The NBA: Grossly Overpaid NBAers

It’s that time of the year again when Thirteenth Month Bonuses and, at least in some companies, Christmas Bonuses are given out and added to employees’ regular paychecks. Of course, these are meant to make workers more liquid as spending tends to spike in the holidays.

Here in the Philippines, that phenomenon is magnified by the myriad of Christmas gatherings (e.g. company parties, department Secret Santas, family parties, parties with friends, etc.), and the number of people to whom one has to give presents (e.g. co-workers, friends, family, that Secret Santa person, and, of course, one’s godchildren). Bonuses tend to be hefty, but they also tend to just, quite literally, slip through one’s fingers. All it takes are a few hours of ghastly spending to burn those extra pesos.

All those ideas made me think of the best-paid NBA players in the current season, and whether these guys have actually been giving their respective teams the proverbial bang for the buck.

Kobe Bryant is the most expensive player
in the NBA. Is he worth it?
(image by Gerald Herbert/AP)
Let’s look at the top 20 NBA players in terms of their salaries this season (based on and then measure this against their current NBA Efficiency rating (based on

2012-2013 Salary
NBA Efficiency Rating
Bang per 1 Million Bucks [Efficiency/(Salary/1,000,000)]
Kobe Bryant
Brandon Roy 
Dirk Nowitzki
Hasn’t played yet
Gilbert Arenas
Playing in China
Amar’e Stoudemire
Hasn’t played yet
Joe Johnson
Carmelo Anthony
Dwight Howard
Pau Gasol
Elton Brand
Chris Paul
Kevin Durant
LeBron James
Chris Bosh
Deron Williams
Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce
Zach Randolph
Andrew Bynum
Hasn’t played yet
Rudy Gay

From this set of data, I can draw several things:

1)   It looks like the Minnesota Timberwolves’ risk of resurrecting Brandon Roy’s career is a long way from paying off. Roy is far from the three-time All-Star he once was, and he’s about a month away from coming back to the roster – if at all.
2)   I’m going to say something we’ve all known for quite some time now – Joe Johnson is one overpaid baller. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not exactly 20 million dollars worth of good. Not this year, and not the past two years, when he registered just 16.0 EFF in each campaign. His shooting is a pretty good complement to the Nets’ prospective inside-outside game, but the question I’m asking is maybe the Nets can get someone just as good (or even better) on the cheap.
3)   The third-best, or third-most-cost-efficient, player on this list behind KD and LBJ is NOT Melo, CP3, Dwight, or Bosh. It’s Zach Randolph. Z-Bo is putting up about 18 points, 13 rebounds, and shooting nearly 50% from the floor. And he’s cheaper than Melo by about 3 mill. Heck, he’s cheaper than Gilber effin’ Arenas by more than 4 mill. In Tagalog parlance, that’s what we call sulit (great bang for the buck).

Zach Randolph is one of the most cost-efficient
players in the Association.
(image by Danny Johnston/AP)
4)   Another reason the Heat are so good, and will continue to be good, is that their best players aren’t exactly breaking the bank. At least not as badly as some of the other guys on this list. They can keep their Big Three and still have some change left to spare for some Steve Kerr or Ron Harper-type role players like maybe DJ Augustin, Randy Foye, DeJuan Blair, or even Jermaine O’Neal – all of which are 2013 free agents.
5)   So, aside from Roy, Johnson, and (my God!) Arenas, who else are the grossly overpaid NBAers here? How about the Mavs’ Elton Brand? Like JJ, he’s not awful, but, like JJ, he’s not exactly the best 18 mill player around.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the next 20 guys on the salaries list. There are bound to be some impressive and gross surprises there, too.

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
New York 100, Charlotte 98
With Carmelo Anthony exiting late in the fourth quarter with a hand injury, New York was without its closer in the final seconds of a tied game. However, they found one in J.R. Smith, who made huge plays on both sides of the ball. Smith came up with a pivotal steal and then drained the game-winning bucket as time expired to help the Knicks escape Charlotte with a 100-98 victory over the Bobcats. Smith finished with 13 points and also had a key block late in the game. Tyson Chandler put forth a monstrous double-double, posting 18 points and 17 rebounds to help pace the Knicks to their fourth straight win. Anthony finished with 23 points, but scored just three on 1-of-11 shooting in the second half before leaving. Raymond Felton tallied 17 points and nine assists and in his return after missing four games with back spasms, Jason Kidd totaled seven points, two steals and three blocks.

Indiana 99, Portland 92
Paul George amassed 22 points and the Indiana Pacers used a dominant third quarter to record a 99-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. George Hill added 18 points and David West had 16 along with 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who outscored the Trail Blazers by a 31-14 margin in the pivotal third quarter en route to their fourth victory in their last five games. Six Indiana players scored in double figures. Portland had a two-game win streak snapped despite a game-high 23 points from Damian Lillard and double-doubles out of LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson. Aldridge accumulated 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Hickson pulled down 12 boards to go along with 14 points as the Blazers concluded a 7- game road trip at 2-5.

