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NBA: Grading Kobe Bryant and the Top 30 NBA Salaries in 2011

Rich FernandesCorrespondent IJune 18, 2011

NBA: Grading Kobe Bryant and the Top 30 NBA Salaries in 2011

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    DALLAS - FEBRUARY 24:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers passes against Dirk Nowitzki #41 and Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks on February 24, 2010 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The NBA is full of millionaires and the exorbitant size of some player contracts are mind boggling.

    For teams to be competitive, they have to shell out the dough for players they hope will pan out, but there are no guarantees.

    Some players get injured, others were overvalued in the first place, while others are just plain lazy freeloaders. 

    But there are also players who deserve their pay check, because they have both the talent and the heart to help their team's win.

    Here is a list of the 30 highest paid players in the NBA during the 2010-11 NBA season.

     

    Research resources:  NBA.com and slumz.boxden.com

     

    MUST READ:  Toronto Raptors and the 10 Most Valuable Franchises

No. 30: Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers @ $13,520,500

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    PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 21:  Brandon Roy #7 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives against Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Portland,
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Brandon Roy was a superstar as recently as the beginning of this year and the key word is “was”.   It is unlikely that this super talented young gun will ever again be considered among the best in the league, especially considering the devastating double whammy bone-on-bone knee problem he’s been cursed with.

    His explosive game is nothing more than a memory now.

    Roy’s misfortune is not a product of being a lazy bum like Vince Carter, or of having the type of injury that can heal with the ability to bounce back from, like Blake Griffin.

    Tragedy is the only word that can truly describe poor Brandon Roy’s situation, especially since he had the talent to be a truly great player.

    As a result, the future money will slip out of his hands.

    Grade:  INCOMPLETE

    Season & Career

     

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    47

    27.9

    .400

    .333

    .848

    2.6

    2.7

    12.2

    Career

    321

    35.6

    .460

    .352

    .801

    4.3

    4.7

    19.0

No. 29: Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies @ $13, 603,750

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks to pass the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Rudy Gay is an up-and-coming talent, a fringe superstar with the ability to break the top ten player list in the league.

    Gay played in only 54 games this season and missed the Grizzlies’ franchise breaking playoff run.  He underwent season-ending surgery on his partially dislocated left shoulder and was rehabbing when his team beat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and scared the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second, before exiting for vacation.

    But in the 54 games he did play in, Gay performed admirably.

    He will bounce back next season and it's OK to lay the money on Gay.

    Grade:  A 

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    54

    39.9

    .471

    .396

    .805

    6.2

    2.8

    19.8

    Career

    372

    36.0

    .457

    .352

    .768

    5.6

    1.9

    17.8

No. 28: Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers @ $13,842,332

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Center Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Bynum missed the first part of the season recovering from knee surgery and played in 54 games, averaging 27.8 minutes per game.

     Those numbers should be enough to allow Lakers fans to be optimistic over concerns regarding his fragile health.

    The young center has made a good argument for making him the L.A. Lakers number one option going forward.  He is young and is a dominant center in the league. 

    He carried the Lakers on his back with unforgettable performances that saw the team win 15 of 16 games.

    Staying healthy is the only thing keeping Bynum from becoming great, especially when you look at how dominating he can be--it will be like money in the bank for the Lakers.

    Grade: A

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    54

    27.8

    .574

    .000

    .660

    9.4

    1.4

    11.3

    Career

    332

    24.3

    .569

    .000

    .686

    7.1

    1.1

    10.5

No. 27: Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics @ $13,876,321

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 09: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics tries to get around Zydrunas Ilgauskas #11 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  N
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Paul Pierce is the most solid and consistent of the Big Three and that showed again in the playoffs as both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were again inconsistent.

    Pierce’s role as Boston’s catalyst helped the Celtics have a successful regular season, enough in fact, that they were predicted to go deep into the playoffs.

