Top 5 NBA Stars Stuck on Shitty Teams

The NBA has made it’s living on somehow pairing all-time great players with some of its most functional and successful franchises: Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Larry Bird and the Celtics, and more recently Luka Doncic with the Mavericks, somehow it just seems to workout. Unfortunately for some of the biggest stars in the league, they aren’t lucky enough to get paired with a responsible franchise and end up toiling in mediocrity for most of their careers: Kevin Garnett with the Timberwolves had some years but largely struggled to stay relevant, Oscar Robertson with the Cincinnati Royals, and Anthony Davis with the Pelicans had a rough time for most of their careers. In today’s NBA as several stars team up with each other to form super teams there are plenty of superstar players who get screwed and are stuck trying to carry a hopeless franchise all by themselves. Here are the top five current NBA stars who are stuck on some really shitty teams.

5.) Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young could have an amazing NBA career and go down as one of the legends of the league and will still mostly be known as the player the Hawks traded Luka Doncic for. That’s an insane statement since Young dropped 29.6 points per game and 9.3 assists and was voted in as an all-star starter last season as a 21-year-old. Unfortunately for Young he was drafted by the Hawks who have been one of the worst franchises since absolutely blowing the Doncic/Young trade in 2018. Young has led the Hawks to a 54-107 record so far in his young career. The Hawks swung for the fences this offseason signing Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, and Bogdan Bogdanvić to compliment their young core. Atlanta was the team that most NBA pundits saw taking a huge leap into the playoffs this season. That has not materialized so far as the Hawks sit in 10th place in the East at 5-7. After a hot 3-0 start Atlanta has dropped seven of its last nine games and Trae Young has struggled. Over the last nine games Young is averaging just 19.6 points per game on 34.2 percent shooting from the field and 20.4 percent from three. Some attribute Young’s rough patch to comments made by teammate and former friend John Collins who criticized how Trae Young runs the offense. Bad franchises find ways to screw good things up and now it seems like Atlanta’s two young stars are beefing and the Hawks may be more open to trading Collins. Perhaps the Hawks should have just stood pat at number three in the 2018 draft and taken the NBA’s number one boy Luka Doncic instead of making what will go down in history as one of the worst trades off all-time even if Young is a perennial all-star.

4.) De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

Another team that blew their chance at drafting Doncic, the Sacramento Kings tuck in right behind the Minnesota Timberwolves as the worst NBA franchise over the last decade and a half. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, the longest active playoff drought in the league. Fox has blossomed into one of the better point guards in the NBA and should be leading a fast paced high flying Kings team that has the talent to compete for a play-in spot. Alas Sacramento is trash and it’s no wonder Lady Bird wanted to get out as fast as she could. Fox could do the same if the status quo in California’s capital doesn’t change soon. The Kings are so pathetic they have had not one but two fathers of players (including Fox’s) tweet about trading Marvin Bagley III. Fox is signed through the 2025-26 season so there’s no rush to put a winning product around him, and there are already signs of improvement. Sacramento capitalized off of the failures of 11 other teams who passed on Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 NBA Draft. The combo guard from Iowa State is off to an impressive start to his career and looks like a perfect pair alongside Fox in the backcourt. If history has taught us anything though it is to be wary of the Kings, they will inevitably find a way to fuck things up in the saddest way possible.

3.) Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have been literal garbage since trading Jimmy Butler for Zach LaVine during the 2017 NBA Draft. Since that trade the six-time NBA Champions are 76-166, third worst in the league just ahead of the Knicks and Hawks. During that time LaVine has been arguably the best player in the league to not make and all-star appearance. The 2014 first round pick for the Timberwolves is averaging 23.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in 160 games in the Windy City. LaVine has held up his end of the bargain, but the Bulls have completely failed to surround him with a competent supporting cast. The young core of LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Patrick Williams has loads of potential, but has yet to put together anything that resembles winning basketball. All five are 25-years-old or younger so there is plenty of time to right the ship, but LaVine’s contract runs out after the 2021-22 season so the clock is ticking to win some games before he walks in free agency.

