[HVC] Paying for Production: 2007 Season

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by roscoe36, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    This is an article written by forum member, dba (aka the stat sprocket).

    Paying for Production: 2007 Season

    by the stat sprocket

    At the end of the 2005-2006 season three Pistons were in my list of the league’s twenty most underpaid players. (Salary relative to statistical performance, see the Rating Players section below for details of the methodology used.) Ben Wallace was the fourth most underpaid player, Tayshaun Prince the ninth, and Chauncey Billups the thirteenth most underpaid player in the league.


    Wallace

    In the first season of his new contract with the Chicago Bulls, Ben Wallace appeared in 77 games for a cool sixteen million dollars. Last season Ben’s production justified a salary just under fourteen million. So did Ben get better and did the Bulls get their sixteen million dollar man? Not so much. Based on the 2006/2007 regular season Ben should have earned around eleven million, a good step down from the performance that earned him the big deal, but pretty much in line with what the Pistons offered. Score one for Joe D.


    Prince

    Last season Tay was still on his rookie contract and performed well over that level with a salary nearly seven million dollars below what his performance would suggest was fair. This year two things happened. First, Prince got some more money with a new contract starting at $7.9 million, and two, he dropped his game a bit, going from a season total of 2,153 sprocket points down to 1,962. That’s still nothing to sneeze at, and translates to a performance justified salary of $8.4 million. Score another one for Joe D.


    Billups

    Last season Mr. Big Shot performed at a level that should have earned him nearly $12.4 million. This season was not quite so impressive – a level of performance that would justify a salary only around nine million. Missed games due to injuries account for some of the decline though and if we were to project Billups’ performance to a full 82 game season his performance justified salary would go up to around $10.5 million (still not exactly what one might hope for in a contract year). CB’s reported new gig averaging $11.5 million (starting at $10.0) for your years looks right in line. Hat trick for Joe D.


    Rating Players

    To determine how much a player should earn based on his performance I first compute the number of sprocket points by player for the 2006/2007 regular season. Sprocket points are a weighted composite of a large set of basketball statistics. Then I sum sprocket points and salaries across all players and divide the totals to create the league average price paid per sprocket point. With this average value I can determine how much a player should have earned if each were paid solely based on performance.
    In the tables which follow you’ll see these columns…
    1. Player name
    2. Team
    3. Games played during the 2006/2007 regular season
    4. Salary – the player’s 2006/2007 salary paid
    5. For Games Played
      1. Fair Salary – how much the player should earn solely based on performance
      2. Gap – the difference between the performance justified salary and the actual
    6. Projected to 82 Games
      1. Fair Salary – how much the player would have earned based solely on performance and assuming he played in all 82 games, taking out the impact of injuries.
      2. Gap – the difference between the performance justified 82 game salary and the actual
    By this method, the list of most underpaid players in the league is headed by Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks. If performance alone determined player salaries, Smith would have earned in excess of ten million dollars this past season, closer to twelve million had he appeared in all 82 Hawks games. He’s a steal at $1.5 million. Note that Lebron James big new contract doesn’t kick in until next year when he will earn $12.5 million. Even at that level LBJ is still a bargain. If nothing else, this list proves yet again the value of drafting well and making hay while players are still on their rookie contracts.


    [​IMG]


    On the other end of the scale are some familiar faces. By a substantial margin, Shaquille O’Neal was the most overpaid player in the NBA last season, out-earning his production on the court by well over fifteen million dollars. Even if we control for the forty-two games Shaq missed due to injury and general malaise, he is still the most overpaid NBA player. Only twenty-one other players made more money ($15 million plus) than Shaq stole. No one last year in the league was worth twenty million.


    Across the entire list, only Yao Ming performed at a level sufficient to justify his salary had he managed to drag his fragile butt out onto the court for the full season. If he had played 82 games, at the level which he played in 48, Yao would have earned every penny of his $12.5 million.

    [​IMG]


    Closer to home, Rasheed heads the Pistons’ list this year of most overpaid / under-performing players. For Sheed you have to ask if the intangibles he brings are worth nearly a third of his twelve million dollar salary. For me, yes to a -15% gap, maybe a -20% one, but a -31% gap is too much. Sheed brings a lot to the court that the boxscore doesn’t show, but not $3.6 million worth.