Boston 104, Minnesota 94
Rajon Rondo put home 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting and handed out 11 assists in his return to the court on Wednesday as the Boston Celtics topped the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-94, at TD Garden. Rondo was handed a two-game suspension by the league for his involvement in a brawl with the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 28. He shoved Nets forward Kris Humphries after what he believed was a hard foul on teammate Kevin Garnett. Garnett finished with 18 points and 10 boards, while Paul Pierce netted 18 points for the Celtics, who bounced back from a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. Jason Terry contributed 17 points and Brandon Bass donated 12 points and eight boards in the victory. Kevin Love netted a game-high 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic added 14 and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were coming off a dominating performance at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Golden State 104, Detroit 97
Klay Thompson poured in a game-high 27, including 19 in the third quarter, and Stephen Curry had 22 points and 10 assists to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 104-97 win over the Detroit Pistons. David Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Harrison Barnes had 10 points for the Warriors, winners in four of their last five. Tayshaun Prince had 24 points and Andre Drummond scored 15 to go along with 12 boards for the Pistons, losers in three of their last four. Rodney Stuckey had 17 points and nine assists in the setback.

Atlanta 108, Denver 104
Al Horford and Josh Smith each put forth double-doubles and the Atlanta Hawks prevailed with a 108-104 decision over the Denver Nuggets. Horford posted 25 points and 12 rebounds while also coming away with four steals in the win. Smith contributed 16 points and 13 boards to help the Hawks bounce back after their six-game winning streak was snapped against Cleveland on Friday. Louis Williams and Zaza Pachulia gave solid efforts off the bench, scoring 16 and 11, respectively for Atlanta. Ty Lawson scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-5 from downtown, but the Nuggets fell for the fourth time in their last five games.

Chicago 95, Cleveland 85
Marco Belinelli dropped in a season-best 23 points and Luol Deng had 22 as the Chicago Bulls continued their recent dominance over the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 95-85 triumph at Quicken Loans Arena. Starting in place of an injured Richard Hamilton, Belinelli shot 7- of-15 from the field and went 7-of-8 from the foul line in a near wire-to-wire victory that extended Chicago's win streak over Cleveland to 10 games. Joakim Noah added 13 points and 15 rebounds to help the Bulls bounce back from a 4- point home loss to Indiana on Tuesday, with Carlos Boozer amassing 10 points and 12 boards in the win. Anderson Varejao extended his string of double- doubles to 10 consecutive games for Cleveland, but the Cavaliers struggled in the absence of two of their top three scorers in Kyrie Irving and rookie Dion Waiters. Cleveland hit a troubling 36.5 percent of its field goal attempts in falling for the third straight outing and seventh time in eight games.

LA Lakers 103, New Orleans 87
Kobe Bryant became the fifth player in NBA history to eclipse 30,000 career points, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 103-87, on Wednesday. Bryant entered the elite scoring club with 1:16 left in the second quarter, when he made a floating jumper in the paint for his 13th and 14th points of the game. Bryant (34 years, 104 days) became the youngest player in NBA history to reach the milestone. He had 29 points and six rebounds on Wednesday. Dwight Howard added 18 points, eight boards and five blocks for the Lakers, who snapped a two-game skid. Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace donated 15 and 11 points, respectively. World Peace became the sixth player in NBA history to record 12,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 1,000 3-pointers and 1,500 steals in a career. Only Reggie Miller, Bryant, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce have gotten to those marks in their careers.

San Antonio 110, Milwaukee 99
Gary Neal and Tony Parker each scored 22 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 110-99 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Parker also had 10 assists, while Tim Duncan recorded 17 points and 10 boards. Tiago Splitter had 15 points off the bench for the Spurs, who have won eight of their last nine. Monta Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists and Ersan Ilyasova dropped in 17 points for the Bucks, losers in four of their last five.

Utah 87, Orlando 81
Al Jefferson tallied 31 points and 15 rebounds in the Utah Jazz's 87-81 win over the Orlando Magic. Jefferson, who went 13-of-20 from the field, exited late in the contest with back spasms. Paul Millsap added 22 points for Utah, which snapped a three-game slide. Glen Davis donated 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic, who went just 1-of-15 from beyond the arc.

Sacramento 107, Toronto 100
Tyreke Evans netted 23 points, including two critical three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, and the Sacramento Kings held on for a 107-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena. DeMarcus Cousins put home 25 points and ripped down 13 rebounds, while Jason Thompson added 13 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who put the brakes on a three-game slide. John Salmons contributed 12 points and seven assists and Aaron Brooks gave 11 points in the triumph. Kyle Lowry dropped in a game-high 34 points, including a perfect 12- for-12 from the free throw line, while Mickael Pietrus finished with 21 and six rebounds for the Raptors, losers in eight of their last nine contests. DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis donated 14 and 13 points, respectively, in the setback.

LA Clippers 112, Dallas 90
Some guys go an entire career without recording a four-point play. Jamal Crawford tallied his NBA record 34th during the Los Angeles Clippers' 112-90 rout of the Dallas Mavericks. Crawford netted 20 overall for the Clippers, who have won four straight on the heels of a four-game skid. Reggie Miller is second on the NBA all-time list with 24 career four-point plays. Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Paul added 14 points, 13 assists and five steals in the victory. Chris Kaman, who spent the first eight years of his career with Los Angeles, played his first game at the Staples Center against his old club and finished with 12 points for Dallas, which has dropped four of its last five.

Top 10 Plays of the Night:

Game Highlights:

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