    But that didn’t happen as they lost in the Second Round to the Miami Heat

    Pierce is also in decline and it’s highly doubtful that the present group in Boston will win another championship anytime soon.  They certainly had their chances over the last couple of years, but seemed to lack the heart.

    As a result, the money in Boston is no longer leprechaun green.

    Grade:  B

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    80

    34.7

    .497

    .374

    .860

    5.4

    3.3

    18.9

    Career

    964

    37.0

    .448

    .369

    .805

    6.1

    3.8

    22.2

No. 26: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat @ $14,000,000

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat looks to pass the ball against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Dwyane Wade is the best shooting guard in the league and it’s not even close.  His superior athletic ability combined with awesome talent has made Wade almost unstoppable this season.

    There are still countless NBA fans that believe Kobe Bryant is still better than Wade, but they ignore the obvious decline in his game.  While Bryant is still a top talent in the league, his consistent drives through the paint are a thing of the past.

    A big concern this year was whether or not Wade and LeBron James could share the ball.  But fhe dynamic duo have proved that they could, almost all season long.

    The Heat are in everyone’s crosshairs after losing the finals to the Mavericks and Wade, despite having dominant performances, showed a rare immaturity, by assuming a win in game two and taunting Nowitzki before game five.

    With his endorsements and his contracts, Wade is making money hand over fist.

    Grade:  A+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    76

    37.1

    .500

    .306

    .758

    6.4

    4.6

    25.5

    Career

    547

    37.6

    .485

    .292

    .769

    5.1

    6.3

    25.4

No. 25: Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls @ $14,400,000

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 22:  Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls attempts a shot against Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Carlos Boozer was one of the big free agents of last summer and moving from Utah to Chicago seemed to give the Bulls immediate contender status.

    The power forward started the season on the disabled list and didn’t play his first game until the month of December.

    Boozer became Derrick Rose’s right hand man and helped the Bulls to the best record in the NBA with 62 wins.

    But Boozer’s playoff impact leaves much to be desired as exhibited in both his Utah days and in this season’s playoffs against the Miami Heat. 

    He is always a threat to go off in the playoffs with an exceptional double-double in both points and rebounds, but Boozer is also known for not showing up to play in critical playoff games—a concern that was confirmed in the series versus the Miami Heat.

    It is the latter that makes Boozer a dead weight and incapable of helping any team to win a championship.

    The money on Boozer may not be very smart.

    Grade: D-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    59

    31.9

    .510

    .000

    .701

    9.6

    2.5

    17.5

    Career

    569

    32.6

    .537

    .111

    .725

    10.1

    2.5

    17.3

No. 24: Jason Richardson, Orlando Magic @ $14,444,444

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    ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Orlando Magic chases a loose ball during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Amway Arena on February 13, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, b
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Richardson was having a decent season with the Phoenix Suns before being traded to the Magic in December and was averaging 19.3 points per game.

    But the Jason Richardson experience was a sobering one for Magic fans, whom have been bitten by numerous bad deals with players expected to help them win a championship.

    Richardson’s efficiency in Phoenix can be explained as a result of playing with Steve Nash.  Without Nash, Richardson (who was brought to Orlando to score) declined dramatically and he only averaged 13.9 points per game.

    Richardson did not help Dwight Howard take the Magic deep into the playoffs and is most certainly not a championship type player.

    Richardson is making easy money without having to lift a finger.

    Grade:  D-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    80

    33.9

    .447

    .395

    .730

    4.1

    1.8

    15.6

    Career

    751

    35.0

    .442

    .373

    .711

    5.1

    2.8

    18.0

No. 23: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat @ $14,500,000

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    MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat reacts in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agr
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Chris Bosh has had more than his fair share of criticism after leaving the protection of the Toronto Raptors for the cold beaches of South Florida.  He has drawn the disdain of fans and NBA players alike from his lackluster performances and candid ability to put his foot in his mouth.

