Most Underpaid NBA Players in 2010-11

| by David Berri

A fun thing we like to do each year at the Wages of Wins Network is look at which players were paid too little and which were paid too much. For fun I’ll start optimistically this year. Above are the top 15 players that weren’t paid anywhere close to their output according to the Wins Produced metric.

The method to figure this out is pretty simple. Last year there were approximately $1.94 Billion in salaries for the whole NBA. In a given season there are 1230 available wins, making the simple value of a win around $1.58 million. If we award a player $1.58 million for each Win the produce and then dock them their pay, we can get their net value (sorry for the Econ 101 everyone!)

Similar problems with the NBA contract structure remain. Many of the players on the list are players still on their rookie contracts. Additionally thanks to max salaries and possible coercion, Howard, James, Wade and Paul cannot possible get paid for what they are worth. Finally Kris Humphries, Chuck Hayes, Lamar Odom and Rondo are players that get much of their production from methods other than scoring. As a result they may be paid less than they should. It’s also good to note that Chuck Hayes and Kris Humphries had career years this season, so it remains to be seen if they’re production will stay as high.

Many of the players on this list are repeat offenders. Players in bold were also on the most underpaid last year as well. The rookie scale contract and the max contract based on experience definitely prevent many productive players from getting their due. At the same time, this also benefits other players and the owners. As such it’s unlikely the new CBA will do away with this problem, it seems likely we’ll see many of the same names on this list next year.


2010-2011 Top 30 Underpaid Players. Salaries and Values in millions. Salary Data from Basketball-Reference (who I believe rely on Patricia Bender)