3. Haywood Highsmith
Out of all the standard salaries ranked for the season, Haywood Highsmith ranks second to last. Highsmith’s salary next season will be $1.9 million, with the only player below Highsmith being Orlando Robinson at $1.8 million.
Although Highsmith did not receive a large amount of playing time consistently, when he stepped foot on the court, Highsmith’s defensive impact was felt on most nights. In a switch-heavy defense, Highsmith showed he can match up with size along with guards and wings on the perimeter.
On a defensive-minded team, to have a player that has the tools defensively to take pressure off of players such as Butler and Bam Adebayo who also shoulder a lot of offensive responsibility is extremely valuable. The main question mark is if Highsmith can find a comfort zone offensively, as teams will live with Highsmith taking multiple shots. Last season, Highsmith had games with multiple threes made and also displayed his ability to react and make cuts for easy dunks or layups, but now it’s about consistency.
Although Highsmith is not as well rounded as Martin and Richardson, with Miami’s history of player development, having a player who is already fundamentally sound defensively at $1.9 million is great value.