It’s a fun game for we fans to play this time of year — what team is getting the most wins per dollar spent? We think its fun; team owners call it running a business.
Ian Thomsen as Sports Illustrated broke out the numbers, and found that good young teams are more efficient than bad old ones. The top five:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder, $1.12 million per win
2. Portland Trail Blazers, $1.16 million per win
3. Atlanta Hawks, $1.23 million per win
4. Memphis Grizzlies, $1.33 million per win
5. Cleveland Cavaliers, $1.33 million per win
The top four teams on that list are the top four young, up-and-coming teams in the NBA (well, the Hawks have already arrived). Those four teams, particularly Oklahoma City, has a lot of very good young players on rookie contracts, which makes winning affordable. But in a few years those teams will have to make substantive investments, and in smaller markets it could be tough to keep all the players.
Cleveland comes in fifth, despite the second highest payroll in the league, because they win a lot.
So how about the bottom four:
1. New Jersey Nets, $6.01 million per win
2. Minnesota Timberwolves $4.19 million per win
3. Washington Wizards, $2.85 million per win
4. New York Knicks, $2.82 million
Someday, the Knicks are going to get off this list. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but Donnie Walsh is trying to shed salary and get some new players in. They can’t keep being this bad forever. Can they?