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