The S&*% List
February 27, 2013 1 Comment
Cost per win is a stat that’s often discussed in MLB stat geek circles. Following the “Moneyball” craze that turned every baseball fan into either a new-wave nerd or an old-fashioned dinosaur, cutting costs while still winning games became something baseball fans celebrated.
Why isn’t this something we talk about in the NBA, especially in this new era of cap-conscious, salary-shedding owners?
One reason is NBA teams have much smaller rosters than MLB teams, so an albatross contract can be much more crippling to a basketball team’s front office than it is to a baseball team’s. (Unless we’re talking about Alex Rodriguez, or pretty much anyone on the Phillies.) The 76ers, for example, paid Elton Brand $18,000,000 just so he wouldn’t be on the team, and so his contract wouldn’t count against the salary cap. There’s no such amnesty weapon in baseball, and owners and GMs are historically much less willing to offer gigantic contracts to sort-of-okay players. The MLB equivalent of Brandon Jennings (let’s say Hanley Ramirez) wouldn’t receive the baseball equivalent of a max contract. But in the NBA, that kind of stuff happens every summer. NBA GMs, everyone! (Maybe MLB GMs are smarter than those in the NBA. Just maybe.)
Anyway, here’s a list ranking the teams who have spent the most money per win this season in the NBA (cap figures came from HoopsHype).
Important note! Orlando is in a rebuilding phase, and it’s going to take the Magic a few years to snap out of it. Orlando traded Dwight Howard for a ton of poisonous contracts, but within the next two years its payroll will shrink dramatically. Or at least that’s what would happen if a smart GM runs the team. And judging from Rob Hennigan’s history, it’s safe to call him smart. Most teams aren’t that lucky.
Unlike the MLB cost per win table, I reversed the list, featuring the teams that spend millions and millions of dollars per win at the top of what I’ll call “The S&*% List.”
|Magic||$ 87,365,418.00||16||$ 5,460,338.63|
|Bobcats||$ 57,217,382.00||13||$ 4,401,337.08|
|76ers||$ 81,824,973.00||22||$ 3,719,316.95|
|Wizards||$ 66,261,098.00||18||$ 3,681,172.11|
|Cavaliers||$ 69,152,851.00||19||$ 3,639,623.74|
|Lakers||$ 100,087,153.00||28||$ 3,574,541.18|
|Timberwolves||$ 65,640,185.00||20||$ 3,282,009.25|
|Hornets||$ 63,880,914.00||20||$ 3,194,045.70|
|Suns||$ 60,222,660.00||19||$ 3,169,613.68|
|Pistons||$ 68,807,497.00||22||$ 3,127,613.50|
|Blazers||$ 75,802,401.00||26||$ 2,915,476.96|
|Raptors||$ 66,208,138.00||23||$ 2,878,614.70|
|Kings||$ 54,421,935.00||19||$ 2,864,312.37|
|Mavericks||$ 69,652,089.00||25||$ 2,786,083.56|
|Nets||$ 87,577,676.00||34||$ 2,575,814.00|
|Celtics||$ 74,650,643.00||30||$ 2,488,354.77|
|Knicks||$ 79,405,151.00||33||$ 2,406,216.70|
|Bulls||$ 74,638,230.00||32||$ 2,332,444.69|
|Bucks||$ 62,410,041.00||27||$ 2,311,483.00|
|Warriors||$ 70,787,541.00||33||$ 2,145,077.00|
|Jazz||$ 65,551,445.00||31||$ 2,114,562.74|
|Hawks||$ 66,426,169.00||32||$ 2,075,817.78|
|Heat||$ 83,404,095.00||41||$ 2,034,246.22|
|Nuggets||$ 67,970,254.00||36||$ 1,888,062.61|
|Pacers||$ 65,705,130.00||36||$ 1,825,142.50|
|Clippers||$ 72,861,475.00||41||$ 1,777,109.15|
|Grizzlies||$ 62,929,418.00||37||$ 1,700,795.08|
|Thunder||$ 68,924,100.00||41||$ 1,681,075.61|
|Rockets||$ 49,417,204.00||31||$ 1,594,103.35|
|Spurs||$ 70,102,467.00||45||$ 1,557,832.60|
Most of the teams at the top of list have some of the league’s lowest payrolls. But the difference between the NBA’s best and worst teams is so extreme that it’s not something that’s necessarily surprising. And before you think this is just a clever way to make fun of the Lakers, it could always be worse. You could be the Magic. Sadly, Orlando pays more money per win than the average NBA player earns per year. That’s completely insane. (My Excel skills are exquisite.)
What isn’t insane is the Spurs, Rockets, Thunder and Grizzlies, the four teams with arguably the savviest front offices in the league, lead the list, with the Pacers and Nuggets following closely behind. The Clippers’ appearance at the top isn’t quite an anomaly, but Blake Griffin will earn $6 million more per year next season than he is this year, and Chris Paul is set to earn a max deal this summer, so the Clips’ payroll will jump by at least $10 million next season unless the front office sheds some salary in other areas. (This isn’t an impossibility; L.A. has the assets to dump salary in the off-season.)
Just thought this was something worth sharing.