NBA’s Most Cost-Efficient PFs
There is always much debate in professional sports about which players are overpaid or underpaid, which ones are the most efficient on the floor, and which ones are simply the most productive. But what about a marriage of all of those? Which NBA players are the most cost-efficient?
This is the third piece in a series looking at the starters at all five positions (check out the point guards, shooting guards and small forwards), one at a time, in an attempt to determine which players are the most cost-efficient players taking into account their production and salary. The assumption is there should be a general correlation between a player’s production – and for this purpose we will use John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating – and his salary.
Will that hold true? Take a look at the list of starting power forwards below, with their 2010-11 salary and PER, plus a final column dividing their salary by PER to give a simple dollar amount of how much each point of PER cost their team.
By now the theme of these pieces is probably pretty apparent; players on rookie contracts are going to be the most cost effective. There are eight such players on this list – tied for least with the small forwards – and they apparently don’t hold down the averages. The power forwards as a group have the highest average salary ($8.8 million) and highest average PER (17.5).
In fact, only four players on this listed posted a below-average PER (average is 15.0): Sacramento rookie DeMarcus Cousins, Phoenix’s Channing Frye, Charlotte’s Boris Diaw, and Denver’s Kenyon Martin. Martin falls to the bottom of the list as the least cost-efficient player, but in fairness to him injuries have taken away much of the ability that led to him signing the contract he just finished.
But seriously, only four? The point guard position is the only other one that came close with six, but the other three are well behind. Nine power forwards posted PERs greater than 20.0 (centers come in second with six). This may beg a question about PER possibly being skewed towards big men who are more likely to put up double figures in two categories, but that’s a whole other discussion.
There is no discussion around which starting power forward is the league’s most cost-efficient; it’s Minnesota’s Kevin Love in a landslide. His PER of 24.4 led the entire group, even better than players like Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire, L.A.’s Pau Gasol, Memphis’ Zach Randolph and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge. Combining that with a paltry salary of $3.6 million and it’s a no-brainer. (Note to Wolves’ management: as soon as possible, pay the man. As much as you can. Under the old CBA that would have been this summer with a max extension one year early. If the lockout takes the season, the Wolves may have to face losing him in free agency. This is one team hoping restricted free agency sticks around.)
For the non-rookie contract most cost-efficient starting power forward, that award goes to New Orleans’ David West posting a PER of 20.5 on an $8.3 million salary. West is a free agent, so chances are he will be less cost-efficient next season simply by being rewarded on the open market.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, apart from Martin, who stands out as the least cost-efficient? It has to be Charlotte’s Boris Diaw, who made $9.0 million last season and failed to post an average PER.
Power forward seems to be the glory position in today’s NBA with the big paychecks, but these players as a group justify their costs.
What do you take from this? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Follow Jason Fleming on Twitter.