The advent of the salary cap in 1984 made it more imperative than ever for NBA GM's to maximize the value of every dollar they commit to players on their roster. An expensive contract given to a player who has below-average production becomes devastating to a franchise while a more affordable contract given to a player who performs better than expected yields a huge windfall.
With this in mind, I?ve created a valuation system, audaciously called the Reina Value, in order to quickly determine how players are performing in relation to their contract.
First, a system that rates each player individually must be established.
There are hordes of rating systems out there; nearly all of them are useful, and all are attempting to achieve similar goals even though as we all know statistics can never tell the whole story.
I call the rating system I use the Floor Impact Counter, which is similar to the ?Tendex? created by Dave Heeren and the ?Win Score? developed by David Berri.
The principle variation in my formula is that I assign a greater weight for offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds, and I also try not to severely punish players who create offense and shots for themselves, typically a lower percentage shot.
Defensive rebounding is less valuable because it is an act that involves multiple teammates boxing out potential offensive rebounders, and it is repeatedly arbitrary who actually grabs the rebound.
Offensive rebounding is a rarer occurrence and almost exclusively a strictly individual accomplishment.
Here is the formula I use to determine the FIC:
+ Offensive Rebounds
+ .75 Defensive Rebounds
- .75 Field Goal Attempts
- .375 Free Throw Attempts
- .5 Personal Fouls)
Applying this formula to the box scores of countless games that I have watched, the players with the highest FIC, nearly without fail, had the most productive games.
It passes my personal eye test better than any other system I have compared it to and it also isn?t unnecessarily complicated.
In order to give the rating some context, here are a few statistics:
Top FIC (Per 40 Minutes) For Each Season Since 1990
89-90: Michael Jordan (23.90)
90-91: David Robinson (24.80)
91-92: David Robinson (24.99)
92-93: Hakeem Olajuwon (24.03)
93-94: Shaquille O?Neal (23.63)
94-95: David Robinson (23.47)
95-96: David Robinson (24.47)
96-97: Karl Malone (22.07)
97-98: Shaquille O?Neal (22.06)
98-99: Shaquille O?Neal (21.38)
99-00: Shaquille O?Neal (24.06)
00-01: Shaquille O?Neal (22.62)
01-02: Shaquille O?Neal (22.02)
02-03: Kevin Garnett (22.64)
03-04: Kevin Garnett (23.69)
04-05: Kevin Garnett (23.81)
05-06: Kevin Garnett (21.53)
06-07: Tim Duncan (20.96)
Various Career Per 40 FIC (Through 06-07)
Magic Johnson: 23.56
David Robinson: 21.76
Shaquille O?Neal: 21.58
Charles Barkley: 21.38
Larry Bird: 21.29
Michael Jordan: 20.23
John Stockton: 19.88
Hakeem Olajuwon: 19.04
Patrick Ewing: 17.48
Jason Kidd: 17.37
Ben Wallace: 16.53
Dennis Rodman: 16.50
Steve Nash: 16.25
Tree Rollins: 14.19
Penny Hardaway: 13.69
Danny Ainge: 12.49
Glenn Robinson: 11.72
Dell Curry: 11.56
Joe Dumars: 10.85
Trajan Langdon: 8.33
Ron Mercer: 7.79
Trenton Hassell: 7.08
Dajuan Wagner: 5.61
Nikoloz Tskitishvili: 4.57
The median FIC per 40 is typically 10.
With some context given to the statistic used to rank players, here is the crux of what the Reina Value actually is:
Players are ranked from highest to lowest by the total FIC for the season, not per 40 minutes or per game, which I decided to do because players are only valuable when they are on the floor.
Beside each player?s actual salary, we slide in raw salary figures, ranked top to bottom, which determines their ?deserved? salary. We use the actual salaries because players deserve whatever their agents can negotiate and GMs/owners can afford to pay.
The player who has the highest FIC receives the highest ?deserved? salary. The player with the second highest FIC receives the second highest salary. The player with the hundredth highest FIC receives the hundredth highest salary.
We then calculate the percentage increase or decrease from the actual and deserved.
If Dwight Howard, who is making a little over $6 million in 2007-2008, is ranked first using the FIC, his ?Reina Value? would be Kevin Garnett?s $23.7 million salary, making his difference 291.9%.
Conversely, if Stephon Marbury is ranked 139th and his actual salary is just over $19 million, he?d be in line to make about $5 million. His percentage difference, therefore, would be -73%.
By using the Reina Value to examine the rosters of all 30 teams, it soon becomes clear which GM's are getting favorable returns and which players are out/under performing their contracts.