So after watching the Toronto Raptors lose a heartbreaker on opening night against the Indiana Pacers (I DVRed it, as usual, so I can skip the commercials), I went to the internet to find the big story was not necessarily the game, but the extension that DeMar DeRozan had just signed.
Four years and $38 million dollars.
That’s nearly $10 million a season for a player who, among all shooting guards last season, was:
47th in PER
57th in True Shooting Percentage
66nd in Rebounding Percentage
55th in Assist Percentage
72nd in Steal Percentage
57th in Offensive Rating
55th in Defensive Rating
58th in Win Share per 48 minutes
6th in PPG
15th in PPG per 36 minutes
75th in three point percentage
Average place: 51st
Average salary over contract: $9.5 million
I don’t think it’s at all controversial to say that DeRozan is a below average defender, rebounder, passer, ball handler and shooter (he shot under 40% on anything outside of ten feet last year).
You’ll forgive me, but I’m just wondering how exactly that this type of player is worth $38 million over 4 years.
Of course, nothing can be looked at in a vacuum. You always need to look at the big picture. So let’s look at some other similar players to DeRozan.
Marcus Thornton, Courtney Lee, Arron Afflalo, Nick Young and Wesley Matthews are all young, athletic shooting guards who are decent to good scorers, have played heavy minutes during the last few years, and are pretty much settled in at that below All Star level player slot that seems to be DeRozan’s future. And all have signed contracts in the last couple of years, two as recently as this past summer.
Among all shooting guards last season:
Marcus Thornton was:
11th in PER
19th in True Shooting Percentage
61st in Rebounding percentage
65th in Assist Percentage
31st in Steal Percentage
10th in Offensive Rating
94th in Defensive Rating
21st in Win Share per 48 minutes
4th in PPG
9th in PPG per 36 minutes
44th in three point percentage
Average place: 33rd
Average salary over contract: $8.1 million
Courtney Lee was:
48th in PER
27th in True Shooting Percentage
82nd in Rebounding Percentage
74th in Assist Percentage
32nd in Steal Percentage
29th in Offensive Rating
51st in Defensive Rating
34th in Win Share per 48 minutes
30th in PPG
47th in PPG per 36 minutes
12th in three point percentage
Average place: 42nd
Average salary over contract: $5.3 million
Arron Afflalo was:
22nd in PER
16th in True Shooting Percentage
72nd in Rebounding Percentage
53rd in Assist Percentage
87th in Steal Percentage
4th in Offensive Rating
88th in Defensive Rating
15th in Win Share per 48 minutes
48th in Usage
10th in PPG
22th in PPG per 36 minutes
13th in three point percentage
Average place: 41st
Average salary over contract: $7.6 million
Nick Young was:
45th in PER
46th in True Shooting Percentage
91st in Rebounding Percentage
85th in Assist Percentage
69th in Steal Percentage
46th in Offensive Rating
81st in Defensive Rating
62nd in Win Share per 48 minutes
15th in PPG
13th in PPG per 36 minutes
28th in three point percentage
Average place: 53rd
Average salary over contract: $6 million
Wesley Matthews was:
29th in PER
23rd in True Shooting Percentage
58th in Rebounding Percentage
70th in Assist Percentage
20th in Steal Percentage
17th in Offensive Rating
65th in Defensive Rating
20th in Win Share per 48 minutes
17th in PPG
37th in PPG per 36 minutes
20th in three point percentage
Average place: 29th
Average salary over contract: $6.8 million
Now, I’m not going to pretend for one minute that any of these stats are conclusive of anything, but they do give you a pretty good indication of a player’s general production, especially as compared to other players of the same position.
When you compare the above stats, there’s pretty overwhelming evidence to suggest that DeRozan is, at best, in the same category as the above players. At worst, he’s at the same level as Nick Young, who a lot of people think was vastly overpaid with his one year, $6 million contract.
Bryan Colangelo has, of course, defended the extension by stating, “Upside is a commodity in this business and we definitely think this was a wise investment”.
There could be an argument to be made that he’s right. DeRozan is just 22 years old and is, by all accounts, a very hard worker. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case of a raw 22 year old who has simply needs a chance to shine. This isn’t Orlando offering a maximum contract to Tracy McGrady who blossomed once out of Vince Carter‘s shadow.
Unlike McGrady, whose role Butch Carter purposely limited for “developmental reasons”, DeRozan averaged a team leading 35 mpg, last season. And with Bargnani gone for half the season, he had an excellent opportunity to show his potential. Instead, he saw declines in most statistical categories (per 36 and advanced stats).
His defenders say that he’s young, but he’s averaged 30 mpg over his first 3 seasons. He’s played more than 5 times as many minutes in the NBA as he would have if he’d stayed three more years at USC. And if he had stayed in college until his senior season, and came out with such raw skills as a senior, how forgiving do you think teams would be? He’d probably be lucky to have been drafted in the first round, last June.
This extension is so bad, that the Toronto Star’s Raptor writer, Doug Smith, came out against it, and I didn’t even know he was allowed to write anything negative about the Raptors. For those that haven’t read Doug Smith before, that’s like Fox News saying something positive about Barack Obama.
Even more perplexing, is that it now means that Colangelo won’t be able to offer a maximum contract next summer. He’s cut his cap space in half by paying a mediocre shooting guard All Star money.
I know a lot of people have not liked what I’ve said about the Raptors being on a mediocrity treadmill, and many believe that Colangelo will find a way to get the team a star. I’m just wondering if they still believe that.
Speaking of Financial Meltdown, in my recent post on the James Harden trade, I stated:
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Harden ends up becoming an All Star, but he’s not enough to make Houston a contender, and if they sign him to a max contract this summer, Houston will have limited themselves with what they can do to improve the team.
There had been some criticism of James Harden and Sam Presti for not being able to come together, after it had been suggested that Harden wanted $60 million and Oklahoma was only offering $54.
Now he’s signed a 5 year, $80 million extension. I like Harden a whole lot, but in what world is he worth Derrick Rose-type money? They have a whole lot of money tied up in a team that may not even make the playoffs this year, and in three players who have never even made an All Star team, before.
I just can’t stop the feeling that we’re seeing a repeat of Joe Johnson‘s Atlanta Hawks.