2.) Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

At this point you just have to feel bad for Towns in Minnesota. The former first overall pick is one of the 10 most talented players in the league and has been absolutely wasted with one of the worst franchises in the four major sports. Towns has made the playoffs just once in his six seasons in the league, and that was all thanks to his best good friend Jimmy Butler in 2018. Aside from the best friends gang of Butler, Towns, and Andrew Wiggins getting douchebag swept by the top-seeded Houston Rockets in their lone playoff apperance, the Wolves are 118-203 since drafting Towns first overall out of Kentucky in 2015. Towns has done nearly everything asked of him in his still young career including winning Rookie of the Year in 2016, making two all-star teams and being selected to the All-NBA third team in 2018. The Wolves threw caution to the wind last year in a desperate attempt to build a winner in Minneapolis, and more importantly keep Towns happy, by trading Wiggins and a 2021 first round pick to the Warriors for Town’s actual best good friend D’Angelo Russell. The result of the trade hasn’t rocketed Minnesota into the playoff race like most fans were hoping. The Wolves are the worst team in the West at 3-8 and sport the second worst defense in the league. Somehow the silver lining of all of this turmoil is that Towns has been injured for most of the season missing six games with a dislocated wrist. Minnesota is 2-2 with Towns in the lineup and have looked like a competent team with him and have been absolute trash without him. More bad news for us Wolves fans as Towns has tested positive for COVID-19 and will sit out for the next several games. It’s a scary situation for Towns and his family who have already lost seven family members, including Towns’ mother Jacqueline, to COVID-19 in the past year. KAT still has three years left on his contract, but if the Wolves continue to flounder and they miss out on their first round pick this season it could be time to at least start opening up trade talks for the face of their franchise.

1.) Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

For the love of your man made gods somebody please get Bradley Beal as far away from Washington as possible. For most NBA fans it seems like Beal has been toiling away as a superstar in a hopeless situation for his entire career, but it might surprise most that the Wizards have only missed the playoffs for the last two seasons. In 2017 the Wizards were a team on the rise, the fourth seed in the East and John Wall was jumping on the scorers table after he hit a game winning three to beat the Celtics and force a game seven (that the Wizards lost) in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Things were looking up in D.C. ( at least on the basketball court, not for, you know, the country) but four years later and the Wizards are one of the most hapless franchises in the NBA. Beal is doing all he can to keep the Wizards from becoming the laughing stock of the league. The two-time all-star scored 60 points in a loss against the 76ers earlier this month and it’s starting to weigh on one of the best offensive players in the league. Beal has made remarks that he’s “pissed off” and the Wizards “can’t guard a parked car“, which is true, they have the 28th ranked defense in the league this season. The NBA’s leading scorer this season is on a 3-8 team and is now firmly on the trading block and even Wizards fans have to come to terms that it’s time for him to go.

It’s not all doom and gloom for these franchise cornerstones. As we’ve seen throughout history some all-time great players who start their career’s with a shitty franchise go on to leave them in the dust and win championships with another team. As previously mentioned Kevin Garnett spent 12 seasons trying to lift Minnesota to a title all by himself before eventually cracking and asking for a trade. Garnett was traded to the Celtics in 2007 and won his first and only championship of his career the next season. The Big O toiled away for 10 season in Cincinnati before finally teaming up with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to win a championship in his first season in Milwaukee in 1971. Are any of our current stars KG or Oscar? Two of the 25 best players in NBA history? Probably not but that doesn’t mean they can’t follow the same path and find glory somewhere else, it just takes one public trade request to get the ball rolling.

Five Athletes that should get ‘Last Dance’ Treatment

Two months into quarantine and things are ever so slightly starting to loosen up. It couldn’t have come at a better time because people are running out of things to do. First we had Tiger King to entertain us during the lockdown, then trash reality tv shows like Love is Blind and Too Hot To Handle shamed us into watching them. Arguably the most enthralling television phenomenon that people around the world followed religiously was The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary chronicling the life and career of the greatest athlete of all-time, Michael Jordan, and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls.

