What is a Blazer's Worth in the NBA Today?

Before we get started, I'd like to note that all my numbers came from basketball-refrence.

Today, on the brightsideofthesun.com - writer Mike Lisboa wrote a great article regarding how much the Suns were a bargain team.

"The tried and true maxim of making money through investments is to buy low and sell high. In theory, the goal is to find some undervalued asset, invest, and then watch as it increases in value, selling it at the top of the market." -Mike Lisboa

This can be applied to basketball as well and can certainly apply to us. The Blazers certainly did this, by acquiring assets that were on the low, are investing in them. In hopes that the asset's value increases. To perhaps booster the teams play for a low cost, or perhaps sell these assets when they are on the high end - and the cycle continues.

Here is the chart showing each team and how much they are paying for each win so far this season.

He later shows a chart of each suns player and their value to the team expressed in dollars per Win Share. Win shares value how many wins a player has contributed to their team.

Suffice to say, the Suns organization is getting a lot of value from their players for very little the amount the organization spends. This can also be known as money-ball.

This is simple math to do, but a very clever idea, nonetheless, to write about.

After all this, I was curious about the amount The Blazers spend per win, while also comparing it the amount the 2012-13 Trail Blazer spent that season, and how The Blazer's investments have either improved or declined. To make sure all numbers could accurately compare to today's Blazers date. I made sure that the statistics were those found on today's date, January the 10th.

On January 10th of 2013, The Blazers had a record of 20-15 with a salary of \$53,515,451. By dividing their salary by their number of wins, I found the \$\$\$ per Win Shares to be \$2,675,772.55 per Win Share. The following chart will show the Blazer's Name, Position, amount of Win Share, Salary and then the Salary divided by the amount of win share. Thus giving \$\$\$ per W/S (Win Share) during the 2012-13 season.

 Name Position Win Shares Salary \$\$\$ per W/S Aldridge PF 7.2 \$13,500,000 \$1,875,000 Babbit PF 0.7 \$1,892,280 \$2,703,257.14 Barton SG -0.5 \$550,000 (\$1,100,000) Batum SF 5.8 \$10,850,000 \$1,870,689.66 Claver SF -0.1 \$1,300,000 (\$13,000,000) Freeland PF 0.2 \$3,013,512 \$15,067,560 Hickson C 6.9 \$4,000,000 \$579,710 Jeffries PF -0.3 \$1,476,106 (\$4,920,353) Meyers C 2.4 \$2,126,520 \$886,050 Lillard PG 5.8 \$3,064,040 \$528,282.76 Mathews SG 4.7 \$6,505,320 \$1,384,110.64 Pavlovic SG 0.1 \$1,232,713 \$12,327,130 Price PG -0.017 \$1,146,337 (\$67,431,588) Smith PG -0.5 \$1,404,960 (\$2,809,920) S. Williams PF N/A \$2,600,000 N/A

Our starting 5 was a steal this year, as they produced a high number of win shares at a reasonable contract. Thus making them very likable players to have on your team. However, 7 players would not return for the following season. These names include Babbit, Hickson, Jeffries, Pavlovic, Price, Smith, and Williams. Out of the seven who would leave, three had a negative win share (Jeffries, Price, and Smith). This meaning that they cost us more to win at an absurd level and were terrible deals. While Williams, we waved that summer, would still cost us cap space. Of the remaining three other players that we let walk, only Hickson was worth his contract. Sadly, he was forced to play out of position and was more of liability of defense than we could afford. The only other blazers off the bench who we let go, and barely posted a positive win share were Babbit and Pavlovic.

When we turn to our investments - Barton, Meyers, and Lillard - we can see how good play and rookie contracts can pay off in a large way. However, this was not the case with Barton as he was a negative win share. The good thing was that we bought low on him, as he was drafted in the second round and not much was expected of him. If he even turned into a guy that could play a few minutes here and there, it would be consider a steal. But he was not ready the NBA yet and received few minutes until the end of the season.

In Meyers, our pet project, he posted a solid amount of win shares for a guy that was projected to be a project and he did not put us into the red.

The real star of the show was Lillard as he posted astonishing numbers for a rookie, and becoming the unanimous rookie of the year.

Now in this next chart, I have swapped out the seven Blazers we let walk with the current group we have. Although, their statistics are from 2012-13 so that we may be able to compare their 2012-13 season to their current 2013-14 season.

 Name Position Win Shares Salary \$\$\$ per W/S Aldridge PF 7.2 \$13,500,000 \$1,875,000 Barton SG -0.5 \$550,000 (\$1,100,000) Batum SF 5.8 \$10,850,000 \$1,870,689.66 Claver SF -0.1 \$1,300,000 (\$13,000,000) Crabbe SG N/A N/A N/A Freeland PF 0.2 \$3,013,512 \$15,067,560 Meyers C 2.4 \$2,126,520 \$886,050 Lillard PG 5.8 \$3,064,040 \$528,282.76 Lopez C 5.6 \$4,899,293 \$874,873.75 Mathews SG 4.7 \$6,505,320 \$1,384,110.64 CJ SG N/A N/A N/A Robinson PF 0.1 \$3,374,640 \$33,746,400 Watson PG 0 \$2,000,000 N/A Williams PG 1.8 \$8,500,000 \$4,722,222.22 Wright SF 4.9 \$4,106,000 \$837,959.18

As you can, Crabbe and CJ statistics are not included in this list as they were not yet entered into the league. Lopez, the kid at heart, who was one of main offensive threats for the New Orleans Hornets (at the time) and the man who held down the anchor in the middle. With Eric Gordon out for the season, and Anthony Davis consistently injured. They were forced to go through Lopez and Ryan andersen among Grevis Vasquez. As a result, he gained a full season of health under the belt - something he has had trouble with previously - and blossomed into an underrated center who could defend the pick n'roll well and alter shots. In the offseason, Portland would snatch Lopez up in a three way trade with New Orleans and Sacramento, only giving up our 2nd round pick, a future 2nd round pick and cash.

