NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part V: Southwest Division

Welcome to Part 5 of our 6-part series taking a look at every contract in the NBA—except for rookies and two-way contracts, plus anyone who didn’t play in the league last season due to injury or having been overseas or something—and quantifying the ratio of minute-weighted dollars paid to Win Shares produced.

To remind folks who haven’t read previous entries in this series:

As a quick reminder, a rookie, veteran minimum, or midlevel exception contract should produce a Wiggins Factor below 100, a rotation player with a rotation salary should be under 200, and ideally you want your superstar-level contracts below 200 as well but anything below 300 is “it’s a star-driven league, stars cost money.”

Anything over 400 is “you overpaid”, anything over 500 is a bad contract by any measure, anything in four digits (or more) is an atrocity.

And if the figure is negative, trade your guy for a bag of used basketballs and call someone up from the G-League.

On with the show:

Houston Rockets

Clint Capela: $16.46M, 125.25
Tyson Chandler: $2.56M, 66.15
Gary Clark: $1.42M, 122.81
Eric Gordon: $14.06M, 434.65
Gerald Green: $2.56M, 112.14
James Harden: $37.8M, 204.31
Isaiah Hartenstein: $1.42M, 250.40
Danuel House: $3.54M, 125.95
Ben McLemore: $1.88M, 626.59
Austin Rivers: $2.17M, 127.71
P.J. Tucker: $8.35M, 136.39
Russell Westbrook: $38.18M, 426.02

Look out below…Westbrook has already cleared the 400 mark, he’s beginning the downward stage of his career trajectory as he passes 30, and it’s only going to get worse from here. Good luck with that, Houston. It’s going to crash-land in a hurry after you have maybe a one-year title window left, two if you’re lucky.

There are a lot of contracts here with high Wiggins Factors for their salary slot, but there is only one truly dreadful contract on the roster and that’s McLemore—and even that’s relative since he makes under $2 million.

This will get ugly later, but in 2019-20, it’s the best the Rockets could do.

San Antonio Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge: $26M, 228.06
Marco Belinelli: $5.85M, 195.17
DeMarre Carroll: $7M, 160.87
DeMar DeRozan: $27.74M, 362.67
Bryn Forbes: $2.88M, 62.58
Rudy Gay: $14M, 260.13
Trey Lyles: $5.5M, 434.89
Chimezie Metu: $1.42M, -3,816.02 (!)
Patty Mills: $12.43M, 294.73
Dejounte Murray: $2.32M, 60.22
Jakob Poltl: $3.75M, 60.08
Lonnie Walker: $2.76M, 4,845.39 (!!)
Derrick White: $1.95M, 43.98

The Spurs are well set-up for the future, with low Wiggins Factors on guys on rookie deals (except Walker, who suffered from not getting any minutes in 2018-19.) DeRozan is a bad contract but not a catastrophically bad one.

And Aldridge, surprisingly, ranks acceptably for a star-sized contract.

It’s funny seeing a badly-constructed roster that still manages to be reasonably priced. They just need to get their offense out of the Dark Ages.

Memphis Grizzlies

Grayson Allen: $2.43M, 17,417.83 (!!!)
Kyle Anderson: $9.07M, 278.68
Dillon Brooks: $1.62M, -77.29
Bruno Caboclo: $1.85M, 101.13
Jae Crowder: $7.82M, 221.97
Solomon Hill: $13.26M, 2,049.77
Dwight Howard: $5.6M, 749.43
Andre Iguodala: $17.19M, 574.11
Jaren Jackson Jr.: $6.93M, 171.47
Josh Jackson: $7.06M, -971.10 (!!)
Tyus Jones: $8.41M, 254.37
De’Anthony Melton: $1.42M, 1635.15
Miles Plumlee: $12.5M, 1723.59
Ivan Rabb: $1.62M, 64.55
Jonas Valanciunas: $16M, 461.77

Oh my…lots of awful acquisitions here. Solomon Hill is a complete waste of money at his salary level, Josh Jackson is one of the worst players in the league, Grayson Allen is a thug who’s yet to prove he can play at the NBA level without just being good for eating fouls to hack-a-someone, and Dwight Howard is grotesquely overpaid even around the midlevel exception.

Better things are ahead in Memphis, as Ja Morant looks like a star in the making, but as a certain other team in this division’s about to prove, that’s faint comfort when the rest of your roster is overpaid garbage creating cap hell.

Memphis has a famously bad front office, and they’ve done it again.

Dallas Mavericks

Ryan Broekhoff: $1.44M, 145.49
Jalen Brunson: $1.42M, 45.62
Seth Curry: $7.44M, 409.98
Luka Doncic: $7.68M, 129.12
Dorian Finney-Smith: $4M, 100.4
Tim Hardaway Jr.: $18.15M, 529.14
Justin Jackson: $3.28M, 103.86
Maxi Kleber: $8M, 188.87
Courtney Lee: $12.76M, 1945.07 (!!)
Dwight Powell: $10.26M, 113.01
Delon Wright: $9.47M, 271.03

(using 2017-18’s stats, Kristaps Porzingis clocks in at 613.95. Not good. Not good at all.)

The Mavs have a lot of solid contracts, then they have the “let’s not get carried away by the last name” lesser of the Curry brothers, the weak sauce of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s game, Courtney Lee’s awful contract, and Porzingis, who despite making the All-Star Game in 2017-18, has never actually put up numbers on the advanced stats front that suggest he’s remotely worthy of All-Star consideration.

But if they actually build around Powell, Doncic, and Finney-Smith, they could potentially move Porzingis’ contract and really be on to something.

New Orleans Pelicans

Lonzo Ball: $8.72M, 520.06
Derrick Favors: $16.9M, 265.44
Josh Hart: $1.93M, 84.18
Jrue Holiday: $26.13M, 396.46
Brandon Ingram: $7.27M, 331.44
Frank Jackson: $1.62M, 303.03
Darius Miller: $7.25M, 360.92
E’Twaun Moore: $8.66M, 423.61
Jahlil Okafor: $1.7M, 62.23
J.J. Redick: $13.49M, 292.31
Kenrich Williams: $1.44M, 99.11

Man, just look at all those 300-400 range contracts, and while we’re on the subject, let’s point at Ball’s contract, the worst on the team by Wiggins Factor, and laugh most heartily.

But seriously, the Pellies agreed to take out the Lakers’ trash for them to get rid of Anthony Davis. That was mighty nice of them.

The last takeaway from all this is Okafor, who is a bargain at the MLE or below and a waste of money if he’s paid like something other than a guy who should be eating up a cheap salary spot.

But they’ve got Zion Williamson. Let the fun begin…if he stays healthy.

COMING SATURDAY: Pacific Division.