What is it with this month? Maybe it’s the stress of the holidays, or maybe it’s because the fate of some teams already seems all too certain. Either way, December has played host to some of the worst, most painful and saddening shots we’ve witnessed during the 2013-14 season. Of those, here are our most cringe-worthy moments.
The Knicks must really love Andrea Bargnani
The game: New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Dec. 18, 2013
Embarrassment level: Playing for the Knicks this season.
Why it hurts: It’s plainly the worst shot of the season thus far.
The Knicks were up to their usual antics when, inexplicably, they managed to stay ahead of another team (it was the Bucks, but whatever) with a two-point lead—with less than 20 seconds left in overtime. So, when Tyson Chandler threw the offensive rebound of Carmelo Anthony’s jumper to Andrea Bargnani way out past the 3-point arc, Bargnani, of course, bided his time to secure the victory. Nope—he took this ridiculous shot from above the line, and the sound of the resulting collective facepalm rattled the stadium.
Nick Young gives his layup a spin
The game: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Washington Wizards, Dec. 9, 2013
Embarrassment level: So close, yet so far.
Why it hurts: Young decided that if he’s going to screw up, he might as well do it spinning like a top.
Let’s just say if you can’t even make a layup work, you’re pretty much out of options as far as shooting is concerned. His last-minute bumrush of desperation made Nick Young look like he’s playing pick up streetball in the park. The twirl, however, did give the attempt some artistic flair. We’re fairly sure that if Kobe had seen this, he’d have had some stern words for Young, widely known as a bit of a no-go thrower.
George Hill ends up a bit short
The game: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat. Dec. 10, 2013
Embarrassment level: Nothing but net! Nothing at all.
Why it hurts: The basket is exactly 15 feet from the free throw line. Every time.
The reason it’s awful is not that he didn’t even catch the rim. The real tragedy is that George Hill, of all players—possessing a career 82.4 per cent shooting percentage from the free throw line—barely even caught a little bit of net with his attempt. That slump in his shoulders when he realizes what’s happened is particularly heart-breaking.
James Harden shows us the true meaning of pain and gain
The game: Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings, Dec. 15, 2013
Embarrassment level: If being a man is embarrassing, that’s what Harden is.
Why it hurts: This hero takes one for the team and shoots with a cringe-worthy foot injury.
Yes, most of these painful shots are also godawful. Here’s one that’s just painful. James Harden twisted his ankle on a foul by Ben McLemore and left the game to get some medical attention—but not before taking the two he was owed from the charity strip. Gritting his teeth from what he reportedly called a “very, very painful” injury, he sunk ‘em both.