006-07, though neither he nor Thomas figure to be around that long.
9. Tom Gugliotta, Suns ($10,113,465)
|The last few seasons have been a pain for Tom Gugliotta.|
The Suns overpaid when they got Gugliotta (a six-year, $58.5 million deal that runs through 2003-04). Once a member of the T-Wolves' Big Three (with
Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett), thanks to injuries, he's now a shadow of his former self. Gugiliotta hasn't played more than 57 games in any of the
past five seasons (41, 43, 54, 57, 44). Over the past two seasons, he has averaged less than 6.5 ppg. In 1996-97, his last full season, he played 81 games and averaged 20.6 ppg and 8.7 rebounds.
10. Zydrunas Illgauskas, Cavaliers ($11,250,000)
The 7-foot-3, 260-pound Lithuanian has played just 87 games over the past three seasons (five, 24, 58) -- and he's only an average center (at best) when
he's healthy. But he's the 24th-highest paid player in the game.
Also receiving votes:Penny Hardaway, Suns ($11,250,000)
Antonio McDyess, Nuggets ($11,700,000)
Eric Montross, Raptors ($2,480,000)
Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves ($22,400,000)
Brian Grant, Heat ($10,009,688)
Glen Rice, Rockets ($8,800,000)
Calvin Booth, Sonics ($4,539,000)
Mookie Blaylock, Warriors ($5,400,000)
Michael Stewart, Raptors ($3,840,000)
Vitaly Potapenko, Celtics ($4,762,500)
Scott Williams, Nuggets ($4,650,000)
Walt Williams, Rockets ($5,000,000)
Erick Dampier, Warriors ($6,235,000)
Chris Mills, Warriors ($5,400,000)
Damon Stoudamire, Blazers ($12,375,000)
Brent Price, Kings ($3,680,000)
Tariq Abdul-Wahad, Mavs ($5,062,500)