Thursday, November 1, 2012
I'm going to do something that will surprise many of you: I'm going to defend the DeRozan contract.
First, everything I said yesterday about his game is true, but that doesn't affect what I'm going to say today.
And this is the simplest way I'll put it: Those people that have a problem with the DeRozan contract don't have a true understanding of NBA economics.
Let's use our boy Corey Maggette as an example, someone we've already established as being the closest approximation to DeRozan's game. His "second contract" came in 2003, and he signed a 5-year, $35 million deal. His "third contract" came as a 28-year old in 2008, and he signed a 5-year, $48 million deal. So, with an ability to go into the open market twice, Maggette was tagged as a player worth around $8 million per season.
So, simply adjusting for inflation should take you even past DeRozan's 4-year, $40 million terms.
Historical comparables --- that's one way to justify the deal. Another is supply and demand. There simply aren't a lot of starting quality, young shooting guards in the NBA. Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, and Manu Ginobili are the top 2s in the league. James Harden might surpass both of them soon. Joe Johnson is fading. Andre Iguodala and Kevin Martin are both quality players but on the wrong half of their career trajectory.
I'll bring up another comparable of a two-guard whose best attribute was his scoring: Ben Gordon. He signed for 5 years at roughly $11.5 million per. Again, it was an overpriced deal, but it's the going rate for shooting guards that can score.
Look, if you draft a guy in the lottery, he's going to be making around 4-6 million at the end of his rookie contract. If he turns out to be James Harden, you give him somewhere around max money. If he turns out to be a bust, you don't extend him. DeMar DeRozan doesn't fit into either of those moulds. He is someone that has proven that he can score in the NBA.
11 players aged 25 or younger averaged at least 17 points per game over the last two seasons (min. 100 gp)
24-year olds: None
23-year olds: Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook
22-year olds: Brandon Jennings, Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan
(note: Kyrie Irving averaged over 17 ppg last season, but didn't play in 2010-11--obviously)
So he's young, he's proven he can score, and a qualifying offer would have cost somewhere north of $6 million next season anyways. I look at this deal the same way I looked at Bargnani's a few years ago.
Everyone thought that contract was terrible at the time as well, but once people understood that Bargnani was a proven scorer and those don't grow on trees, they started to view the contract as economical compared to most big men in the NBA.
And finally, looking ahead to 2013-14, you've got four starters (Lowry, DeRozan, Bargnani, Valanciunas) locked up for around $30 million. That leaves a lot of money to pick up a bona fide SF via free agency or trade.
Hey, I hear Corey Maggette's contract is expiring. Maybe he can play alongside DeRozan????
Quick Bullets re: Last night
- Caldowry was a success: 36 points, 11 assists, 3 turnovers, and they played around 14 minutes together. That time they play together will allow Lowry to log heavy minutes this season because he can play off ball as a weak side option for extended stretches. The only negative of this combo came late in the game when Lowry should have had the ball in his hands on every possession, but instead only got it periodically. That led to him rushing a shot the one time he had the rock.
- Jonas' energy was infectious. His jumper will be better (he had at least 3 looks from the elbow that went long --- he was too amped up), but the matchup with Hibbert shows he still has work to do defensively.
- Leaving Bargnani on West was a mistake. I'm not saying you have to double him (I know that isn't this team's style), but go offence-defence with Bargnani and Amir Johnson. Or throw Jonas at West for one possession. Anything to disrupt West's rhythm.