    But Bosh has shrugged off most of that criticism by being a key part of the Miami Heat’s success.  After the crying game, Bosh was able to inject substance into his game on both ends of the floor.

    Bosh benefits from playing with two of the best players in the league, as opposing defenses concentrate most of their energies on double teaming Dwyane Wade or LeBron James—a huge benefit for him.

    But nevertheless, Bosh still lacks a tough post presence but deserves his money.

    Grade:  B+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    77

    36.3

    .496

    .240

    .815

    8.3

    1.9

    18.7

    Career

    586

    36.9

    .493

    .290

    .798

    9.2

    2.1

    20.0

No. 22: LeBron James, Miami Heat @ $14,500,000

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 07:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Dallas Mavericks  in Game Four of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 86-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Pool/Getty Images

    LeBron James was an absolute lightening bolt of controversy to start the season, a result of how he played out his infamous decision.

    And the most loved player in the NBA quickly found himself as the most hated in all of sports.  James could not lift a finger without the media blitz being all over his tail and he really did nothing to help deter the hazing.  Immaturity is the main thing from keeping James from becoming great.

    After another fine season, one that should have seen him receive his third straight MVP, James dominated the first three rounds of the playoffs, before being effectively stopped by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in the finals.

    James is the ultimate tweener who can fill up the stat sheet on a nightly basis, despite drawing constant double teams—a prospect that helps make his teammates better by leaving them open.

    James is being blamed for the Heats inability to beat the Mavericks in the finals and that includes his poor fourth quarter performances--the only thing preventing him from getting an A+ grade.

    Maybe James should have stayed in Cleveland.  Instead, he took the money and ran.

    Grade:  A

     

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    79

    38.8

    .510

    .330

    .759

    7.5

    7.0

    26.7

    Career

    627

    40.1

    .479

    .329

    .744

    7.1

    7.0

    27.7

No. 21. Predraq Stojakovic, Dallas Mavericks @ $14,896,000

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    4 Dec 1999:  Predraq Stojakovic #16 of the Sacramento Kings shooting a free throw during the game against the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. The Kings defeated the Wizards 114-104.   Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /Allsport
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Stojakovic is a below average NBA player who certainly does not deserve his highly paid contract that makes him the Mavericks second highest player.

    He has flopped around from team to team and was lucky to land with the Mavs before the trade deadline.

    Now he has an NBA title, after contributing next to nothing and at the age of 34, he says he has no intention of retiring.

    Stojakovic gets his money for nothing and his chicks for free--(Dire Straits).

    Grade:  F

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    33

    18.7

    .441

    .419

    .920

    2.3

    0.9

    8.5

    Career

    804

    33.5

    .450

    .401

    .895

    4.7

    1.8

    17.0

No. 20: Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets @ $14,940,152

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  #8 Deron Williams of the Nets in action during the NBA match between New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena on March 4, 2011 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
    Warren Little/Getty Images

    It’s been another eventful year for New Jersey Nets’ point guard, Deron Williams.  After being the face of the Utah Jazz and the instigator of legendary coach Jerry Sloan’s firing, he found himself displaced on the east coast.

    Williams is one of a handful of pure point guards in the league that also include Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, and Jose Calderone. 

    Williams’ accomplishment of the 20 point and 10 assist milestone this year has gone almost unnoticed.  Chris Paul is the only other active player to have accomplished the feat (twice) since Tim Hardaway, back in the early 1990s. 

    If you're strapped for cash, you could ask this stellar passer to give you a financial assist.

    Grade:  A+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    65

    37.9

    .439

    .331

    .845

    4.0

    10.3

    20.1

    Career

    451

    35.7

    .463

    .355

    .808

    3.2

    9.2

    17.2

No. 19: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets @ $14,940,152

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets moves the ball against Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at Staples Center in Los
    Harry How/Getty Images

    CP3 is the best point guard in the league and he has never shied away from a challenge.  He is a pure point guard that has the ability to take over the offense when his team needs him, and he has done just that on many occasions, by literally putting the Hornets on his back.

