It's hard to argue with any of this. Really, read the whole thing as there's no great way to summarize it all.
SGs/SFs FALL OFF IN THEIR 30s. WILL JOHNSON BE AN EXCEPTION?
On one hand, Johnson has the athleticism, health and 3pt shooting to
hold up better than, say, Jerry Stackhouse or Michael Redd. But on the
other hand, two red flags stand out to me:
- Despite Johnson's impressive resume, his numbers with the Hawks -
18.3 PER, .541 TS% - really aren't that impressive. Those are Josh Howard / Michael Finley type numbers, not ones you'd commit $18+ mil a year till age 33 to.
- A dropoff at age 32 and 33 is all but guaranteed. Michael Jordan
and Jeff Hornacek were the only players to maintain their numbers
through that age. Jordan is Jordan, and took two years off; Hornacek
logged only 14000 minutes through age 28 as a 3rd option.
Comparatively, Johnson will have played 26000 minutes through age 28,
with many coming as a #1.
Players like Michael Finley and Jerry Stackhouse, who once
effortlessly played 38+ mpg, broke down hard by age 31. Several players
in the 18 PER crowd saw their PER nosedive by age 31 (Michael Finley,
Rip Hamilton, Steve Smith, Jim Paxson, Alvin Robertson). In fact, nobody with a PER below 19 from age 26-28 ended up with a 29-33 Score over max level. (Btw, since Finley keeps coming up in comparisons, I decided to look them up side by side. Really similar. You don't want to click Finley's player card to see his stats after age 30.) I'd say JJ's chances aren't good.
I'm not sure I entirely agree with his method of valuing players for their contract. Would you really be happy with a guy who averaged a 17 PER, never missed a game, and played 36 minutes a game at a max contract?
I'm not sure how I'd immediately tweak the formula, but I know I'd want to raise the stakes with PER to 20 for a max contract while lowering not enacting a penalty on missed playing time. Missed playing time is certainly important, but if you have a superstar who misses 10-15 games in the season, it's frequently irrelevant as long as he's healthy for the playoffs.
Still, I think it's a nice way to attempt to quantify how terrible an idea it is to pursue Joe Johnson with a huge money deal.