Editor's Note 2: In the first draft of this post, I left out Delon Wright! His grade and entry have been updated.
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? Promising rookies! Last year the Mavericks traded the Atlanta Hawks Trae Young for Luka Doncic. These two finished top two in Rookie of the Year voting. Both teams look poised to improve, so how'd they do this offseason? Here's Greg's take. Reminder, please forward all complaints and praise to Greg! Another reminder, 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.
Atlanta Hawks trade MEM for Chandler Parsons
Parsons has perhaps the most well-known anchor contract in the league. Atlanta is presumably looking to consolidate dead money into one player, and possibly rehabilitate Parsons, but he seems headed for the buyout market eventually.
Atlanta Hawks trade the Portland Trail Blazers for Evan Turner
The other end of the trade is also pretty hairy. Turner will make almost $18.6 million next year, while only providing $5.9 million of value. So, Atlanta should anticipate a deficit of about $12.7 million. Financially, neither side really “won” or “lost” the trade; both teams received a player on an inflated expiring contract who is likely to underperform the contract by approximately $12 million.
Atlanta Hawks trade GSW for Damian Jones and a second-round pick
Jones earned a little playing time last year in relief of Kevon Looney but is now entering the final year of his rookie contract without having proven himself to be an NBA-quality defender. There does not appear to be much upside for Atlanta in acquiring Jones.
Atlanta Hawks traded BRK for Allen Crabbe, and two first-round picks
Crabbe has accumulated just under 12 wins in the past four seasons but ultimately became a bridge player. He featured prominently in the Nets’ rebuilding process but receded from the rotation last year as Brooklyn shifted toward contention and eventually got shipped out to clear cap space for KD and Kyrie. He is still owed $18.5 million for the upcoming season, or about $13.3 million more than he is worth. In this case, the purpose of the trade does not align at all with the goal of my analysis. Atlanta took on Crabbe’s contract for the sole purpose of acquiring draft compensation. The Hawks know they are overpaying Crabbe, but were not planning to be players in free agency this summer anyway.
Jabari Parker signs with Atlanta Hawks for two years/$13 million
Parker has averaged 3.2 wins per season since 2016, though that did include a significant injury. Including that time lost, Parker’s average annual earnings should be $5.6 million. Given normal health, Parker is likely to earn his keep with Atlanta. What the Hawks are hoping for, though, is a breakthrough by Parker. Given the defensive weaknesses of their two primary scoring options (Trae Young and John Collins), it leaves one wondering just how many points the Hawks are going to give up this year if Parker plays significant minutes.
|Name||Season||Greg Wins||Greg Wins per G||Greg Wins per 48|
Maxi Kleber signs with Dallas Mavericks for four years/$33 million
Kleber, 27, was worth $3.0 million as a rookie and $5.6 million last year. Dallas rewarded him by giving him a four-year contract appropriate for a rotation player. Kleber is unlikely to live up to his contract, and his Total Efficiency has been slightly below average in both NBA seasons thus far. While it is less crucial for Kleber to become a legitimate rim protector now that the Mavericks’ roster includes Kristaps Porzingis, it is fair to ask whether this type of expenditure was the best use of money for a team that has KP and Dwight Powell under contract for the next four years.
Dorian Finney-Smith signs with Dallas Mavericks for three years/$12 million
Finney-Smith has 1.9 wins per season in his first three seasons, but with dreadful Offensive Efficiency and below-average Defensive Efficiency. Earning $4 million a year will require Finney-Smith to improve upon his current value of $3.7 million/year.
Seth Curry signs with Dallas Mavericks for four years/$32 million
In the last two seasons, Curry has generated 6.4 total wins. Over a full season, then, Curry is $5.6 million. Despite Curry having been highly efficient in limited roles, I anticipate this contract to be a negative value for Dallas.
Kristaps Porzingis signs with Dallas Mavericks for five years/$158 million
KP’s last three healthy seasons have been worth 18.5 wins, which would be worth a $14.9 million annual salary. Since those figures include the ’17-’18 campaign in which Porzingis was injured at midseason, it is probably fair to say that Porzingis is actually worth $18.1 million in a full season. Now returning from an injury, the Unicorn will have to be worth $31.6 million per year. Based on his past performance, it seems that Dallas overpaid by about $13 million per year. There is, however, quite a bit of variability in this contract. Porzingis is only 24 and might improve, especially playing with a brilliant offense creator in Luka Doncic. Then again, he might struggle to return to form after suffering a significant injury. Time will tell, but for now, it looks like the price of moving up for the Mavs was quite high.
Dwight Powell signs extension with Dallas Mavericks for three years/$33 million
Powell has racked up 14 wins over the past four seasons, an average of 3.5 wins per season. For his average performance, we would expect Powell to command a salary of $6.2 million per year, which would indicate that this extension was a very slight overpay. Last season, however, Powell was responsible for five wins ($10.1 million worth of value). Given that Powell is now 27 years old, it seems reasonable to assume that his career season last year is a better indicator of his probable performance in his age 28, 29, and 30 seasons. Taking account of the fact that Powell is in his prime, I anticipate there being some surplus value for the Mavs in this extension.
Delon Wright signs with Dallas Mavericks for 3 years/$29 million
Wright has contributed 7.2 wins in the past two seasons, good for an annual value of $6.4 million. Partially because his arrow is pointing up and partially because his Total Efficiency has been above average the past two seasons, I believe that Wright will live up to his new contract. This is a bit of gamble by the Mavericks, but a gamble on a player who is young enough and has shown enough to merit the risk.
Boban Marjanovich signs with Dallas Mavericks for two years/$7 million
Boban has put up an average of 2.2 wins per season since 2016, even in limited minutes. His annual value of $4.1 million is in line with his new contract. It will be interesting to see how much Dallas plays Boban, with the Mavs’ frontcourt already including long-term commitments to Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber, there don’t appear to be many minutes for Boban.
|Name||Season||Greg Wins||Greg Wins per G||Greg Wins per 48|
Editor's Capper: Both teams didn't seem to capitalize on their good fortune from last season. That said, we'll have to see how it plays out.