2. Keita Bates-Diop
There is absolutely no question that Keita Bates-Diop should be on this list. Unlike Gordon, the 27-year-old has never gotten paid either, and in his time in the league he has made somewhere between $5-$6 million. It is unlikely he was going to get a bag this summer, but Bates-Diop surely could have gotten more elsewhere after some stellar play for the San Antonio Spurs.
The type of player that Bates-Diop is will always be in demand as well, which makes the fact the Suns could get him even better. There’s a real case to be made that he will be the fifth starter for the team to begin the season, and his defensive abilities are going to mesh really well with the offensive stars this group has.
Last season, the Spurs had the worst defensive rating in the league, at 119.6. When Bates-Diop was on the court, that number shrank to 116.6. Still in the bottom seven in this category, but a marked improvement. It is foolish to expect any more from the player both because of the teammates he had in San Antonio, and because of who he is as a player.
Bates-Diop is an above average defender in one-on-one situations, and with better teammates and a more defined role with the Suns, he will become even better in a team setting as well. He absolutely could have made more money, perhaps even the mid-level for another franchise with cap space, and is surely going to use the opportunity to make himself more money in future.