As the NBA moratorium period on free-agent signings approaches its conclusion, we will compare a number of the signings to each other, analyzing their value and efficiency from a team fit standpoint as well as gauging past and possible future production against what teams paid for their services. Who was the better signing?
Today, we look at two instant offense combo guards: Louis Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, who agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, and Monta Ellis, who will join the Indiana Pacers after the moratorium ends this week.
The markets for these players were very different. Ellis was a front-burner target for a number of teams, and landed a contract well into eight figures per season. Williams had plenty of suitors looking to wedge him into a salary-cap extension, and ultimately had to join the non-contending Lakers to maximize his remuneration. The key question for today is whether the markets for these players were accurate.
Ellis and Williams have a kind of long-standing rivalry. Williams is a year younger than Ellis, but both players have played 10 NBA seasons. Both were highly recruited out of high school in the same year as McDonald's All American guards from the South. According to rscihoops.com, Ellis was the No. 2 player in his class, while Williams was No. 5.
Both players skipped college and went straight to the pros, where they were drafted five picks apart in the second round in 2005: Ellis at 40, Williams at 45. That we're comparing their respective values a full decade later says a lot about how badly NBA teams missed on them back then. But the difference in how their respective careers have played out can be summarized in one very basic statistic: Ellis has played nearly 10,000 more minutes than Williams since entering the NBA, or about 1,000 minutes per season.
Monta Ellis, PG/SG
Last team: Dallas Mavericks
Season-end age: 29.5
2014-15 WARP (rank): 3.1 (119th)
Deal: Agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract with the Pacers