What are these guys worth? (Part 2)

In Part 1, we looked at the members of the draft class of 2004. Those players are restricted free agents this summer because last summer they failed to agree on an extension with their team. In Part 2, we’ll look at members of the draft class of 2005, who have the option to sign long-term deals with their current teams. Typically, this means that they are looking at less money than they could sign for as a restricted or unrestricted free agent, but they have the peace of mind of all that guaranteed money (in case of injury) and knowing where they’ll be playing for the next five or six years.

Two players from the draft class of ’05 – Chris Paul and Deron Williams – are widely considered to be no-brainer max extension players. In fact, Paul has already extended for four years and $68 M, and Williams’ camp is currently negotiating with the Jazz. It would be a coup if Utah could convince their young point guard to take a bit less money to allow for the team to have salary cap flexibility in the future.

So let’s take a look at the other big-name players from the class of ’05 and try to gauge their total value. Remember, this includes performance (John Hollinger’s PER), age, potential, and the salaries of comparable players.

Andrew Bogut, C, Milwaukee Bucks
Age: 23
PER: 17.55
Comparables: Chris Kaman ($10.9 M), Tyson Chandler ($11.4 M), Brad Miller ($11.8 M)

The market for skilled seven-footers is always strong, but the league is getting smaller and quicker, so there might be a little bit of a disconnect between what the Bucks think Bogut is worth and what Bogut and his agent think he’s worth. Luckily, in Kaman, Chandler and Miller, the two parties have three very good comparables. Complicating matters is Bogut’s strong performance after the All-Star break (16.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game) and his improved play on defense (1.7 blocks). Bogut is a legitimate post threat and is a terrific passer for his size, though he has had trouble scoring on athletic defensive centers like Chandler, Dwight Howard, Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert. Small market teams tend to have to overspend to keep their stars, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucks do so here. His upside seems limited, but he’s a safe investment as a #2 offensive option.
Value: $12.0 M – $12.5 M per year

Marvin Williams, F, Atlanta Hawks
Age: 22
PER: 14.53
Comparables: Tayshaun Prince ($10.3 M), Andres Nocioni ($7.6 M), Al Harrington ($9.6 M), Nick Collison ($6.4 M), Drew Gooden ($7.1 M)

Williams was the #2 pick in the ’05 draft and at 22, he still has a lot of upside. He can play either forward position, but his jumper is limited. (He was 1-10 from long range last season.) It’s doubtful that the Hawks will work out an extension this summer as both parties will want to see how much Williams improves before committing to a long-term contract. Still, if he wanted the long-term security, a deal in the Nocioni/Collison/Gooden range would be a nice deal for both sides.
Value: $7.5 M – $8.5 M per year

Raymond Felton, PG, Charlotte Bobcats
Age: 24
PER: 13.85
Comparables: Derek Fisher ($4.9 M), Jameer Nelson ($6.7 M), Beno Udrih ($6.0 M)

Given the Bobcats’ decision to draft D.J. Augustin, Felton’s future is up in the air. It’s safe to say that he hasn’t gotten it done in his three years, so it’s highly doubtful that the Bobcats are going to extend him this summer.
Value: $5.0 M – $5.5 M per year

Charlie Villanueva, F, Milwaukee Bucks
Age: 23
PER: 14.99
Comparables: Nick Collison ($6.4 M), Al Harrington ($9.6 M), Andres Nocioni ($7.6 M), Drew Gooden ($7.1 M)

It’s no secret that the Bucks are shopping Villanueva, as his laid-back style is likely to clash with new head coach Scott Skiles. So Milwaukee won’t extend him but if he’s moved, his new team might. He averaged 14.9 points and 8.0 rebounds in 31 games as a starter so there is talent there.
Value: $6.5 M – $7.5 M per year

Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers
Age: 20
PER: 22.60
Comparables: Al Jefferson ($13.0 M), Dwight Howard ($15.8 M), Chris Kaman ($10.9 M), Yao Ming ($16.4 M)

