Despite the wealth of information available to NBA scouts and executives these days, there is still no correct way to calculate a player's value.
The analytical crowd has done their part offering up various measures of effectiveness like player efficiency ratings and win shares. The more traditional minds tend to focus on the intangibles a player brings to his team like hustle and effort.
And even in the absence of a hard salary cap, a player's contract worth has to be factored into the equation.
With so many variables shaping the conversation, players can be overvalued in a number of ways.
Some simply can't match their performance to their economic level. Others find themselves blocking their franchises' paths to improvements by keeping younger, more efficient players off the floor or even off the roster.
While their rap sheets may vary, all of the players on this list are guilty of the inexact crime of being overvalued.
*Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and salary figures used courtesy of HoopsWorld.com.
Louis Williams is a specialist. He's carved out an eight-year NBA career with his ability to light up the scoreboard in a flash.
But turning those eruptions into steady streams of production has always been an issue.
In 39 games for the Atlanta Hawks last season—a torn ACL ended his year on Jan. 18—he poured in at least 20 points eight different times. But he failed to crack double digits in nine games—10 if you include his 10-minute run on the night of his injury.
He could be a good shooter but remains mired in mediocrity (career .421/.342/.802 shooting slash) due to his quick trigger finger. Nearly 62 percent of his shots came from beyond 16 feet last season, via Basketball-Reference.com.
If he's not lining up from distance, he relies on quickness and athleticism to get to the basket. Whether those areas will survive his rehab remains unknown. The Hawks could either catch lightning in a bottle with any of the three or improve their odds of finding a difference-maker in the stacked 2014 draft.
Avery Bradley is a defensive pest from baseline to baseline. He's aggressive, athletic and instinctive beyond his years.
But once the game shifts to the other end of the floor, he's one-half of the league's worst shooting backcourt.
And unlike Rajon Rondo, Bradley (career 33.5 three-point percentage) is still searching for ways to expand his offensive game without a perimeter shot. Rondo boasts a career 48.1 field-goal percentage; Bradley's failed to hit more than 41 percent of his shots from the field in two of his three NBA seasons.
At 6'2", 180 pounds, he's undersized for the wing. But without the opportunity or the requisite skill set to move to the point guard spot (career 1.4 assists against 1.1 turnovers), he'll remain a shooting guard who can't shoot.
While teams have expressed interest in the stopper, Celtics team president Danny Ainge said he's not looking to deal him, via Scott Souza of The MetroWest Daily News. Considering that Boston's clearly in asset-acquisition mode, it's time to start listening to all offers for the pint-sized, one-dimensional player with a history of injury problems.
It shouldn't be this easy to pinpoint the worst contract on a team staring at a nearly $200 million payroll next season, yet its presence is glaring.
Joe Johnson, 32 years old with 12 years of NBA wear and tear, is set to rake in almost $70 million in salary over the next three seasons, via HoopsWorld.com.
Even if he was still at his best, that's an egregious price to pay for the ball-stopper known as "Iso Joe." His most marketable asset, scoring, has never been all that marketable. He's averaged better than 22 points only once in his career (2006-07), a number that seven different players topped last season alone.
His player efficiency rating fell below league average last season (14.1), and his spiraling field-goal percentage (42.3) is headed for something even worse. But the Brooklyn Nets keep giving him a superstar's workload (36.7 minutes per game) .
Maybe if he were playing some defense, his exorbitantly expensive offensive issues wouldn't look quite so bad, but he's not even doing that—his 111 defensive rating was the worst among all Brooklyn regulars in 2012-13.
Economically and statistically, this is called legalized larceny.
Sorry for being a buzzkill, Charlotte Bobcats fans.
For all of the (relative) excitement surrounding the arrivals of Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller, unfortunately Ben Gordon still plays for this team.
He plays like he's auditioning for a bench role. He took more shots per 36 minutes last season (17.5) than he had since 2006-07, despite a career-low 40.8 field-goal percentage. His rapid fire used to be defensible (21.4 points a night in 2006-07); that's no longer the case (11.2)
The Bobcats (21-61) weren't that good to begin with, but they were a disaster when Gordon stepped on the floor. His mere presence cost the team a net loss of 8.3 points per 100 possessions.
Unfortunately for Bobcats fans, there's still one more season of Gordon to endure before this horror story is finished. Even worse, it'll cost the team $13.2 million to get to the final chapter.
Can Taj Gibson get some love, Chicago Bulls? Please.
