Most NBA players are right handed, it’s a simple fact. The few who are left handed stand out on the court. The way Manu Ginobili or James Harden drive to the basket looks different compared to most of their peers. Being a lefty is thought of as an advantage in basketball. It’s been countless times where lefties seem to be able to get to their dominant hand and score the basketball before their defenders realize they should force them to their right. Last season saw Zach Randolph dominate two playoff series while almost exclusively driving to his left. This list shows the top ten highest earning left handed basketball players during the 2013/2014 season. All statistics are valid as of the 20th of February 2014.
Only four of these players have made an All-Star appearance and there are some notable figures missing such as Goran Dragic and three time NBA champion Manu Ginobili. Two members of the Detroit Pistons make the list and two members of the Memphis Grizzlies. These two teams are anomalies in the NBA as they have three left handed players in their starting lineups. Here are the top ten earning lefties of this season.
10. Brandon Jennings, Detroit Pistons – $7,655,503
The 10th highest paid leftie in the NBA this season is Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings. The 6 ft 1 Jennings signed a three year, $24 million free agent deal with the Pistons in the summer of 2014. Jennings who is 24 years old, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks as the 10th pick of the 2009 NBA draft. Jennings gained national attention when he decided to forgo playing in college and instead decided to play one year in Europe before entering the NBA draft. This season Jennings is averaging 17.8 PPG, 8 APG and 36.2 minutes in 52 games with the Pistons. The Pistons have had a disappointing season so far and have a record of 22-32, while Jennings is only shooting 38% from the field.
9. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies – $8,200,001
Mike Conley is the 9th highest paid leftie in the NBA this season. The 6 ft 1 point guard was the 4th pick of the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2007 draft. The 26 year old point guard led Ohio State to the national title game in his one season as a college basketball player. In the NBA, Conley has helped the Memphis Grizzlies win all three of their playoff series in their entire history. In 2011, he helped the Grizzlies upset the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and in 2013, he helped the Grizzlies reach the Western Conference Finals. Conley is currently in the 3rd year of a five year, $40 million extension he signed with the Grizzlies. This season Conley has played in 44 games and is averaging 18.1 PPG, 6.3 APG in 34.4 minutes and the Grizzlies are on the outskirts of a playoff spot with a record of 30-23.
8. Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers – $8,850,000
Thaddeus Young is also a member of the 2007 draft class. Drafted with the 12th pick by the Philadelphia 76ers, the 6 ft 8 Young has spent his entire career in Philadelphia so far. This season, the 25 year old Young is averaging a career best 17.1 PPG, while also averaging 6.2 RPG in 33.3 minutes while shooting 47.8%. Young is in the 3rd year of a five year, $43 million extension with the 76ers. While Young’s personal statistics have been solid, his teams’ performances have not. The 76ers currently have a record of 15-40 which is the 2nd worst record in the entire NBA. Right before the All-Star break, the 76ers lost consecutive road games by over forty points.
7. Andris Biedrins, Utah Jazz – $9,000,000
Andris Biedrins was the 11th pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 2004 draft. The Warriors traded the 7 ft 1 center to the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2013 along with forward Richard Jefferson to acquire Andre Iguodala. The 27 year old Biedrins is in the final year of a six year, $54 million year extension he signed with the Warriors in the summer of 2008. Since signing the extension, Biedrins’ performances have steadily declined. In 2008/2009, Biedrins was playing 30 minutes a game while averaging 11.9 PPG and 11.2 RPG. While this season, Biedrins is averaging only 0.5 PPG and 2.8 RPG in only 7.5 minutes. Despite the Jazz having the 3rd worst record in the Western Conference with a record of 19-34, Biedrins has only played six games so far this season.
6. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers – $10,986,550
DeAndre Jordan is the only player on this list who was not drafted in the NBA draft’s 1st round. The 6 ft 11 center was the 5th pick of the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft. The 25 year old Jordan is in the 3rd year of a four year, $43,039,055 contract extension he signed with the Clippers in December of 2011. Jordan has often been criticized for just being able to dunk and for his poor free throw shooting. This season, under the coaching of Doc Rivers, Jordan is having his best season and he is averaging a career best 10 PPG, 14.1 RPG and 1.5 BPG, while playing a career best 35.9 minutes. Jordan is the league leader in rebounds this season and is a major contributor to the Clippers who have a record of 37-19 and are poised to make the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.
5. Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons – $13,500,000
Josh Smith is the only player on this list who was drafted right out of high school. The 6 ft 9 forward was the 17th pick of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2004 draft. The 28 year old Smith is in his first season with the Detroit Pistons after signing a free agent deal in the summer of 2013 worth $54 million over four years. With the signing of Smith and fellow leftie Jennings, the Pistons expected to make the playoffs this season but currently sit 9th with a record of 22-32 and have had their head coach replaced. Smith is having a disappointing season as he is averaging 15.9 PPG and 7 RPG in 35.7 minutes, but is shooting a career low 41.7% from the field and is often criticized for shooting too many perimeter jump shots.
4. James Harden, Houston Rockets – $13,701,250
The fourth highest paid leftie is also the first player on this list to have made an All-Star team. Unlike the previous six players, James Harden has made the All-Star team on two occasions and has played in the NBA Finals once. The 24 year old Harden was the 3rd overall pick of the 2009 draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden helped lead the Thunder to the 2012 NBA finals before being traded to the Houston Rockets the following summer. In his first season with the Rockets, Harden led them to the playoffs where they lost in the 1st round to his former team. Harden is currently in the 1st year of a five year. $80 million extension with the Rockets and has led them to the 3rd best record in the Western Conference with a record of 37-17. This season Harden is playing 38.3 minutes and averaging 24 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 5.4 APG.
3. David Lee, Golden State Warriors – $13,878,000
David Lee is another two-time All-Star on this list. Lee was the 30th pick of the New York Knicks in the 2005 draft. The 30 year made one All-Star appearance with the Knicks and one with his current team, the Golden State Warriors. This season, the 6 ft 9 forward is averaging 18.9 PPG and 9.8 RPG while shooting 51.6% from the field for the 32-22 Warriors. Lee is currently in the 4th year of a six year, $79,537,680 contract he signed in the summer of 2010. Last season was Lee’s first appearance in the playoffs as the Warriors made the 2nd round of the playoffs. Lee injured his hip in the first quarter of his first playoff game but managed to contribute in a much more limited role after missing a few games.
2. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies – $17,800,000
Zach Randolph is the 3rd two time All-Star on this list. The 32 year old forward is also the oldest player on this list and was the 19th pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2001 draft. The 6 ft 10 forward currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, his 4th NBA team. This season Randolph is averaging 17.4 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 34.5 minutes. Randolph was the best player on a Grizzlies team that won its first ever playoff series in 2011 against the San Antonio Spurs and signed a four year, $66 million contract the following summer. Last season, he led the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to the Spurs in four consecutive games. This season, the Grizzlies have a 32-23 record and are within a game of a playoff seed.
1. Chris Bosh – $19,067,500
The highest paid left handed player in the NBA is Chris Bosh. The Miami Heat forward is also the 9th highest paid player in the NBA. The 29 year old Bosh was the fourth pick of the 2003 draft by the Toronto Raptors. In the summer of 2010, after seven seasons with the Raptors, Bosh joined fellow 2003 draftees Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami after signing a six year, $109,837,500 deal. Bosh’s tenure with the Heat has been successful, as he has helped the team make three consecutive trips to the NBA finals and win the last two championships. This season Bosh has helped the Heat to a 38-14 record which is 2nd in the eastern conference and he just made his 9th consecutive All-Star appearance. Bosh is averaging 16.7 PPG and 6.8 RPG in 31.8 minutes while shooting 53.2% from the field.
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