    A clear example of this was in the first round of the playoffs in which Paul carried his team to two wins against the L.A. Lakers. David West was out of the lineup due to injury, yet Paul scored points by the bunch, grabbed rebounds like he was a dominant center, dished out assists like it was nobody’s business and single-handedly increased the potential limits of his talent deficient teammates.

    But it’s the last accomplishment that makes CP3 great. Rebounds and scoring is just the gravy on his incredible game.

    Unfortunately, there is only so much Paul can do with that Hornets’ squad.

    But the smart money is always on Chris Paul.

    Grade:  A+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    80

    36.0

    .463

    .388

    .878

    4.1

    9.8

    15.9

    Career

    425

    37.1

    .471

    .359

    .853

    4.6

    9.9

    18.7

No. 18: Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers @ 15,959,099

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the rim past Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miam
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Brand was a superstar whose game was directly affected for the better part of three years by an injury to his Achilles heel.  He also did not play well in Philly under inept coach, Eddie Jordan.

    When Jordan was fired in favor of Collins this past season, Brand and the 76ers began to shine again by making a strong surge for the playoffs.

    Brand played well in the First Round against the Miami Heat, who eventually eliminated the overachieving 76ers.

    If Brand remains in Philly next season, there is no reason to believe that his resurgence under Collins will not continue.

    Philly fans were concerned that the 76ers threw good money after bad, but Brand's resurgence should provide them with some comfort.

    Grade:  A-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    81

    34.7

    .512

    .000

    .780

    8.3

    1.5

    15.0

    Career

    800

    36.9

    .502

    .133

    .739

    9.6

    2.4

    18.8

No. 17: Kenyon Martin, Denver Nuggets @ 15,959,099

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03:  Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets scores a basket against Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second quarter of the NBS basketball game at Staples Center on April 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The former number one draft pick has yet to make a big splash in the NBA.  Martin’s production last season declined considerably and can be explained from knee problems.

    K-Mart does not have the attitude of a winner but can have an impact on a contending team as the number three or four option.

    Martin has indicated that he wants to play for a winner next year and has made no commitments to re-signing with the Nuggets.

    Martin is an underachiever with money to burn.

    Grade:  C

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    48

    25.7

    .511

    .222

    .583

    6.2

    2.3

    8.6

    Career

    654

    32.2

    .482

    .235

    .639

    7.2

    2.1

    13.5

No. 16: Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks @ $16,324,500

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 10: Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks moves around Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls def
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Johnson's production across the board this season (including PPG, RPG and APG) were his lowest in several years.

    Johnson battled knee, elbow and thumb injuries this season that could explain his decline and he wasn’t an extreme disappointment—unless you are a fantasy owner.

    His attitude seems to have improved greatly from last season and he should continue to be an impact player for the Hawks—who really need a good point guard and a center to get the most out of Johnson and the rest of their squad.

    Johnson signed a mammoth contract to start the season that shocked many who thought he robbed the bank--but now they know that he became the bank.

    Grade:  B-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    72

    35.5

    .443

    .297

    .802

    4.0

    4.7

    18.2

    Career

    771

    36.8

    .443

    .366

    .793

    4.2

    4.5

    17.7

No. 15: Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks @ $16,486,611

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks looks to pass against Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden i
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    We learned this season that Stoudemire loves to run his mouth and he’s not afraid to call people out, especially when criticizing the likes of Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol.

    Stoudemire helped put the Knicks back on the map this season, but his play declined noticeably after Carmelo Anthony came to town in the blockbuster trade with the Denver Nuggets.

    He is a scorer who could use a little work on his defensive game.

    And although he can play center, he would do much better at his natural power forward position.

    The value of the Knicks franchise has sky rocketed this year, because Amare is bringing the money back to New York.

