NBA Power Rankings: Biggest bargain contracts

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan is the team's biggest bargain - for now. (Frank Gunn/CP)

In a salary-capped league like the NBA, it’s important to squeeze as much value out of a player for as little money as possible.

Each team has a player or two with mega contracts (deserved or not), but it’s often those who outperform their salaries that serve as the biggest difference makers. In this week’s edition of the Power Rankings, we look at the biggest bargains across the association.

*Note: The term ‘bargain’ is used in the context of the NBA market.

Rank Team

Stephen Curry: The Warriors are getting MVP numbers for $11,370,786. He also has a very team-friendly salary next season.

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Manu Ginobli: One of the most dangerous bench players in recent history, Ginobli’s salary this season is under $3 million. He’s still putting up better than 10 points and three assists per night.

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Steven Adams: Adams isn’t one of the big names in a potent Thunder lineup, but his contributions defensively and on the glass can’t be overlooked. At $2,279,040, he’s definitely a bargain.

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DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan has been pretty much unstoppable this season, and even more so lately. The star shooting guard is due for a significant raise from his current $9.5 million salary. He’s about to cash in, and the only question is which team will fork over the dough?

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Matthew Dellavedova: The darling of last year’s playoffs is logging important minutes for a Cavaliers team in the midst of a coaching change. His 8.2 points and 4.8 assists per game are a steal at just over $1 million.

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J.J. Redick: Redick is quietly playing like one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, and he’s doing it for a mere $6,867,000.

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Dennis Schroder: Jeff Teague’s numbers are down from his all-star 2014-15 season and Schroder is taking advantage, logging over 21 minutes per game. The Hawks are getting a lot of bang for their buck as Schroder is averaging 18.1 points and 7.9 assists per 36 minutes for only $1,763,400.

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Pau Gasol: Gasol refuses to let his age slow him down, averaging a double-double for the Bulls while remaining an elite passer. Chicago is more than happy to give him $7,448,760 for his services.

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Isaiah Thomas: The Celtics have many candidates, but locking in Thomas through the 2017-18 season at under $7 million per year is as big a bargain as you’re going to find league-wide.

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Courtney Lee: With the prototypical ‘three-and-D’ player becoming a more coveted asset, the Grizzlies have theirs for $5,675,000. We’ll see what Lee goes for as a free agent this coming summer with the salary cap set to increase.

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Hassan Whiteside: This one is a no-brainer. Whiteside is developing into one of the league’s marquee centres as he leads the NBA in blocks at 3.9 a game, and also posts 12 points and 11 boards per. He’s doing all that for the minimum of $981,348.

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Clint Capela: Under team control through 2017-18, Capela’s rookie-scale contract figures to be a huge bargain for the Rockets for the foreseeable future, provided he can stay healthy.

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Zaza Pachulia: The Mavericks have surprisingly maintained one of the Western Conference’s top six records, and it’s because of players like Pachulia that they’ve been able to do it. For $5 million, the Mavs are getting a 10-point, 10-rebound player. If his play starts to decline, his salary comes off the books this summer.

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C.J. Miles: Miles is enjoying another strong season for the Pacers, and he only costs the team about $9 million over the next two years.

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Andre Drummond: Drummond is arguably the most dominant centre in the NBA right now, averaging a massive double-double of 17.3 points and 15.4 rebounds per game. His free-throw shooting is abysmal, but it’s much easier to swallow when he’s only costing the team around $3 million.

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Omri Casspi: Coming off a strong December, Casspi has come back down to earth in January. His season averages of 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds are still very good for a guy making an even $3 million.

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Kristaps Porzingis: What a story. The most maligned first-round pick at the 2015 draft is tearing it up in his rookie season. The Knicks and the fans who once despised him couldn’t be happier for him to make $4 million.

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Bradley Beal: He’s been hampered by injuries, but when he does play, his athleticism and deadly three-point stroke make him one of the NBA’s top shooting guards. The $5,694,674 he’s making this season will be pennies compared to his next contract.

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Jeremy Lin: Linsanity is long dead, and Lin is only being paid $2 million and change by the Hornets, but he is a nice option to bring off the bench in relief of Kemba Walker, or slide into the starting lineup from time to time.

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Rudy Gobert: He hasn’t quite lived up to the hype surrounding him to begin the season, but having the Stifle Tower in your lineup for a mere $1,175,880 is a heck of a deal.

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C.J. McCollum: The Blazers certainly have their point guard of the future in Damian Lillard, and now they appear to have found his backcourt mate in McCollum. The 24-year-old has burst onto the scene in 2015-16, averaging nearly 21 points per game. The best part for the Blazers? He’s due just $5,744,739 through the end of 2016-17.

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Nikola Jokic: The jury is still out on whether Jokic will be a productive NBA player, but at 20 years of age and under team-friendly control through 2018-19, the Serbia native could be a steal for the Nuggets. He’s been impressive when given consistent minutes.

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Anthony Davis: Davis’s salary jumps next year to reflect his superstar status, but he’s banking just over $7 million in 2015-16.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak makes less than $2 million this season and continues to show flashes of superstardom with his length and athleticism.

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Victor Oladipo: A solid contributor across the board, Oladipo is far more valuable to a young Magic team than the $5,192,520 he earns.

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N/A: Jarrett Jack was drastically outplaying his $6.3 million deal, but has been lost for the rest of the season due to injury.

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Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns: Despite their youth, Wiggins and Towns are already proving to be a formidable duo. They’re owed just over $23 million combined through the 2017-18 season.

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T.J. Warren: Still on his first contract after being drafted in 2014, Warren makes the most of his 23 minutes off the bench, contributing around 11 points on a nightly basis.

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Too many to list: The benefit of having almost exclusively young players is that they all come cheap. Ish Smith, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington are just some of the guys who produce more than their salaries would indicate.

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Jordan Clarkson: Perhaps the steal of the 2014 draft, Clarkson was taken 46th overall and is earning just $845,059. He’s really taking advantage of all the minutes he’s receiving on a bad Lakers team, posting a line of 15.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

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