It doesn't take a genius front office to know when a player is deserving of a max contract. In fact, that may be the easiest thing a front office has to figure out.
Where the best general managers and their advisors earn their money is deciphering which players to target on cheap deals. The best value contracts in the NBA can help lift bench units, tighten defenses or even change teams' overall fortunes.
Below are seven of the best value contracts league-wide thus far in 2018-19.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
The recently extended Dinwiddie is making an obscenely low amount of money for how much he's producing. The Colorado product is posting absurd numbers, considering he's only started three games all year, averaging 16.9 points, 4.9 assists and 2.0 threes per contest on healthy 47.4/36.8/77.3 shooting splits.
Dinwiddie's deal had the 6-foot-6 guard making $1.7 million this season. His extension, which doesn't kick in until 2019-20, will be worth three years and $34.4 million, for an annual average value of $11.5 million, a much fairer price relative to the market. However, if Dinwiddie maintains this level of play, even that amount may end up looking awfully team-friendly over the coming seasons.
Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves
After a season featuring more valleys than peaks in 2017-18, Rose is playing some of the best basketball of his career.
Through 26 games, the 2011 league MVP is averaging 18.5 points and 4.5 assists per contest, shooting a career-best 49.2 percent from the floor and a career-high 47.7 percent from three – the third-highest rate among players with at least 80 three-point attempts this season.
Simply put, Rose has been spectacular this year, a fact best exemplified by his excellent +8.8 swing rating – the best mark of his career.
For a player on the minimum (one year, $2.2 million), Rose is pumping out an insane amount of nightly production, leading one to believe his next contract will be a good bit richer than that.
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers
Much was made of McGee being one of the Lakers' first signings following LeBron James' decision to head west, and most of the reactions weren't positive.
Nevertheless, the veteran big man has responded by posting one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. Not only are his averages – 11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks – impressive, McGee is also posting career marks in various advanced metrics, including Box Plus/Minus (BPM), which says 2018-19 has been McGee's best year.
It's not just McGee's offense, which is certainly aided by playing with a certain four-time league MVP, that has turned heads; his defense has also been quite effective. According to NBA.com, opponents are shooting just 55.8 percent from within five feet of the basket when facing McGee, the fourth-best mark league-wide (min: 500 field-goal attempts faced). Considering McGee is on a one-year minimum (worth $2.4 million), he's unquestionably one of the value pickups of the offseason.
Noah Vonleh, New York Knicks
Vonleh having the best year of his professional career might be a little less surprising since, in his case, it's been due to natural development. Vonleh is still just 23.
As a first-year member of the Knicks, Vonleh is averaging 8.2 points and 8.0 rebounds with a healthy 60.9 true-shooting percentage. Only 14 other players this season are posting similar numbers, among them established big men such as Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela and DeAndre Jordan.
On a one-year, $1.6 million deal (which was even non-guaranteed prior to Sept. 18), Vonleh has proven to be a worthwhile gamble.
Trey Burke, New York Knicks
Former Michigan point guard Burke has thrived since landing in New York last season. Since joining the Knicks, he has averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 1.1 three-pointers in less than 22 minutes nightly.
Among players with less than 1,300 minutes played between 2017-18 and 2018-19, Burke's Offensive Win Shares (2.6) rank third in the NBA. And as far as scoring out of the pick-and-roll, Burke's 1.03 PPP places ninth league-wide, according to Synergy.
On the second season of a two-year, $2.6 million contract, Burke has produced. His upcoming free agency should be interesting.
Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City Thunder
Noel has finished nearly one-third of his possessions as the roll man in a PnR offense. He has produced 1.25 PPP, which currently ranks No. 17 (minimum: 30 possessions) this season. It has helped for the 6-foot-11 Noel to be on the court with point guards Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder.
"They both know how to find guys — it helps me open things up and spread it out in pick-and-roll actions," he recently told HoopsHype. "It helps the whole team when I find my way to the basket as a roller."
Along with the noteworthy pick-and-roll scoring numbers, Noel has put up 5.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks nightly this year. Those numbers may not seem like much, but considering his role and the fact he has to back up a talented big man like Steven Adams, it's a solid line.
Noel is on year one of a two-year, $3.8 million minimum contract, but since year two of that deal contains a player option, it's very possible Noel tests the open market yet again in the summer of 2019.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Many questioned how Wade would handle a backup role in his final season in the NBA. Would he force his way into the starting lineup? If not, once subbed in every game, would he become an inefficient chucker?
Wade has answered both questions with a resounding no. The 2006 Finals MVP is putting up 14.5 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds nightly in 2018-19, while shooting 35.6 percent from three, by far the best rate of his career. The only other players to post similar averages in their age-37 seasons are Karl Malone and John Havlicek, two other first-ballot Hall-of-Famers.
That's ridiculous production for a player on a veteran-minimum deal worth $2.4 million. Furthermore, Wade is still someone the Heat can depend on.
Follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.
Source: Read Full Article