It’s never a good thing when your two superstars are headed for another loss on social media. This has become the norm for Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma. Their first run in with infamy then came Poole slapped Kuzma an open off the backboard while losing by 20. Together they are the Bennifer of pro basketball. They are an unholy basketball marriage of inconvenience, terrible chemistry on the court, producers of poor box office statistics, but who see themselves as megastars in the making. On Monday night, the Raptors trailed the Wizards by 16 with 7:25 left in regulation. In that time, the Wizards staged a magnum opus in dysfunction, never hitting another field goal during Toronto’s ensuing 19-1 run.
This season, the duo of Kuzma and Poole have a net rating of minus-23.4. This is the league’s lowest net rating in the league for two-man combinations that have played at least 150 minutes together. Worst of all, they’re so overpaid that they’ll likely return for a repeat in case they end up with a poor draft like the 1989-90 Nets and draft the next Derrick Coleman instead of a championship cornerstone. Sometimes respected players end up on a team that doesn’t mesh and end up in the basement ala the Baron Davis and Clippers led by Al Thornton. That team also featured Zach Randolph, who was a laughing stock in the league until his reformation with Memphis. But historically bad duos are something else entirely.
Kuzma and Poole are not developmental players on rookie contracts, even though last year’s Houston Rockets or the pre-Embiid process era Sixers are. This offseason, Kuzma signed a four-year, $90 million extension with the Wizards. Poole is in the first year of a $128 million extension he signed in Golden State. He even abandoned all attempts at grooming in a token representation of the level of sloppiness he brings to the table.
The Wizards moved Chris Paul into his next life as a backup to Jordan Poole instead of keeping him as a veteran presence so they could bottom out and it’s going according to plan. In the annals of professional basketball, Poole and Kuzma paint the chef d’oeuvre for traumatizing basketball. There have been crummy teams to match, but for their two leading scorers to also be monumental knuckleheads is a higher level of incompetence. Night in and night out, Poole and Kuzma provide low points for all to witness. This season, Poole is shooting 30 percent from distance, well below the league average. Kuzma may retain some trade value, but he’s a follower who sometimes takes some of the worst shots.
Whether it gets Poole be distracted by conversations during time-outs and lagging behind to catch up with what has been set up or Kuzma launched an airball after Jordan Poole fell to his knees as they try to retire perimeter gawd jrue holiday, they look like future first ballot Bad Basketball Hall of Fame inductees.
The aforementioned Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry were awful for the Knicks, but that experiment was over after one season. In 50 games combined, they’ve tested the limits of how many one-dimensional big men who eschew conditioning can hold the low post simultaneously and rack up a -14.6 net rating. For years, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe had the Pistons running in quicksand. At their worst, Monroe and Drummond clogged the court and temporarily teamed with Josh Smith for one of the NBA’s worst trios. But big men don’t control the ball like some ill-fitting guards.
The Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings tandem was lost to history as the Bucks were fortunate to snag Giannis Antetokounmpo in the middle of the first round in 2013, but for a short time they were a dark cloud over the Bucks. Ellis was the frontrunner for Poole. A volume shooter who was so full of himself, he told The Mercury News that he wouldn’t be able to coexist with Steph Curry. Mind you, this was the underdeveloped and pre-weight room Curry, but it still provides a link through the generations. While Poole never outright said he couldn’t play with Curry, he did have a penchant for it frustrating Draymond Green and the two-time MVP.
Ironically, Ellis seemed to find a kindred spirit in Jenkins. Between 2011 and 2013, Ellis and Jennings played 101 games and never had a positive plus-minus rating on the floor. However, they were at least able to pull off an 8 seed from the pairing’s offensive fireworks.
The incompetence is the point for Washington. They play at one of the league’s fastest paces, which has convinced them to play fast-paced basketball and make frenetic mistakes. An eighth seed ala Ellis and Jennings will be even more painful than reality knowing that this disaster class sshould have been executed a year earlier. In the pantheon of bad duos, Kuzma and Poole run away with the team belt.
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