That's Progress

Sports Illustrated writer Ian Thomsen ranks the most efficient and most wasteful NBA franchises, as measured by "payroll per win."

The most efficient teams: the Jazz, Hornets, Nuggets, Lakers and Magic. The least: the T-Wolves, Wizards, Clippers and Kings.

Of course, simply dividing payroll by wins tells us exactly nothing about the financial health of these teams... one of the so-called "most efficient" teams kicked off this season by trading Marcus Camby to the Clippers in exchange for a deflated basketball, and another tried to make a similarly lopsided deal to get rid of Tyson Chandler -- their most important defender. And just about every one of the efficient teams is facing major roster changes this summer as rookie contracts expire and guys like Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Andrew Bynum star making serious coin.

I'd argue that the most efficient NBA franchses are the teams that don't need to hold fire sales every couple of years to get under the dreaded luxury tax threshhold -- one of many reasons that the Spurs are considered the NBA's model franchise. And the least efficient are the ones whose every decision seems to be geared towards shaving a couple of dollars off the bottom line. Say what you want about the poor decisions made by the Knicks, or the Clippers, or the Warriors in recent years -- then look at the list of players and draft picks that the Suns have simply given away. What's worse?

Speaking of the Knicks... as a fan, I'm pleased to say they aren't on Thomsen's list.

That's about the closest thing I've seen to actual progress this year.


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