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.