    Grade:  A



     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    78

    36.8

    .502

    .435

    .792

    8.2

    2.6

    25.3

    Career

    594

    34.6

    .537

    .245

    .762

    8.8

    1.5

    21.9

No. 14: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic @ $16,509,600

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Howard worked on his offensive game in the off season with Hakeem the Dream and it showed, as his 22.9 points per game was a career high.

    He shot an impressive .593 from the field, but his free throw shooting is absolutely putrid (.596) and he still has a tendency to pick up fouls.

    The major critique on Howard, however, still holds true--he tends to disappear from critical games for long periods of time.

    Howard was one of the most efficient players in the league and proved that this Superman deserves to get paid. 

    Grade:  A

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    78

    37.6

    .593

    .000

    .596

    14.1

    1.4

    22.9

    Career

    567

    36.0

    .578

    .038

    .598

    12.9

    1.5

    18.2

No. 13: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks @ $17,149,243

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks to pass against Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in N
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    The melodramatics caused by Anthony’s trade rumors this past season were extremely nauseating. 

    Anthony has been perceived as a superstar throughout his career, but he can’t get a top five team like the Denver Nuggets past the first round, with the exception of only once in seven years.

    Melo’s bread and butter is his scoring ability in the one-on-one game.  Although his play improved noticeably after relocating to New York, Amare Stoudemire’s declined.

    It will be interesting to see how the Knick's newest stars can coexist.

    The two biggest knocks on Melo are his lack of desire in playing defense, and his lack of motivation to play well in games versus opponents that don’t excite him.

    Some New Yorkers are scared that Melo's lack of defense will cause a Wall Steet collapse.

    Grade:  B

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    77

    35.7

    .455

    .378

    .838

    7.3

    2.9

    25.6

    Career

    591

    36.4

    .459

    .320

    .806

    6.3

    3.1

    24.8

No. 12: Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies @ $17,333,333

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    MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13:  Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Kevin Durant called Randolph the best power forward in the league during their Second Round playoff series. 

    He surly is one of the best and has been extremely underrated.

    Certainly, 20.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per game is nothing to scoff at.

    Randolph is still in his prime and has the capability to help the Grizzlies or any strong contender win a title.

    Randolph puts his money where his mouth is.

    Grade:  A+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    75

    36.3

    .503

    .186

    .758

    12.2

    2.2

    20.1

    Career

    662

    31.7

    .474

    .276

    .769

    9.2

    1.7

    17.6

No. 11: Vince Carter, Phoenix Suns @ $17,300,000

21 of 31

    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 30:  Vince Carter #25 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at US Airways Center on March 30, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Vince Carter started the season with the Magic, who finally gave up on him after realizing the obvious and traded him to the Phoenix Suns.

    Carter’s game has declined considerably to the point that he was benched by the Suns.

    The once explosive superstar never had a well rounded game during his career and has always been overrated because of his jaw dropping dunking ability. 

    Carter’s best years were definitely those which he spent in Toronto, but for both the Magic and the Suns, he has been a major rip-off.

    Grade:  D-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    73

    28.1

    .437

    .361

    .740

    3.8

    2.0

    14.0

    Career

    925

    36.4

    .445

    .374

    .797

    5.2

    4.0

    22.2

No. 10: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks @ $17,300,000

22 of 31

    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 16: Forward Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks waves to fans during the Dallas Mavericks Victory celebration on June 16, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
    Brandon Wade/Getty Images

    Dirk Nowitzki has been a perennial superstar in the NBA for years and the seven foot power forward is considered the best big shooter in the game.

    After taking a two game lead in the 2006 NBA finals versus the Miami Heat and unable to seal the deal, Nowitzki and the Mavs have finally won a championship against their nemesis, the Heat.

    Despite battling the flu and shooting horribly, Dirk came through for the Mavericks with incredible clutch performances in the fourth quarters of the series.

    Dirk proved his critics wrong.  He’s not soft and he is certainly capable of winning the big one. 

