NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo Made $25 Million Last Year and Is Still Underpaid

Giannis Antetokounmpo has become one of the best players in the NBA over the last few years. The 2018-19 league MVP was averaging a career-high 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game when the season was suspended due to the pandemic in March.

Given his outstanding performance, the Milwaukee Bucks pay Antetokounmpo handsomely, but with the numbers he puts up he is still underpaid. The Bucks are getting good value with Antetokounmpo, who should get a significant raise when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s current contract

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Antetokounmpo signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension with the Bucks in September 2016, according to Spotrac. That deal has gradually increased his salary from just under $22.5 million in 2017-18 to $24.1 million last season and $25.8 million this season.

Next season, his salary is expected to rise again to just over $27.5 million before entering free agency ahead of his age-26 season. Antetokounmpo’s salary for this season puts him in a tie with Thunder C Steven Adams for the 41st highest base salary in the league for 2019-2020.

Considering he is third in the league in scoring average and fourth in rebounding this season, that is an incredibly low salary rank for the “Greek Freak.”

NBA value rankings

Another way to gauge a player’s value is through SpoTrac’s value rankings. The site makes a mathematical comparison of players’ current salaries against their cumulative “production points.”

Spotrac compiles the statistics for each player and compares them to others at the same position, then also compares each player’s salary to the average salary at the position.

Spotrac then finds the difference in statistical production plus the difference in financial compensation to determine the player’s current value rating. The purpose of the ranking is to illustrate how big a value a particular player’s contract is for his team relative to his on-court performance.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a tremendous value for the money

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Spotrac ranks the top three players in its value rankings at each position — guard, forward and center. Not only does Antetokounmpo rank first among all forwards in the league, but he is also tied for the highest value rating among all of the league’s players.

It’s hard for a player with a salary like his to have a high value ranking because the higher the salary, the more production the player has to give his team to be considered a value. But Antetokounmpo manages to do it.

The top three players at the guard position — Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Ben Simmons — all have an average salary of less than $7.5 million. The top two centers, Domantas Sabonis and Edrice Adebayo, have average salaries under $3 million but Nikola Jokic — who is the third-ranked center — bucks the trend with an average salary approaching $30 million.

Then there are the forwards, with Antetokounmpo leading the way. His average salary is $25 million. The Raptors’ Pascal Siakam is behind him as the second-highest value at the position; he has an average salary of $1.6 million. The Hawks’ John Collins, who sits at third in the ranking, has an average salary of more than $2.7 million.

That gives you an idea that players with lower salaries tend to dominate the top of the value rankings. Yet Antetokounmpo has the league’s highest value rating and is the only player other than Doncic with a perfect rating of 100.

The others on the list are all in the 99 range, other than Jokic whose value rating is 95.96. So even though the Bucks are paying Antetokounmpo a lot of money, they are getting more value out of him than teams are getting out of any other player regardless of salary.

-All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference