Valuing every player in the league, no matter if they are under contract or free agents, is one of the most important duties for NBA execs around the NBA. To bring that knowledge to you without having to ask your favorite GM, we introduce Real Value, a new statistical measure to calculate the market value of every NBA player.
Using Global Rating as the main performance metric, Real Value takes into account the productivity of each player from the last three seasons, giving extra value to the official NBA games played in the last 365 days. That includes regular season, play-in and playoffs. With that base, we calculate how that would translate to the “deserved” average salary per year.
Also factoring into Real Value: A player’s age, availability, defensive performance and off-court issues. For example, if a player gets admonished by his team due to detrimental conduct, it will be directly reflected in his value. Our NBA insider Michael Scotto will help us with direct insight from executives, coaches and scouts around the league to make Real Value as accurate as possible.
For some of the league superstars, the final number may reflect an unrealistic value, way over the maximum salary that a player can get as a free agent. But displaying that value is important to show how clearly they deserve max player consideration, and to put into context how team-friendly their contracts are.
For players whose Real Value falls under their minimum possible salary, the number is adjusted to that minimum. Those in that category are usually young players with little play time in the NBA and veterans who enjoy more of a mentorship role in their teams. Because they may need more minutes to showcase their full skills or due to the intangibles that are keeping relatively unproductive players as valuable full-time players in NBA rosters, their projected minimum is established as their Real Value floor.
The final number of every player will change almost every day for several reasons. On one hand, the algorithm takes into account games played in the last 365 days, so a new good game or a bad game from a year ago removed from the calculation will improve their Real Value, and the opposite. On the other, the money around the league is not infinite. The numbers will adjust considering the total money spent on salaries in the NBA. So if a franchise signs a player to a maximum contract adding $45 million to the 2022-23 pool, Real Values around the league will adapt accordingly.
As with every advanced metric, Real Value is meant to be used as a tool to simplify as objectively as possible an incredibly complex reality. At the end of the day, any player is as valuable as franchises decide for their own interests. Finding a consensus that’s as close to reality as possible is the goal here.