5 Philadelphia 76ers named to most underpaid players in NBA history list
How much money NBA players make is a debate that rages among fans on an everyday basis. The fan base of every team will discuss how much money a certain player makes and whether they actually deserve the contract they have been given.
The Philadelphia 76ers are no stranger to that as the fan base in Philadelphia will constantly argue whether certain players deserve whatever money they are currently earning.
The folks over at HoopsHype have put together a metric to try to measure such things. The real value metric was developed by HoopsHype analyst Alberto De Roa. In a recent HoopsHype article, author Frank Urbina sorted the top 30 players who have not been given enough money in terms of their real value.
There are four players on the list who have Sixers ties and they are:
No. 29 Andre Miller
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Miller spent 2.5 seasons with the Sixers and he averaged 15.9 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while guiding Philadelphia to playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009.
HoopsHype on Miller’s career:
Andre Miller enjoyed strong longevity as a good point guard in the NBA, spending 17 seasons in the best basketball league in the world, 11 as a full-time starter.
Miller lasted that long even as a borderline non-threat from beyond the arc, using pace, ballhandling and solid finishing down low to score and create from his lead-guard spot.
In 2001-02, Miller – still on his rookie contract at that point – averaged 16.5 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists while earning $1.9 million. Real Value believed he was worth $12.7 million, a difference of $10.8 million, the biggest disparity of his career. Although that isn’t as big of a difference as most others on this list, Miller’s longevity – being so good and so underpaid for so long – is how he found his way on this list.
No. 27 Jimmy Butler
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Butler, of course, spent half a season with the Sixers in the 2018-19 season before unceremoniously leaving for the Miami Heat in the 2019 offseason.
HoopsHype on Butler:
One of the NBA’s current top two-way stars, Jimmy Butler takes his game to an even higher level come playoff time, when he often performs like a superstar, on a plane above his regular-season contributions. Butler is lacking as a three-point shooter, but his midrange and drive-and-score game are both deadly, while his rebounding and playmaking are underappreciated.
As such, although he is currently on a max contract, our Real Value metric believes he has been underpaid for six of his NBA seasons so far.
Butler is yet another case of a star-level on a rookie-scale deal getting hurt by the system, as in 2014-15, the final year of the former Marquette standout’s rookie contract, Butler averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals while earning $2.1 million. His Real Value in that campaign was $18.6 million for a $16.5 million difference.
No. 26 Lou Williams
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Williams spent seven seasons with the Sixers and he averaged 11.3 points and 3.0 assists coming off the bench in 38 of his 455 games for the franchise.
HoopsHype on Williams:
This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise, as Lou Williams was often discussed as an underpaid player throughout his NBA career, with his highest salary ever coming from 2018-19 through 2020-21, when he earned merely $8.0 million per year.
The biggest disparity of real vs. actual value of Williams’ career came before that actually, in 2017-18 when he put up 22.6 points and 5.3 assists while making $7.0 million, a year where Real Value deemed his output worth $17.8 million, a $10.8 million difference.
No. 17 Allen Iverson
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Iverson is one of the best players to ever throw on a Sixers uniform. He won an MVP award in 2001 while guiding Philadelphia to the NBA finals and he has his number hanging in the rafters at Wells Fargo Center.
HoopsHype on Iverson:
If we factored in the impact he had on the Sixers’ bottom line, Allen Iverson would rank even higher as he was one of the biggest draws in sports during his heyday, a must-watch product on the court and an impactful figure in American pop culture.
Unsurprisingly, 2000-01 is the year that saw the largest difference in Real Value vs. actual value of Iverson’s career, an MVP campaign for the legendary floor general in which he lead Philadelphia all the way to the NBA Finals with a very weak roster around him.
That season, Iverson earned $10.1 million while Real Value believed he was worth $20.5 million, an enormous figure at the time, for a $10.4 million disparity.
No. 4 James Harden
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Harden is currently with the Sixers and trying to help the franchise win its first title since 1983. His partnership with Joel Embiid continues to grow and it’s a great sign for him and the Sixers.
HoopsHype on Harden:
Harden’s three most underpaid seasons actually came as a member of the Houston Rockets and not while he was on his rookie-scale deal as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His most underpaid, according to Real Value, was in 2018-19 when he was making $30.6 million. Imagine being so good that you can earn that much money for a season and still comfortably outperform your earnings.
That year, Harden didn’t win MVP despite leading the league in scoring at 36.1 points per game, the seventh-highest scoring season the NBA has ever seen behind just Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, to go with 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.0 steals on 44.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Antetokounmpo was the fair recipient of MVP that year but goodness, it’s easy to see why Harden felt slighted that he didn’t get back-to-back MVPs after that magnificence in 2018-19.
According to Real Value, Harden was worth $47.6 million that year for a $17.1 million disparity.