The NBA PPR – Money Ball Edition

The other day I re-wrote my NBA player ranking algorithm so that it was more commiserate with my current Python skills.  While my coding is significantly better, the basic idea was the same: take the available advanced analytics and determine who really are the most effective players in the NBA.

While I am more confident that this years version better identifies the best on court performances,  I realize it only tells part of the story.

With all apologies to my 15 year old self, basketball is a business.

To that end, I decided to see if I could identify the players that were the best values.  That is – what teams are paying vs. the return they are getting on the court.

The NBA PPR – Money Ball Edition

This list is based on my previous post outlining the players that are performing the best on the court this year as well as what teams are paying them. The money portion of this formula takes into account what teams have invested in a player this year per

I was thinking about maybe trying to figure it basic on guaranteed money over the course of a contract. That however brings in a few other variables that suggest yet another little project…

But I digress, Here are my 2018 NBA Best Values:

1 Nikola Vucevic 1.000
2 Karl-Anthony Towns 0.967
3 Domantas Sabonis 0.959
4 Ben Simmons 0.945
5 Montrezl Harrell 0.933
6 Jusuf Nurkic 0.928
7 Kemba Walker 0.905
8 De’Aaron Fox 0.895
9 Devin Booker 0.886
10 Anthony Davis 0.879
11 Luka Doncic 0.848
12 Kyrie Irving 0.840
13 Jakob Poeltl 0.812
14 Myles Turner 0.810
15 Nemanja Bjelica 0.809
16 Giannis Antetokounmpo 0.801
17 Nikola Jokic 0.800
18 Myles Turner 0.783
19 James Harden 0.782
20 Willie Cauley-Stein 0.780
21 Rudy Gay 0.764
22 Eric Bledsoe 0.750
23 Marcus Morris 0.748
25 Rudy Gobert 0.743
26 D’Angelo Russell 0.738
27 Jeremy Lamb 0.737
28 Tobias Harris 0.713
29 Paul George 0.712
30 Kawhi Leonard 0.712
31 Joel Embiid 0.710
32 Jimmy Butler 0.692
33 Kevin Durant 0.689
34 Khris Middleton 0.685
35 Danilo Gallinari 0.685
36 Damian Lillard 0.664
37 Kelly Olynyk 0.646
38 Derrick Favors 0.641
39 Jrue Holiday 0.613
40 Victor Oladipo 0.608
41 LeBron James 0.593
42 Marc Gasol 0.592
43 Taj Gibson 0.592
44 Steven Adams 0.571
45 Cody Zeller 0.560
46 DeMar DeRozan 0.540
47 Mike Conley 0.537
48 DeAndre Jordan 0.526
49 Bradley Beal 0.514
50 Stephen Curry 0.514

Nikola Vucevic is having a fantastic season ( 8th overall on performance alone )  on a reasonable salary, so this makes sense, but who saw Karl-Anthony Towns coming in at #2?

With three centers topping the list ( and 4 of the top 6 ) , it seems fair to say that this position is under-paid vs. actual performance in today’s NBA.

I realize that any list that ranks Bradley Beal and Stephen Curry evenly is suspect.  However there is a good reason that Mr. Beal’s name is forever mentioned in trade talks – he is a very good player on a reasonable deal.  Mr. Curry is a great player with the biggest guaranteed contract in the NBA at a whopping $166,476,240.

So in dollar value they are “Even Stephen” if you will…

I’ll check in at the end of the year to see how the list changes as it gets closer to the post season.  As always, feel free to comment about how I am wrong 🙂


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