It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, where 29 of the NBA’s 30 teams are based, so it seems like the right time to identify the players with the most to be thankful for. There are certainly plenty of worthy candidates, since just making the NBA is an achievement that should provoke gratitude.
We’ll use NBA.com’s net rating to help us. It measures how many points per 100 possessions a team either gains or loses while a player is on the floor. We’re only counting players who signed a new contract or an extension this past offseason. That leaves out guys like Amar’e Stoudemire, who has a negative 26.3 net rating while drawing nearly $21.7MM from the Knicks this year. He signed a contract for almost $100MM in 2010, and save for his first few months in blue-and-orange, he’s had reason to give thanks everyday since, so Thanksgiving is nothing special.
This list also excludes players who’ve played less than 100 minutes this season. The bar-room brawl that knocked Larry Sanders out for six weeks with an injured thumb gives him more reason for remorse than gratefulness, and there’s plenty of reason to think his negative 28.3 net rating in just 52 minutes this season will improve once he hits the court again. Certainly, the Bucks have $44MM reasons to hope so.
Another qualification is that the player’s team must be at least .500, since it’s a lot easier to accrue a negative net rating on a squad with a poor record. The minus 19.2 net rating that Derrick Favors has put up after signing for four years and $48MM certainly isn’t helping the Jazz, but it’s far from the only reason that Utah is a league-worst 2-14.
There’s also aren’t any minimum-salary players on the list. While even the smallest of NBA paychecks would represent a raise for most, it’s hard to expect much out of a player plucked from the NBA’s bargain bin, like Jamaal Tinsley and his minus 20.2 net rating.
We’re left with four players, enough to gather around a Thanksgiving table. Their net ratings, all of which are worse than negative 10, are listed in parentheses.
- Quincy Pondexter, Grizzlies (-18.0) — signed four-year, $14MM extension
- Marreese Speights, Warriors (-16.4) — signed three-year, $10,972,500 contract
- Dennis Schröder, Hawks (-16.3) — signed four-year, $7,510,862 rookie scale contract
- Tony Snell, Bulls (-11.3) — signed four-year, $6,785,647 rookie scale contract
ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.