The Last Dance was rushed to come out during the lockdown and kept sports and non-sports fans entertained for the last five weeks. The last two episodes of the doc aired Sunday night and now there is an Air Jordan sized hole in the entertainment landscape for the millions of people who are still on lockdown. The natural question following the final episode is “who else could have a Last Dance style documentary?

There are thousands of famous athletes that could and have been subjects of documentaries over the years, but how many of them could live up to Michael Jordan? The answer is not many. Jordan is the most famous athlete of all-time across any sport and took the NBA global in the ’90s. No one would quite have the same allure as Jordan, and most athletes didn’t let a film crew follow them around for a full year to document their final title run.

There would have to be some criteria that athletes would have to meet before we pick which five athletes could have a 10-part documentary about them. First and foremost, the subject athlete would have to still be alive. You need to be able to talk to them and have all-encompassing interviews like the producers had with Jordan for The Last Dance. You wouldn’t want to have to rely on archival interviews and footage for your 10-part project. Unfortunately that crosses off several great candidates including: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Wilt Chamberlain, and most tragically Kobe Bryant. The other obvious criteria for any documentary is the subject has to have an interesting story. Jordan isn’t just interesting because he was the best, he had a great story. He wasn’t a prodigy, he had to work hard, he didn’t win for years, then became the face of the NBA and basketball around the world, he had the signature shoes, he was in Space Jam, he up and retired at the height of his career, there’s signature games to recall, a cast of characters to interview, and dozens of subplots to bring to light. Would that be the same for say LeBron James? He was a prodigy, has always been the best, didn’t win, made a decision, won some championships and is very famous. Does that sound quite as interesting? No scandals other than his handling of the decision makes him a poor subject for a 10-part series. There would be little to no drama so historically boring guys without great stories like LeBron, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tim Duncan and others would be out because it would be too boring.

So that leaves us with a slightly shorter list of athletes that could have a The Last Dance type documentary made. Here are my five picks that fit the criteria and could carry a 10-part documentary that people would care about.


1.) Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is probably the only athlete to come close to Jordan’s global popularity in the 21st Century. Woods is arguably the greatest and most important golfer of all-time. He rose to popularity in the mid-to-late 1990’s and was an absolute rock star from 1997-2008. Then it all came crashing down. Most know the story. Woods injured his leg, missed some time on the tour, then all of a sudden his wife was smashing his car with a golf club and we found he he banged every one except that wasn’t his wife while he was married. He had a popularity tailspin, his injuries mounted and most thought he was washed up for the better part of a decade. Then in April of last year, Woods roared back to the forefront and won the Masters, a comeback story for the ages. This documentary would have every element and you have a cast of characters to speak to including Woods, his caddies, others on the tour that he clashed with like Phil Mickelson, maybe coax his ex-wife into an interview, Lindsey Vonn and a whole cast of others along the way. This is the one athlete that I think, if done right, could come close to and possibly eclipse the popularity of The Last Dance.


2.) Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson is basically Dennis Rodman level crazy and Michael Jordan level athletic. Tyson was on of the most popular boxers and athletes of all-time during his prime. He was a knockout king, helped make boxing more palatable for the next generation into the ’90s, had his own video game and also had a lot of problems. He was nuts, he bit Evander Holyfield’s ear off, went to jail, his fall in the ring was as fast and shocking as his rise, and there have to be other Tyson stories that we haven’t heard yet that he could shed some light on during the interviews. Aside from Tyson you get Holyfield and other boxers of his era, lug in guys like Don King, the guys from the Hangover, and literally anyone from the ’80s and ’90s to talk about the Tyson era. It would be incredibly funny, dark, and one of the most interesting docu-series’ ever made. The only knock is there is already a Tyson doc, but it’s over 10-years-old and only about 90 minutes long. The more in-depth you get with Tyson, the more exciting little nuggets you will get.


