Wednesday, January 13, 2010
You Can't Spell Bargnani Without The Word Bargain
Much has been made out of the recent level of play from Andrea Bargnani. In the first month of the new year, the former number one overall pick has averaged 18.6 pts, 8 reb, and 2.5 blk. Along with being the first "European" player to ever be selected number one overall as well as being the latest selection following a slew of failed Raptors picks, Bargnani was destined to be over analyzed by the Toronto fan base. And once you consider the ever real possibility of Chris Bosh leaving due to free agency, expectations have never been higher for the Italian born 7 footer.
Over the past summer, Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo decided to award his young star with a 5 year contract extension. The contract which includes a total of 50 million dollars, would kick into effect immediately after the 09-10 season; in which he is already slated to earn 6.5 million. As soon as the news broke, a generally mixed review could be heard throughout Raptors Nation. On one hand, a group of fans felt - as well as basketball enthusiasts south of the border - that the Raptors organization had overpaid. After all, Bargnani had garnered the reputation of a shooting guard in a center's body. On the other hand, some Raptors fans felt that this contract extension could turn out to be one of the best bargains a few years from now if Andrea could manage to progress into what everyone hoped he would.
And so now with a few months into the season, let's take a little look at how Il Mago compares to other NBA centers who are similar in age and are past their rookie scale contract. [To avoid inflation due to Andrea's recent surge, we'll use his regular season numbers; as well as past centers' numbers if they are currently battling injury]
Andrea Bargnani [24 years old]
17 pts, 6.4 reb, 1.4 blk
50 mil/5 years = 10/year
Andrew Bynum [22 years old]
15.5 pts, 8.4 reb, 1.7 blk
40 mil/3 years = 13.3/year
Tyson Chandler [27 years old]
11.8 pts, 11.7 reb, 1.1 blk [not current season numbers]
25 mil/2 years = 12.5/year
Nene [27 years old]
14 pts, 8 reb, 1 blk
33 mil/3 years = 11 mil/year
Andris Biedrins [23 years old]
11.9 pts, 11.2 reb, 1.6 blks [not current season numbers]
45 mil/5 years = 9 mil/year
Andrew Bogut [25 years old]
15 pts, 10 reb, 2 blk
60 mil/5 years = 12 mil/year
Although we don't have a large enough of a sample to conclude whether or not we got a bargain, it does seem that we certainly did not overpay. Out of these 5 centers, Bargnani looks destined to put up the most points throughout their careers. In regards to blocks, Andrea is in the middle of the pack and has shown a determination to get better (averaging over 2 blocks in the last 10 games). The only thing he's lacking on are the rebounds; a stat that many have bothered to take the time to point out.
So will Andrea live up to the expectations of his contract? What about the expectations of Raptors fans all over the world? What would be a good measuring stick for us to compare and/or be satisfied with? It's really tough to tell at this moment, but let me throw out one last set of numbers for you to chew on.
13.6 pts, 9.8 reb, 1.3 blks
Out of the 5 centers listed above, this is what you get when you calculate their averages in stats and contract. Sports agents typically use past contracts as precedent for their own clients. Centers such as Horford, Noah, and Gasol will eventually reach the end of their rookie deals. Will their agents use Bargnani as precedent? Or will they just conveniently sweep it under the rug?