The former USC stud got his money—$33 million over the next four seasons. Now it's time to give him the chance to earn it.
Which leads us to Carlos Boozer, the Gibson blocker and perennial amnesty candidate.
He isn't a walking 20-10 threat anymore and hasn't been since he hit the Windy City in 2010. But he's still paid like one ($15.3 million next season).
With his scoring down to 16.2 points a night, his field-goal percentage as bad as it's ever been (47.7) and his defense a constant source of anguish, how long before Tom Thibodeau will gamble on Gibson's potential two-way production?
Longer than it needs to be, that's for sure.
The fourth overall pick in 2012, Dion Waiters has already removed any possible "bust" labels from his future.
He was the second-leading scorer for the Cleveland Cavaliers at 14.7 points per game and provided his fair share of highlights. At best, he blooms into an All-Star down the line; at worst, he's a potent option for the reserve squad.
Which is where he could be headed next season if Cleveland's owner Dan Gilbert is serious about ending his team's three-year playoff drought.
His shooting is far from consistent (.412/.310/.746), and he's at his best with the ball in his hands. If the Cavs keep giving Waiters close to 29 minutes a night, he either lowers his ceiling by losing touches to Kyrie Irving or, worse, takes them away from the budding superstar.
Jarrett Jack knows how to bring the most out of a scoring guard (see: Curry, Stephen) and could serve as a similar boost for Irving. Waiters will have his time to shine, but too much of it too soon could keep Cleveland fans hoping for more lottery magic from Gilbert's son, Nick.
If the Dallas Mavericks could find a way to take defense out of the equation, then Jose Calderon could be a relative steal on a four-year, $29 million contract.
He has a 50-40-90 stroke, and his decision-making (career 7.2 assists against 1.7 turnovers) goes unparalleled among floor generals not named Chris Paul.
Sadly, though, there is no way of avoiding the defensive end. There, Calderon, a 31-year-old losing whatever athleticism he had to Father Time, is a borderline contract albatross.
Sharing a backcourt with Monta Ellis makes masking Calderon's limitations impossible. Instead, he'll be forced to play catch up with the numerous track stars filling the ranks at his position.
Calderon's value is limited now, but just imagine how it will look over the life of this contract. If Dallas hit on either of its rookie floor generals (Shane Larkin, Gal Mekel), then Calderon will be a high-priced reserve sooner than you'd think.
The Denver Nuggets are on the hook for $34 million over the next three seasons for a five-year veteran with a career 8.7 scoring average. Either the price of mediocrity is soaring, or the Nuggets missed badly on this investment.
But JaVale McGee's overvaluing isn't limited to the finance books.
Coach of the Year George Karl and big man Kosta Koufos, who started 81 games for the 57-win Nuggets last season, are no longer in Denver largely because McGee is.
According to The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman, Karl claims that the tight leash he kept on the inconsistent McGee drove the team's decision to fire him. Koufos was deemed expendable and dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies this summer. That's a lot of maneuvering for a player who's never averaged more than 11.3 points or 8.0 rebounds.
While McGee tantalizes with athleticism, he's yet to figure out how to maximize his physical gifts. If he'd give up the point-center idea and focus on developing his interior game, he has All-NBA potential.
But if he hasn't learned that lesson in 25 years, what makes the Nuggets think that he'll suddenly figure it out now?
For as good as the Detroit Pistons can be next season, there were a number of options to choose for this slide.
But Rodney Stuckey was the safe choice thanks to his $8.5 million. Now Charlie Villanueva's own $8.5 million deal is actually a worst financial investment, but Stuckey plagues this team both in its pockets and on the floor.
He's a 6'5" combo guard that handles neither backcourt job well. He proved last season that he's not an effective shooter (.406/.302/.783), scorer (11.5 points on 9.8 field-goal attempts) or passer (3.6 assists against 1.8 turnovers per game).
Joe Dumars has all but admitted his mistake on Villanueva; the UConn product saw just 15.8 minutes per game last season. But the Pistons continue handling the 27-year-old Stuckey like a developmental project. He saw more than 28 minutes of floor time in 2012-13 and started 24 games.
David Lee started his Golden State Warriors career as simply an awful contract on a lousy team.
Since his arrival in 2010, he's become the franchise's first All-Star since 1997 and last season led the Warriors to only their second playoff berth since 1994.
But that contract hasn't gotten any more attractive—the defensive liability is still owed more than $44 million through 2015-16—and now he's keeping this team from taking the next step.
