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Royce O'Neale underpaid - Apr 15, 2019

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In the NBA, general managers wear plenty of hats. In a league with a salary cap, bargain hunter is an important one. And good teams often go hand in hand with GMs who are good at finding players who outperform their contracts

Take Dennis Lindsey of the Utah Jazz, for example. His signings of Joe Ingles and Royce O'Neale (198-SF-93, college: Baylor)< were economic home runs. In his last season overseas, Ingles averaged six points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in just 21.2 minutes. And there's a similar story with Royce O'Neale, who averaged 8.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his final pre-NBA season.

And now, both are outperforming the value of the NBA contracts they earned with those modest numbers, according to research from Forbes' Brett Knight.

In articles on the league's most overpaid and underpaid players, Knight explained his formula in detail. Head there for the breakdown. In the interest of brevity, his process went like this:

Knight took three different catch-all metrics that estimate the number of wins a single player produces for his team, then found the average of the three for each player.
He then estimated the cost of a win by dividing the players' share of basketball-related income (BRI) by the number of total regular season games.
Next, to get expected salary, Knight multiplied each individual player's wins estimate by the cost of a win.
And finally, he subtracted each player's cap hit from their expected salary.

Royce O'Neale

Wins Estimate Average: 3.6
Expected Salary: $10.7M
Cap Figure: $1.4M
Difference: $9.3M
O'Neale going from little-known role player at both Baylor and overseas, to rotation player for a 50-win NBA team is remarkable. And again, Lindsey seeing enough in him to roll the dice is a credit to one of the league's best executives.

This season, O'Neale shot 38.6% from three. And Utah allowed nearly two fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, according to Cleaning the Glass. Talk about 3-and-D.

Andy Bailey   

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