$3.72 Million Per Win?

Michael Lee pointed out an interesting piece by SI.com's Ian Thomsen on the financial efficiency of NBA franchises. Since the criteria is basically payroll divided by wins, you can imagine who shows up on the list and why.

Say what you will about the usefulness of Thomsen's breakdown, but when phrased as costing nearly $4 million per Wizards win this season, it cuts pretty deep.

Editor's note:
Michael Lee will post an update from Cleveland attempting to clarify the Gilbert Arenas situation later today.

By Keith McMillan |  April 8, 2009; 9:40 AM ET
Previous: Back In Cleveland | Next: Some Clarity on Gilbert

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Makes sense.

When you think about the injuries beyond Arenas and Haywood to Stevenson and Thomas -- that right there is another $10 million. So the Wizards have effectively been playing this season with almost half of the cap spent on players who aren't able to contribute. That's a big handicap.

Posted by: JPRS | April 8, 2009 9:58 AM

From Wilbon's column today, quoting Jamison:

"We have to find out if I'll be able to sacrifice two or three points a game. Can Caron go down to 19, even 18 points a game? Does Gilbert need to go from 30 down to 25, maybe to 20? That's the biggest challenge for us in the future, I presume. I like our pieces. But what are we willing to do, in-house?"

It's sad that the team leader thinks that the focus of sacrifice for team is the number of shots the so-called Big 3 get.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | April 8, 2009 10:00 AM

"It's sad that the team leader thinks that the focus of sacrifice for team is the number of shots the so-called Big 3 get."

Not only is it far from "sad," it's pretty much spot on. It's all well and good for fans to give lip service to wanting the young guys to play and have a bigger role, but in order for the young guys to have a bigger role, the old guys are going to have to take a (marginally) smaller one. If you want Blatche and Young (and possibly Griffin) to play more minutes and put up more points, that means someone is going to have to play fewer minutes and get fewer shots. It's a pretty simple equation.

When done correctly it can pay dividends. But it only works if the teams vet leaders understand the situation and set an example by their actions (like Pierce, Garnett, and Duncan have in Boston or San Antonio). Jamison seems to get that. Good for him. Now let's see if he and his boys are willing to walk the walk.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 8, 2009 10:55 AM

Pro sports in general must find a solution to the money spent vs. games played quandry. This is the only business model I know of other than government where you spend more and get less.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 8, 2009 11:07 AM

Keith, you can't post negative stuff on this board, the fans are in such denial, they're not willing to admit that we didn't lose 60 games by accident. I swear, there is an excuse for every single loss, we have become the biggest "excuses" team in the league. I see injured players all over the NBA but we're the only ones crying about it. Will we be better next year, sure, but let's actually see it happen instead of talk about it. Talk is cheap.

Posted by: twigmuffin | April 8, 2009 11:30 AM

This is a little off-topic, but government spending can equal a net plus for taxpayers.

Who spent the money to develop the internet?

It was originally an idea that was developed by engineers through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the 1970s.

The development of the idea probably cost taxpayers less than a million dollars. Private industry took it too market and fronted some of the expense involved with high-speed lines; still the original idea came about through a taxpayer investment.

The net is a multi-billion dollar industry that has created new jobs and a lot of money for private industry and the economy. It's made doing certain business transactions much more efficient and less costly.

You could look at the interstate highway system -- a massive taxpayer project. The Interstate Highway System required a massive tax-payer investment in the 1950s and 1960s, but the net benefit to private corporations, and taxpayers has been huge. It cut down the costs of moving goods and services around the country; it helped to create suburban communities -- it effectively has paid for itself many times over.

Same story with the GI bill.

Same story with public water and waste systems.

The NBA is making a lot of money too, so it's not clear to me what's wrong with the business model. Things like the cap also increase competition, which makes for more entertaining basketball (which in turn creates a lot of revenue).

Not sure what kind of fix would improve the bottom line for owners, players, and fans. Maybe there is one -- it's just not clear to me.

Posted by: JPRS | April 8, 2009 11:39 AM

I am surprised that Knicks isn't on the list among the worst!

Posted by: sagaliba | April 8, 2009 11:54 AM

If we get the #1 pick and the chance to pick Blake Griffin, do you all think we could trade away Jamison? I know we had takers for him this year at the trade deadline...
It would make the most sense in terms of freeing up playing time. Blake and Blatche could split the minutes at the 4, while Haywood, McGee, Songalia split time at the 5.

Is Blake ready to step in and contribute 24 meaningful minutes a game on a playoff contending team?

Posted by: dante232 | April 8, 2009 12:20 PM

The problem with Ian's math is that he didn't remove all the money the Wizards had sitting on the bench (or more appropriately in the rehab room). It's not fair to teams with lots of injuries to go strictly by payroll and wins. When Tom Brady went down and missed the entire season for the Patriots, do you think anyone would say his salary for that year was financial inefficiency?

Posted by: tundey | April 8, 2009 1:05 PM

Editor's note:
Michael Lee will post an update from Cleveland attempting to clarify the Gilbert Arenas situation later today.

Whats the Gilbert Situation ?? My sources say he re-injured his knee at practice ?? say this isn't true

Posted by: fzuylen | April 8, 2009 1:30 PM

I'm not at all sure Thomsen's premise has merit -- I mean, NBA teams aren't awarded revenue per win, so why should they be expensed per win? If you want to look at NBA franchises as businesses, look at attendance, TV revenue, and the various ancillaries.

Face it, some less successful franchises are among the most profitable. So who's the idiots here? Them or us?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 8, 2009 1:46 PM

dante2332: "If we get the #1 pick and the chance to pick Blake Griffin, do you all think we could trade away Jamison? I know we had takers for him this year at the trade deadline...Blake and Blatche could split the minutes at the 4, while Haywood, McGee, Songalia split time at the 5."

Two problems: first, I suspect Jamison's value in terms of trade isn't as high as his value to the Wiz. Who wants to trade somebody and wind up carrying some of his salary? Second, My thought would be that Jamison could play some at the 3, with Butler at guard. He'd be a decent matchup against some of the teams in the division -- at least he could outscore his opponent.

But DCMAN aside, I'm pretty confident the Wiz would find plenty of time for Griffin at the 4. I was listening to him on John Thompson's show and noticed the Big Coach praising Blake for being one of the few big guys willing to earn his money down in the hole instead of drifting outside...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 8, 2009 1:50 PM

Yeah, a lazy stat to throw out there. How about expenses per win with those that actually played? That would be more work, but be more accurate in terms of what actually happened. Of course, teams have to pay their players regardless of injuries, but it's not as if some of those salaries were playing and losses still accumulated.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 8, 2009 11:13 PM

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