One of the findings of The Wages of Wins is that minutes played, player salaries, and points per game are correlated with one another. Put simply, players that score a lot of points tend to play a lot and make lots of money. What Dr. Berri and his colleagues discovered, however, is that winning games doesn’t necessarily correlate with the factors above. Or put simply, employing and paying players who score lots of points a lot of money and playing them big minutes doesn’t necessarily mean that your team will win lots of games.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is precisely what’s happening in Motown. The table below attempts to illustrate that the Pistons employ several players that manage to score points without helping the team win many games – and they pay many of these unproductive scorers plenty of money to do so.
As we can see quite clearly, of the top 5 Pistons scorers, only one is above average for his position relative to WP48 (the per minute derivative of Wins Produced. Yet, all 5 are among the leaders in minutes played, and with the exception of Stuckey who is on the last year of his rookie deal, they lead the team in terms of salary.
Unfortunately for the Pistons, after 12 games their top scorers are not performing particularly well relative to any of the other important aspects of the game (i.e., rebounding, steals, blocks). Stuckey’s shooting has cooled off, Charlie V either won’t or can’t grab enough rebounds, and Tay and Rip can’t throw the ball in the ocean. To his credit, BG continues to play relatively well, although he still isn’t playing up to his contract.
It’s precisely because our management has opted to employ too many relatively unproductive scorers and not enough productive scorers and non-scorers (i.e., Ben Wallace, Jonas Jerebko, Tracy McGrady) that we find ourselves where we are – right where we were last year, on the outside of the Playoffs looking in and hoping for a lottery pick that can help turn the team around.