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Andris Biedrins

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Andris Biedrins

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
 
Andris Biedrins
 
Contract: 6 years, $54 million
Signed by:
Golden State Warriors
Salary this season: $9 million
2013 Slash Line: 0.5/8.0/0.3 in 47 games
Expires: 2014
 
Allegedly—and self-professed—Dwight Howard shot 90% on free throws in high school. Smiling, he weeks ago admitted to Stephen A. Smith that as he struggles to hit just 50% of his free passes in recent NBA seasons, in his formative years D12 was damn near automatic at the line.
 
How does that happen? As announcers and writers all over the league rave, Howard’s shooting stroke is sound. The rotation on the ball is crisp, coming out of his hands smoothly as the motion from his legs to his elbows collaborate in sync.
 
It’s all in his head. Howard surprisingly was completely self-effacing, professing that the problem with his free throws is between his ears. For most of his time in Orlando, Dwight shot close to 60%. But then it all went to hell. The All-Star center has either led the league or been towards the tops in free throw attempts in almost every of his 9 seasons. Yet, he’s gotten statistically worse, teetering on making less than half his attempts the last two seasons.
 
Luckily for Howard, it hasn’t completely changed his all-around game. He’s still a force defensively, controlling the boards and blocking shots at a prodigious rate. Offensively it’s certainly affected Dwight’s ability to be a fourth quarter world-breaker in the mold of LeBron or Tim Duncan. Coaches simply can’t rely on a player who won’t make his free throws down the stretch. Mike D’Antoni has learned this the hard way, as he’s been relying on four players well into their thirties—Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and even Metta World Peace—to close out games offensively, while his 27 year-old All-NBA center stands out there for defensive purposes and tip-ins.
 
But that’s just the fourth quarter. Dwight regularly calls for the ball in post isolation situations, boxes out in the paint waiting for alley-oops and put backs and maybe one day, far into the future, will operate a pick and roll with the best damn pick and roll point guard of this generation. Again, luckily for Howard, it hasn’t changed his game for all 48 minutes. Luckily for Howard, he’s still able to do many of the things that got him paid in the first place.
 
Luckily for Dwight Howard, he’s not Andris Biedrins.
 
Long and lanky, Andris Biedrins was taken 11th overall in the 2004 draft by the Golden State Warriors. He had dominated in the prestigious Latvian Basketball League, which I’m sure played to record crowds of dozens. Even after a pro career in his teens where he averaged 18.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.82 blocks, the 7 footer was a raw in every sense of the word, a project with potential but a long ways to go. And then there was that funny hitch in his shooting motion.… Read more...