In the 2012-13 off-season, the then underrated Nikola Pekovic was a sought after free agent because good big men are becoming harder and harder to come by these days and a lot of teams also wanted him because he was just entering his prime, coming off of the best season in his career, posting averages of 16.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG, on a 52% field goal percentage.
That production got him a 5 year, $60 million contract, averaging $12 million per and the once underrated "Pek" as people like to call him, is now overrated. He should have a similar contract to what Tiago Splitter got this summer, which was a 4 year, $36 million contract. Just like with Tiago Splitter and even DeAndre Jordan, Pekovic was given a hefty amount of salary to say because if Minnesota didn't, he probably would've went to another team and they would be screwed. They're still screwed, at least cap situation wise. To begin with, Nikola Pekovic wasn't even that great of a Center to deserve $12 million per; his best area of his game was offensive rebounding but the rest of his game is either slightly above average (his post game) and decent (0.8 blocks per game). I mean, he's not even averaging 1 block per game and he's a Center and that doesn't help the fact that he's slow footed. The thing about his "above-average" offense is that the majority of his points come from inside the paint. He's a horrendous offensive player outside of 12 feet. Look at his shot chart:
In a way, Nikola Pekovic is a lesser version of pre-2012-13 Al Jefferson (a former Timberwolves Center), who up until this last season, didn't have the 12-16 feet range on his shot. Also, giving $12 million per to a player who hasn't played more than 65 games in a season in his 3-year NBA career is risky. Through the remainder of Pek's 5 year contract, the Timberwolves should expect production in the upwards of 16 PPG, around 9 RPG and close to a block per game on his typical 50%-55% field goal percentage. Pekovic doesn't have much potential to improve so what the Timberwolves are getting out of him now is what they're going to get for the future. Hefty salary for a player who isn't as good as people think.