NBA Player Salaries for 2012-2013 -- Who looks to be overpaid in the $8.0 million or up club?

Mar 27, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis (11) passes the ball over Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) during the third quarter at the Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The 2011-2012 NBA Season is not over quite yet, well, it is for the Utah Jazz. Being a Utah Jazz blog it's never too early to start looking at what needs to happen this off-season. The #1 thing I want the Jazz to do is to at least PLAY in the same league as the rest of the teams. This means adopting the successful practices of other teams, instead of regressing into further and further insular doctrines. This may mean trading young players for older players. This may mean trading productive fan favorites to make room for young players with more potential. This may mean adopting advanced stats gurus. This may mean adopting a more friendly relationship with social media and blogs. This may even mean changing our playbook to actually incorporate the three point shot -- and getting guys who can make that shot.

There are a lot of things I'd want the Jazz to do under the blanket of joining the other teams in the league. There is one really big thing that a lot of other teams do that the Jazz have (for the most part) avoided doing. And that's overpay for a bad player.

Let's take a look at all the players currently under contract next year who make at least $8.0 million dollars, shall we? And let's look at them divided by player class (Bigman, Wing, or Point guard), and compare their Career WS/48s. Not included in these lists are free agents (Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, etc?), or reference to player ages, sizes, injury history, or experience. It's just Bigs, Wings, and PGs -- how much they are on the books for next year, and how good have they been according to WS/48. (Because not everyone likes PER, including myself, and there are arguments that I've been using softer stats lately)

Concerns:

I really don't want the Jazz to dish out half the GDP of Endor for a bad player. Or grossly overpay an okay player just to be here either. This isn't just related to signing free agents, we need to also look at our own roster first. We have a bunch (4) lotto picks who may not all be getting the playing time to deserve their hefty contracts right now. Enes Kanter made over $4 million this season, and played only 800 minutes. If we're going to be smart moving forward we need to be smart now. Do we have anyone really overpaid on our team right now?

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Method:

I looked on a few websites and collected every playing who is signed for next year, and making at least $8.0 million dollars next year. I categorized them into player classes, and then ordered them from most expensive to least. Last, I also inputted their WS/48 values. Values that are grossly below the values of their peers (in terms of relative similarity in Salary) will be deemed to be overpaid. This is still going to end up being subjective -- like would Monta Ellis be a PG (as I classify him, in terms of his USG% and TO%) like I place him, or be a wing? Still, hard to argue with the numbers for some of these guys. Let's take a look.

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The Numbers:

