In light of my post last week about the Utah Jazz's financial future and because of a fine post by NBA CBA expert Larry Coon on player's expected salary, I thought we should take a peek at what it means to be overpaid and where exactly our own players stand in the underpaid/overpaid discussion.
There are many ways to decide if a player is overpaid or underpaid and I have seen and studied many of them. Larry Coon's explanation is as good as anyone's I have seen. In essence, he takes the NBA rank numbers for each player and assigns them an expected salary based on their NBA rank score. I know that we can't all agree that the NBA rank scores are perfect, but they are interesting, formed by a lot of opinions and, at least, free of Utah Jazz fan bias.
My criteria for any list that is compiled on the best Jazz players is simple: the list can only be valid if it has Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward in the top 4 in some order. My list of top Jazz players is different from the Nba rank list, but they also have Jefferson, Millsap, Favors and Hayward as our 4 best players in that order, so I can live with that.
In short, ESPN compiled 104 experts to rank each NBA player on a scale from 1-10 and then the numbers were averaged to give each player a score from 1-10. For reference sake, Lebron James was the highest rated player with a 9.99. Here are how the Jazz players scored:
Al Jefferson- 6.87
Paul Millsap- 6.55
Derrick Favors- 5.61
Gordon Hayward- 5.09
Mo Williams- 5.06
Marvin Williams- 4.69
Randy Foye- 4.33
Enes Kanter- 4.28
Alec Burks- 3.88
Earl Watson- 3.12
It's important to note that these rankings are according to the player's ability right now, or more correctly as of the end of last season, when the rankings were compiled. Larry Coon took the average score of 5 and equated that to an average salary in the NBA of $3.5 million and then made a scale with a regression line to figure out expected salaries and found the difference between the expected salary and the actual salary (for 2011-12). Let's do that for each of our players.
Al Jefferson was about $6 million overpaid, which would put him in the 20-25th most overpaid players in the NBA. It's also important to realize that most players in the NBA are overpaid according to NBA rank. But if guys like Hayward, Favors, Kanter and Burks improve closer to the level of a Jefferson or Millsap, while their salaries only rise a million dollars or so, then they should all be underpaid this season.
I don't think it is any surprise either that both of the Williamses are overpaid.
So what do you think? Do you agree with this assessment?