Best Value NBA Stars in 2015

As promised in Part I of this series, I also thought it would be worth seeing who the best value NBA stars are. It is great to land an NBA player contract at below market value but even better than that is landing an NBA star at a low price. Again, the basic metric that I created and will be using is dollars per win share (DPS). The average DPS in the NBA is 1.6 million (1.6m) and, as you would expect, there are only a handful of stars who earn less than that.

Three big names that are paid at about the going rate of 1.6m DPS are: Draymond Green, Nikola Vucevic, and Kyle Lowry. But in terms of making this ranking, there were two qualifications: 1) the player must have over eight total win shares for 2014-15 and 2) they must make less than the average DPS. Interestingly enough, there are five stars who are paid over 2m DPS: Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and…LeBron James. Interpret from that what you wish. You’ll notice a repeat at the top of this list which is why he also made the lede photo of my discussion on why the NBA center position is alive and well.

Steph Curry and Tim Duncan both made the ranking, as expected, but might not be quite as high as you would expect them to be. And Anthony Davis is on here because he is in the final year of his rookie contract before that mega-extension kicks in.

(Note: all contract information and statistics provided by

10. Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards - 1.3m DPS

9. Tyson Chandler, Phoenix Suns - 1.2m DPS

8. James Harden, Houston Rockets - 960k DPS

7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors - 724k DPS

6. Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls - 716k DPS

5. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors - 568k DPS

4. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs - 520k DPS

3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans - 505k DPS

2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers - 399k DPS

1. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz - 126k DPS


Stay tuned for Part III of the "Value Series" where I take a look at the WORST value players in the NBA!

Canada Rise: The Northern Presence Growing in the NBA

If you listen to the radio or even mildly keep up with the latest in popular music, you know that the Canadiens have been atop the charts. With Toronto natives Drake and Abel Tesfaye (better known as The Weeknd) trading off spots in the Billboard Hot 100 and the top 10 in the iTunes charts, music from Canada has risen. But how about in the sports scene?

The U.S. has owned the basketball world for most of the past however-many decades but there are some noteworthy Canadiens looking to continue to represent the North. As Drake shouted out in his single Charged Up, Cory Joseph is the latest Canadien to bring home a championship. (Joseph won a title in 2014 as a member of the San Antonio Spurs and just this off-season signed with the Toronto Raptors.)

Other notable Canadien-born NBA players include the greats Kelly Olynyk and Robert Sacre as well as Sauce Castillo, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Joel Anthony, and Sam Dalembert. Canada’s pride, though, rests in the youngster Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins capped off a solid rookie year with nods as both an All-Rookie First Team player and the NBA Rookie of the Year. Wiggins is also a Toronto native with five siblings. One of Wiggins siblings, Nick, is in fact a teammate of Andrew’s on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

While I wouldn’t go betting too much on the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, I would say that there does seem to be an upward trend of Canadiens contribution to the NBA. would be the place if you did decide you wanted to take a chance on the long shot T’wolves at making a significant splash in 2016.

Best Value NBA Players of 2015

We glamorize the biggest contracts and superstars because that’s what brings in the biggest revenue for the NBA. There is, however, a variation on most valuable players that general managers are always scouring for and that is the best value players. Draymond Green, for one, went from little-known role player to a starring role on a championship team. Zach Lowe reported on a summer podcast that he, not LeBron James or any other mega-star, was the name tossed around most. Everyone knows who the big stars are, but it takes a keen eye to spot a player who is well out-playing his contract.

So, with the help of, I elected to journey into the large databases of contracts and statistics in search of quantifying the best value players. My brute force effort of matching up player’s stats to contracts probably wasn’t the most efficient, but it was certainly exhaustive. 

To be sure, there is no clear-cut way to measure value. 2014-15 total win shares was my statistic of choice to measure against 2015-16 contract value. As PER is known to bias offensive and scoring players, I figured that it would overvalue scorers and undervalue defensive players. I am not claiming this to be perfect but it certainly helps give us a good idea of value.

The average dollars per win share (DPS) in the NBA is 1.6 million (1.6m). To factor out the noise, I made a lower qualifying limit of two win shares to be eligible for this ranking. With that in mind, here are the top 10 best value NBA players:

10. Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers - 352k DPS

9. Tyler Hansbrough, Charlotte Hornets - 348k DPS

8. David West, San Antonio Spurs - 348k DPS

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks - 315k DPS

6. Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves - 300k DPS

5. Mason Plumlee, Portland Trail Blazers - 294k DPS

4. Tarik Black, Los Angeles Lakers - 272k DPS

3. Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers - 250k DPS

2. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat - 185k DPS

1. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz - 126k DPS


Stay tuned for parts II and II of this series where I take a look at the best value NBA stars...and the worst value players in the league.