In NBA free agency, it is expected that players are going to be overpaid, but there are some players who won’t be worth their high asking prices, regardless of their potential.
Landry Fields signed a three-year deal worth $20 million with the Toronto Raptors last season, and that didn’t exactly turn out well. He finished the season averaging only 4.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
The difference between a player worth a big contract and a player unworthy of one depends on a couple of things. It depends on whether they are on the decline or still improving, whether or not injuries have been an issue and if the player is simply overrated.
With the criteria set, let’s look at some talented free agents who are likely going to be overpaid in free agency.
Let me get this out of the way before I get yelled at: Josh Smith is a great player and has been for a while. On the other hand, he is going to be asking for superstar-like money, and he is not a superstar in the NBA.
The top-tier players of the league are guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, who consistently put up 30-point games and can take over on a whim. Smith is a star, but he’s not quite a superstar.
Smith's numbers were good last season, as he put up 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. On the other hand, he struggled with free throws, shooting only 51.7 percent from the line. He also had 3.0 turnovers per game.
There’s no question that a team is going to sign this guy to a mega deal, but he’s certainly not worth that much money.
Is there a more risky free agent to pick up this year than Bynum?
It’s kind of hard to think of anyone else, mostly because of the major injury concerns. He failed to get on the court at any point last season because of knee issues, and the Philadelphia 76ers watched him sit on the sideline for the entire season.
When Bynum is healthy, however, he’s an extremely good player.
His last season with the Los Angeles Lakers was easily his best season. He averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Not only could he score, he was efficient, making 55.8 percent of his shots.
Even with the impressive talent of Bynum, he’s an incredible risk with plenty of health problems. But some team will find the money to give him another big pay day and take the risk of having him on their roster.
If a team wants a guy with big-game potential, Jennings is a good option, but only for the right price.
However, some team will overpay this guy, who isn’t the most consistent playmaker in the league.
People will look at the 55-point game from Jennings’ rookie year and say that he has the tools to be a superstar, but there are warning signs that suggest otherwise.
A field goal percentage of only 39.9 percent last season is the big concern here. He’s only broken 40 percent shooting from the field once in four seasons, a sign of poor shot selection and a shoot-first mentality.
The rest of his numbers have stayed relatively stagnant over the past couple of seasons, and as a young player he should be developing into a better overall player.
This guy still has time to become a star in this league, but, until he does, he will be considered an overpaid player after signing a deal this offseason.