Dollars Per Win Ratios, NBA 2019-2020 season

 With so much movement during the NBA free agency, how does each team’s DPW ratio stack up?  I break down this year’s Dollars Per Win ratio for each NBA team.

Current state of the NBA

Coming off an historic NBA off-season, we saw a number of significant transactions and player movement.  First, the New Orleans Pelicans drafted their next superstar in Zion Williamson with the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft.  Then the NBA free agency started and Kevin Durant decided to part ways with the Golden State Warriors and join the Brooklyn Nets.  Later, we saw movement from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as they both decided to move on from their past teams and head to the Los Angeles Clippers.  As a result, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to trade their former MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets.  Additionally, on July 6th, the Anthony Davis trade became final with the Los Angeles Laker.  These are just the headlines of the off-season! With free agency completed we’ll now see how the teams stack up with their Dollars Per Win (DPW) ratios.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George introduction as the new Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard saying

Kawhi Leonard says “What it do baby”

What is the Dollars Per Win Ratio?

Quick refresher –

I’ve  discussed this in a post earlier this in the past, 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.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George introduction as the new Los Angeles Clippers

What does the DPW tell us about the 2019-2020 NBA season?

This year we will be using Bleacher Report’s projected team records as a basis of our Dollars Per Win Ratio. That information can be found below for your convenience:

TeamWin Total
Bulls36
Hawks33
Kings 40
Suns29
Nets43
Knicks20
Pacers44
Magic42
Lakers53
Mavericks44
Grizzlies28
Pistons38
Pelicans39
Jazz 51
76ers55
Hornets22
Trail Blazers45
Clippers52
Heat43
Nuggets53
Bucks53
Wizards30
Timberwolves40
Raptors42
Thunder40
Cavaliers19
Spurs43
Rockets52
Celtics50
Warriors51

 

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

 

TeamsProjected Starting Salary
Warriors$143,900,079
Celtics$119,289,579
Rockets$150,159,281
Raptors$130,029,252
76ers$132,874,183
Jazz$118,906,177
Thunder$139,325,539
Bucks$133,971,028
Nuggets$135,252,250
Pacers$117,444,824
Lakers$127,222,933
Pelicans$120,380,112
Timberwolves$127,403,769
Spurs$125,687,016
Wizards$130,899,680
Heat$143,374,188
Trail Blazers$150,416,279
Pistons$136,923,840
Clippers$131,636,911
Hornets$127,341,703
Grizzlies$128,248,185
Mavericks$122,689,465
Nets$132,383,827
Cavaliers$138,732,750
Magic$133,391,271
Bulls$119,705,494
Knicks$116,192,068
Suns$123,554,273
Kings$115,785,332
Hawks$109,391,540

 

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

 

TeamsDollars Per Wins
Warriors$2,821,570.18
Celtics$2,385,791.58
Rockets$2,887,678.48
Raptors$3,095,934.57
76ers$2,415,894.24
Jazz$2,331,493.67
Thunder$3,483,138.48
Bucks$2,527,755.25
Nuggets$2,551,929.25
Pacers$2,669,200.55
Lakers$2,400,432.70
Pelicans$3,086,669.54
Timberwolves$3,185,094.23
Spurs$2,922,953.86
Wizards$4,363,322.67
Heat$3,334,283.44
Trail Blazers$3,342,583.98
Pistons$3,603,258.95
Clippers$2,531,479.06
Hornets$5,788,259.23
Grizzlies$4,580,292.32
Mavericks$2,788,396.93
Nets$3,078,693.65
Cavaliers$7,301,723.68
Magic$3,175,982.64
Bulls$3,325,152.61
Knicks$5,809,603.40
Suns$4,260,492.17
Kings$2,894,633.30
Hawks$3,314,895.15

The ball numbers don’t lie

 

The Jazz are projected to have the lowest DPW ratio this season with $2.33 million.  Meaning, they are paying the least amount of money per win in the NBA.  This is due to only two players being paid more than 210 million this season. Their highest paid player will be Mike Conley taking home $32.5 million.  Arguably, one of the NBA’s next upcoming superstars, Donovan Mitchell is still on his rookie contract and only making $3.3 million this season. Utah is projected to win 51 games while paying only $118 million in salary.

In last place, we have the Cleveland Cavaliers with a DPW ratio of $7.3 million.  Kevin Love is their highest paid player with $28 million. Coming in second place we have Tristan Thompson with a salary of $18.5 million being owned this season. By no means are these two players stars but their contracts are large like them.  NBA hopefuls Collin Sexton and Darius Garland will be playing on rookie contracts so that helps soften the blow.  However, the Cavilers are still only projected to win 19 games, making their DPW ratio worse in the league.

The average DPW this year for the NBA season is $3.4 million.  Teams that are below that include Warriors, Lakers and Raptors among other teams.  The Portland Trailblazers have the largest payroll this year with $150.4 million. Their DPW comes in at $3.34 million (22nd best in the league) as they are only projected to win 45 games this season.  With three players making over $25 million this year and four making over $20 million, their lineup is very top heavy financially.

Conclusion

As stated before, 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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