Wages of Wins Journal analyzes underpaid, overpaid Phoenix Suns

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A Wages of Wins Journal analysis of salary to value concludes what most Phoenix Suns fans already know: Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and Grant Hill were underpaid in comparison to production while the rest of the team ranged from slightly to grossly overpaid.

First the rules of this analysis, as explained by Arturo Galletti:

We take the league payroll (around $1.9 billion) and divide it by the number of available wins (1230) to get an average win value ($1.58 million). We then credit a player the “market value” for each Win Produced and subtract their salary to see if they were worth the cash.

Additionally, traded players were counted twice as their values for both their new and old teams were included.

For the Suns, like most things this analysis starts with the underpaid two-time MVP himself. Nash produced over twice the value of his $10.3 million salary, creating $22.8 million worth of value to rank 16th in the league with a team-high net value of about $12.5 million.

Nash has consistently produced this type of value, but if the Suns do indeed plan on extending Nash after his contract expires next summer it’s worth considering whether he will continue doing so as he creeps up toward 40. It may slip a bit, but my guess is he will be outperforming his salary for the length of his career.

Next is Jared Dudley, who outperformed his salary by $10 million on the last year of his rookie deal, ranking him 24th on the underpaid list. Dudley’s five-year, $22.5 million extension kicks in next season to bump him down a few spots on this list, but if he were to maintain these levels of production he would still be a top-40 bargain who figures to keep improving throughout the length of a five-year deal covering his prime.

With Dudley working on his game and his body once again this summer, I expect him to become a fixture on this list.

Next there is Gortat. The Polish Hammer produced almost $13 mil worth of value since being traded to Phoenix, a net positive of $8.6 million to rank him 35th. Gortat is another candidate to improve even more after having his first real season under his belt and considering his declarations to come back much better.

Hill, meanwhile, produced just under $1 million worth of additional value to round out the Suns in the positives.

As for the overpaid list, while a sizeable chunk of the roster lies in this territory the good news is only Vince Carter ranks among the league’s 78 most overpaid players.

He provided $2.4 million worth of value for $12 million, ranking him 17th on the overpaid list. Counting his time in Orlando (and when restricting eligible players to a 1,000-minute requirement), he was the sixth-most overpaid player, just behind Gilbert Arenas, Andrea Bargnani, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison and Brandon Roy. So no, the Suns won’t be bringing him back at a $18.3 million cap figure next season.

As for the rest of the overpaid Suns, Robin Lopez lost $3.9 million (which means he produced negative value and ranked 79th), Mickael Pietrus $3.7 (also slightly negative and 83rd), Channing Frye $3.3 mil (95th), Josh Childress $2.3 and Hakim Warrick $1.5.

One more interesting takeaway is that Amare Stoudemire ranked 20th on the overpaid list after producing $7.1 million worth of value for his $16.5 million salary, giving him a net negative value of $9.4 mil. That placed him last on the Knicks and ahead of only Carter on the Suns.

This was supposed to be the season where Stoudemire was a great deal with his salaries escalating every year and his health becoming more of a question mark. For him to be so overpaid already — by this metric at least — makes the Suns seem smart for passing on him.

The overpaid list also includes two more ex-Suns: Joe Johnson (16th, -$9.7 mil) and Leandro Barbosa (27th, -$7.95).

Reflecting on a scary incident at USAC

The sports world is still in mourning after a Texas Rangers fan died trying to catch a ball thrown into the stands by Josh Hamilton before tumbling over a ledge to his death.

The video of the incident immediately brought back memories of a scary fall I witnessed in the waning minutes of a Suns-Pistons game on Nov. 22, 2009, that thankfully had a much happier ending:

Midway through the fourth quarter with the scrubs in and the game securely in the ‘W’ column I heard an ear-shattering “THUD” right next to me.

I looked down and there was a fan face up on the floor between myself and the Suns’ Spanish radio broadcasters.

It was an eerie sight as the fan, who had to be in his 20’s, kept his eyes closed and seemed to be unconscious with a huge welt on his head. The paramedics rushed in and all of a sudden he was strapped into a stretcher and eventually carried off as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

This guy, who may or may not have had a few too many, was standing high on the railing behind me trying to catch a T-shirt. It really is amazing how much fans want a cheap shirt that they’ll probably never wear.

I’m not sure if he fell and hit the ground first or if his head knocked my table first, but hearing the blow was really scary. Scarier is the fact that if our press section was full, I would have been one seat over and he probably would have landed right on top of me, sending both of us to the hospital with concussions worse than what Kurt Warner suffered today.

I chatted with this victim and his friend a couple times earlier in the evening, which made the whole thing more real to me. They were good guys about my age who were curious about what exactly I was doing on Daily Dime Live during the game, and his friend won a Flip Cam exactly like what I use during postgame interviews for correctly answering a trivia question in front of the entire crowd.  Minutes before the fall they were telling me what a great night they were having.

The moral of this story is clear: don’t drink and stand on a ledge during the T-shirt toss.

But seriously, my prayers are with this fan. I hope to see him cheering his lungs out at a Suns game soon, and hopefully I won’t need to bring a hard hat next time I head to US Airways Center.

His friend later commented on VotS that the victim “has a baseball on the side of his face” but otherwise was OK. Thankfully he only fell a few feet and did not suffer any serious brain trauma. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for the man at the Rangers game.

Suns offer pair of refund options

As Paul Coro reported earlier this week, the Suns are offering fans two refund options in the event the lockout causes games to be missed:

- If season-ticket holders do not ask for a refund on canceled games, they will receive 10 percent annual interest on the ticket price for each canceled game. They would be able to use the investment on tickets for canceled games and the interest as credit toward future ticket purchases.

– If season-ticket holders prefer a refund on canceled games, they will receive a credit equal to 1 percent annual interest on the season-ticket account. They would receive a monthly refund for tickets to the previous month’s games, plus accrued interest.

“Our expectations are that the majority of our fans will find the offer to earn a 10 percent credit to be the most appealing,” Suns President and CEO Rick Welts said.

Both sound like fair plans (I would probably pick the first option if I were a season ticket holder), but the money the Suns will lose by offering those plans is just one more unfortunate byproduct of a lockout called to fix the league’s financial woes in the first place.

And 1

Coro also reported that Jim Boylan and Don Newman have passed on the Suns’ defensive coordinator position, leaving Rockets assistant Elston Turner the favorite along with Bulls scout Pete Myers. A decision is expected shortly. … According to Coro, Lopez did not train with Hakeem Olajuwon along with Phoenix’s other centers because “he was traveling out of the country” at that time. One would think that any young center would fly back from the other side of the world to improve his game with the Dream. … The Suns began play in the Las Vegas Summer League a year ago today. Definitely sad Summer League has been canceled, robbing Markieff Morris and all the other rookies league-wide of important developmental time.

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Tags: Jared Dudley Marcin Gortat Steve Nash Vince Carter

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