The days of roses and wine for the NBA seem to be far from over, for the top players of the league are raking in the moolah more than ever. But when it comes down to earning their salary and making the most out of each play, few can compete with the game's biggest "ball-hogs." These players are reputed to keep the ball to themselves instead of passing it to their team mates. The NBA has seen its own share of extraordinary ball-hogs make their way into the record books. Players like these often make up for their greediness with wicked skill and athletic ability. Put the ball in their hands and they think of nothing else but going to the net.
However, while there are some obvious appearances on this top 10 list, others are more unexpected. The findings in this list have been determined on the basis of each players passer rating in relation to their annual salary. Passer rating is determined by the number of times a player passes the ball divided by their number of touches per game. A higher rating means the player is more likely to pass the ball when he has possession. The lower the rating, the more the player is single-mindedly thinking about putting the ball in the basket.
The average passer rating in the NBA is just over %70, and while not everyone on this list is an NBA superstar, they all pass far less than the average player. For some players this is because they touch the ball only a few times per game, and when they do they rarely pass. Others are just naturally gifted scorers who drive to the net or pick up rebounds, but whatever the reason may be, these are the NBA's top 10 highest-paid ball-hogs.
10 Tony Wroten - Philadelphia 76ers: Salary - $1,160,040
With a passer rating of 52.6%, Tony Wroten is the least valuable NBA ball-hog to make this list. But as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, his salary of $1,160,040 is pretty much what you'd expect for a 20-year-old rookie with a bright future. The 6-foot-6 Wroten is still getting his feet wet in the league, but his low passer rating indicates his hunger to score and determination to earn his place in the NBA.
9 Andrew Nicholson - Orlando Magic: Salary - $1,482,000
With a slightly higher passer rating of 55%, Andrew Nicholson, the talented three-point sniper of the Orlando Magic, stands at number 9. Picked 19th overall by the Magic in 2012, Nicholson currently makes $1,482,000. A late bloomer, the 6-foot-9 23-year-old is trying to prove himself as one of the NBA's rising stars. He impressed both fans and his team when his last-minute three-pointer won a tight game against Brooklyn last season. With clutch ability like that, it's no wonder Nicholson shoots first and asks questions later.
8 Maurice 'Moe' Harkless - Orlando Magic: Salary - $1,809,840
With a passer rating of 55.2%, Orlando's 'Moe' Harkless is yet another young achiever who has done quite well for himself ever since he got signed by the Magic. This youngster has yet to prove himself in terms of real NBA achievements, but he has earned himself a chance by scoring big games in the high school and college circuit. It's only a matter of time before Harkless becomes a well-respected NBA star.
7 C.J. Miles - Cleveland Cavaliers: Salary - $2,225,000
Cleveland Cavaliers' young champ C.J. Miles finds himself at number 7. A native of Dallas, this young player has been in the game since he finished high school in 2007. His passer rating of 54.6% indicates a high-powered offensive style. He proved this in 2011 when he recorded 40 points allowing Cleveland to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. This match helped to prove himself as a valuable asset to the Cavaliers franchise.
6 Klay Thompson - Golden State Warriors: Salary - $3,245,151
Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors is another young talent who easily falls into the category of "ball-hog." With an average pass rate of only %50, Thompson passes 20% less than the average NBA player. His father Mychal Thompson is a former NBA forward and center and Klay proved that b-ball runs in his blood last year as he helped Golden State win an amazing match against Boston Celtics, scoring 26 points in the game.
5 Jamal Crawford - Los Angeles Clippers: Salary - $5,225,000
With a passer rating of 56%, Jamal Crawford is one of the first big-name player to make this list. At 33-years-old, Crawford has the experience to back up his desire for the ball. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Clippers but has played for such teams as the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. As a shooting guard, it's expected that whenever Crawford touches the ball, it's with the intention of firing off a shot. It's for this reason that he clocks in at number 5 on our list of highly-paid ball-hogs.
4 Eric Gordon - New Orleans Pelicans: Salary - $14,283,844
Eric Gordon of the New Orleans Pelicans is definitely one of the best-paid ball-hogs in the NBA. It's not his 50.8% passer rating that has made him a star, however, it's what he does with the ball in his hands. Gordon has been a driving force behind some of the team's stellar wins. Last season Gordon was New Orleans' leading scorer with an average of 17 points per game. It's no surprise that this young shooting guard comes in at number 4.
3 Brook Lopez - Brooklyn Nets: Salary - $14,694,000
Brook Lopez has the lowest pass rating the entire NBA at 47.7%. With an annual salary of over $14.5 million he enters the list of highest-paid ball-hogs at number 3. Brook's low pass percentage is probably surprising to most NBA fans, but it isn't necessarily because he consciously "hogs" the ball. His low number of touches per game sees his team mates setting him up for rebounds as the big center is rarely required to pass the ball.
2 Rudy Gay - Toronto Raptors: Salary - $17,888,932
At number 2 is Rudy Gay of the Toronto Raptors. With a passer rating of 55.8% he's far from being the biggest ball-hog, but his big-time salary and star status speak for themselves. The Memphis Grizzlies traded Gay to Toronto in January, 2013 in a three-way deal involving the Detroit Pistons. The Raps were hoping to use the small-forward to bolster their floundering offense. Gay set a franchise record in his first three games with Toronto scoring a combined 74 points. Unfortunately, he couldn't carry the whole team on his shoulders as they finished the season 34-48 and missed the playoffs.
1 Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder: Salary - $18,773,176
Gracing the top of this list is the one and only Kevin Durant, young star of the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a passer rating of 55.4% his numbers aren't as low as some of the others on this list, but let's not forget who we're talking about. Despite winning rookie of the year in 2008, Durant was criticised for not being able to effectively defend or pass. That being said, he went on to make the All-Star team four consecutive years from 2010-2013. As a strong outside shooter, Durant scored an average of 28 points per game last season and he tops our list of the highest-paid ball-hogs in the NBA.