11. Mike James
James was not even on the roster and appeared to be out of the NBA at the start of the 2012-13 season. He had played just 15 games in the previous three seasons combined, which included one year in Turkey. The 6’2 point guard had spent a decade in the league before arriving in Dallas. James was primarily a backup but had made 263 starts in his career.
The Mavericks point guard situation was a mess. Darren Collison was the starter to open the year, but he was benched after a 7-7 start. Head coach Rick Carlisle tried Dominque Jones, a failed nine-game experiment with Derek Fisher, and a switch back to Collison before giving Mike James a shot. The 37-year-old started on a ten-day contract in January 2013 before earning a rest-of-the-season deal. It was a shock he was even in the NBA, much less starting on a team hoping to make the playoffs.
Mike James averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game over 45 contests. The 6’1 point guard made 23 starts where he put up just over eight points and four dimes in nearly 26 minutes each night. The Mavericks won 15 of their final 23 games to finish 41-41, but it was not enough to qualify for the postseason.
James had zero business starting in the NBA at 37 after three years of being out of the league. Credit to him for playing well, but Dallas missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, and James' flaws were on full display. He played just 11 more games in the league before retiring.