3.) Barry Bonds

A Bonds documentary would be the hardest one to get made because it would hinge on him admitting that he did a shit ton of steroids, which he will never do, but the subject is interesting. Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time and the centerpiece of the biggest scandal in MLB history. He holds records that many in the game don’t acknowledge, and had a horrible relationship with the media and fans during his playing days. For the doc you have Bonds sit down like Jordan, drinking and smoking a big cigar, you somehow get him to open up and press him about the steroids and hopefully he admits what he did. You craft other stories with interviews with the other steroid users from the era including a Rodmanesque appearance from Jose Canseco, talk to Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, ARod, and let them attack Bonds for being the reason they all got caught. Talk to some slimballs from Balco and a bunch of trainers who were around Bonds and injected him or watched him do steroids and pin him down. This would be a pretty combative documentary but if he finally admits it, the 10-part series could be groundbreaking.


4.) Brett Favre

Trust me, a Favre documentary would be better than you think. His life and career have a lot more layers and most fans remember. He was incredibly popular in the ’90s and arguably the face of the league for a few years. Favre was a lot of fun for Packers fans and many other fans to root for, and is now almost a punchline 10 years after his career ended. A Favre doc could get into his early career and trade to the Packers, his rise to success and fame, addiction and rehab, comeback and Super Bowl win, Monday Night Football game after his dad died, eventual demise in Green Bay and feud with Aaron Rodgers, retirement saga, resurfacing with the Jets and then Vikings, almost taking Minnesota to a Super Bowl, iron man starting streak, subsequent sexual harassment accusations, and many other storylines. We get absolute gold during our interviews with Favre himself on his farm/ranch in Mississippi. Talk to his teammates and coaches (especially Mike Holmgren), get some good perspective from his wife, and bring in John Madden to just jerk him off for ten hours. Favre is simultaneously one of the most exciting, maddening, fun, and tragic figures in NFL history and would make for a surprisingly deep 10-part documentary.


5.) Bill Russell

We need someone to round out the list who wasn’t at the height of their career during the ’90s. Bill Russell retired over 50 years ago, but his impact on the NBA and sports is still being felt. Russell is one of the five greatest basketball players of all-time and led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships, making him the greatest winner in basketball history. Russell played in an era where Black players were treated like second class citizens, and had to fight just to be respected. He was integral in the civil rights movement and one of the most important activists of his time. Russell would have great perspective on the entire history of the NBA, and it would be incredible to hear what he has to say about his fellow NBA super stars like Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. You get other NBA legends talking about how Russell was the gold standard and motivated them to win. Get interviews with other activists from the time and talk about his activism. Even though most young sports fans might not have the same relationship with Russell as they do with Michael Jordan, Russell’s story is one worth telling.


Some honorable mentions who didn’t quite make the cut included: Hank Aaron, Lawrence Taylor, Willie Mays, Magic Johnson, Jim Brown, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, and Deion Sanders.







The New and Improved Monstars

In quarantine these days the 1990s are seemingly cool again, and especially ’90s basketball. Everyone in the world is fawning all over Michael Jordan and the Bulls while watching each episode of The Last Dance like it’s the Super Bowl, and the logo for Space Jam 2 was just release. All of this Michael Jordan and Space Jam talk begs the question that’s been burning since the original movie’s release in 1996; were the Monstars really that intimidating?

The little aliens from Moron Mountain came to Earth and stole the talent from five NBA players: Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley. Those five would make a formidable mid ’90s team, but doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of the entire world, let alone Michael Jordan. Of the current Monstars only Sir Charles made an All-NBA team for the 1994-95 season in which the movie takes place (he was second team All-NBA). Barkley was also a Western Conference All-Star that season, with fellow Monstars Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson being selected to the Eastern Conference team. Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley came no where near any kind of accolades that season. You have to do better than that if you want to beat the greatest player of all-time. So let’s reset the roster and find the players who should have had their talent stolen and see if we can beat some cartoons, Michael Jordan, and Bill Murray at basketball. The only player we will keep from the original five-man roster is Charles Barkley, everyone else gets their mediocre talent back and our alien friends will have to find four more fitting players who are Monstar material.

