The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Ilgauskas vs. Gooden

Posted by disappointmentzone on 24 July 2006

Last summer Zydrunas Ilgauskas signed a five-year contract extension with the Cavs worth between $55-$60 million. This summer the Cavs are in contract negotiations with restricted free agent Drew Gooden, although reports indicate that the negotiations are not progressing rapidly. The hang-up, of course, is money. From the Lorain Morning Journal:

A three-year, $18 million deal would probably be fair for Gooden — a good complementary player. But his agent, Calvin Andrews, sees the ridiculous six-year, $60 million deal that Denver gave Nene and wonders why his client can’t get something like that.

If the Cavs deem Ilgauskas’s value to be between $55 and $60 million over five years, then what is Gooden’s value? Certainly not the same–roughly $10 million per season–as Ilgauskas, right? Let’s look at their statistics.

In the 2005-06 season Ilgauskas averaged 15.6/7.6/1.2/1.7 (pts/rebs/ast/blk) in 78 games. In 05-06 Gooden averaged 10.7/8.4/0.7/0.6 in 79 games. Ilgauskas averaged more points, assists, and blocks than did Gooden and only .8 rebounds fewer per game. Judging by these numbers Ilgauskas appears considerably more valuable than Gooden.

But these numbers only tell part of the story. In 05-06 Ilgauskas had nearly 50 more turnovers and 90 more personal fouls. And while Igauskas scored more points per game, his offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) is only two points higher than Gooden’s (114 vs. 112). Ilgauskas scored more points because he took 237 more shots than Gooden. In fact, Gooden shot a higher field goal percentage than did Ilgauskas (.512 vs. .506).

The closer one examines the numbers, the more alike Ilgauskas and Gooden appear, at least statistically. But raw numbers and averages don’t give a full picture of how much a player’s statistical contributions resulted in team victories. So how many wins did Ilgauskas and Gooden produce?

In 05-06 Ilgauskas produced 7.9 wins and had a WP48 (wins per 48 minutes) of .166. Gooden, meanwhile, produced 9.6 wins and had a WP48 of .214. (For an explanation of Wins Produced go here. For a full explanation of Wins Produced, read The Wages of Wins.)

With respect to wins per salary, Drew Gooden was one of the most undervalued players in the league last season (he was the 10th least valued player in the NBA with respect to salary; Delonte West was 6th, for those following trade rumors). Drew Gooden also produced more wins for the Cavs than did Ilgauskas. Does Drew Gooden deserve the six-year $60 million contract he and his agent are seeking? I don’t know. But as long as the Cavs are willing to pay Ilgauskas a similar salary, Gooden has a legitimate reason to think he deserves equal pay.

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2 Responses to “Ilgauskas vs. Gooden”

  1. TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT… ILGUASKAS WASN’T WORTH 10 A YEAR, GOODEN ISN’T WORTH 10 YEAR MAYBE A 3 YR 21 MILLION MAKES SENSE…BUT WE ALL KNOW IN THE WORLD OF GUARANTEED CONTRACTS…IT’S ALL ABOUT THE YEARS!!! THE QUESTION WE ARE ALL MORE INTERESTED IN IS WHAT GOES ON IN GOODEN’S HEAD WHEN HE TIRED AND GIVING US THAT GLAZED DONUT LOOK HE SO OFTEN DOES…? IS IT SIMILIAR TO THE OLD CARTOON OF THE DOGS LISTENING TO HUMANS? (BLAH , BLAH, BLAH BLAH, FOOD, BLAH BLAH… YOU GET THE POINT….

  2. […] Gooden wants a lot of money, for sure. But as I have noted elsewhere on this site, the Cavs are playing Ilgauskas a lot of money as well and, base on Wins Produced, a tidy metric from the Wages of Wins for evaluating production, Gooden and Ilgauskas performed almost equally last season. So Gooden looks at what the Cavs are playing Z and wonder why, if Z is worth that amount of money, he is not. […]

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