Can a NBA player’s worth on the court always be measured by his salary? Not always. Sometimes not even close.
Looking at the list of this season’s pay packets, the earnings chart should make some uncomfortable reading for some of the league’s general managers.
Nine of the top ten are All Stars. One, who should never be in such stratospheric company is not. Rudy Gay, at number ten, is inexplicably getting over 300 grand more than Kevin Durant.
Just four would be in consideration for the ‘Dream Fantasy League Starting 5’ in the minds of anyone sane.
But that is the problem with the NBA. Sometimes, you pay the money and take your chance.
Some might see that the league-high 26.7 points per game provided by Kobe Bryant is worth it, especially if you had a punt on him to be this season’s top gunner. But with the LA Lakers sinking to the bottom, $23.5 million annually is a hefty millstone.
Even less of a justifiable return comes from second-paid Amare Stoudemire, who is relieving the Knicks of $23.4 this term, despite racking up a mere 11.5 points and 8.5 boards in a cameo before he headed to the injury list again.
Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson in third barely qualifies as a star. His running mate at the Nets Deron Johnson, in ninth, has ceased to belong in the elite.
Yet they could remain an effective tandem for New York’s other team as they head into tonight’s trip to the Phoenix Suns.
Although Eric Bledsoe’s scoring is down to 14.1 and his overall efficiency dropping, the Suns are fortunate to rotate him with a back-up in Isiah Thomas whose presence on the court makes their side more efficient offensively by 5.3 points per 100 possessions.
While Goran Dragic has solidly averaged 14.4 points per night in a 4-3 start. It’s been done with Phoenix scoring 103.7 per game but defensively, they’re a mistake waiting to happen.
The Nets are set up to take advantage. With Brooklyn opting for smaller line-ups, expect Brook Lopez to figure less as they try to obtain some return on their hefty investment by opting for speed over size.
And with that rotation showing signs of promise, we might yet see Johnson and Williams pay off.
Best bet: Take Brooklyn on the handicap over Phoenix at +2.5 at 2.55