If you remember a few months back, I posted the Value Rating % of each of the players on the Orlando Magic roster. To refresh your memory, this particular metric (created by Jon Nichols) measures the relative value of a player's performance based on his Composite Score and salary. The difference between their actual Composite Score and expected Composite Score determines their Value Rating.
Nichols tweaked his statistic so that it doesn't penalize high paid superstars.
With all that said, let's see how the starters faired during the regular season:
As I did with yesterday's post, I'll delve into the data a bit.
Talk about a starting lineup filled with players who have great to excellent value. Jameer Nelson carries the distinct honor of having the best VR % on the team, an impressive feat considering many thought he was overpaid when Magic general manager Otis Smith granted him a generous extension in last year's off-season. That should speak volumes about Nelson, given that some people are beginning to forget he was an All-Star during the regular season. Short-term memory, perhaps.
Next up, Dwight Howard. His percentage exemplifies the adjustment Nichols made with his metric; to not penalize players who have max contracts, for example. As a result, Howard's number is excellent as it should be. As I stated in the past, when you compare Howard's salary to players around the NBA, you'll quickly realize he is a bit of a bargain for Orlando. That fact is going to be key as the years go by and the Magic come to a point in time when it'll need to reconstruct its core group. Locking up Howard and Nelson to affordable contracts will pay dividends.
Or maybe not, with Rashard Lewis' monstrous contract looming in the background. Say what you will about Lewis, but he has great value for Orlando. Lewis might be a bit overpaid, but what he's netting isn't entirely ridiculous (when you consider the other bad contracts in the Association). His contract notwithstanding, Lewis has been an excellent fit for the Magic since Day 1 - he's a clutch shooter, a team player, etc. It'll be interesting to see how his salary affects the team in the future, but as I like to say, let's cross that bridge when we come to it.
Ah, Hedo Turkoglu. For the past two seasons, Turkoglu has been quite the bargain for Orlando. That's been a luxury the Magic have been able to enjoy, until now. Turkoglu is a free agent and as such, will be saying 'show me the money' loud and clear. How much will Turkoglu get? No one will know for the next few weeks, but it's clear it'll be more than what Turkoglu has been earning for the last couple of years. The next question is, will Turkoglu's VR % dip a bit with a higher salary? Most likely. How much Turkoglu's percentage decreases, starting next season, remains to be seen.
Finally, it ends with the rook. Courtney Lee. The kid had a heck of a season, proving his worth time and again with Orlando. Given the Magic's precarious payroll situation that may get further complicated if/when Hedo re-signs with the team, Lee's contract will become more valuable as time moves along. Lee will be on the rookie scale a few additional years, during the timeframe in which Dwight's, (Hedo's?), Jameer's, and Rashard's contracts each simultaneously run, which is important given that the team will be carrying three, or potentially four, sizable contracts until 2012.
The good news is that the core for the Orlando Magic is locked up for the foreseeable future. That bodes well for the franchise's window of opportunity to bring a championship home to the City Beautiful. The bad news is that a ton of money will be committed to just a few players as more years pass by. Who knows what will happen, then. It's too early to predict the economics of the NBA and determine where the salary cap and luxury tax will lie beyond this coming season.
All in all, the franchise will have to play it by ear and adjust accordingly. For now. Smith should deserve credit for, again, locking up Howard and Nelson to affordable contracts (two Spurs-esque moves). It's moves like that which keep teams together to make title runs. However, the straw that might break the camel's back is Lewis' contract. Or it might be Turkoglu's pending contract. Again, who knows.
One thing is for sure, the Magic have a team littered with guys who have good to great to excellent value rating percentages. It's a reason why Orlando was listed as the most efficient team economically during the regular season.
That's always good.