In a BusinessWeek report earlier this week, the Pistons ranked in the bottom half of the league in terms of spending at #18 out of 30. Here’s how BW calculated the scores:
“We’ve used payroll data (from USA Today, Basketball-Reference.com, NBC Sports, and NFL.com) to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons… We then compared every team against league average, producing a total score we call the efficiency index. The median score for every league is zero. The lower the score, the less a team spent for its wins.”
The Los Angeles Lakers, putting the finishing touches on an offseason where they signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, were tops in the NBA at -1.3357. With two championships and a winning percentage of .699 over the last five years (including a league-high .793 in 2008-09), the Lakers were 16 games over the league average (55.40 to 39.40) and had 11 playoff wins compared to 2.79. The biggest transactions for the team – the Pau Gasol trade in 2008 and Ron Artest’s signing in 2009 – are huge factors to their success in the last five years.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Minnesota Timberwolves ranked last with an efficiency index of 2.3912, .59 worse than the 29th-ranked Knicks. Despite solid draft picks like Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, there have been many more failed picks and signing. Losing Kevin Garnett in the 2007 offseason also didn’t help their cause.
After six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals – the final one being in 2007 – the Pistons took a huge drop in the standing, falling to sub-.400 basketball in the last three seasons. The highly-criticized signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in 2008, switching head coaches three times in the last three years, and a lack of a franchise “gameplan” because of the transition between owners all dragged the Pistons down in the standings.
With the large sum of cap room that the Pistons have in the next few years, could the team make a leap in next year’s BusinessWeek rankings? A few men in the organization – owner Tom Gores and GM Joe Dumars especially – have a big task on their hands in the next several offseasons.