When Lee suffered a torn hip flexor in the first game of Golden State's playoff run, then-rookie Harrison Barnes was reborn as a wildly productive stretch 4. Barnes, who averaged 9.2 points during the regular season, was the team's third-leading scorer in the postseason with 16.1 points a night.
Now that Andre Iguodala has been added to the mix, Barnes is likely headed to Mark Jackson's reserve team. For as good as Lee is (18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season), he's not worth the risk of stunting Barnes' development.
The superstar hopes for Jeremy Lin have been extinguished. The global phenomenon known as Linsanity has left the hardwood and entered the film world.
So why does Lin have the dubious honor of serving as the most overvalued member of the Houston Rockets? Because he could derail Houston's championship-or-bust 2013-14 campaign.
Unless coach Kevin McHale opens up the competition, Lin will enter next season as his starting point guard. Lin didn't play badly enough to lose his job on his own (13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game), but Patrick Beverley is a much better fit for the opening lineup.
In 41 games, Beverley helped Houston to a net rating of plus-11 points per 100 possessions. When Lin took the floor, Houston suffered a net rating of minus-one.
Lin's a superior shot-creator, but the Rockets should have more than enough scoring between James Harden, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons. Beverley's a far superior athlete and defender, and a perfect catch-and-shoot complement (37.5 three-point percentage) for the playmaking Harden.
According to HoopsWorld.com's Alex Kennedy, the Indiana Pacers are in no hurry to trade former All-Star Danny Granger. What's the holdup?
As knee injuries kept Granger sidelined for all but 74 minutes last season, the Pacers (49-32) surged to their best regular-season record and first Eastern Conference Finals berth since 2003-04. With Paul George back at the small forward spot and Lance Stephenson inserted into the starting five, the Pacers silenced opposing offenses to a league-best 99.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.
Granger's trade value has likely taken a noticeable dip around the league, but there's no easy way for them to build it back up.
Replacing the athletic 22-year-old Stephenson with an injury prone 30-year-old runs opposite of the team's defensive identity. Granger could have been the focal point of Indiana's lackluster reserve group last season (24.1 points per game, via HoopsStats.com), but even that role's in jeopardy with Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson added to the second team this summer.
Wherever Granger's trade value lies now, this is as good as it's going to get. With rookie Swiss Army Knife Solomon Hill waiting in the wings, it'll cost the Pacers more than just Granger's $14 million salary to keep him around.
I'm going to go guess that DeAndre Jordan was not the reason Chris Paul decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.
I don't know, but there's something less than appealing about a 25-year-old center with a limited post game, reported attitude problems (via T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times) and a free-throw stroke that makes Dwight Howard smirk.
Jordan has some value, although it's nowhere close to his $10.9 million salary. He's big (6'11", 250 pounds), athletic and the kind of rim-protector that opposing drivers have to keep an eye on.
But even Lob City has a limited number of alley-oop chances each night.
Until Jordan finds post moves and some semblance of competency at the foul line, the Clippers won't be adding to Staples Center's championship banner collection.
The Miami Heat have tried to make it easy for Mario Chalmers.
Coach Erik Spoelstra's position-less system has relieved Chalmers of virtually all of the traditional point guard duties.
Rather than initiate offense, Chalmers shuttles around the perimeter waiting for a kick-out pass that usually never comes. He plays a more conventional role on the opposite end of the floor, but he'll be taken off the ball if Miami desperately needs a stop.
Theoretically, less should be more for Chalmers. Less offensive chances means less defensive attention, which should only elevate the success rate of those chances.
Yet he remains a below-average offensive player (13.7 player efficiency rating) who allowed above-average performances to his matchup (15.5 player efficiency allowed, via 82games.com). As a floor-spacer, he was only Miami's fourth-most effective shooter from distance (40.9 three-point percentage) but given the most minutes of that group (26.9).
Chalmers is always good for a breakout performance every now and again, and the 2013 postseason was no exception. He had a 20-point outing in the Eastern Conference Finals and another one in the NBA Finals.
But what about the 14 playoff games in which he was held to single digits? Shouldn't those mean something?
Steve Nash is more of an accomplice than the actual offender here.
When he joined the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, he walked into a no-win situation.
At 38 years old, he was asked to oil up his aging joints and run the fastest show in basketball. Predictably, his body gave way, first to a leg fracture and later to back, hip and hamstring injuries.
But his problems went beyond the physical level.