    Also on the under-performing end are Mohammed, Davis, and Hamilton. Sitting Mohammed and Davis drops their value to the team substantially. Had both played a full season their salaries would have been within 20% of their production levels. If Mohammed plays he’s worth the five mil. If he doesn’t, he’s too expensive for insurance. Davis however was worth his salary had he played, but wasn’t too expensive for insurance. Rip has a fair salary within 20% of his actual. You’d like to see a positive gap there, but he’s at least in the range.


    On the over-performing end are Prince, McDyess, Murray, Maxiell, Billups, Delfino, and Webber, though Webber, playing at a prorated veteran’s minimum, would have been hard pressed not to earn his salary. Fair value for Webber would have been between six and seven million dollars.


    Overall, a quick look says that the Pistons did a good job with salaries this past season. In total they paid out nearly $58 million and got back over $62 million of production. However, if you take Webber out of the mix, or pay him something anywhere close to what he had been making, the numbers shift the other way. $58 million in salaries only produced $55.5 million of value without Webber. Time for some folks to step up.

    [​IMG]

    This is an article written by forum member, dba (aka the stat sprocket).
     
  2. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    Good job dba. Some of those under paid are first and second year players playing out their rookie contracts. Big paydays due.
    But you know that.
    We should start a new thread, "Is JD a snake oil salesmen?"
     
  3. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    Hey look at delfino! one of the top producers per game played. and people say he didn't do much.
     
  4. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

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    Good job on putting this together. Although, I don't put much faith in numbers. Statistically, refs get most of the calls right. But we all saw how they can influence the outcome of the game. So, I'd take all these numbers with a grain of salt.
     
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    A lot of dba's stuff may seem intimdating, but when read through carefully, and the metrics he uses are considered, it's very interesting stuff.

    The best part is, he's our captive author. If you have a question about why he did something a particular way, just ask!
     
  6. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    I don't bring a calculator to PF.com
     
  7. ggazoo69

    ggazoo69 Team Captain Forum Donor

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    Interesting stuff. I enjoyed reading it. With regard to Sheed not producing what he's paid, that's where statistics don't help so much. Seniority has to count for a little. He's been in the league for a while and has put in the time. But yes, a $3.6 million gap is fairly high. I agree Sheed is overpaid a bit. But we were all pretty happy with the contract (if I remember correctly) when he signed. After all, he had just helped the Pistons win a title, which is priceless.

    I'll bet Joe D. would be interested in this dba article.
     
  8. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    Seems similar to what 82games.com did last year.

    Detroit Pistons NBA stats and data from 82games.com

    Except, they determined that Billups should earn $24.07 Million. Sheed was at $13.8M. Of course, that was 2005-06, when their numbers were outstanding for the regular season.

    My point is tha the numbers can jump around a lot from year to year. If Billups does something close to what he did in 05-06, we will have a great bargain. If he repeats last year's production, then we will have a player who is receiving a fair check. Looks like there is more upside than downside to me... barring injury.
     
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    But one could argue that you need several guys playing about their salary to bring force of talent to the table within the league salary structure.

    I know this is a half full perspective in some ways, but fair pay for output isn't the formula for success. If it was, NJ should have been a contender last year (my subjective determination) based on the production you get from Jefferson, Carter and Kidd likely being somewhat commensurate with their salaries.

    I think you need a Ben Wallace on a cheap deal, or a Tony Parker playing out his rookie deal, or a Dwyane Wade on his rookie deal to build additional talent into the roster.
     
  10. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Just saw Jefferson on the underperformers list. But I think that may be due to injury.

    That said, the more play for less pay could be an explanation why super teams do not sweep their way to each and every championship.
     
  11. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    Average pay for average performance is the recipe for an average year. The entire goal of the GM (or any employer) is to pay the employees as little as possible while achieving production goals and without causing a backlash. Since the NBA is a monopoly, the union was necessary to combat that overwhelming incentive for owners to collude on wages.

    This is where the rhetoric comes in. Joe tries to spin it like he is giving the players what they deserve and he is rewarding them for years of service, etc. But in reality, he thinks that every contract signed is a better deal for the Pistons than it is for the player.

    And a lot of players realize that they are leaving something on the table. Due to the salary cap, they recoup that lost $ by having better teammates and achieving higher recognition... which leads to more money in the future when they go into free agency... or when they get endorsements.
     
  12. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater All-Star Forum Donor 6x Fantasy Champion

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    I actually hadn't seen this "article" until today. Very well and professionally written, DBA. It puts things in perspective very nicely.
     

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