Now that a few days have passed since general manager Otis Smith decided to match Marcin Gortat's offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks, I wanted to touch on a topic that was going to be a point of contention for the Poland native, at some point, regardless of if he were to play with the Mavs or the Orlando Magic. The issue?
His contract, worth $34 million over 5 seasons.
Is Gortat worth that type of money, despite the fact he's only had one full NBA season under his belt? Dallas thought so. Likewise with Orlando. The former franchise is known to have an analytics department, while the latter franchise has individuals behind the scenes working with numbers, too. What does that all mean? These are two front offices that are smart and have seemingly concluded that Gortat is a player of value. Taking a look at some of the numbers, one can begin to see why this is so.
Before I begin, I want to note that a.) I'm going to examine Gortat's value in a vacuum, meaning his issue of playing time will be irrelevant in this analysis and b.) I'm keeping things brief so I don't repeat things about him I've covered already.
The average fan will look at Gortat's per game numbers last season - 3.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, & 0.8 BPG - and wonder, what is the big deal with this guy? Why were so many teams coveting Gortat in free agency? The following numbers will answer that.
|per 36 statistics|
Think those per minute numbers are a fluke? Perhaps one should take a look at Gortat's performances against the Golden State Warriors, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Philadelphia 76ers (in the playoffs). It's clear that when Gortat gets minutes, he produces. The sample size of data appears to be large enough to make that assertion. Even in the games Gortat hasn't started in, he's had outings where's he's notched double-doubles in roughly 20+ minutes.
|Marcin Gortat||Dwight Howard|
|total rebounding percentage||20.3%||21.8%|
|effective field-goal percentage||57.5%||57.2%|
Gortat's block percentage and rebound percentage are eerily similar to Dwight Howard's. That's impressive, when you consider the fact Howard is widely touted as an elite rebounder and shot blocker. The numbers appear to fall in line when one looks back at Gortat's performances this past year (another example, he blocked LeBron James twice in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals). Gortat is an efficient player on offense, too, as I discussed in-depth a few weeks back. He may not be polished or talented as Howard offensively, but his efficiency is very comparable.
|adj. defensive plus/minus||+1.70|
|opponent PER vs. C's||16.4|
|net defensive plus/minus||+1.4|
As for Gortat's defense, he's above-average (for more analysis, click here). I will quickly note that Gortat's respective plus/minus numbers aren't spiffy, but that's mainly because he's playing behind Howard - the Defensive Player of the Year. As a result, Gortat's stats won't look sexy on paper but rest assured, he's a capable defender.
A while back, I stated that Gortat's Value Rating % was excellent when looking at his production relative to his contract. The always reliable Jon Nichols of Basketball-Statistics was kind enough to update Gortat's VR % with his new contract, while keeping his statistical production the same from last year as a reference point.
Not surprising that Gortat's VR % drops, but the decrease in the number isn't steep. It's still a good percentage, assuming Gortat matched his stats from the prior season in the upcoming season (which shouldn't be too difficult of him to do). When looking at the numbers, it's evident that Gortat netted a contract comparable to his value.
The issue of Gortat being overpaid doesn't carry much weight when looking at his statistical production. Even if Gortat nets the same amount of playing time and puts up the same numbers this year as last year, it doesn't appear he's overpriced. To reference the previous statement, let's compare Gortat's VR % with his new contract for this year to Tony Battie's VR % for last year, who had a contract similar in amount.
Despite the similarity in monetary value, Gortat's statistical production with his new contract is superior to Battie's, and as a result, his VR % is much better. The consensus this past season was that Battie was an overpaid player and the data surely backed up that claim. However, the same argument can't be said for Gortat.