In order for L.A. to maximize the effectiveness of its roster, it had to find touches for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. Nash's wizardry with the basketball never had a chance to take shape, as he moved off of the ball and into a spot-up shooter's role.
He's still a prolific shooter (.497/.438/.922 last season), but he doesn't have the body or the opportunity to be a top-flight offensive point guard anymore. He just has the contract (two years, $19 million remaining) and expectations of one .
Tony Allen is the Memphis Grizzlies.
When players step onto the floor with Allen, they'll relive that pain the morning after the game. He invades comfort zones, cuts off any paths of escape and forces his man to feel his presence for as long as he's out on the floor.
For as rough as it sounds, though, a matchup with Allen has its perks.
When "moves well without the basketball" becomes your best offensive weapon, that says it all. Over 68 percent of his made field goals came at the rim last season, via Basketball-Reference.com, and nearly 62 percent of his makes came by way of an assist.
His specialist role slashes his margin for error, which is a tremendous burden to carry for 26.7 minutes a night.
The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to give Zaza Pachulia a three-year, $15 million contract was easily the most puzzling move of this offseason.
For starters, he's not a $5-million-per-season-type player. He has some NBA skills, but at the end of the day, he's simply an enforcer.
Which leads to the next part of this problem—how many enforcers does one team need?
Between Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and John Henson, the Bucks already have players striking fear in their opponents. Throw Ersan Ilyasova into the frontcourt rotation, and realistically how many minutes does that leave for Pachulia?
Not $15 million's worth, maybe not even $1.5 million.
Ricky Rubio does things on the basketball floor that few other NBA players can.
His passing skills dazzle with the lanes that he finds and the flair he delivers passes with.
But Rubio can't do one thing that hordes of other players can: shoot the basketball.
The absence of a three-point shot (career 31.7 percent shooter from deep) is something that the Minnesota Timberwolves can work with. From Rajon Rondo to Derrick Rose, the league has a number of floor generals who have excelled despite limited range.
But that career 35.9 field-goal percentage is a major issue. His lack of strength and speed closes off his driving lanes quicker than most, but even when he gets to the cup, he still has problems. He had 163 chances at the rim last season and converted just 73 of them, "good" enough for a 44.8 percent mark.
Despite his passing skills, his ball control is still shaky (career 3.5 turnovers per 36 minutes). He's also plenty generous on the defensive end, where he allowed opposing point guards an 18.6 player efficiency rating last season via 82games.com.
He has the potential to be special, but there's a lot of work to be done before that day comes.
It should be a requirement for New Orleans Pelicans fans next season.
While the team added some nice pieces over the summer, trying to envision how they'll all come together has migraine potential. And no player causes more of these headaches than Tyreke Evans.
Obviously the guy has talent. He didn't just stumble his way into becoming the fourth rookie in NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
But it's been a slippery slope ever since his eye-popping debut. His scoring, rebounding and assist averages have dipped in each of the three seasons since, along with his playing time, as the Sacramento Kings struggled to find an efficient way to make the most of his talent.
I'm not going to pretend to have the formula of getting Evans back on track, but I do know that it will involve plenty of touches. How exactly will he find all those chances with Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis on the floor? Does anyone have an Advil?
Seeing Amar'e Stoudemire in David Stern-approved street clothes has become an all-too-familiar sight.
After storming through his New York Knicks debut in 2010-11 (25.3 points in 78 regular-season appearances), he's managed a total of 76 regular-season games in the two seasons since.
What's more startling here is the fact that an inactive Stoudemire has become a calming source for Knicks fans. Between Carmelo Anthony's move to the post and New York's collection of shooters, Stoudemire was seen as more problem than solution when he was healthy enough to play.
Coach Mike Woodson will have to address some logistical spacing issues, but Stoudemire can still help this team win games. Truth be told, he was the model of efficiency last season, scoring 14.2 points on 57.7 percent shooting from the field in only 23.5 minutes a night.
But with $21.6 million headed his way next season and $23.4 million likely following the next season—anything short of Andrei Kirilenko's agent will keep him from opting out—he's an incredibly costly puzzle to solve.
While we're on the subject of killing floor space, why not bring Kendrick Perkins under the microscope?
He doesn't just struggle to score away from the basket; he's an offensive liability from point-blank range.
I'll give him credit for trying to expand his game. Over 58 percent of his field-goal attempts last season came from at least three feet from the basket, and more than 49 percent of those shots were launched from beyond 10 feet.
But there's a reason he hasn't tried featuring this added range before—namely his woeful 34.9 percent success rate from outside of 10 feet in 2012-13.
