NBA’s Most Cost-Efficient PGs
There is always much debate in professional sports about which players are overpaid or underpaid, which ones are the most efficient on the floor, and which ones are simply the most productive. But what about a marriage of all of those? Which NBA players are the most cost-efficient?
This piece kicks off a series looking at the starters at all five positions, one at a time, in an attempt to determine which players are the most cost-efficient players, taking into account their production and salary. The assumption is there should be a general correlation between a player’s production – and for this purpose we will use John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating – and his salary.
Will that hold true? Take a look at the list of starting point guards below, with their 2010-11 salary and PER, plus a final column dividing their salary by PER to give a simple dollar amount of how much each point of PER cost their team.
Note there are 32 players on this list, not just 30. Why? Two players each were listed for the Denver Nuggets and the Miami HEAT. In Denver’s case, when they traded Chauncey Billups to New York in the Carmelo Anthony trade they also acquired New York’s starter, Raymond Felton, but elected to make Ty Lawson their starter and bring Felton off the bench. Felton deserved to be recognized. For Miami Mike Bibby – who started for the Atlanta Hawks until his trade deadline move to Washington, subsequent buyout, and signing with the HEAT – started most games in Miami, but Mario Chalmers took the starting job back in the playoffs. Arguments could also be made for other players, but generally these 32 players encompass the realm of “starting point guards” for 2010-11.
So what jumps out at you? Not surprisingly, players still on their rookie contracts calculate out as the most cost-efficient using our metric. In fact, that includes the first 10 players, from Chalmers to Derrick Rose. John Wall, the only other rookie contract player, is 13th. It’s worth noting that of that group only Chalmers is a second-round pick and the most cost-efficient, though it comes with the cheapest contract and the second-lowest PER in the entire group.
Look at the bottom of the list. Considering an average PER is 15.0, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see names like Kirk Hinrich and Mo Williams down near the bottom.
Note that six starting point guards earned salaries over $10 million last season: Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups and Baron Davis. Only Billups and Davis didn’t post a PER of at least 20.4, and Paul’s PER of 23.8 topped the entire list. Even Davis, moved with a first-round pick from the Clippers for Mo Williams to get him off the books, seemingly marginalized with the drafting of Kyrie Irving at the June draft, and noted here as the least cost-efficient point guard among starters in the NBA still posted a PER of 17.0 – higher than the group’s average of 16.8 – 14th among this group.
Conclusion? Teams will always have to pay more for quality, so it’s expected the higher the PER the more a player will be paid and the less “cost-efficient” he may become. Once a group of players reaches a certain point in PER, teams have to starter paying exponentially greater rates to get more efficiency; it’s a sliding scale, not a linear one.
What do you take from this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Follow Jason Fleming on Twitter.