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The 25 Best And Worst Value Players In The NBA This Season

The NBA returns from the All-Star break tonight, so there's no better time to get one final look back at the first "half" of the season. Advanced statistics have made it far easier to digest the true value of NBA players, and these measurements are improving every season. Now, we can look at the stat "win shares" to see exactly how many of a team's wins can be attributed to a specific player on a given team. Combined with a player's 2013-14 salary, we can find which players cost the most on a per-win basis, and what players provide the best bang-for-the-buck for their teams.

Do not confuse this with "Most Valuable" in the same sense that you view the MVP award given out at the end of the season. These are the players who do the most for the least amount of money. These are the underpaid superstars and the highly-productive role players that every winning team needs to build towards a championship.

In order to best calculate these lists, we've limited the scope to players who played in at least 30 games before All-Star weekend, and for the "Best Value" list, had a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of at least 15.00, which is the league average. All data has been compiled from Basketball Reference.

Best Value Players:

Rank

Player

Team

Salary

WS

Salary/WS

1

Isaiah Thomas

Sacramento

$884,293

5.9

$149,880

2

Chandler Parsons

Houston

$926,500

5.8

$159,741

3

Lance Stephenson

Indiana

$1,005,000

5.8

$173,275

4

D.J. Augustin

Chicago

$755,459

3.0

$251,819

5

DeJuan Blair

Dallas

$884,293

2.9

$304,928

6

Patrick Mills

San Antonio

$1,133,950

3.5

$323,985

7

Mike Scott

Atlanta

$788,872

2.3

$342,987

8

Terrence Jones

Houston

$1,551,840

4.4

$352,690

9

Andre Drummond

Detroit

$2,465,400

6.5

$379,292

10

Reggie Jackson

OKC

$1,260,360

3.3

$381,927

11

Miles Plumlee

Phoenix

$1,121,520

2.9

$386,731

12

Chris Andersen

Miami

$1,399,507

3.5

$399,859

13

Kenneth Faried

Denver

$1,367,640

3.4

$402,247

14

Paul George

Indiana

$3,282,003

7.9

$415,443

15

Jared Sullinger

Boston

$1,365,720

3.1

$440,554

16

Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio

$1,887,840

4.0

$471,960

17

Damian Lillard

Portland

$3,202,920

6.3

$508,400

18

Darren Collison

LAC

$1,900,000

3.7

$513,513

19

Jon Leuer

Memphis

$900,000

1.6

$562,500

20

Mason Plumlee

Brooklyn

$1,298,640

2.3

$564,626

21

Andray Blatche

Brooklyn

$1,375,604

2.3

$598,088

22

Jeremy Lamb

OKC

$2,111,160

3.5

$603,188

23

Markieff Morris

Phoenix

$2,091,840

3.4

$615,247

24

Marcus Morris

Phoenix

$1,987,320

2.9

$685,282

25

Nikola Vucevic

Orlando

$1,793,520

2.5

$717,408

Observations:

  • 17 of the 25 players play for teams above .500. Obviously, there is a natural advantage when it comes to the "win share" stat, but these teams generally have effective depth.
  • 15 of the 25 players play in the Western Conference, which comes as little surprise given how the season has played out so far.
  • The leader here, however, is on a team that is just 18-35. Isaiah Thomas has had a quietly excellent start to his career, and the Kings are getting him for pennies on the dollar, at least in the NBA world. This season he's jumped from 13.9 to 20.2 points per game, and he's averaging a career high 6.3 assists per game. He is currently 20th in the entire NBA in PER, just .3 behind guards Mike Conley, James Harden, and Dwyane Wade. He will make less than 5% of Wade's salary this season.
  • The Phoenix Suns lead the list with three players, in case anyone was wondering how a team everyone thought was tanking this season is 30-21 in the brutal Western Conference.
  • A few of these players won't be on this list for long. Guys like Paul George and Andre Drummond are young superstars on affordable contracts. They'll be getting paid soon enough.
  • Chris Andersen has the same win share number as Dwyane Wade with 3.5.
  • The Morris twins are really incredible at the whole "being twins" thing.

Worst Value Players:

Rank

Player

 Team

 Salary

WS

Salary/WS 

1

Ekpe Udoh

Milwaukee

$4,469,548

0.1

$44,695,480

2

Ersan Ilyasova 

Milwaukee

$7,900,000 

0.2 

$39,500,000

3

Alonzo Gee 

Cleveland

$3,250,000

0.1

$32,500,000

4

Jason Terry 

Brooklyn

$5,625,313 

0.2 

$28,126,565

5

Caron Butler 

Milwaukee

$8,000,000 

0.3 

$26,666,666

6

Earl Clark 

Cleveland 

$4,250,000 

0.2 

$21,250,000

7

Darrell Arthur 

Denver 

$3,231,683 

0.2 

$16,158,415

8

A. Stoudemire 

New York 

$21,679,893

1.4 

$15,485,657

9

Ben McLemore 

Sacramento 

$2,895,960

0.2 

$14,479,800

10

Evan Fournier 

Denver 

$1,422,720

0.1 

$14,227,200

11

Dion Waiters 

Cleveland

$3,894,240 

0.3 

$12,980,800

12

K. Perkins 

OKC 

$8,727,437

0.7 

$12,467,767

13

Kevin Garnett 

Brooklyn

$12,433,735 

1.1 

$11,303,395

14

Jonas Jerebko 

Detroit

$4,500,000

0.4 

$11,250,000

15

T. Prince 

Memphis

$7,235,955 

0.7 

$10,337,078

16

M. Thornton 

Sacramento

$8,050,000 

0.8 

$10,062,500

17

Garrett Temple 

Washington 

$884,293 

0.1 

$8,842,930

18

Joe Johnson 

Brooklyn 

$21,466,718 

2.5 

$8,586,687

19

Gerald Wallace 

Boston 

$10,105,855 

1.2 

$8,421,545

20

Pau Gasol 

LAL 

$19,285,850 

2.4 

$8,035,770

21

Deron Williams 

Brooklyn 

$18,466,130 

2.3 

$8,028,752

22

Austin Rivers 

NO

$2,339,040 

0.3 

$7,796,800

23

Carlos Boozer 

Chicago 

$15,300,000 

2.0 

$7,650,000

24

Evan Turner 

Philadelphia

$6,679,867 

0.9 

$7,422,074

25

A. Bargnani 

New York 

$11,862,500 

1.6 

$7,414,062

Observations:

  • 22 of the 25 players play for teams below .500, and 17 are in the Eastern Conference. 
  • Among those on winning teams is Kendrick Perkins, whose PER went from 15.0 during his last full year with the Celtics, to 9.6 the following season, and has continued to drop to his current 6.3 mark. His 0.7 win shares are last on the Thunder among players who have played in a majority of the team's games, and is just over half that of 10th place Perry Jones.
  • The list is appropriately headlined by two Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee is a league-worst 9-43 this season.
  • This group of players is dominated by a few teams. The high-spending but underachieving Brooklyn Nets have four players here, and current Celtic Gerald Wallace was just traded from the Nets in the off-season in the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett deal. The disappointing Cleveland Cavaliers, and the aforementioned Bucks have three players each.
  • More superstars appear on this list than the first, and most are on bad teams. Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Pau Gasol, and Carlos Boozer have all been top NBA players in the past, but each is having a rough year. The Nets players probably have the most to look forward to, as they have played relatively well in 2014 after a dreadful first two months of the year. Their inflated salaries have more to do with their presence on this list than bad play, although they've definitely underperformed.