He's better on the defensive end of the floor, but not nearly good enough to justify his $8.7 million contract. The 25.1 minutes a night he played last season border on criminal.
He's not a strong rebounder (career 6.2 per game) or shot-blocker (1.3). Opposing centers enjoyed an above-average 16.5 player efficiency rating against him last season, via 82games.com.
Whenever the fact that a team won't amnesty player is deemed newsworthy, that's about as good of an indication as you're going to get regarding his value—or lack thereof.
Glen Davis might be overvalued, but the good news for Orlando Magic fans is that he shouldn't be overused next season.
A broken foot ended his 2012-13 season in January, and less than a month later, Orlando found its power forward for the future—Tobias Harris.
In 27 games for the Magic, Harris averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds. That's 2.1 points and 1.3 rebounds better than Davis was putting up during what would have to be considered his breakout season (career-high 15.0 player efficiency rating).
Harris adds quickness and athleticism to Orlando's frontcourt, along with a three-point shot that could be an added bonus if featured more selectively. Davis is the superior defender, but he's struggled on the glass (career 7.4 rebounds per 36 minutes). The former LSU star also has problems with shot selection, as he fired up 129 shots from 16 to 23 feet despite misfiring on all but 37 of them (28.7 percent).
A timeshare is likely in the works and will have to be expanded to include fellow forwards Andrew Nicholson and free-agent signee Jason Maxiell.
While all four could have a relatively equal say in Orlando's success next season, they won't be compensated as such. Davis is slated to earn $6.4 million, while Harris, Nicholson and Maxiell will take home just over $5.5 million combined.
The good news for Philadelphia 76ers fans is that new general manager Sam Hinkie holds virtually no loyalty to the mediocre roster he inherited.
The bad news is that even though the team will enter the 2013-14 season expectation-free, there are still 82 long games on the horizon. And one player will be relied on to guide the Sixers through those six months of misery.
Evan Turner, the second overall pick in 2010, will take on that unenviable role by default.
At best, he's a complementary piece on a good team. He's OK in a lot of areas but lacks a clear-cut strength. His unremarkable career marks after three seasons reflect that sentiment—10.1 points, 42.8 field-goal percentage, 11.9 player efficiency rating.
Assuming a contract extension isn't offered by November, Philadelphia can put this draft-day whiff behind it next summer. It's too bad, though—he could have been a gold mine for this rebuilding team had he lived up to his draft slot.
Speaking of fizzling former No. 2 picks, Michael Beasley's still searching for the basketball gifts he left back in Manhattan, Kansas.
After four years of flirting with the figure, Beasley finally saw his field-goal attempts per game (10.2) outpace his scoring average (10.1) last season. In five seasons, he's chopped more than six points off his player efficiency rating (10.8 in 2012-13, down from 17.2 as a rookie in 2008-09).
Yet the Phoenix Suns convinced themselves that they could solve the puzzle that both the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves could not. Phoenix inked the volume scorer to a three-year, $18 million deal last summer, then quickly showed its buyer's remorse, as Beasley was afforded just 20.7 minutes a night.
Overpaid and still overused despite a diminishing role, he offers this team no value inside the locker room or out on the trade market.
The Portland Trail Blazers were supposed to improve their interior this summer. Despite J.J. Hickson's nightly double-doubles (12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game), the team went searching for a better complement for All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
So at what point did Robin Lopez surface as the optimistic answer to their problem?
He's a better defender than Hickson but has limited mobility and even less of a ceiling. Not to mention Lopez also cost this team a potentially far superior defender, as Jeff Withey (3.9 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game last season at Kansas) was sacrificed to bring Lopez on board.
He's neither a great athlete nor a strong rebounder (5.6 in 26.0 minutes per game last season). He also comes to Portland with two years and $12 million left on his contract and a history of injury concerns.
Is that really anything better than Hickson? More importantly, is that enough to warrant him blocking sophomore-to-be Meyers Leonard?
Players like DeMarcus Cousins are the reasons that lists like this exist.
No one would argue that the former Kentucky star has talent. Offensively, he's a matchup nightmare, with the body to bang on the low block and the handles and quickness to create scoring chances away from the basket.
But even his offensive game—clearly his strong suit—tantalizes more off its potential than its production.
He's a low-post scorer with a sub-45 career field-goal percentage. He was one of only two players in the top 25 in turnovers who played fewer than 31 minutes per game, and he tied Dwight Howard for the most giveaways (3.0) among all centers last season.
