9 NBA players had a $25 million dollar paycheck in the 2018-19 season. Only two were All-Stars (Joel Embiid and Anthony Davis). Three of the nine will be in the playoffs. Perhaps a fourth if the Heat give Hassan Whiteside a shot at the postseason. Currently the Heat are the 9th seed after losing a home game to the Magic.
C.J. McCollum, Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid are batting .333 for this particular class of millionaires who make more money than just about everyone who isn’t cheating (that would be you college admissions scam guy).
So are the $25 million dollar losers underachievers? A victim of karma? Overrated? Or, is the system meant to reward both the playoff producer and the not good enough to get there? Yes. Yes. Yes. And hell yes.
Jrue Holiday. $18,293 per point. It was his worst year at the 3-point line but he was still a strong playmaker averaging 7 assists, and a consistent scorer at 21.2 points a game. But his defense was abysmal, he made 38% of his jumpers, and in close game situations he could not be trusted. Holiday has only been an All-Star once and that was when he was in Philly six years ago. Still, he was handed a sweet max contract with the anticipation he and Anthony Davis would be teammates for a long time. Oops.
Carmelo Anthony. $190,555 per point. Carmelo’s worst season of his career and perhaps we should be talking about it in the past tense. Melo only played 10 games because no one was interested in picking him up after the Rockets sent him home like a bad third grader who won’t stop throwing spit balls at the teacher. He could have signed with the Lakers but turned Magic down because he didn’t want to be on a sinking ship, forgetting that this iteration of his career is pretty much a sinking ship. Speaking of ships. The Banana Boat Crew are all descending. LeBron’s defense is way downhill and he isn’t the league’s best player. Chris Paul has old man’s game. And D-Wade is retiring. Slide Melo into that has been conversation.
Andrew Wiggins. $22,577 per point. Has the waiting time passed? Is the clock at zero? Waiting for Andrew Wiggins to turn into a star player, to meet his potential, to live up to his paycheck, to act like he cares about his career other than being a professional athlete has aged all of us. The scouts wondered did Wiggins have a big enough motor to survive the NBA. This season has been his worst. Lowest field goal percentage. Pathetic from three. 69% at the line. Two assists per game. Lowest ppg since his rookie year. He is the 41st ranked small forward. Jared Dudley is higher ranked than Wiggins. The real: he isn’t being paid like he is the 41st ranked small forward. Trying to figure Wiggins out will only give you a headache.
Bradley Beal. $13,281 per point. This really is the best year of Bradley Beal’s career. He’s played a career high 37 minutes a game. Filling in for John Wall, he has a career high in assists. Career high offensive rating. 20.7 PER. 7th ranked shooting guard behind Donovan Mitchell. And a sick 52% in the 4th quarter. When John Wall comes back, or if he’s replaced, whoever is the point has to deal with Bradley Beal and his talent. Beal is not a number two. He is a 1A.
Anthony Davis. $17,516 per point. This season has been a disaster. The trade demand failed so epically Davis came out looking like a spoiled NBA superstar. He is still under contract and even though he will be moved in the summer his L.A. dream will have a wait. Add in that Davis has underperformed in NOLA. He has rarely led them to the playoffs. As for his season, it’s been pretty consistent Anthony Davis. 26 points and 12 rebounds. It’s the Davis story. You can nitpick his numbers but he gives you what you expect from an athlete so gifted. 122 offensive rating. 105 defensive rating. 30.4 PER. He’s a for real superstar who went for it and lost. Temporarily.