Robinson was a simple case of being picked by the wrong team. With Sacramento already having a jam at the forward position, it was hard for Robinson to find minutes. It showed in his play as he looked often lost and confused by the speed of the NBA game. Without the right environment for Robinson to be able to suffer the growing pains of those of a rookie, it was difficult to judge his play. His lack of minutes show i his win share as he barely posted a positive amount. Come the NBA trade deadline, Robinson would get traded to Houston for financial reasons. Where they had no need for him in their lay-up or 3pt style offense. That summer, we trade of our rights to players stuck over seas and two other 2nd round picks. This is the perfect example of buying low and investing in for what a top-5 lottery pick that year,

Wright was also posting decent numbers in philly. Wright, a well known 3 and "D" guy was hitting 3's at an above 35% clip. Posting a solid amount of win shares, his \$\$\$ per W/S was great that year, Possibly the result being caught playing for a team in a time of tan awkward transition as Bynum was injured..With philly rebuilding, they had need for him. As he searched for a contender to sign with, The Blazers signed and snatched him from OKC!

Watson was playing for the Jazz at the time backing up Williams. While he did not post good nor bad amounts win shares. He was known for veteran leadership. The Blazers signed him that summer in hopes to mentor CJ and to have a stable player who could help the young ones grow.

Williams, a former all star, was past his prime but kept earning those checks. As jazz fans will tell you, you live by Mo and you'll die by Mo. In the years previous he had begun slowly declining as he continued to fight for starter minutes. With teams recognizing this, Mo had yet to sign with any team late into the off season he signed with The Blazers. Expected to back up Damian, this would be the perfect gig for Mo He would be able to be the spark plug off the bench and do what Mo does. Mo scores.

It was the end of the offseason and we had nearly over hauled our bench. Keeping only two players who created a negative \$\$\$ per W/S and our newly graduated NBA rookies who would now become sophomores. We bought low, and in the 2013-14 season, we looked to invest in our new assets.

 Name Position Win Shares Salary \$\$\$ per W/S Aldridge PF 4.6 \$14,128,000 \$3,071,304.35 Barton SG 0.1 \$788,872 \$7,888,720 Batum SF 3.6 \$11,295,250 \$3,137,569.44 Claver SF 0 \$1,330,000 N/A Crabbe SG 0.1 \$947,276 \$9,472,760 Freeland PF 0.8 \$2,897,976 \$3,622,470 Meyers C 0.3 \$2,222,160 \$7,407,200 Lillard PG 5 \$3,202,920 \$640,584 Lopez C 3.7 \$5,904,261 \$1,595,746.22 Mathews SG 4.4 \$6,875,480 \$1,562,609.09 CJ SG 0 \$2,316,720 N/A Robinson PF 0.7 \$3,526,440 \$5,037,771.43 Watson PG -0.1 \$1,399,507 (\$13,995,070) Williams PG 1.1 \$2,652,000 \$2,410,909.09 Wright SF 0.7 \$3,000,000 \$4,285,714.29

And here we are at today's date. January 10th 2014. Where we only have one man who has entered into the red for \$\$\$ per W/S. While the numbers for the Win shares may seem suspicious or down for some players, give it more time. We aren't even at the mid way point in the season yet.

The Good:

Our 2nd round pick, Crabbe, is a 2nd round pick with promise a is at nice contract and hopefully can earn minutes next year as he has shown he can shoot the 3pt.

Barton has improved by +0.6 in win shares. W/S

Freeland has improved by +0.6 W/S

Robinson has improved by +0.6 W/S

CJ: Can play again

Claver seems to have lost his spot on roster. Never a good sign

Meyers has actually gotten worse by -2.1 W/S

It could be because he has not gotten as many reps as last year, we will have to continue to watch for this.

Wright has drastically dropped off by -4.2 W/S

This could have to do with not getting nearly as many minutes as he use to. However if younger guys are stealing his minutes, lets hope he is just saving himself for the playoffs.

Other thoughts:

I wouldn't be afraid by the drop off of any of our starting 5. They are seeing less minutes or taking less shots because we have a bench who can at least give them some rest before it all goes to hell like last year, and williams is seeing less minutes too.

Conclusion:

The important thing is for the continued improvement of our buy low assets. If they can continue to improve, that can mean only good things. Then hopefully they can become bargaining chips or role players we can use to make our team better as their \$\$\$ per W/S improve. Making them great bargaining chips as regard to the CBA because of the amount of output they can generate without an organization having to invest a large sum of money in the instead.

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