HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In most cases in the NBA, it appears you do get what you pay for.
And if you spend wisely, according to a Businessweek.com study, you should find yourself in elite company in the standings. The top three NBA teams in Businessweek.com’s second annual Smartest Spenders in Sports poll are the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and reigning world champion Miami Heat.
They used a complex matrix of data to rank all 122 teams in the four major pro sports (NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB) in terms of how they spend their money:
We’ve used payroll data (from USA Today, Basketball-Reference.com, NBC Sports, and NFL.com) to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons. (For baseball, we also include the first half of the current season.) We then compared every team against league average, producing a total score we call the efficiency index. The median score for every league is zero. The lower the score, the less a team spent for its wins.
This year, we’ve added bonuses for the victories that matter most: wins above .500, playoff wins, and championships. Our scale counts regular season wins once, with a half-win bonus for every win over .500. Playoff wins count for 10 percent of a season; championships for half a season. In their Super Bowl winning season in 2011, for instance, the New York Giants got credit for 9 regular season wins, plus a .5 game bonus for their ninth win—the one that put them above .500. Their 4 playoff wins earned them 6.4 more wins. And the Super Bowl victory 8 more, for a total of 23.9 “weighted” wins.
You’ll have to play around with the chart and unclick a few boxes to narrow it down to just the NBA teams. The NBA’s top three teams rank among the top 13 overall, with the Lakers at No. 5, the Celtics at No. 7 and the Heat at No. 13. The Magic (15), Spurs (16) and Thunder (19) also ranked among the top 20 overall.
But you should check it out for yourself, (click here) it’s worth the time to find out exactly where your favorite team fits on this list.
Seeing the elite teams at the top of the index wasn’t terribly surprising; the Magic, Spurs, Thunder, Mavericks, Hawks, Nuggets and Bulls — all playoff teams last season — round out the top 10. Like we said, you tend to get what you pay for in professional sports.
What was a bit surprising was the lottery teams — Cavaliers, Suns, Hornets, Rockets, Trail Blazers and Pistons — that landed in the second group of 10. This might not be the clearest indicator of teams that could be on the rise in coming seasons, but it could certainly be a good place to start.