The point guard position is a pricey one these days. The top-3 highest-paid players for the 2022-23 season all come from the point guard position. That also includes four players listed in the top 10, as well as seven players in the top 20. It appears that when teams are building a championship contender, the point guard position is the one that will come at a premium, at least for this upcoming season.
Two of those players on this list were part of buyouts, while two players did not play a single minute last season. It proves that, even though the position might be expensive, it may not be the wisest contract spent as well. That is all up for interpretation if you look at their past success compared to what they have done recently. All 10 players should be healthy and ready to contribute this season though.
These are the top 10 highest-paid players for the 2022-23 season.
10. Jrue Holiday - $33,665,040
2021-22 Stats: 18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG
There are not many Bucks fans that will be upset about this contract. When the Bucks acquired Holiday during the 2020 offseason, it was the final piece in helping the team make a run at winning the championship. With Holiday’s playmaking and defense, the Bucks were able to win their first title in 50 years. Holiday has been a consistent scorer that can bring close to 20 points and does an effective job of running the offense.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Holiday doesn’t have to lead the team in scoring. He is the team’s best overall defender. In the last two years, he has made the All-Defensive First Team (2021) and All-Defensive Second Team (2022). His most impressive stat was his 1.6 steals, which ranked sixth among all players at the position.
9. Ben Simmons - $35,448,672
2021-22 Stats: None
After the 2021 playoffs, the NBA world roasted Simmons for his offense. The Philadelphia 76ers left him out to dry and the relationship between the team and player quickly deteriorated. Simmons battled issues with his back, while also citing time away for mental health issues as well. All in all, Simmons chose to forgo playing for the team, which led to suspensions, fines, and more drama surrounding the team.
Simmons was eventually traded to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the James Harden trade. While Simmons is listed as a forward for the Nets, Simmons has primarily played as a point guard. In 2020-21, Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks. He finished that season as the runner-up in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. If Simmons is healthy, he could be a great fit with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as a third scoring option, but a primary defender. Then again, the Nets are in such a flux that the depth chart and positions could change at any time.
8. Kemba Walker - $36,596,549
2021-22 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Walker is still playing out a four-year, $140 million contract he signed in 2019. Walker was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2021 and then agreed to a buyout before he signed with the New York Knicks. The Thunder will be paying Walker about $27 million this season. The Knicks shipped Walker to the Pistons this offseason and Detroit will be paying about $9 million of his salary. Altogether, Walker is going to be a top-10 paid point guard despite coming off one of the worst seasons of his career.
Last year, Walker played 37 games after battling for playing time. His 11.6 points per game were a career low, including lower than the 12.1 points per game he averaged during his rookie season. Walker averaged over 19.0 points per game six straight seasons before last season. With a rebuilding Detroit team in need of some offense, could Walker resurrect his career?
7. Kyrie Irving - $36,596,550
2021-22 Stats: 27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG
The Kyrie Irving experience in Brooklyn has featured a consistent question. Is it worth the headache? Last year, Irving missed a significant part of the year because he would not get vaccinated, which conflicted with New York law. When Irving was on the floor, he averaged 27.4 points and shot 46.9% from the field. Irving is a top talent in the league when he is on the floor, but the issue is that he has played a combined 103 games in the last three seasons.
Now, the team’s depth chart is in flux. Kevin Durant wants to be traded out. Irving opted into the final year of his contract, but could he be traded as well? Not to mention, the addition of Ben Simmons could move Irving to a shooting guard. At the end of the day, his natural position is point guard, where he is an All-Star talent if he remains distraction-free.
5T. Luka Doncic - $37,096,500
2021-22 Stats: 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG 1.2 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Doncic was one of two players that led the position in scoring last season. His 9.9 made field goals per game was third-best at the position. His 3.1 made three-point field goals was the fifth best. Doncic 9.1 rebounds were the highest at the position by a large margin of nearly two rebounds, while his assists average was third-best. When it comes to complete players, you are not going to find much better than Doncic.
