Grading the Bucks according to labor cost per win

The market value of an NBA DeciWin (1/10th of a win) in 2010-11 is approximately $170,732.   Since almost every championship team produces around 55 wins, that means the market cost of a championship is $93.90 million, well over the NBA’s set salary cap.  Thus a team’s management cannot win a championship paying market prices.  The successful teams must also be successful bargain hunters.

So how did the Bucks’ management do last summer, particularly in their free agent shopping spree?  What kind of value did they get for Herbie’s money?  The answer to the first question is “not well” and the answer to the second question is “not much”. 

Below is a chart showing approximately how much the Milwaukee Bucks paid per DeciWin this season (I use DeciWins because not every player produces whole wins in a season, but most at least produce tenths of wins).  The second column shows my approximation of the wins and losses that can be attributed to each player.  The third column shows how much the Bucks paid each player for every DeciWin produced.  The fourth column puts the third column in perspective by showing how much a championship level team would cost if the team were forced to pay those rates to every player.

Milwaukee Bucks

  Win__Loss $/DeciWin Champ Cost
Bogut 7.7__1.8 142,857 78.57
Moute 4.2__4.1 20,833 11.45
Jennings 4.1__4.3 56,853 31.45
Salmons 2.5__7.5 320,000 176.11
Maggette 1.9__3.7 505,263 277.89
Dooling 2.9__4.1 68,965 37.93
Ilyasova 2.7__3.1 85,926 47.26
Boykins 2.2__1.3 61,454 33.79
CDR 1.8__1.8 47,454 26.09
Delfino 4.4__1.8 79,454 43.69
Gooden 0.9__2.1 640,001 352.01
Sanders 0.0__3.4 1,751,333 963.233
Brockman 2.0__0.8 50,001 27.51
TOTAL 37.3__40.7 294,646  

As you can see, the Bucks did not get much value for the money they spent last summer.  The biggest rip-off was rookie Larry Sanders who produced zero wins for his $1,731,960 salary, proving that younger is not always better when it comes to labor costs.

The veterans the Bucks picked up were not much more beneficial.  Drew Gooden was incredibly expensive, producing barely anything for the money the Bucks threw at him.  Why on Earth did the Bucks pay him so much when no one else was bidding on that oft-injured stiff?  What a peculiar form of negotiating!

The Bucks got ripped off by John Salmons as well.  We all saw this coming.  The Bucks stupidly based their offer to Salmons on his aberrational two month stint with the team rather than on his curriculum vitae.  Bad, bad decision.

You notice the Bucks also got hosed by Corey Maggette.  He was the worst of the bunch if you don’t count the incompetent Sanders. 

One other point.  While Andrew Bogut had a fine season, his performance did not meet his salary, or rather the salary the Bucks can pay per win if they want to win a championship within salary cap constraints.

If a team wants to win a championship while abiding by the NBA salary cap, it must restrain its labor cost to an average of $107,271 per DeciWin produced.  This season the Bucks paid Bogut $142,857 per DeciWin.  While that is under market value, it is well above a proper championship cost basis.  

The Bucks could never carry a salary load of $78.57 million, which is what they would have to pay for a championship if they paid 2010-11 Bogut rates.  Thus, in order to justify his current salary, Bogut would have to produce at least 10.2 wins.  He has never come close to that mark, and I doubt he ever will.  Meanwhile, his salary will continue to escalate.

But at least he’s delivered more than Michael Redd.  I did not even bother to include his historically wasteful salary.  The French got a better deal from the Louisiana Purchase than the Bucks got from the Redd signing.  In retrospect, Herb would have been better off taking his money to a bon fire and watching it burn.  What must he think of that blunder?? It would be the equivalent of you or I buying a Rolls Royce at full price only to discover it did not have an engine.

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