Utah Jazz 40 at 40: Production vs. Payment

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It's important to get paid in the NBA. It's also important to produce, so that you can keep getting paid. There's a reason why contract year is a real term, when you have to some guys pick it up. Let's take a look at who is producing for the Jazz.

Everyone wants to earn the most for their work, especially in a competitive and exclusive industry like professional sports. The market drives the price, and dumb General Managers sign people to contracts that players can't possibly be worth -- as the entire situation spirals into a lockout every few seasons. This season 6 of our 14 players are on rookie contracts, their earnings are fixed to their draft spot and the BRI estimations. One of those guys, Favors, is getting paid next year. The rest of the team are free agents (unless you honor the second non-guaranteed deal for Lucas III). For the season 16 different players have played for us, and two have been cut: Tinsley and Harris.

So, who are the guys fighting for their next contract?

Two of those guys are super young that I'm not even going to worry about (Garrett and Clark -- at the very least they'll get Jerel McNeal contracts to at least make them work out all summer and get cut right before training camp next year. That's the least the Jazz will do. I expect the Jazz to do much more). The other four guys, RJ, Beans, Mad Dog, and, uh, Kareem's Brother, are looking for their next pay day.

So let's look at this team and look at who is producing:

Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG
1 Gordon Hayward 2 3 37 36.1 17.1 5.4 4.9 1.3 0.7
2 Derrick Favors 5 4 40 31.3 13.5 9.1 1.1 1.1 1.4
3 Trey Burke 1 30 31.0 13.7 3.2 5.7 0.7 0.1
4 Alec Burks 2 1 42 27.6 12.9 3.1 2.8 0.8 0.2
5 Richard Jefferson 3 42 27.5 10.4 3.0 1.9 0.6 0.2
6 Marvin Williams 3 4 32 26.4 9.3 5.1 1.2 1.0 0.6
7 Enes Kanter 4 5 41 25.0 11.4 6.1 0.8 0.4 0.7
8 Jeremy Evans 4 3 29 18.8 6.8 5.3 0.9 0.5 0.7
9 John Lucas III 1 2 31 15.7 4.3 1.0 1.2 0.4 0.0
10 Diante Garrett 1 2 31 14.8 3.1 1.3 2.3 0.6 0.1
11 Brandon Rush 2 3 19 14.2 2.5 1.3 0.9 0.2 0.3
12 Jamaal Tinsley 1 8 13.8 1.1 1.4 2.9 0.3 0.0
13 Mike Harris 3 4 20 11.3 4.2 1.7 0.3 0.8 0.4
14 Rudy Gobert 5 19 10.4 2.1 4.3 0.2 0.3 0.8
15 Ian Clark 2 1 10 9.1 3.3 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.2
16 Andris Biedrins 4 6 7.5 0.5 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0

When sorted by how much they are playing you see a strong relationship between minutes and production. The vets in contract years will always want to be able to showcase their talent heading into free agency, and thus, they'd want to play minutes. Two of the vets in question (Marvin and Richard) are both playing more than half the game, every game they play in. And they play in ever single game the team does, save for injuries. Brandon is slowly creeping up in minutes, this month he's averaging 19+ mpg. The one dude on the short end of the stick is Beans -- who is effectively the fourth string center behind Favors, Kanter, and Gobert.

Okay, but still, there are a lot of numbers here, simply this. Okay. I will. I will by using BARPS again, not because I'm playing Fantasy BBALL, it's just the lowest common denominator to show performance. The nerdier I get, the less casual stats fans I am able to retain. I write for everyone, not just math students. So here are the values for BARPS (Blocks + Assists + Rebounds + Points + Steals). I've also included a number for BARPS / MPG. So we get the rate of these traditional stats, and how quickly a player gains them on the court.

When you sort for BARPS you get a different order of players:

Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG BARPS
1 Gordon Hayward 2 3 37 36.1 17.1 5.4 4.9 1.3 0.7 29.4
2 Derrick Favors 5 4 40 31.3 13.5 9.1 1.1 1.1 1.4 26.2
3 Trey Burke 1 30 31.0 13.7 3.2 5.7 0.7 0.1 23.4
4 Alec Burks 2 1 42 27.6 12.9 3.1 2.8 0.8 0.2 19.8
5 Enes Kanter 4 5 41 25.0 11.4 6.1 0.8 0.4 0.7 19.4
6 Marvin Williams 3 4 32 26.4 9.3 5.1 1.2 1.0 0.6 17.2
7 Richard Jefferson 3 42 27.5 10.4 3.0 1.9 0.6 0.2 16.1
8 Jeremy Evans 4 3 29 18.8 6.8 5.3 0.9 0.5 0.7 14.2
9 Rudy Gobert 5 19 10.4 2.1 4.3 0.2 0.3 0.8 7.7
10 Mike Harris 3 4 20 11.3 4.2 1.7 0.3 0.8 0.4 7.4
11 Diante Garrett 1 2 31 14.8 3.1 1.3 2.3 0.6 0.1 7.4
12 John Lucas III 1 2 31 15.7 4.3 1.0 1.2 0.4 0.0 6.9
13 Jamaal Tinsley 1 8 13.8 1.1 1.4 2.9 0.3 0.0 5.7
14 Ian Clark 2 1 10 9.1 3.3 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.2 5.5
15 Brandon Rush 2 3 19 14.2 2.5 1.3 0.9 0.2 0.3 5.2
16 Andris Biedrins 4 6 7.5 0.5 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.3

Hmm, our top five players here are the F5 guys: Gordon, Derrick, Trey, Alec, and Enes. Then we have the two vets, then Evans and Gobert jump the way up. Some guys are just naturally doing good things out there on the floor. What about BARPS / MPG? Well, when you sort for BARPS / MPG, you see something interesting happen:

