Just 14 players have ranked in the top 25 for PER in each of the last two seasons: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Brandan Wright, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry.
The 13 highest-paid members of that group, even when weighed down by Irving’s and Curry’s rookie contracts, made more than $13.8 million per season in that span.
Player No. 14, Wright, made the league minimum each year – $915,852 and
According to a source, the Mavs, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks all expressed interest in Wright during the opening hours of free agency.
Credit Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks for helping to revitalize the career of Wright, the No. 8 pick in the 2007 draft who appeared headed out of the league before Dallas signed him. Carlisle put Wright in position to do only what he does best: finish near the rim and block shots without being in position for offensive players to take advantage of his slender frame.
But that’s also the reason Wright won’t approach his PER peers in salary. Wright hasn’t shown he can do much more than fill a role similar to the one Dallas gave him. Although Wright fills that role very well, those extremely high salaries are reserved for players who can take on more.
Wright has done a great job of putting himself in a position of strength this summer, but that strength is relative to his bargain-bin salary the last two years.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.