Bigmen (Centers, Power Forwards) Wings (Shooting Guards, Small Forwards) Point Guards
Player Team 2012-13 Career Player Team 2012-13 Career Player Team 2012-13 Career
Sal ($ M) WS/48 Sal ($ M) WS/48 Sal ($ M) WS/48
Dirk Nowitzki DAL $20.9 0.212 . Kobe Bryant LAL $27.9 0.184 . Chris Paul LAC $17.8 0.238
Amare Stoudemire NKY $19.9 0.174 . Rashard Lewis WAS $22.7 0.133 . Deron Williams (PO) NJN $17.8 0.136
Dwight Howard (ETO) ORL $19.5 0.187 . Carmelo Anthony NYK $20.5 0.129 . Derrick Rose CHI $15.5 0.140
Pau Gasol LAL $19.0 0.178 . Joe Johnson ALT $19.8 0.097 . Tony Parker SAS $12.5 0.146
Elton Brand PHI $18.2 0.156 . LeBron James MIA $17.6 0.233 . Rajon Rondo BOS $11.0 0.137
Chris Bosh MIA $17.6 0.161 . Dwyane Wade MIA $17.2 0.196 . Monta Ellis MIL $11.0 0.073
Zach Randolph MEM $16.5 0.112 . Paul Pierce BOS $16.8 0.167 . Jose Calderon TOR $10.6 0.131
Andrew Bynum LAL $16.1 0.174 . Kevin Durant OKC $16.7 0.167 . Jameer Nelson ORL $8.6 0.123
Carlos Boozer CHI $15.0 0.161 . Rudy Gay MEM $16.5 0.081 . Rodney Stuckey DET $8.5 0.087
Al Jefferson UTA $15.0 0.127 . Andre Iguodala PHI $14.7 0.127 . Mo Williams LAC $8.5 0.088
LaMarcus Aldridge POR $14.0 0.146 . Manu Ginobili SAS $14.1 0.216 . Devin Harris UTA $8.5 0.117
Marc Gasol MEM $13.9 0.149 . Luol Deng CHI $13.4 0.125 .
Tyson Chandler NYK $13.6 0.152 . Danny Granger IND $13.1 0.132 .
Emeka Okafor NOR $13.5 0.115 . Ben Gordon DET $12.4 0.092 .
Josh Smith ATL $13.2 0.102 . Kevin Martin HOU $12.4 0.148 .
Andrew Bogut GSW $13.0 0.109 . Hedo Turkoglu ORL $11.8 0.117 .
David Lee GSW $12.7 0.144 . Corey Maggette CHA $10.9 0.129 .
Al Horford ATL $12.0 0.155 . Richard Jefferson GSW $10.1 0.128 .
Joakim Noah CHI $11.3 0.173 . Stephen Jackson SAS $10.1 0.066 .
DeAndre Jordan LAC $10.5 0.113 . Gerald Wallace (PO) NJN $9.5 0.037 .
David West IND $10.0 0.133 . Marvin Williams ATL $8.3 0.102 .
Andrea Bargnani TOR $10.0 0.064 . John Salmons SAC $8.1 0.075 .
Luis Scola HOU $9.4 0.125 . Caron Butler LAC $8.0 0.089 .
Andris Biedrins GSW $9.0 0.134 . Thaddeus Young PHI $8.0 0.116 .
Paul Millsap UTA $8.6 0.156 . .
Anderson Varejao CLE $8.4 0.149 . .
Shawn Marion DAL $8.4 0.158 . .
Brendan Haywood DAL $8.3 0.120 . .
Tyrus Thomas CHA $8.0 0.083 . .
Bigmen Avg $13.3 0.142 Wings Avg $14.2 0.129 PG Avg $11.8 0.129

The obvious thing is that if there are some guys who are overpaid -- there are also guys who are steals. I think for the most part the Jazz have an absolute steal in Paul Millsap. Arguments can be made that they do have one in Devin Harris as well. But don't misunderstand these values, this doesn't mean Devin Harris is a Top 10 PG, this list doesn't include guys who make less than him who are better than him (guys on rookie deals), or current PG free agents (Steve Nash, etc).

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Analysis-ish Stuff:

If you care about bang for your buck, and you put stock into WS/48 (and this is really the crux of this argument), then you must admit that for his career Al Jefferson's performance has not been equal to his $15m contract in 2012-2013. That doesn't make him a bad human being, or a bad NBA player -- or even someone we need to get rid of at all costs. It just means that for his career he hasn't been as good as he's getting paid to be. It means that he is overpaid. This next season Big Al COULD VERY WELL BE WORTH $15 million. We don't know, next season hasn't started yet. For the record, There are a number of players who have WORST WS/48 than Big Al who are scheduled to make +$2 million to -$2 million than him next year: Zach Randolph, Emeka Okafor, Josh Smith, and Andrew Bogut.

Devin Harris may not be perfect, but he's good enough to stay until we find the "next" starting PG for this team to replace him. He's not breaking the bank either.

Paul Millsap should not be moved, period. He's efficient as a player, and is making peanuts right now.

As for WS/48 -- I don't think it's in the best interest of Jazz fans to discount an advanced metric that ranks John Stockton as the 15th best player of all time in the entire NBA/ABA history. Do you?

Also thanks to all the people who explained Rashard Lewis' contract to me on twitter. It still makes me sad though. He's clearly overpaid in my estimation. As would be Monta Ellis, Joe Jonson, Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith, and Tyrus Thomas. And we all kind of already inferred that. Hooray for redundant research!

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