    That accomplishment has vaulted him into the top 20 greatest players of all time.

    Mark Cuban was right to show Dirk the money.

    Grade:  A+

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    73

    34.3

    .517

    .393

    .892

    7.0

    2.6

    23.0

    Career

    993

    36.5

    .476

    .381

    .877

    8.4

    2.7

    23.0

No. 9: Gilbert Arenas, @ $ 17,730,694

23 of 31

    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Gilbert Arenas #1 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Gilbert Arenas was a low draft pick when he started his career, but quickly showed that he can play ball well enough to be considered a superstar.

    That was several years ago and a distant memory.  Unfortunately (while with the Wizards), Arenas morphed into a walking, talking cancer.  His attitude both on and off the court left much to be desired and his play declined.

    Arenas has been unable to find his superstar game after a season ending knee injury while with the Wizards that caused him to miss a huge amount of time.

    He has been extremely mediocre with his new team, the Orlando Magic.

    It’s hard to believe that this guy makes more than his teammate, Dwight Howard.

    Arenas' employers had money to burn and he has made sure that they burnt it.

    Grade:  F

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    70

    25.7

    .366

    .297

    .784

    2.7

    3.9

    10.8

    Career

    535

    35.8

    .421

    .351

    .804

    4.0

    5.4

    21.2

No. 8: Yao Ming, Houston Rockets @ $17,636,100

24 of 31

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets looks to rebound during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Yao Ming is the most popular basketball player in the world—thanks to his huge following in China.  But he has also been extremely popular among NBA fans in North America.

    When Ming came into the league, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he would bring multiple championships to Houston, especially when he was paired with Tracy McGrady.

    But that hasn’t happened and Ming has been the victim of chronic season ending injuries that have people wondering if he can ever play at least 50 games in a season.

    Ming has become a sad situation for Houston fans, but he's still cashing in on the Chinese market.

    Grade:  Incomplete

No. 7: Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz @ $17,822,187

25 of 31

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25:  Andrei Kirilenko #47 of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket past Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on January 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Kirilenko has decent ball control, can block shots, steal and pass well, but is a below average shooter. 

    He is injury prone (missing an average of 19 games over the last six seasons) and as a result, is always a nightmarish fantasy pick.   

    He can be a force on defense and played fairly well last season.

    His value would increase with his health, but that might be asking too much.

    Kirilenko is definitely making good on the greenback on the Russian money exchange.

    Grade:  C+



     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    64

    31.2

    .467

    .367

    .770

    5.1

    3.0

    11.7

    Career

    681

    30.8

    .470

    .312

    .763

    5.6

    2.8

    12.4

No. 6: Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers @ $17,822,187

26 of 31

    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Gasol started the season on a tear and was a leading MVP candidate before Christmas.

    He has also filled in admirably for the injured Andrew Bynum, playing center instead of his natural power forward position.

    The amount of minutes Gasol has played was over the top and few fans will use this as a defense for him.

    Although his play declined during the second half of the season, he still remained one of the most efficient players in the league and the most efficient Laker. 

    Many are calling Pau soft, but there are other issues in play.  Was he burned out because he was driven like a workhorse?  Why was the high chemistry between him and Kobe not present during the Mavericks series in which the Lakers were swept?

    Fans may call him soft, but Pau's currency is defintiely hard.

    Grade:  A-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    82

    37.0

    .529

    .333

    .823

    10.2

    3.3

    18.8

    Career

    731

    35.9

    .522

    .224

    .751

    9.1

    3.2

    18.8

No. 5: Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks @ $18,300,000

27 of 31

    OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29:  Michael Redd #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket past Chris Wilcox #54 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Bucks won 98-87.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Michael Redd is a talented player and the face of the Bucks franchise. He has a great attitude and has represented his country in international competition whenever called upon.

    Redd, however, has not led the Bucks to the Promised Land and Milwaukee fans are getting a little impatient with their expensive, underachieving team.

