Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lowest, Highest and Average Team Payrolls (Adjusted to 2013 Dollars)

I posted a related graph showing average team payroll alongside the payroll for the champion, see Average Team Payroll vs. Championship Team Payroll (Adjusted 2013 Dollars). This chart shows the highest and lowest payroll teams each year from 1990-2012, with dollars adjusted to 2013 dollars to account for inflation.

The graph shows how in the early 90s there was parity among team spending, but that diverged starting in the late 90s and especially in the mid-2000s, where you had teams funded by billionaires (Paul Allen and James Dolan) for whom money was not an object, compared to teams that were making bank on the luxury tax and putting out an inferior product (hello Donald Sterling and Bob Johnson!). The most recent CBA aimed to fix this disparity, and I think we're seeing the results.


For more on NBA salaries, see two of my previous posts - All Paid NBA Team and Real and Nominal Average NBA Salaries: 1985-2013.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Average Team Payroll vs. Championship Team Payroll (Adjusted 2013 Dollars)

The following graph shows the average team payroll from 1990-2012, adjusted for inflation using 2013 dollars. Also shown is the team that won that year's championship and their payroll.


There are a couple of particularly interesting things in this data:


  1. The Bulls had an extremely high payroll in their final two years of the second three-peat. This was due primarily to Michael Jordan's salary at the time ($30mm in 96 and $33mm in 97). MJ's salary alone accounted for about a third of the team payroll.
  2. Teams that spend more tend to win more. Only 6 of the 23 teams listed here had below average payrolls. This is to be expected to a degree since top talent typically costs more.
  3. From 1990-2012 there were 23 NBA Champions shared among just 8 different teams. Parity is a thing in the NFL, but not in the NBA.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Average Height and Weight of NBA/ABA Players: 1946-2013

The average height of professional basketball players skyrocketed from the 1940s through the early 1980s, at which point it plateaued. But what is impressive is the increase in average weight from the early 90s through early 2000. While the average height stayed the same, the average player gained 15 pounds over that period of time.

The return of small ball is also starting to show in the data, as the average height and weight of players has been decreasing over the past five years.


Friday, January 17, 2014

All Paid NBA Team - The Highest Paid Players in NBA History

Basketball-Reference.com posts annual salary information for virtually all players from 1985 onwards. Using this data and adjusting for inflation, I present the All Paid NBA Team - the Highest Paid Players in NBA History.

I sorted the data by total salary over a player's career (adjusting each year's salary to 2013 dollars) and then limited each team to two forwards, two guards and a center.

PlayerLifetime Salary (2013 Dollars)Avg. Salary / Season (2013 Dollars)
Kevin Garnett$377,681,020$19,877,950
Shaquille O'Neal$372,171,390$19,587,970
Kobe Bryant$316,812,330$17,600,690
Tim Duncan$259,393,910$15,258,470
Jason Kidd$227,308,130$11,963,590

I made a post about this data on Reddit, including 2nd and 3rd All Paid NBA Teams.

Note that annual salaries adjusted to 2013 dollars using the BLS's All Urban Consumers CPI database and that dollar figures are for NBA player salaries only and do not count endorsements or other forms of income.

Also, keep in mind that three of the above players - Garnett, Kobe and Timmy - are still playing and getting paid!

Real and Nominal Average NBA Salaries: 1985-2013

Basketball-Reference.com posts annual salary information for virtually all players from 1985 onwards. This chart shows the nominal average NBA salaries from 1985-2013 (the blue line) as well as the real average NBA salaries from 1985-2013 (the red line), which is simply the average NBA salary for that year adjusted for inflation to 2013 dollars.

As you can see, salaries have been grew steadily from 1985-2000 when they started to level off. There was then a slight decrease in the late 2000s. Interestingly, there is a big uptick in average salary this year, I'm not sure why.

Note that the red line is the real average salary. If NBA salaries were merely keeping up with inflation this would be a straight line from 1985-2013. Given its slope you can see that for most of the past 28 years NBA salaries have been growing faster than inflation.