I generally hold the belief that any stat can lie to you, but in combination they will tell the truth. I think in the NBAs case this is definitely true in the regular season, but it has its limitations come playoffs.
In general I equate every 10 mil of salary to a replacement player ie +0, and you aim for +1 for every 10 mil if you want to win. IE 10 mil at 0 ok, at 1 good. 20 mil at 0 bad 1 ok 2 good.
Having said I've averaged every player in the NBA with more than about 200 minutes BPM, EPM, LEBRON(PIPM) and RAPTOR and this is what it tells me.
Jokic is perhaps playing at a level that noone ever has. After seeing his more dynamic approach with more face up moves vs Draymond the league should be very afraid. Extend for 35% and feel good about it.
Jamal and MPJ both about $30mil, average catch all last year Jamal(2.25 no EPM) MPJ 2.73(no EPM)
Both play at a level on average in line with their salary for a champion ship team, but not above like Jokic. Having said in the bubble Jamal played well above that level and his last 20 or so games before injury were well above that level. They're young and getting better if healthy.
Just in net ratings we're awesome with these 3 on the court and it barely matters who the other 2 are, with that in mind.
Gordon. $19mil. average catch all .475
8th highest paid PF and he's about 27th ranked by catchalls. Which I don't think is good enough. Can he get it up to around 2? Other guys who shoot worse have(Clarke, Draymond, Williams(C/PF) so maybe? Looney 1.3.
Barton $15.4 mil. catch alls -1.
10th best paid SG and by this measure 50th...ouch. At his best he's perhaps been around 15th, can we get him back there, does he still fit?
Monte $8.8mil .09 by catch alls.
The only PGs that outrank him and are cheaper are on rookie scale...and Jose Alvarado. What is his role and fit moving forward?
Bones rookie scale -.02
Just behind Monte in year 1 and after a poor start to the season.
Jeff 4.5 mil -2.1
Plenty of vet min and rookie redrafts are better, but he did demonstrate one thing and that is we don't have to stand around waiting to shoot when Jokic is doubled. We can cut before he gets doubled and often that's enough.
Zeke Rookie scale -2.5
This might surprise folk, but being efficient doesn't help you if you rarely shoot, his rebounding is ok for a SF, but he often played PF and C and his rebounding is not good for those positions. He doesn't get steals he doesn't assist and players shot better against him than they did in general in fact he was worse than Will.
So those are the guys under contract.
Those we want back?
Rivers vet min to league average, -3.1
He had some really good moments, but by and large he was going through the motions, poor efficiency on a low number of shots and again DFG% worse than Will without the boards and assists. I'd be quite concerned about which Rivers you'll get and for how many games.
Reed min -1.2
First time call up and he played above himself.
It is worth of note that Rivers and Reed played their best alongside Jokic on usage around 10% and the lineups worked.
Cousins vet min to TP-MLE +0.85
Even at TP-MLE there's only 1 cheaper C that outperformed him on minutes you'd care about. Over and above that there's quite a bit to like as in the past he's performed well above this level and there are additional benefits. Teams aren't loading up to stop Jokic...which means they certainly aren't loading up to stop Boogie and Jokic. Boogie draws fouls, which Jokic can then take advantage of. There's quite a bit of scope with Murray and MPJ to optimise further, but on the other hand optimising isn't Boogie's strong suit.
Guys we don't seem interested in bringing back
Cancar vet min -2.25
Much like Zeke to be honest. Being very efficient doesn't matter if you're not shooting much.
Forbes 4.5 mil -2.6
I don't think I need to say anything.
Facu BAE vet min if he returns -1.5
Notably performed well with Boogie, also notably these numbers have 2 components what you did called a box prior(what you did) and your on/off(what happened), Facu's box prior was good his on/off terrible.
