Salary Value at the Center Position

Published: March 9, 2010

Following up on the last analysis of Okafor for Chandler, we will today be looking at another aspect of Okaforce’s (No?) contributions. Emeka’s long term deal for big bucks was the primary reason he was traded away from Charlotte, and has been one the biggest concerns amongst Hornet fans since his arrival in the Big Easy.

When discussing if a player is overpaid, it’s common to look into the future, especially in regard to the years remaining on a contract, but with Okafor only 27 years old and still trying to fit into a new system, it’s unclear how he will fare in the next couple of years. That being said, let’s take a look at how Emeka’s salary and performance compare against other centers, this year specifically. I’ll be using a statistic that I think I made up called Salary Value, or S-Value if you will. For now this is a very raw formula, really for use in evaluating guys who play the same position. In the future I will certainly spend some time getting into more detail.

S-Value Formula= Win score/ (Salary/100,00)

Win Score Formula= (Points)+(Rebounds)+(Steals)+(½Assists)+(½Blocked Shots)-(Field Goal Attempts)-(Turnovers)-½(Free Throw Attempts)-½Personal Fouls

Win score certainly has it’s downfalls, especially when it’s used to compare players at different positions, but it also has a lot of positives. I like it for this because it’s a pretty much all encompassing stat that accounts for playing time. As I said, it’s not the end-all stat, so there might be some strange results, but it seems like the best single stat for the purposes of this comparison. Again, I’m trying to see how the productivity of a player compares to salary.

Because guys with lower salaries have a huge advantage in this, I’ve taken only the 24 highest paid centers in the game, or guys making over 7 million per year. Since rookie deals are pretty standard, and rarely as high as second contracts for centers, I’m looking only at guys who are no longer on their first contract.

Here we go.

Player Salary in 100,000’s Win Score S-Value
Jermaine O’Neal 230 396 .58
Tim Duncan 222 711 3.2
Shaq 210 312 1.48
Yao Ming 163 0 0
Amare Staudemire 163 604 3.71
Dwight Howard 152 891 5.86
Big-Z 125 205 1.64
Andrew Bynum 125 534 4.27
Brad Miller 122 239 1.95
Erick Dampier 121 334 2.76
Samuel Dalembert 120 551 4.59
Al Jefferson 120 522 4.35
Tyson Chandler 117 126 1.07
Emeka Okafor 108 572 5.3
Ben Wallace 108 585 5.4
Eddy Curry 105 -9.5 < 0
Nene 105 619 5.9
Chris Kaman 104 430 4.13
Andrew Bogut 100 567 5.67
Marcus Camby 93 731 7.86
Andres Biedrins 90 256 2.84
Mehmet Okur 90 329 3.65
Mark Blount 80 82 1.03
Etan Thomas 79 40.5 .51
David Lee 70 817 11.67

So here are the ten big guys, earning big contracts, who according to their S-Value, pull the most weight.

  1. David Lee- I can’t believe this guy couldn’t get a real contract this off season. Can the Hornets get him, please?
  2. Marcus Camby.
  3. Nene
  4. Dwight Howard
  5. Andrew Bogut
  6. Ben Wallace
  7. Emeka Okafor
  8. Dalembert
  9. Al Jefferson
  10. Andrew Bynum

Here are the top 10 centers in win-score, so you can get an idea of how much more big men get after their first contract.

  1. Dwight
  2. Lee
  3. Duncan
  4. Marc Gasol
  5. Al Hortfod
  6. Nene
  7. Brook Lopez
  8. Ben Wallace
  9. Emeka
  10. Bogut

Bogut and Duncan are the only two of them not to play at least 60 games this year.

So as you can see, Emeka really isn’t overpaid compared to other NBA centers. Sure you can look at his eight figure annual deal and say “Oh man, 10,500,000 million for Okaforce, that’s way too much.” and nobody will argue with you.

Of course 10,500,000 dollars is excessive when comparing his salary to a school teacher or construction worker, but this is American professional sports. It’s rare to find someone who isn’t overpaid (BUCKETS!) for what they actually do. When judging who is overpaid and who isn’t you have to compare players to their peers, and in this case it’s clear that Emeka’s salary is better than average, this year at least.

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