Yesterday, we brought you our list of the top 25 most overpaid players in the League. Today, we’re taking a break from condemnation and doling out some praise. Although the number is smaller, plenty of NBAers deserve a little more cash. Whether it’s because they’re on their rookie contracts or they exploded after signing a long-term deal, some guys could have some serious contract gripes. Here are, in our estimation, 25 of those underpaid players, beginning with No. 25.
*All players with an “(R)” next to their name are on their rookie contracts, which are controlled by the league-wide rookie salary scale.
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25. Mario Chalmers – Miami Heat
2013-2014: $4,000,000 (Team Option)
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh may grab all the headlines, but Mario Chalmers is Miami’s undisputed fourth best player. And even though the big guns rag on him all the time, he produces with solid defense, outside shooting and, more importantly, keeps defenses off balance by taking it to the cup every once in a while. No one thought Chalmers would develop into Miami’s x-factor, but over the past two seasons his value has been undeniable. And, for $8 million over the next two seasons, he’s a bargain.
24. Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics (R)
2013-2014: $2,511,432 (Team Option)
2014-2015: $3,581,302 (Qualifying Offer)
Bradley’s a tough one to rank, just because we only caught a brief glimpse of his talents – corner threes, running the floor with Rajon Rondo and hounding perimeter defense. And now that he’s coming off of a serious injury, no one’s sure how he’ll respond. Still, for the price Boston is paying, any type of production will make his contract seem minuscule in comparison. But if he does fulfill the potential of his brief flashes of brilliance, he’ll be worth far more than a couple million per year.
23. Jeff Teague – Atlanta Hawks (R)
2013-2014: $3,469,568 (Qualifying Offer)
Jeff Teague is quietly becoming one of the best young point guards in the NBA. Although he probably could have used a few more years refining his game at Wake Forest, Teague is rounding into the point guard many thought he would become. Hawks GM Danny Ferry has been shedding salary this offseason, so don’t expect him to shell out for Teague when he becomes a restricted free agent next year and is looking at a significant pay day – one well above the almost $2.5 million he’ll make in 2012-2013.