There were only a dozen players who averaged at least 20 points per game in 2011/12, making them among the most valuable commodities in the league. There's a lot more than scoring when it comes to determining a player's value, but point production often wins the hearts of fans, coaches and general managers alike. In short, top scorers usually command top salaries, and scoring ability will weigh heavily in the decisions on players eligible for extensions this summer.
Below we've listed the 20+ PPG scorers from 2011/12, their salaries for last year and this coming season, and what they made last year for each point of their scoring average. The final column is a measure of what they're getting paid this year for each point of their 2011/12 scoring average.
- The best values are, of course, young players on their rookie contracts. Next year, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook won't be the bargains they were this past season. The Clippers get one more season of Griffin at seven figures before he gets a significant raise when his maximum extension kicks in for 2013/14.
- Since the CBA allows escalating salaries based on years in the league, it makes sense that Kobe Bryant, who's consistently played an elite level for 16 seasons, is by far the most expensive player on the list. He and Dirk Nowitzki are the only 20+ PPG players older than 30.
- There's a dropoff, it seems, for the last two players on the list. Monta Ellis and David Lee are both making salaries significantly below the other players who aren't on rookie contracts. It might be easy to dismiss this as an inflation of their scoring averages based on their time with the up-tempo Warriors, especially since Ellis averaged only 17.6 PPG after his midseason trade to the Bucks. Yet the Warriors finished tied for 11th in team scoring average this past season under new coach Mark Jackson, suggesting Ellis and Lee came by their points without significant help from a high-octane offense.
Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this post.