    Redd went down for the count in January 2009 with a severely injured knee that required surgery, and he missed the rest of the season. Less than one year later he reinjured the knee and has been out since.

    The injuries have prevented Redd from giving the Bucks a run for their money.

    Grade:  Incomplete

No. 4: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs @ $18,700,000

28 of 31

    MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29: Zach Randolph #50 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball while defended by Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during the Grizzlies 99-91 win over the Spurs  in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Tim Duncan has won four championships for San Antonio and only one other player on this list has done as much or more than him.

    He has always exhibited great fundamental skills and is already considered one of the ten best players to ever play the game.

    This season, Duncan and his Spurs were on a tear (winning 61 games) before shocking the NBA with their first round elimination at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Duncan is no longer in his prime, but can still play at a high level.  His numbers are down across the board this season, but that has been the result of a drastic reduction in minutes—an attempt to keep him fresh for the playoffs.

    Duncan is a class act that earns his pay check each and every year.

    Grade:  B

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    76

    28.4

    .500

    .000

    .716

    8.9

    2.7

    13.4

    Career

    1053

    35.8

    .508

    .182

    .688

    11.4

    3.1

    20.6

No. 3: Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics @ $18,800,000

29 of 31

    MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics blocks a shot from Juwan Howard #5 of the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. N
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Kevin Garnett is supposed to be a money player who comes through in critical games, but age has declined his game.

    When the Big Three in Boston got together, experts thought they would nab at least a couple of championships.

    In the playoffs this year versus the Heat and in the finals last year versus the Lakers, both Garnett and Ray Allen virtually disappeared.

    At this point in his career, despite the fact that he has decent seasons, his vanishing act in the playoffs makes Garnett both overrated and overpaid.

    Grade:  B-

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    71

    31.3

    .528

    .200

    .862

    8.9

    2.4

    14.9

    Career

    1195

    36.7

    .498

    .282

    .788

    10.7

    4.1

    19.5

No.2: Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards @ $20,514,000

30 of 31

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards guards Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center on February 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    How on earth does a guy like Lewis get a contract like this?  He isn’t even a top 100 player in the league.

    Lewis seems to have no desire to live up to this immense contract—but the guy is not even worth a tenth of it.

    Now that’s what you call robbing the bank.

    Grade:  F



     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    57

    32.0

    .433

    .357

    .802

    5.1

    1.6

    11.7

    Career

    906

    34.3

    .455

    .390

    .807

    5.6

    1.8

    16.3

No. 1: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers @ $24,806,250

31 of 31

    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against DeShawn Stevenson #92 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Ce
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Bryant is the most accomplished player in the league, having brought five championships to Tinsel Town.

    He has had an amazing career that puts him in the top ten greatest players of all time.

    But Bryant is 32 years old and in decline, not so much because of his age, but because of his injuries.  While it’s admirable that Bryant played all 82 games last season and is, undoubtedly, an iron man of legend—it seems unnecessary to force himself to play without giving his body the chance to recover.

    Despite his aches and pains, Bryant averaged 25.3 points per game, matching his career average.  He has admirably adapted his game to more of a perimeter player--a far less punishing style than constantly driving to the rim.

    The Lakers surprising sweep and Second Round elimination at the hands of the Mavericks showed cracks surfacing in Bryant’s game, especially in the final two games of the series—where his desire seemed lacking.

    Was he tired?  Was his knee bothering him?  Was it the chemistry issues the Lakers were having?

    It was probably a little of everything.

    But with those five championships, Bryant has been able to take the money to the bank.

    Grade:  A

    Season & Career

     

    G

    MPG

    FG%

    3p%

    FT%

    RPG

    APG

    PPG

    2010-11 Season

    82

    33.9

    .451

    .323

    .828

    5.1

    4.7

    25.3

    Career

    1103

    36.4

    .454

    .339

    .837

    5.3

    4.7

    25.3

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