It feels like we haven’t seen the best from Doncic yet. Each season, he finds a way to do something more amazing. Last year, he led the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals. From scoring to rebounding to playmaking, Doncic brings everything to the table, which is why he is a multi-All-NBA First Team selection. Keep an eye out for Doncic during the MVP race this season.
5T. Trae Young - $37,096,500
2021-22 Stats: 28.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Statistically speaking, Young is one of the best point guards in the league. Young tied Doncic for the lead in scoring among point guards. His 9.7 assists per game were second to Chris Paul, who led the league in assists. Young finished with 42 double-doubles last season, which was second to Doncic’s 44 double-doubles; however, Young finished with the highest player efficiency rating (PER) among point guards.
Young and Doncic came from the same draft class, which makes this back-and-forth battle for the leader in some statistical categories even more fun to watch. Both players have been special since being drafted. It’s only a matter of time before Young makes a run at a scoring title or an assists crown. Maybe that season will come this year.
4. Damian Lillard - $42,492,492
2021-22 Stats: 24.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Four point guards will receive over $40 million this season. One of those players is coming off of one of the most difficult seasons of his career. Before last year, Lillard was a top-10 talent in the league. He was coming off of a season where he averaged 28.8 points, and 7.5 assists, and led the league in clutch points. Last year, Lillard battled injuries and played just 29 games. His 24.0 points per game were his lowest since the 2014-15 season, while his three-point shooting was a seven percent drop.
Lillard will be relied on heavily once again as the team will enter this year for the first time without C. J. McCollum, who was Lillard’s longtime backcourt teammate. With Anfernee Simons, the team believes they can replicate that success. What will be nice is that Lillard will not have to worry about trade rumors as he signed another contract extension with the team this offseason. With Lillard healthy and distraction-free, this could be a big season for him.
3. Russell Westbrook - $47,063,478
2021-22 Stats: 18.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
The Russell Westbrook experiment with the Lakers did not go as well as one thought it would. While Westbrook was second among point guards in rebounding, his overall PER was disastrous at 19th among players at the position. Westbrook was third among point guards with 3.8 turnovers, trailing both Doncic and Young. With that said, both of those players finished first and second in PER and had a rating that was 10 points higher than Westbrook.
This is the final year of Westbrook’s contract, which means he will probably remain with the Lakers this entire season because of the amount. The team is going to have to find a way to make it work with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Westbrook will have to likely change up his game because averaging a triple-double is not going to help the Lakers go far in the playoffs.
2. John Wall - $47,345,760
2021-22 Stats: None
The Rockets wanted to play their young players last season. The team also couldn’t find a trade partner for his heavy contract. Wall made $44.3 million last season and did not play a single minute. The team and Wall were able to find an agreement on a contract buyout. Wall will remain the second-highest paid player this season as he will receive about $41 million from the Rockets and then about $6 million from the Clippers.
The four-year, $171 million contract Wall signed with the Wizards in 2019 will go down as one of the worst contracts of all time. Wall has played a total of 40 games since the 2018-19 season. When Wall was healthy, he played 40 games during the 2020-21 season, averaging 20.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.1 steals. His role with the Clippers will be essential, but let’s see if he can stay healthy enough to be on the court.
1. Stephen Curry - $48,070,014
2021-22 Stats: 25.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.4 BPG
If there is a player that deserves this type of money, it’s Steph Curry. After landing his first Finals MVP Award after leading the Warriors to their fourth championship since 2015, Curry cemented his legacy as a top player in NBA history. Curry has plenty of juice left as he is coming off of a year where he was a full point guard in the league. He led the position with 4.5 three-pointers per game, while also shooting an impressive 38% from that range.
Curry finished top-5 in scoring, which included leading all point guards with a free-throw percentage of 92.3%. With Curry on the floor healthy, the Warriors will always have a chance to compete. With the Warriors, Curry has won two MVP Awards, four titles, and one Finals MVP, and could look to lead this team to defend their title. If he gets a fifth title, we will be talking about way more than his position-leading salary, which also tops the NBA as well.
The 20 Most Expensive NBA Players For The 2022-23 Season: Steph Curry Is The Highest-Paid, Russell Westbrook And John Wall Are Top-4