- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Brooklyn Nets are on pace to pay more than $180 million in player salaries and luxury-tax penalties. And while most of their highest-paid players have struggled, three of their cheaper guys have been more than worth it:
1. Shaun Livingston ($884,293): Livingston, 28, was signed to be Deron Williams' backup. Instead, he’s starting next to D-Will, doing a little bit of everything -- usually guarding the other team’s best wing player. The Nets are 3.8 points per 100 possessions better defensively with Livingston (7.7 PPG, 3.1 APG, 3.1 RPG) on the court. Not bad for a guy making the league minimum, huh?
2. Andray Blatche ($1,375,604): Blatche, 27, has been doing this in Brooklyn for two seasons now, so it comes as no surprise that he’s made this list. Nothing like a double-digit bench player at a bargain price. Of course, Blatche (11.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 19.84 PER) is also getting $7,489,357 this season from the Washington Wizards, who released him via the amnesty clause. Life is good for Dray Live.
3. Mirza Teletovic ($3,229,050): Teletovic, 28, has finally become the consistent floor-spacer the Nets hoped he’d be when they inked the Bosnian sharpshooter to a three-year contract for taxpayer mini-midlevel money in the summer of 2012. This season, Teletovic (8.7 PPG, 39.5 percent from 3-point range) has taken his opportunity and run with it.
Note: Brook Lopez ($14,693,906) would have made this list had he not been lost for the season due to a broken foot. Andrei Kirilenko ($3,183,000) would have made this list had he stayed relatively healthy up to this point (29 games missed). Alan Anderson ($947,907) deserves some recognition, as well.
6dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo