Greg Steele Grades the NBA Pacific Division's Offseason

Editor's Note: Greg Steele graded every team's moves this offseason and kindly let us host it. Since we have less than a week since the NBA is back and an editor was slow on releasing this content, we're doing some clever combining of teams. Today's theme? The Pacific Division. Greg has his own win variant, so check out his site (link below) for his methodology. Also, if you notice any many transactions, let us know!

The Methodology (Again)

I have already outlined a method to accurately grade offseason moves based on an analysis of the cost of wins in the NBA, the relationship between performance and salary, and a rubric to help the grades make sense. Now, I'm presenting the first annual NBA Offseason Data Crunch, in which I evaluate every move made by every team this summer. Before you dig in, there are two caveats:

  • In what follows, I will evaluate all acquisitions in terms of the player's value relative to the value of his contract. This means that for trades, we are not interested (right now) in figuring out which team won or lost the trade. There is a time for evaluating trades in that manner, but today's analysis will consider moves purely in terms of cost-efficiency.
  • The data crunch will deal only with players who are likely to impact winning or losing NBA games this year, and players whose impact we are able to reliably estimate. Rookies and future draft picks, as they do not have any NBA data, are difficult to forecast with the same accuracy as existing NBA players, so I will leave them aside for now.

Golden State Warriors

This section is written by Dre

We reviewed Greg's grades for the Raptors and Warriors in an article already. So check out Greg's Warriors grades there. The one move that happened after Greg's initial grades was Marquese Chriss. I'll give it a stab.

Marquese Chriss signs with the Golden State Warriors for 1 year/$2 million

Chriss hasn't been a great player, but he's signed to a cheap deal. He's not really what the Warriors need, but it's not a horrible signing. Sticking with my standard, I give this a C grade.

Name Season Greg Wins Greg Wins per G Greg Wins per 48
Marquese Chriss 2018-19 0.7 0.016 0.067
Marquese Chriss 2017-18 2 0.027 0.062
Marquese Chriss 2016-17 2.4 0.03 0.067
Marquis Teague 2017-18 0.1 0.017 0.033

Los Angeles Clippers

Rodney McGruder signs with Los Angeles Clippers for 3 years/$15 million

McGruder has contributed 4.5 wins in his three NBA seasons, which works out to 1.5 wins and $3.3 million in salary per year. Since McGruder is now guaranteed $5 million per year and since his Offensive Efficiency has been dismal in two of three seasons (his Defensive Efficiency has been 43% in every season), there doesn’t seem to be any room for him to become more productive while helping the  Heat to win. This looks like a three-year commitment to an end-of-the-bench player.


Patrick Patterson signs with Los Angeles Clippers for 1 year/$2 million

Patterson’s deal is for the minimum, but Patterson has not been the same player during the last two seasons that he was previously. He is not likely to contribute.


Los Angeles Clippers trade POR for Maurice Harkless

Harkless has been worth an average of 3.3 wins and $5.8 million in the last four seasons and is on the final season of his contract. He will make $11.5 million this year but is unlikely to provide quite much value. In terms of fit, Harkless will mostly fill the role that was intended for Luc Mbah a Moute with Clippers last year before his injury. He will have the opportunity to earn playing time as a small-ball four if he can shoot a little and rebound enough.


Patrick Beverley signs with Los Angeles Clippers for 3 years/$40 million

In his last three full seasons, Beverley has contributed an average of 4.3 wins, an annual value of $8.0 million. Beverley was not as productive or efficient this year in his return from injury as he was during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, but I think it likely that he returns to his previous form and provides the Clippers with about as much value as they paid for. Also, helping the Clippers’ grade, in this case, is that Beverley reportedly turned down a more lucrative contract offer from the Sacramento Kings to accept LA’s offer.


Ivica Zubac signs with Los Angeles Clippers for 4 years/$28 million

Zubac took on a much more significant role last season, increasing from 1.3 wins in ’17-18 to 3.3 wins last year. His performance last season provided the Clippers with a value of $5.8 million. As a result, LA rewarded his progress (and potential, to be honest) with a long-term deal. Zubac only needs to increase his production to 3.9 wins to reach the annual value on his contract. With two high-level creators joining the Clippers this offseason (you may have heard something about that …), it looks like a proper setting for Zubac to increase his offensive yield. Where he needs to improve, however, is on the defensive end. If Zubac can establish a presence at the rim, this will be a good deal for LA. If not, it should be even money.


Los Angeles Clippers trade OKC for Paul George

During the past four seasons, PG13 has averaged 10.5 wins per season. His performance should be worth $59.9 million per year in an unrestricted marketplace. As with other top-flight superstars, George’s value is far over the maximum contract allowable under the CBA.


Kawhi Leonard sign with Los Angeles Clippers for 3 years/$103 million (2+1 Player Option)

The Klaw’s last three healthy seasons have seen him accumulate 11.1 wins and $73.5 million in value per season. As is the case for all top-shelf talents, the maximum salary undercuts Kawhi’s actual value, making this contract highly team-friendly.


Name Season Greg Wins Greg Wins per G Greg Wins per 48
Rodney McGruder 2018-19 2 0.031 0.063
Rodney McGruder 2017-18 0.3 0.017 0.049
Rodney McGruder 2016-17 2.2 0.029 0.055
Patrick Patterson 2018-19 1 0.016 0.055
Patrick Patterson 2017-18 1.8 0.022 0.067
Patrick Patterson 2016-17 2.7 0.041 0.08
Patrick Patterson 2015-16 3.3 0.042 0.079
Maurice Harkless 2018-19 3 0.05 0.102
Maurice Harkless 2017-18 2.6 0.043 0.097
Maurice Harkless 2016-17 4.8 0.062 0.103
Maurice Harkless 2015-16 2.8 0.037 0.094
Patrick Beverley 2018-19 3.6 0.046 0.08
Patrick Beverley 2017-18 0.7 0.06 0.095
Patrick Beverley 2016-17 5.1 0.076 0.119
Patrick Beverley 2015-16 4.3 0.06 0.1
Ivica Zubac 2018-19 3.3 0.056 0.153
Ivica Zubac 2017-18 1.3 0.03 0.15
Ivica Zubac 2016-17 1.2 0.033 0.099
Paul George 2018-19 12.2 0.158 0.205
Paul George 2017-18 9.1 0.115 0.151
Paul George 2016-17 8.4 0.112 0.15
Paul George 2015-16 12.3 0.152 0.21
Kawhi Leonard 2018-19 9.2 0.154 0.217
Kawhi Leonard 2017-18 1 0.107 0.221
Kawhi Leonard 2016-17 13.6 0.184 0.264
Kawhi Leonard 2015-16 10.6 0.147 0.213

Los Angeles Lakers

This section is written by Dre

The Lakers originally got their own post. There was one move that happened after Greg's original grades we missed. And it's kind of important.

Dwight Howard signs with Los Angeles Lakers for 1 year/$2 million

Dwight's a weird proposition. Up until 2018, he'd been productive with every team he'd signed with and was almost a guarantee for 2,000 minutes. He missed most of last season with the Wizards and is getting older. He's certainly what the Lakers need, but his off the court issues and injuries leave a lot of concerns. Solid B grade for this one, risky, but worth it.

Name Season Greg Wins Greg Wins per G Greg Wins per 48
Dwight Howard 2018-19 0.5 0.052 0.097
Dwight Howard 2017-18 6.7 0.083 0.131
Dwight Howard 2016-17 6 0.081 0.13
Dwight Howard 2015-16 7.5 0.106 0.159

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns trade MEM for Kyle Korver, Jevon Carter

Phoenix bought out Kyle Korver, so the trade with Memphis was for Jevon Carter. Carter’s value and contract status are similar to De’Anthony Melton’s, so there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this deal for Phoenix. The Suns wanted to move on from Josh Jackson, which is fine, but they had to attach two second-round picks to get rid of an $8 million/year salary. This seems excessive for a non-contender. Focusing only on the acquisition of Carter, however, this is a mediocre move.


Frank Kaminsky signs with Phoenix Suns for 2 years/$10 million

I’m not sure I get this signing at all. Frank the Tank has generated an average of 2.9 wins (worth $5.1 million) per season with the Hornets but has done so with some dreadful Defensive Efficiency marks. He is borderline unplayable on defense because he cannot protect the rim, and he cannot defend on the perimeter. How does bringing in this guy mesh with the Suns’ plans to build their frontcourt around DeAndre Ayton? In financial terms, Kaminsky may give the Suns more than they pay for, but I do not see him improving his efficiency.


Ricky Rubio signs with Phoenix Suns for 3 years/$51 million

Rubio has been worth 5.4 wins per season during the last four years, but his efficiency has dropped in the previous two seasons with Utah. When Rubio is required to carry a heavier offensive burden, his efficiency on that end suffers. At first glance, it looks like Phoenix is a bad fit for him – a roster light on 3-point shooters cannot relieve the pressure on him. Given how weak Phoenix’s defense has been, though, it is encouraging to see them adding a quality defender like Rubio. At an average annual value of $16 million, Rubio’s contract looks to be a slight overpay for the Suns.


Cheick Diallo signs with Phoenix Suns for 2 years/$3.5 million

Diallo has had the outline of a backup big man while struggling to carve out playing time in New Orleans. He will undoubtedly have the opportunity to earn minutes in camp this year with the Suns, and his performance last year was worth $3.7 million.


Phoenix Suns traded BOS for Aaron Baynes

Baynes has developed a reputation as a tough guy and a hustle player and has generated 12.9 wins in the past four years as a fan favorite. He has been worth about $200,000 more per year than his contract will pay him this year, though his Defensive Efficiency did drop precipitously last year. On a team lacking an inside presence, Phoenix will count on Baynes to turn that around.


Phoenix Suns trade Minnesota Timberwolves for Dario Saric and a first-round pick

Saric’s career average value is 3.8 wins, the equivalent of $6.4 million per season. His salary for 2019-20, the final season on his rookie contract, is just under $3.5 million, meaning he will provide substantial value this year. Phoenix will also have the prerogative to retain Saric in restricted free agency next summer, potentially adding even more value. With Saric assuming T.J. Warren’s role in Phoenix, I look for him to match his career highs of 4.6 wins at .097 wins per 48 minutes from 2017-18 this year.


Name Season Greg Wins Greg Wins per G Greg Wins per 48
Kyle Korver 2018-19 3.2 0.045 0.114
Kyle Korver 2017-18 3.8 0.052 0.116
Kyle Korver 2016-17 2.7 0.041 0.074
Kyle Korver 2015-16 4 0.05 0.08
Jevon Carter 2018-19 0.9 0.024 0.078
Frank Kaminsky 2018-19 1.5 0.032 0.096
Frank Kaminsky 2017-18 2.8 0.035 0.073
Frank Kaminsky 2016-17 3.9 0.052 0.097
Frank Kaminsky 2015-16 3.4 0.042 0.095
Ricky Rubio 2018-19 5 0.073 0.125
Ricky Rubio 2017-18 6.2 0.081 0.132
Ricky Rubio 2016-17 3.9 0.052 0.076
Ricky Rubio 2015-16 6.6 0.087 0.137
Cheick Diallo 2018-19 1.9 0.03 0.102
Cheick Diallo 2017-18 1.5 0.029 0.126
Cheick Diallo 2016-17 0.4 0.026 0.106
Aron Baynes 2018-19 2.4 0.047 0.14
Aron Baynes 2017-18 4.3 0.053 0.14
Aron Baynes 2016-17 2.6 0.035 0.109
Aron Baynes 2015-16 3.6 0.045 0.142
Dario Saric 2018-19 2.9 0.036 0.069
Dario Saric 2017-18 4.6 0.06 0.097
Dario Saric 2016-17 3.9 0.049 0.089

Sacramento Kings

Editor's Note: Obviously, these grades were before Buddy Hield's massive extension. I don't even want to attempt to fake a grade there. I'll include his numbers on the data chart below and note that Brian and I talked about it at length on last week's podcast!

Harrison Barnes signs with Sacramento Kings for 4 years/$85 million

Harrison Barnes is a cypher; his first season in Dallas saw him contribute 5 wins, while his final season in Golden State was his most efficient season (in a more limited role). Now, as a prospective third option on offense, but in a league tilting more and more toward his strengths on defense, Sacramento is banking on Barnes to be able to produce more value than he has thus far. Barnes has been worth 3.7 wins per season since ’15-’16, equivalent to $6.6 million worth of value. In his best season, he was worth $10.1 million; as such, Barnes will need to significantly exceed his previous performance level to redeem this signing. I anticipate Sacramento losing $15 million of value per season on this contract.


Richaun Holmes signs with Sacramento Kings for 2 years/$9.8 million

I am not as high on Richaun Holmes as some other analysts are. When I analyze his performance, I see a solidly, efficient backup big man. His defensive efficiency has hovered right around league average, which indicates that he is not a highly valuable rim defender. Holmes is a good hustle guy, and I would have no qualms with signing him for the minimum, but $4.9 million per year is over a million dollars per year more than he is worth.


Tyler Lydon signs with Sacramento Kings for 2 years/$3.4 million

We do not have enough NBA data on Tyler Lydon to be sure of whether or not he is worth a roster spot, though he has shot the three and rebounded well in the G-League. He has significantly improved his rebounding rate in 23 G-League games compared with his college career.


Name Season Greg Wins Greg Wins per G Greg Wins per 48
Buddy Hield 2018-19 5.8 0.071 0.106
Buddy Hield 2017-18 4.2 0.053 0.1
Buddy Hield 2016-17 3 0.036 0.075
Harrison Barnes 2018-19 3.2 0.042 0.061
Harrison Barnes 2017-18 3.2 0.041 0.058
Harrison Barnes 2016-17 5 0.063 0.086
Harrison Barnes 2015-16 3.3 0.05 0.078
Richaun Holmes 2018-19 1.8 0.026 0.075
Richaun Holmes 2017-18 1.8 0.037 0.113
Richaun Holmes 2016-17 2.7 0.048 0.11
Richaun Holmes 2015-16 1.3 0.025 0.089
Tyler Lydon 2018-19 0.1 0.004 0.055
Tyler Lydon 2017-18 0 0.002 0.048

For more information and analysis, visit and follow Greg on Twitter @greekgodofstats, then be sure to check out The Basketball Bible.