Defensively, he's a disaster. Whether his wavering focus, sloppy fundamentals or gambling tendencies are to blame, it surprises no one that the Kings allowed nearly 110 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor last season.
Throw in the fact that the character concerns that followed him to the NBA haven't lessened over his first three seasons, and Cousins starts to appear like someone who could be fighting to keep his job.
The San Antonio Spurs had a great chance to land a difference-maker this summer. Ideally, that player would help them maintain relevance in Tim Duncan's twilight years and give them a cornerstone piece to build around for the post-Big-Three era.
But rather than searching outside of the organization, the Spurs invested most of their money in retaining their own free agents. No player earned a bigger piece of the pie than Tiago Splitter, whose relatively quiet 2012-13 campaign (10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game) was followed up by a head-scratching four-year, $36 million contract.
I guess the American economy is in worse shape than I thought.
Splitter's a serviceable center, but it's hard to see him developing into anything more. While he's played just three seasons in the NBA, he'll be 29 years old before the 2013-14 season is finished.
The Spurs looked like they had Splitter figured out. After affording him nearly 25 minutes of floor time during the regular season, they sliced that number to just 20.4 come playoff time. He was yanked from the starting lineup for the last three games of the NBA Finals and played fewer than five minutes in the winner-take-all Game 7.
Clearly their attitude changed at the negotiating table. Finding any justification for that shift is beyond me.
Is there anything worse than ball-stopping, inefficient play?
There is actually. It's called paying upward of $17.8 million for that unsightly performance.
Rudy Gay has the tools to be a good player, a really good one even. The problem is that he plays like he's already great.
Gay's supporters will point to his gaudy point totals, and on the surface the numbers look impressive (career 18.0 scoring average).
But as for his declining shooting percentages (career-worst 41.6 from the field in 2012-13) and efficiency rating (15.6 last season, a shade above league average), those are conveniently left out of the conversation. So, too, is the 18.4 efficiency rating that he allowed opposing small forwards in 33 games for the Raptors last season, via 82games.com.
With Gay holding a $19.3 million player option for 2014-15, the onus falls on new Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri to make sure his franchise isn't the one left holding that egregious bill.
Utah Jazz third-year pro Gordon Hayward has a bright future ahead of him.
Unfortunately, it's not nearly as bright as the franchise apparently thinks it is.
With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap each finding new homes this summer, Hayward emerges as the most likely player to carry the franchise through this transition.
This isn't quite the worst thing in the world, but he looks for more suited for a supporting gig as opposed to a leading role. He's never averaged more than 14.1 points, 3.5 rebounds or 3.1 assists, and his field-goal percentage has lost five points from his rookie season (43.5, down from 48.5).
His biggest asset is his three-point shooting (41.5 percent last season), but he's struggled to find reliable weapons to complement that part of his game. He finished fewer than 59 percent of his chances at the rim last season and took fewer shots from there than he did from that inefficient zone 16-23 feet from the basket.
His game reminds me a lot of Houston Rockets wing man Chandler Parsons—although I will give Hayward the nod defensively—but the pair bring dramatically different values to their franchises. Parsons is the No. 3 option on a championship contender; Hayward is now option No. 1 for the lottery-bound Jazz.
As the No. 3 pick in last year's draft, expectations were already high for Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. With scouts touting him as the next Ray Allen, he seemed like the perfect floor-spacing complement to the speedy John Wall.
The fact that Beal shot below 34 percent from distance during his one season at the University of Florida didn't seem to bother anyone. Majority opinion was that his picture-perfect shooting form would eventually translate to the stat sheet.
And it did, as Beal hit 38.6 percent of his long-range attempts last season, third-best among all rookies.
But the rest of his game has struggled to translate to the NBA. He was just a 41.0 percent shooter from the field and averaged a forgettable 2.4 assists against 1.6 turnovers in 31.2 minutes per game.
What's worse is that it appears the Wizards were even higher on Beal than those salivating scouts. According to what multiple league sources told Michael Lee of The Washington Post, the Wizards turned down a trade offer from the Oklahoma City Thunder that would have sent James Harden to Washington in exchange for Beal and forward Chris Singleton.
While Harden's expected maximum contract demand was reportedly the reason that the deal fell apart, that doesn't change the fact that Beal is now the player the Wizards have instead of Harden.
Beal could have a fine career, but he's got a long way to go to reach Harden's level of production. Like it or not, that's the benchmark he'll face for the rest of his playing days.