So, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. I just gave Jae Crowder a 4-year, $61 million dollar contract. He's my highest paid player.
As some of you may know, we run a fantasy league at the Wages of Wins network. But, of course, our league is different because we don't use ESPN's scoring system. Instead we use Position-Adjusted Win Score per Minute (PAWSMIN), then adjust the scores in a spreadsheet to calculate wins produced. What's interesting about this is that players who would go high in "traditional" leagues can tend to remain in the dregs of free agency all year, and players you have never heard of can go for outrageous prices.
Furthermore, it's a keeper league, and our salaries try to mimic the NBA: you get $580 to spend on the auction draft (corresponding to the NBA's $58 million cap) and $120 to spend on waivers/free agents (anyone that isn't drafted) plus whatever you didn't use in the draft. One way that our league is not like the NBA: contracts are non-guaranteed (you can drop any player any time), and last exactly four years, after which they become free agents entered in the next auction draft. There's no limit on Keeper roster spots in your team, though. Here was my team going in to the draft (I was an expansion team last year, so my team is pretty weak):
Leaving me $440 in cap room. There are 4 expansion teams in our league, so after them I have the most money to spend on the draft.
The players I let go included Derrick Rose (I was paying him $72 and I felt that with so much uncertainty about when he comes back, and how good he is when that happens, I'd rather have the cap space), Chris Andersen (he won't land a job thanks to his legal troubles), Marshon Brooks (his rookie campaign started promising but dropped fast, and I was overpaying at $10). Looking at this roster now, I should have added Beaubois to that list, but I panicked about having NO point guards. I'm also, clearly, banking on Leuer, Vucevic, and Parsons to get better (those numbers are good for rookies).
My plan going in to this draft was simple:
- Get Andrei Kirilenko (I was kind of shocked no one did this for $5 last season off waivers, to take a gamble -- I had no money at all or would have done it.)
- Get as many of Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, and Will Barton as possible. I assumed that I wouldn't get Anthony Davis because the expansion teams would pay thorugh the roof. I was right; Davis went for $300!
Here's what I drafted:
Tim Duncan, $50: Last year, Tim made $92 in this league and he was overpriced; he isn't the old Tim. But he's still decently above average and he is eligible as a PF and a C. That gives you very important roster flexibility. Guys who are pure Cs better be very good because you can only use them in one starting spot.
Will Barton, $55: That's a lot of money for an NBA 2nd round pick, right? And a ton of money for a rookie! Barton is a guy I've written lots about before. I think he's going to be a star in this league (whether or not the NBA recognizes it). Either he'll work out and I'll have an underpriced superstar for four years, or I will drop him. Does this strategy sound familiar to any of my readers?
Andrei Kirilenko: $120. Welp. This isn't underpriced at all. I knew I'd have to pay a lot for him with 4 expansion teams fighting to find wins somewhere. It's a big gamble because if he isn't the star he once was anymore, the contract will be nigh-untradeable.
At this point my only goal was to get Crowder. I did. For $152. That's a $15.2 million dollar contract! I was kind of hoping he'd go for $80 or so, and I waited a while hoping that others would spend their money, but there was no such luck. He went to $50 instantly, then climbed to $90 or so and then it was me against some expansion team and he blinked first. Clearly, it isn't a secret that we've been really high on Crowder for some time. I don't think a single one of us doubts that he'll be a great player. But will he be that great? Will the Mavericks give him playing time? I'm happy to see him do so well in the pre-season and hoping that translates to some minutes as a rookie.
He is, after all, my highest paid player O_o.
Now, I just need to find some non-terrible point guards.
By the way, next year is when it gets really interesting. It will be the league's 5th year. So players like Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, etc are all free agents. Should be a blood bath. So, if my gamble on Crowder doesn't work, I'll just drop him for $150 in cap space, and might even be able to re-buy him for cheaper.