BARPS
Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG BARPS / MPG
1 Derrick Favors 5 4 40 31.3 13.5 9.1 1.1 1.1 1.4 26.2 0.8371
2 Gordon Hayward 2 3 37 36.1 17.1 5.4 4.9 1.3 0.7 29.4 0.8144
3 Enes Kanter 4 5 41 25.0 11.4 6.1 0.8 0.4 0.7 19.4 0.7760
4 Jeremy Evans 4 3 29 18.8 6.8 5.3 0.9 0.5 0.7 14.2 0.7553
5 Trey Burke 1 30 31.0 13.7 3.2 5.7 0.7 0.1 23.4 0.7548
6 Rudy Gobert 5 19 10.4 2.1 4.3 0.2 0.3 0.8 7.7 0.7404
7 Alec Burks 2 1 42 27.6 12.9 3.1 2.8 0.8 0.2 19.8 0.7174
8 Mike Harris 3 4 20 11.3 4.2 1.7 0.3 0.8 0.4 7.4 0.6549
9 Marvin Williams 3 4 32 26.4 9.3 5.1 1.2 1.0 0.6 17.2 0.6515
10 Ian Clark 2 1 10 9.1 3.3 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.2 5.5 0.6044
11 Richard Jefferson 3 42 27.5 10.4 3.0 1.9 0.6 0.2 16.1 0.5855
12 Diante Garrett 1 2 31 14.8 3.1 1.3 2.3 0.6 0.1 7.4 0.5000
13 Andris Biedrins 4 6 7.5 0.5 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.3 0.4400
14 John Lucas III 1 2 31 15.7 4.3 1.0 1.2 0.4 0.0 6.9 0.4395
15 Jamaal Tinsley 1 8 13.8 1.1 1.4 2.9 0.3 0.0 5.7 0.4130
16 Brandon Rush 2 3 19 14.2 2.5 1.3 0.9 0.2 0.3 5.2 0.3662

OMGWTFBBQ!

Okay, so, wow, how do our contract year vets rank on this? Marvin is #9, which is okay. Rich is #11. Beans is #13. And Brandon is #16. Seriously, Beans is better than him. Of course, Beans has played in only 6 games. Rush is less than 20. So in contract years we see these guys with the big minutes displaying their guaranteed minutes, but little production to show for it. Marvin is doing okay, but he's overmatched at times as a starter.

Okay, so let's talk money now.

BARPS Salary
Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG BARPS / MPG ($ million)
1 Richard Jefferson 3 42 27.5 10.4 3.0 1.9 0.6 0.2 16.1 0.5855 $11.046
2 Andris Biedrins 4 6 7.5 0.5 2.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.3 0.4400 $9.000
3 Marvin Williams 3 4 32 26.4 9.3 5.1 1.2 1.0 0.6 17.2 0.6515 $7.500
4 Derrick Favors 5 4 40 31.3 13.5 9.1 1.1 1.1 1.4 26.2 0.8371 $6.008
5 Enes Kanter 4 5 41 25.0 11.4 6.1 0.8 0.4 0.7 19.4 0.7760 $4.505
6 Brandon Rush 2 3 19 14.2 2.5 1.3 0.9 0.2 0.3 5.2 0.3662 $4.000
7 Gordon Hayward 2 3 37 36.1 17.1 5.4 4.9 1.3 0.7 29.4 0.8144 $3.452
8 Trey Burke 1 30 31.0 13.7 3.2 5.7 0.7 0.1 23.4 0.7548 $2.439
9 Alec Burks 2 1 42 27.6 12.9 3.1 2.8 0.8 0.2 19.8 0.7174 $2.202
10 Jeremy Evans 4 3 29 18.8 6.8 5.3 0.9 0.5 0.7 14.2 0.7553 $1.660
11 John Lucas III 1 2 31 15.7 4.3 1.0 1.2 0.4 0.0 6.9 0.4395 $1.600
12 Rudy Gobert 5 19 10.4 2.1 4.3 0.2 0.3 0.8 7.7 0.7404 $1.079
13 Jamaal Tinsley 1 8 13.8 1.1 1.4 2.9 0.3 0.0 5.7 0.4130 $0.884
14 Diante Garrett 1 2 31 14.8 3.1 1.3 2.3 0.6 0.1 7.4 0.5000 $0.719
15 Ian Clark 2 1 10 9.1 3.3 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.2 5.5 0.6044 $0.490
16 Mike Harris 3 4 20 11.3 4.2 1.7 0.3 0.8 0.4 7.4 0.6549 $0.383

All of the vets in contract years should expect to save their money this year. I don't expect many of them to make a similarly insane amount next year. Our three highest players this season are all making over $7 million a year. Their value may lie closer to their experience than their production at this point. Both Rich ($) and Marvin make threes. That's important. They aren't 3 and D guys though. So that hurts. Rush isn't a 3 and D guy either. But there is an interesting relationship between how much they are getting paid and how efficiently they are producing:

  • Richard: #1 in money, #11 in production
  • Andris: #2 in money, #13 in production
  • Marvin: #3 in money, #9 in production
  • Brandon: #6 in money,  #16 in production

It's a little early, but if it was up to me I would only bring Marvin back. Still, there's more to look at. Like this graph, for instance:

40_at_40_-_35_productions_vs_payment

Hmm, what a co-incidence, the players that fans of this blog seem to favor are all a) producing efficiently, and b) producing more than they are getting paid! The best value guy this season for his production was Harris. Marvin and Brandon are close to that red line that shows if you are overpaid or not. Beans and Rich aren't even close.

Oh, and our point guard situation is self explanatory. You get what you pay for. Unless it's an over-paid elderly forward in a contract year . . .

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