Semaj Christon will earn $1.3 million this season and $1.54 million in 2018-19. Christon’s play in the playoffs and Summer League has been shoddy, and with the OKC Thunder up against the luxury tax, the powers that be should re-evaluate whether the team might be better off waiving the 24-year-old.
Pros of keeping Semaj Christon:
In today’s salary inflated NBA, a million bucks is around the lowest annual salary for active players. Having cheap, young players with potential to grow is a strategy built for success. Semaj Christon was one of the few rookies last season who played valuable rotation minutes in the playoffs and learned from the best point guard in the game, Russell Westbrook, all season long.
Christon also improved incrementally throughout the year. While his offense was mostly substandard, coach Billy Donovan usually threw him in bench-heavy lineups, deflating his overall efficiency rating. Anyone looks better playing next to Steven Adams than Joffrey Lauvergne.
In the months from November-January, Christon was subjectively awful on defense, giving up an average of 116 points per 100 possessions on that end. However, for the last three months of the season, after Christon worked more with the Thunder’s excellent development staff, his defensive rating improved to 106 points per 100 possessions.
Christon displayed his value when working in tandem with Westbrook, and when the two shared the floor together, the Thunder outscored teams by 5 points per 100 possessions.
And while Christon’s defensive numbers may be nothing to write home about, he’s a wiry guard who has the physicality and quickness to potentially develop into a keeper on the defensive end of the ball.
Cons of keeping Semaj Christon on team:
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To be honest, it was a bit of a stretch finding reasons to keep Semaj Christion on the roster. He really was terrible last season. Whenever Westbrook took a breather, Christion would usually pilot the offense, and he is the main culprit behind all those shocking on/off Westbrook splits that populate the internet.
Christon’s jumper was broken all season. He shot a poor 34.5 percent from the field and an unsightly 19 percent from three. His ball handling skills could use some work, he rarely penetrated, and…did I mention he shot 19 percent from three point land?
The Thunder are looking at a potential luxury tax bill, so every penny counts. Christon sadly has just not earned that $1.3 million. The team signed veteran Raymond Felton to man backup duties this coming season, shoving Christon out of the rotation.
Verdict: waive Christon