Jul 6, 2011, 8:12 AM EDT
Last night we brought you the most overpaid players in the NBA, at least according to the Wages of Wins blog.
But who are the best values? Who are the most underpaid according to the Wages of Wins blog? Not necessarily who you think.
Often it can be good player still on a rookie deal. But this list shows that an elite player can be a good value at any price.
First, a reminder how Wages of Wins — the blog of the book by the same name — came to this list: First they figured the cost of an NBA win ($1.58 million, which is total salary paid by the league divided by wins) then used their “wins produced” stat to figure out how much players contributed to a team’s wins.
Here are the top three:
1. Kevin Love (Minnesota). Owners love to tell you about the explosion of crazy expensive contracts, but if they draft a very good player they get years of them at a bargain of a price. The rookie is a steal for the owners if they get a good player. See Love, who averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game and did it for $3.6 million. Of course, his team only had 17 wins, so you can nit pick how many wins he really produced, but he put up good numbers for a low price.
2. Dwight Howard (Orlando). Yes, Howard made $16.6 million, but he anchored the defense and contributed 22.9 points and 14.1 rebounds per game. Orlando won 56 games with a team that at various points had Vince Carter and Hedo Turkoglu playing big roles. That’s thanks to Howard. Put simply, there are not many elite players in the NBA and when you get one they are worth the price.
3. LeBron James (Miami). The same as Howard — yes he makes $14.5 million but you get 24.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. You get a lot of wins for your money. Another point about LeBron (and Howard and other true elite players) — they generate more money in terms of ticket sales, sponsor money, television viewer then they are paid. These elite guys are values to the owners.