What’s Bynum worth? It’s tough to gauge considering he’s recovering from a knee injury. His camp has made it clear that they want a max deal, and there’s no reason for the Lakers to give him that kind of contract when there’s no downside to waiting to see if his knee is fully recovered. With the knee in question, his value is depressed, so it is unlikely that the two parties will come to an agreement unless Bynum chooses security over a bigger payday in the future.
Value: $12.0 M – $13.0 M per year

Danny Granger, SF, Indiana Pacers
Age: 25
PER: 16.76
Comparables: Josh Howard ($10.9 M), Ron Artest ($8.5 M), Hedo Turkoglu ($6.9 M), Gerald Wallace ($9.5 M), Richard Jefferson ($14.1 M)

Granger is old for his class, so it is more likely that he’s closer to topping out than some of the other guys on this list. That said, he put up very nice numbers on a mediocre team, so it will be interesting to see what kind of contract he ends up with. I see him as a Howard/Jefferson-type player, and I think RJ is a little overpaid, so Granger’s value falls somewhere in between.
Value: $11.0 M – $12.0 M per year

Hakim Warrick, F, Memphis Grizzlies
Age: 25
PER: 16.28
Comparables: Chris Wilcox ($6.8 M), Lamar Odom ($14.6 M), Nick Collison ($6.4 M), Al Harrington ($9.6 M)

Warrick is also old for his class so he has less upside than some other players on this list. He also played limited minutes (23.4) this season, so there’s no guarantee that his production would continue with more playing time. He seems to be kind of on the outs with the Grizzlies right now, so it’s unlikely that an extension is coming this summer.
Value: $7.0 M – $7.5 M per year

Nate Robinson, G, New York Knicks
Age: 24
PER: 15.38
Comparables: Jameer Nelson ($6.7 M), Beno Udrih ($6.0 M)

Robinson is a point guard that doesn’t pass the ball very well, so is unclear if he’s going to fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system. It’s unlikely that the Knicks will extend him this offseason, though he’s one of their better assets.
Value: $6.5 M – $7.0 M per year

Linas Kleiza, F, Denver Nuggets
Age: 23
PER: 14.43
Comparables: Tayshaun Prince ($10.3 M), Andres Nocioni ($7.6 M), Al Harrington ($9.6 M), Nick Collison ($6.4 M), Drew Gooden ($7.1 M)

Kleiza is a gifted scorer and he rebounds pretty well. He plays the same position as Carmelo Anthony, so it’s unclear if the Nuggets are going to commit to him in the long term. His name comes up a lot in trade talk, and he has value around the league. He reminds me of the second coming of Andres Nocioni and his value is in the same ballpark.
Value: $6.5 M – $7.5 M per year

David Lee, F, New York Knicks
Age: 25
PER: 18.01
Comparables: Shane Battier ($6.9 M), Chris Wilcox ($6.8 M), Lamar Odom ($14.6 M)

Lee is a double-double guy that gets most of his numbers by doing the little things. He is highly coveted around the league and his name comes up all the time in trade rumors involving the Knicks. Since he’s a “glue-guy,” I think his best comparable is Battier, and Lee’s value is in that range (though he is more productive).
Value: $7.5 M – $8.5 M per year

Monta Ellis, G, Golden State Warriors
Age: 22
PER: 19.01
Comparables: Kevin Martin ($11.1 M), Michael Redd ($17.1 M), Jason Richardson ($13.3 M)

Since he was a second round pick, he’s a 2005 draftee who is a restricted free agent this summer. Like Josh Smith, Ellis is a young player who has already managed to crack the top 40 in league PER. Hollinger’s numbers are adjusted for the Warriors’ frenetic pace, so Ellis is the real deal. At just 6’3”, the only knock on him is his height, as he’s quite short for a shooting guard. He has the potential to play some point guard, but thus far he’s been more of a finisher than a distributor. What’s truly amazing about Ellis is his FG% (53.1%) considering he doesn’t shoot a very good percentage from long range (23.1%). He is better (and three years younger) than Ben Gordon and deserves a slightly better deal, though the fact that he was a second round pick is bound to have some GMs asking, “Is this kid for real?”
Value: $10.5 M – $11.5 M per year

Click here to see Part 1.

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