Wesley Johnson seemed destined to be playing 32.4 minutes per game in the 2014/15 season when he went fourth overall in the 2010 draft. It’s just that the salary he’s being paid to do it is not what most at that time would have imagined. Johnson has carved out a sizable role on the Lakers this year after failing to do so early in his career. That failure drove down his value, and a once-intriguing prospect consented to play for just the minimum salary this year.
Johnson is nonetheless averaging only 8.6 points a night, and though he attempts 3.0 three-pointers per outing, he connects on only 29.4% of them, so it’s not as if he’s making a case to continue to see his minutes. His copious playing time is as much a reflection on the last-place Lakers as it is on his progress. It’s no coincidence that five of the 20 minimum-salary players who’ve seen action in at least half of the games their respective teams have played and who’ve been on the floor for at least 20 minutes per night have done so for the Sixers this season. One of them is Chris Johnson, whom the Sixers waived even though he averaged 20.8 MPG in nine appearances for the club.
Still, not everyone on this list is there by dint of playing for a team with few other reliable options. Draymond Green is playing 31.7 MPG for the Warriors, who are 14-2 and whose primary long-term concern at this point might be how to handle the substantial raise that Green will merit in restricted free agency this summer. Other players are on the list largely by their own choice, notably Shawn Marion, who turned down overtures from the Pacers and others with the capacity to give him more money to chase a title with the Cavs on the minimum salary. Injuries have created opportunities for some, like the three Pacers on this list.
Here’s a rundown of all 20 players who make the minimum salary, have appeared in at least half of the games their respective teams have played, and see 20 or more minutes per game this season:
- Wesley Johnson, Lakers: 32.4
- Draymond Green, Warriors: 31.7
- Donald Sloan, Pacers: 31.5
- Hollis Thompson, Sixers: 27.4
- Lance Thomas, Thunder: 25.6
- Henry Sims, Sixers: 24.9
- Shawn Marion, Cavaliers: 24.7
- K.J. McDaniels, Sixers: 24.4
- Quincy Acy, Knicks: 23.3
- Khris Middleton, Bucks: 23.1
- Lavoy Allen, Pacers: 22.6
- Garrett Temple, Wizards: 22.6
- Isaiah Canaan, Rockets: 22.0
- Rodney Stuckey, Pacers: 21.8
- Ed Davis, Lakers: 21.6
- Chris Johnson, Sixers: 20.8 (waived)
- Brandon Davies, Sixers: 20.6
- Sebastian Telfair, Thunder: 20.4 (waived)
- Aaron Brooks, Bulls: 20.3
- Ronnie Price, Lakers: 20.3
The Basketball Insiders Salary Pages were used in the creation of this post.