Some of you might recall that near the end of last year's offseason, I published what I considered the 10 best and 10 worst contracts of the offseason. Before I do this again for the current season, I thought I'd re-visit the list.
Recap: The 10 worst
|10||Marco Bellinelli||1 yr, $2m||-2.0|
|9||Raymond Felton||3yrs, $10.5m (+player option 4th yr)||-0.8|
|8||Kirk Hinrich||2 yrs, $8m||-0.4|
|7||Jamal Crawford||4yrs, $20m (only 2 guaranteed)||-1.0|
|6||Chris Kaman||1yr, $8m||-3.6|
|5||OJ Mayo||1yr $4m (+ player option 2nd yr)||-0.2|
|4||Nick Young||1yr, $5.6m||-1.4|
|3||Michael Beasley||3yrs, $18m||-6.6|
|2||Jeff Green||4yrs, $36m||0|
|1||Brook Lopez||4yrs, $60m||0.5|
8 of the players on my list performed below the average player (a Points Over Par score of 0 describes an average player, since one would expect a team full of average players to win 41 games and finish the season with an efficiency differential of zero). Brook Lopez surprised me by bouncing back to his previous career bests despite coming off a very serious injury (but he still isn't worth a max contract), Jeff Green similarly surprised me by having a career year coming off of 1 year's rest and major surgery (but, again, still isn't worth his contract), Michael Beasley surprised me by being even worse than I thought he'd be (read the original piece to see what an amazing accomplishment that is), and everyone else pretty much lived up to expectation.
If I had to make changes, I would bump Lopez down a few notches, I would remove OJ from the list (by having a career best shooting year, OJ made his deal pretty fair). But the rest I'd keep on the list.
Many of the deals were bad not because of the actual costs, but because of the opportunity costs -- Chicago gave away Ronnie Brewer for Bellinelli, for example, and the Knicks passed on Jeremy Lin because of Felton. The Sixers amnestied an expiring Elton Brand to sign Young, meaning they saved no money and lost a contributing big man and a potential deadline trade chip.
A note regarding Lopez: many of you might think I would now "eat some crow" about this deal but I'll point to exhibit A: Nikola Pekovic is set to get about $50m over 4 years. Would you trade Pek for Lopez? Do you think many NBA front offices would trade Pek for Lopez? Even if Lopez develops further, the Nets overpaid by a lot for Lopez when they didn't have to -- the Bobcats were the only team in danger of signing him to the max, and the Nets always had the option to match. They essentially set the market price to the maximum without forcing Lopez to actually go out and prove he could get the maximum.
Recap: The 10 Best
|10||Lavoy Allen||2yrs, $6m||-2.2|
|9||Greg Stiemsma||1yr, $3m||-2.8|
|8||Elton Brand||1yr, $2.1m||-0.5|
|7||Ronnie Brewer||1yr vet min||0.4|
|6||JaVale McGee||4yrs, $44m||1.8|
|5||Andrei Kirilenko||1yr, $10 (player option 2nd yr)||4.9|
|4||Jeremy Lin||3yrs, $25m||-0.3|
|3||Ersan Ilyasova||5yrs, $45m||3.6|
|2||Omer Asik||3yrs, $25m||2.2|
|1||Ryan Anderson||4yrs, $36m||-1.1|
Many of these players had pretty bad years and turned out to not belong on this list. But I suspect the ones that most of you will give me grief about are Jeremy Lin and Ryan Anderson. With Lin, I still think this was a good deal. He posted a near-average WP48 for the year despite having a miserable first couple of months. I expect him to improve again this year, and let's remember that much of the money is deferred: he's only being paid about $5m next year; he is due most of the money in year 3, and he might get traded before or during that year. This contract is still a good deal with the potential of becoming a great one.
Ryan Anderson is a more troublesome case. He had by far his worst year, and it is almost entirely due to poor rebounding. This is something to keep an eye on; if his rebounding does not recover, he essentially becomes a rich man's version of Andrea Bargnani. And no, that's not a good thing. What's odd about this is that one would think that his defensive rebounding would be better since he's no longer playing next to Dwight (defensive rebounds suffer from diminishing returns).
Asik and JaVale, on the other hand, remain the standouts in great contracts, and AK47 is almost assuredly going to end up on this list again this year, since the market very inexplicably doesn't want to pay him much right now (incidentally, the fact that the Twolves did not capitalize on this market condition, and would rather pay Corey Brewer $5 million than Andrei Kirilenko $7 million, is going to earn the Brewer contract a spot on this year's worst list).
Let me know how you think about it all, a year later.