NBA Dollars Per Win ratio for the 2018-2019 Season

 A new free agency season has come and gone and a new NBA season has begun.  We look at the Dollars Per Win rankings for the 2018-2019 NBA season.

The NBA currently

 

The dust has settled and NBA teams have begun the season with their refreshed rosters. Some huge transactions that took place include the addition of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard traded to the Toronto Raptors among others.  With these changes, teams are expecting an improvement from the previous season to validate their increase (or decrease) in salary.  We will be using the Dollars Per Win Ratio (DPW) in order to determine the relationship between team’s projected wins and their player’s payroll.

What is the Dollars Per Win Ratio?

 

Quick refresher –

I’ve  discussed this in a post earlier this year, but the DPW ratio is determined by dividing the annual salary of the team by the wins for the season.  As a result, teams with a low DPW signifies the franchise is paying less for each win.  This is important because front offices may use this as a tool to determine if they are overpaying players for team’s performance. Well run teams generally rank the best in DPW because their payrolls are in line with the team’s performance.

So what does the DPW tell us about the  2018-2019 NBA season?

 

ESPN has released their predictions for the NBA 2018-2019 season:

TeamsWins
Warriors61
Celtics58
Rockets57
Raptors55
76ers53
Jazz49
Thunder49
Bucks47
Nuggets47
Pacers47
Lakers46
Pelicans45
Timberwolves45
Spurs44
Wizards44
Heat43
Trail Blazers43
Pistons38
Clippers35
Hornets35
Grizzlies33
Mavericks33
Nets32
Cavaliers31
Magic30
Bulls28
Knicks28
Suns27
Kings24
Hawks22

 

Now, lets looks at the projected salaries of the new NBA season, provided by Hoopshype:

 

TeamsProjected Starting Salary
Warriors$145,804,384
Celtics$126,408,547
Rockets$134,622,594
Raptors$141,219,804
76ers$103,759,047
Jazz$117,052,671
Thunder$147,310,136
Bucks$126,116,482
Nuggets$117,908,901
Pacers$106,178,710
Lakers$103,916,569
Pelicans$114,402,284
Timberwolves$123,256,845
Spurs$121,412,251
Wizards$131,670,101
Heat$158,331,546
Trail Blazers$129,503,039
Pistons$124,953,445
Clippers$115,382,846
Hornets$119,915,258
Grizzlies$121,935,157
Mavericks$104,300,586
Nets$117,040,379
Cavaliers$116,736,469
Magic$111,786,251
Bulls$105,477,763
Knicks$108,988,644
Suns$105,971,952
Kings$88,678,100
Hawks$104,984,492

 

Finally, we divide calculate the DPW ratio based on the numbers provided, that information is below:

 

TeamsDollars Per Wins
Warriors$2,390,235
Celtics$2,179,457
Rockets$2,361,799
Raptors$2,567,632
76ers$1,957,717
Jazz$2,388,830
Thunder$3,006,329
Bucks$2,683,329
Nuggets$2,508,700
Pacers$2,259,121
Lakers$2,259,055
Pelicans$2,542,272
Timberwolves$2,739,041
Spurs$2,759,369
Wizards$2,992,502
Heat$3,682,128
Trail Blazers$3,011,698
Pistons$3,288,248
Clippers$3,296,652
Hornets$3,426,150
Grizzlies$3,695,004
Mavericks$3,160,623
Nets$3,657,511
Cavaliers$3,765,692
Magic$3,726,608
Bulls$3,767,062
Knicks$3,892,451
Suns$3,924,887
Kings$3,694,920
Hawks$4,772,022

The ball numbers don’t lie

 

The 76ers are projected to have the lowest DPW ratio this season with $1.95 million.  Meaning, they are paying the least amount of money per win in the NBA.  This is due to only four players being paid more than $10 million this season. Their highest paid player will be Joel Embiid taking home $25.4 million.  Arguably, their player with the most upside, Ben Simmons is still on his rookie contract and only making $6.4 million this season. Philadelphia is projected to win 53 games while paying only $103.7 million in salary.

In last place, we have the Atlanta Hawks with a DPW ratio of $4.7 million.  If you look closely at the Atlanta Hawks, you will see a $24 million buyout for Carmelo Anthony in the off season.  It counts toward their DPW since this was paid toward the player roster (or lack of thereof). The Hawks rank 25th in salary this year which is pretty good even after the buyout. A low payroll won’t make up for their sad 22 win count.

The average DPW this year for the NBA season is $3 million.  Teams that are below that include Warriors, Lakers and Raptors among other teams.  The Warriors in particular rank 7th this year in DPW, coming in at $2.3 million.  However, having 61 wins and contending help offset their payroll of $145 million

Conclusion

If you were a NBA owner looking to find the relationship between the money spent and your results, the DPW can help with that.  A low DPW doesn’t mean a team is going to dominate. A high DPW does not mean a team is heading for the lottery.  The DPW ratio is one tool to use in the front office to help measure a franchise’s use of salary. Each front office will have to find what part of the scale they are most comfortable being at and then use their capital to reach their goals.

The full data-set can be downloaded here.

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