The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Sasha Pavlovic vs Devin Brown

Posted by disappointmentzone on 3 October 2007

Sasha Pavlovic wants to get paid a lot of money, which is why he has yet to sign a contract with the Cavs. He’s threatening to take his game to Europe, where it is highly unlikely any team will offer him more money than the Cavs, and thus has injected his holdout with a “cutting off the nose to spite the face” dynamic, which is certainly makes it a little more interesting than your typical NBA holdout…I think.

To counter Pavlovic’s greed the Cavs have signed shooting guard Devin Brown, previously of the New Orleans Hornets. (1) The question begs: Is Brown an improvement over Pavlovic?

There are a lot of ways to tackle such a question but for the time being let’s lump them into two categories: on court impact and off court impact.

Off the court Devin Brown comes cheaply. Though the terms of his contract are undisclosed the Cavs are certainly paying him less than what they are offering Pavlovic. With the luxury tax looming large the Cavs have limited financial flexibility, so a player who comes cheaply can be a great asset. Brown is also in camp on time, so if anything can be said for things like team chemistry or morale then those intangibles are probably in his favor as well.

On the court is where things get more interesting. It’s one thing to sign a cheap player. Just ask any Cavs fan who expected much from Wesley last season. It’s another to sign a cheap player who can make meaningful contributions on the court. I am here to report that the cost-benefit analysis of Devin Brown is very favorable. In fact, he’s a better player than Sasha. Let’s look at some numbers.

Devin Brown: 11.6/4.3/2.6
Sasha Pavlovic: 9/2.4/1.6

Devin Brown: 42%/36%/79%
Sasha Pavlovic: 45%/40%/79%

Right away it’s pretty clear that these two guys are comparable. Sasha is the better pure shooter but Brown is a much better rebounder and slightly better at distributing the ball. On a team that lacks good shooting Pavlovic could be an asset. But when you look at the overall production from both players Brown is clearly better no matter what metric you use.

The metric the DZ prefers is Wins Produced. Here are their numbers from last season.

Brown: 4.5 Wins Produced/.130 WP48
Pavlovic: 1.4 Wins Produced/.045 WP48

From these numbers it is pretty clear that Brown is a markedly more productive player than Pavlovic. Brown also has the benefit of a) being in camp and b) being cheaper. That’s a win win for the Cavs and should prompt the front office to low ball Pavlovic to death. There should be no rush to get him into camp, nor should there be any concern about another team swooping him up. In signing Brown the Cava have upgraded over Pavs, so why fret over him not being here?

I’m going to write more about the Cavs in the upcoming weeks, but in case anyone is interested Brown is also better than Larry Hughes, by a similar margin. If Brown can play defense somewhat near the level of Hughes (and if Mike Brown can get away from giving Hughes so many minutes) then there is good reason to believe that Brown could have a significant impact on the team this season.

On paper at least this signing is a solid B+, pending contract figures and, you know, actual on court production. Put one on the tally for Danny Ferry. Maybe he’s been talking lessons from Mark Shapiro.
fn 1: Devin Brown has his own website.

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