Twelve million per year is a ton of money. Resigning Pek is the scariest and most obvious possible impact of that expense, but it will have countless other implications beginning with who else we sign this off-season. In order for Batum to be worth that kind of sacrifice in future opportunities, he had better be a damn good player. Madison Dan recently pointed to adjusted +/- statistics as one reason for concern regarding Batum. This data really should give pause to our optimism about paying Batum like a star player. I wanted to throw out some other statistics that help put the proposed Batum contract into context.Here is where Batum stands among the other 26 small forwards to log at least 25 minutes in 30 games last season:
Batum looks like a legitimate starter when compared to his peers, but star seems like a stretch. The most obvious problems are his inability to pass or create his own offense. Batum is not a creator. This could work fine with the Wolves if we sign someone like Shved to share the wing with him, but it could be a real problem if we expect Budinger and Batum to be our starting wing duo. Fit isn't my primary interest here though... I am more curious about what a player like Batum should cost relative to the proposed contract. Answering this question is made quite easy thanks to the two traveling partners Batum has in the above ranking:
Dudley, Dunleavy and Batum are very similar players.
They cut and shoot, and do it well. They are top notch assist receptacles, but little more than that. I have been pining for Dudley and Dunleavy for a while. These are players who do well in pretty much every evaluation metric and really fit perfectly with what the Wolves need at the three. The problem is, Dudley and Dunleavy don't get paid anything close to what we have offered Batum. $10+ million per year contracts are typically reserved for offensive creators, not assist receptacles:
What is it about Batum that commands 3X the price of his production peers? Age?... well that is a start, but we need more than that. I think the standard answer for Batum would be defense, but what data we have does not speak well of that argument:
I am not going to complain too much about this deal if it goes down, but don't expect me to be excited either. Batum at $12.5 million is only good in light of what I expect our FO to do with that money otherwise.