Friday, April 03, 2009

How Good a Free Agent Signing Was Flip Murray?

The question comes from Micah Hart who, when I was writing a post entitled "Subtraction By Addition" when Murray signed with the Hawks, was writing the following:
The thing I like about Murray's game is his ability to create his own shot, a skill not many Hawks possess save for Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby (though I think Acie Law is developing). He's a vet, he's been in the playoffs, and he gives the team another shooter to take some of the pressure off our starters.
There can no debate regarding which of us was right and which of us was wrong we can only attempt to ascertain to what degree I was wrong.

So Micah asks: if you look at the performance of all free agents who changed teams last year I want to know where Flip Murray ranks in terms of contribution to wins vs salary spent. Like if you were to use something like Win Shares in baseball, how much has he cost per win (or whatever) compared to his peers?

I'll look at Win Shares (courtesy Basketball-Reference.com), EWA (courtesy John Hollinger and ESPN.com), and WARP (courtesy Basketball Prospectus) for the best and most cost-effective free agent signings.

As all three ratings scale somewhat differently I've chosen not to make a futile effort to normalize or combine them, so there will be three charts below, one for each rating system. I've also only included salary information for this year. Obviously (for example) Oklahoma City's signing of Nenad Krstic (both Win Shares and EWA have him being worth a win-and-a-half in less than a thousand minutes this season) may prove more cost-effective over the life of the contract than Atlanta's signing of Flip Murray but since Flip is our subject and he's on a one year deal, we'll look at value for dollar for this season only.

First, Win Shares

Player (Team)Win Shares08-09 $ (in millions)
Andersen, Chris (DEN)51
Duhon, Chris (NY)4.25.58
Mason, Roger (SA)4.13.5
Posey, James (NO)45.58
Turiaf, Ronny (GS)3.74.5
Maggette, Corey (GS)3.68.275
Evans, Maurice (ATL)3.52.5
Murray, Flip (ATL)2.91.5
Pietrus, Mickael (ORL)2.95.3
Barnes, Matt (PHX)2.81.2
Amundson, Louis (PHX)1.80.8

Next, EWA

Player (Team)EWA08-09 $ (in millions)
Maggette, Corey (GS)58.275
Andersen, Chris (DEN)4.91
Davis, Baron (LAC)4.311.25
Murray, Flip (ATL)3.61.5
Turiaf, Ronny (GS)3.24.5
Duhon, Chris (NY)25.58
Barnes, Matt (PHX)21.2
Mason, Roger (SA)1.53.5
Krstic, Nenad (OKC)1.55
Brand, Elton (PHI)1.413.75
Amundson, Louis (PHX)1.10.8

Maurice Evans has 0.6 EWA.

Finally, WARP (The player card for Nenad Krstic, at the time of writing, do not have WARP info for either player.)

Player (Team)WARP08-09 $ (in millions)
Andersen, Chris (DEN)6.81
Davis, Baron (LAC)4.311.25
Turiaf, Ronny (GS)4.14.5
Amundson, Louis (PHX)2.20.8
Duhon, Chris (NY)25.58
Maggette, Corey (GS)1.98.275
Brand, Elton (PHI)1.213.75
Murray, Flip (ATL)11.5
Barnes, Matt (PHX)0.91.2
Ratliff, Theo (PHI)0.61.26

Maurice Evans' WARP is -0.6.

Notes
  • It looks like Chris Andersen, even before accounting for his cost, has been the most productive free agent to change teams over the summer. That Denver is paying him just $1 million this season is a boon for the Nuggets. Andersen should receive plenty of interest this summer.
  • Corey Maggette has been more productive than Flip Murray but he really should be for 5.5x the price.
  • Louis Amundson hasn't been (except according to WARP) quite as productive as Flip Murray but could represent greater value since he's paid a hair under $800,000.
  • Matt Barnes narrowly trails Flip Murray on all three rating systems and does so at 80% of the cost.
Conclusion

After looking at three advanced metrics designed to account for as much of a player's value as possible, Flip Murray appears to be at worst the 4th-best and at best the 2nd-best value for money free agent to change teams this past off-season.

Credit to Flip Murray, Rick Sund, and Mike Woodson making Murray's season as productive and cost-effective as its been. Credit also to Micah Hart for being right in advance where I was so, so wrong.

Further Reading: Marginal Dollars Per Marginal Win by Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus

1 comment:

Bronn said...

I suppose no one could have anticipated that a 29 year old would have posted career highs in FG%, eFG%, and TS%, while also posting a career low in TO%, while his usage rate remained consistent.

And if Rick Sund could have, then he's an incredible find in a GM.