Navigating the NBA‘s salary cap is always tricky, and therefore teams always need at least one productive player who is on a team-friendly contract in order to be able to afford to field a competitive squad.
So far this season, these two players seem to be exceeding the price of their contracts, and therefore, they’re providing their teams with tremendous value.
1. Lonnie Walker IV – Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been in an unenviable position over the past calendar year, as they traded away a few of their best player assets for Russell Westbrook, and they have very little in the way of tradable assets.
They signed Lonnie Walker over the summer using their taxpayer mid-level exception, and plenty of people felt he wouldn’t make much of an impact, as he has had the reputation for being inconsistent on both ends of the floor.
Lonnie Walker tonight:
Shooting 55% from three in his last 6 games. pic.twitter.com/9sac4H8QFA
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 14, 2022
Through 13 games, he’s averaging 16.5 points on 47.2 percent overall shooting and 35.7 percent from 3-point range, and at times he has been L.A.’s third-best player.
If Walker keeps up this kind of production while being consistent and efficient, he could be setting himself up for a nice payday next summer.
2. Desmond Bane – Memphis Grizzlies
In his third season in the NBA, Desmond Bane is starting to look like the bond fide second star the Grizzlies need in order to become a true championship contender.
He’s putting up 24.7 points a game while shooting 45.1 percent from beyond the arc so far this year, but unfortunately, he will miss up to a few weeks with a sprained toe.
Bane will make about $2.1 million this season and just over $3.8 million next season, which is an incredible bargain for Memphis, provided he continues to produce at this level.
That contract will give the team the flexibility to add more pieces before it (presumably) gives Bane a long-term extension.