The first player to be replaced is Shawn Bradley. He didn’t exactly wow any NBA fans in ’95. Bradley averaged 9.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game over the season which is fine, but not quite what we’re looking for. Bradley gets replaced by Dikembe Mutombo. It would be fitting that a bunch of aliens hailing from Moron Mountain would steal the talent of the player nicknamed Mount Mutombo. The 7’2″ center from the Democratic Republic of the Congo averaged a double-double in ’95 putting up 11.5 points, snagging 12.5 boards, and leading the league in blocked shots with 3.9 a game. Mutombo grabbed All-Defensive second-team honors, oh and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. Mutombo is a way better choice than lame-ass Shawn Bradley. The only thing cool about Shawn Bradley is that he is 7’6″. Mount Mutombo would be way more fun to watch swatting shots and giving Daffy Duck the patented finger wag afterwards. Can you imagine him hitting on Lola Bunny with the famous “who wants to sex Mutombo” pick-up line. Also imagine Michael Jordan bringing back the eyes closed free throw he mocked Mutombo with in 1991? This is already a way funnier movie and all that had to happen was kick Shawn Bradley to the curb.

Staying in the front-court, Patrick Ewing gets replaced with Shaquille O’Neal. As good as Ewing was in ’95, Shaq was way better. Shaq was an All-Star and made second-team All-NBA. The Big Diesel lead his Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals and even beat Jordan’s Bulls along the way. In just his third year in the league, Shaq was already the most dominant big man averaging 29.3 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. He was already one of the biggest personalities in the league too, and you know you’d love to see a cartoonized Shaq mix it up with Bugs Bunny and the gang. Also Shaq was on his way to becoming the most accomplished actor the NBA has ever seen. He had already been in Blue Chips the year before and Kazaam was released in 1996 a full four months before Space Jam. The last point that cements Shaq’s status as a true Monstar over Ewing is that Shaq never let Michael Jordan dunk his face off like Ewing famously did in the 1991 NBA Playoffs. A front-court with Shaq, Mutombo, and Barkley would be must see entertainment.

Now to the backcourt. Monstars fans, your new starting point guard, replacing Muggsy Bogues, is non-other than Gary Payton. The Glove was an all-star in the Western Conference and picked up second-team All-NBA honors. He is also know as one of the best “Michael Jordan stoppers” of the 1990s. He took his Sonics (RIP) to the finals the next season in ’96 and took the Bulls to six games, guarding Jordan for the last few and causing him to have one of the worst statistical NBA Finals of his career. GP would bring a hard edge to the new Monstars and wouldn’t let his teammates start showboating when the game became kind of one-sided in the first half. Payton was a first team All-Defensive selection in ’95 and you know he would mean mug the shit out of Tweety Bird. The trash talk between Payton and Bill Murray would be legendary.

Speaking of legendary trash talk, the last player to be added to the new Monstars is Reggie Miller, replacing Larry Johnson. Miller made the third-team All-NBA and would bring much needed outside shooting to the Monstars. Miller shot 41.5 percent from three in ’95 and would become the teams outside assassin. While everyone else clogs the lane and crashes the offensive boards, Reggie will just post up in the corner and wait for his teammates to kick the ball out for an easy spot-up three. Miller is also one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history and would probably flash the choking sign in the direction of Wayne Knight on the bench. Apparently Wayne Knight is the Tune Squad’s Spike Lee, go figure.

So there you have your new Monstars, ready to take over the world with Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaq, Gary Payton, and Reggie Miller. This new squad has all of the swagger in the world and will probably self-destruct by halftime. The new and improved Space Jam will definitely need to be rated R though because these guys will be dropping F bombs all over the place. Miller or Payton absolutely knockout Granny and start a benches clearing brawl at some point. There is also no way that Michael Jordan appears in this movie because he most likely hates at least three-fifths of the new players. The thing is, Jordan still probably wins this game. The only new Monstar to ever knock Jordan out of the playoffs was Shaq in ’95, and that’s the year Jordan un-retired and re-joined the Bulls for the last few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, not exactly a straight-up win by any means. So after all of this jerking around, a new and improved Monstar roster, and a much different movie, Michael Jordan still wins and saves the world because Michael Jordan is Thanos, just the other way around, he is inevitable.