At this stage I'll make a note on the last element in general. It's really tough in some systems for everyone to have good advanced catch alls. Over generalising, but if we can't play without Jokic, and when Jokic plays he has the most assists and points, and when we defend we contest, box out and let Jokic grab the boards...then no matter how good your players are it will always look like Jokic is amazing and the other guys are scrubs...the flipside of this is why would you pay lots of money for these guys and of course how might your money and roster spots be better spent? Or are you still benefitted more paying 15 mil to a spot up threat, who rarely shoots, but it still keeps the floor open?
Now I'll almost ignore that to go over the best players to target by the catch alls.
Cs...remember I said only 1 C outperformed Cousins for less money? That was Whiteside, but he did it by quite a margin at 2.8. It's worth noting Cousins has performed as well in the past and is more versatile, it's also worth noting Whiteside has played off the bench with starters who run PnR and he need only dunk.
The other I have 8 other Cs on my list.
Gobert +5.48, R Williams +3.7, Hartenstein +3.2, Poetl +3.0, Whiteside +2.8, P Reed +1, T Bradley 0, and G Dieng 0.
All have their pros and cons with how much they cost, and could they play in Denver in what role, but along with Cousins these are the guys I'd look at. Yes including Gobert. I'm not sure what sensible deals would arise.
Gordon at .4 and 19 mil. I think he's adapting to his role, but he needs to look more like Clarke and Williams. It's not enough to cover his man and be able to switch, he needs to do more in help and needs to be able to get after some loose boards, as well as get to the line more often. If he can't why are we spending the money?
Alternatives the aforementioned Clarke +2.9, but Memphis are data driven, they won't do it. R. Williams likely the same, though with injury and playing time...maybe?
Then I think we get into more realistic guys
Otto Porter +1.9, Finney-Smith +1.14, Boucher +1.1, Obi Toppin +1
We played Jeff here and like Zeke and Cancar, being efficient isn't enough, but we were successful so you might look at PFs who can reasonably guard SFs and also SGs.
Here are the guys I'd look at
Gary Payton II +3.8
Dillon Brooks +1.4 Brooks is a true outlier his box priors say he's terrible, but his on/offs say he isn't and it's consistent going across at least 2 seasons.
Alec Burks +1.2, Delon Wright +.9, Thybulle +.8, JaVonte Green +.8, K Williams +.5, Bruce Brown +.5, John Konchar(Brooks polar opposite) +.4
These numbers aren't as spectacular as those above, but remember our current guys are at -2.5, so even a 0 is a significant improvement.
DJ Murray +3.9, Mike Conley +3.2, Lonzo Ball +2.3, Derrick Rose +2.3, Quickley +2.0, Brogdon +1.9, Rubio +1.5, Tyus Jones +1.
I think there are some other guys worth a shot on, mostly shorter minutes and mostly good box priors, but I'll ignore them for now.
I think it's worth putting Jeff, Zeke, Barton, Monte and Gordon on the table and seeing what you can come back with.
My top target would be Mike Conley. As a character guy and as a player and fit you don't find much better and Utah are likely looking to rejig around Mitchell. Conley is good now and has already accepted his decline in money, and I think would continue to be worth what he's paid on his next contract. Look to start Conley and Murray and slide him to the bench for Bones over time. It likely costs you Gordon, yes it's worth it.
My next target is Wright (if you miss on Conley), I think he comfortably replaces Monte and Barton and saves a lot of money in the process. Allowing you to chase other upgrades.
I then turn to back up C and depending on personality Cousins may be as good as anyone or better, then look hard at Whiteside, Boucher, Bradley and Dieng
I think it's mostly about getting anyone else as cheap as possible. Those are 6(with Cousins and Conley) scorers who can create for themselves and others(MPJ?) you might be able to get away with almost anyone else.
Wright, Thybulle, Green, Burks, Williams, Brown, Konchar, Brooks, Payton, Porter, Toppin, Finney-Smith and then you slide to the devils we know and my list of box priors and unknowns. It shouldn't be hard to beat -2.5.