Nets Spent More Per Win Than Any Other Team — The Full NBA Breakdown

Tiago Splitter, Kevin Garnett

Who was the most cost-effective team in the league this season? Who was the least?

With the latest luxury tax information, we’ve learned that the Brooklyn Nets spent a ridiculous amount of money this season, and it added up to 44 wins and a second-round exit. But just how much were those wins — and that payroll — worth?

To figure that out, I put together two very simple charts. The first is “cost per win” — which is, quite literally, how much each win cost a team in NBA salary plus luxury tax. That accounts for how much the team spent on their roster in total, not just on the players.

So how’d they do?

The chart above is interactive. Can’t see it? Click here for the non-interactive image.

As you might expect, the Brooklyn Nets spent more money per win than any team in the NBA this season. With a luxury tax payment of nearly $91 million, the Nets ended up shelling out nearly $4.4 million per win.

That’s even worse than the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks, who won 15 games but only spent $3.6 million per win. Maybe Jason Kidd saw that potential and decided to bolt for, um, greener pastures.

On the other side, the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, of the 62-20 record and no luxury tax payment, came out as the league’s best-spending team, which should surprise precisely no one in the world.

But that’s not really fair. The Bucks didn’t have a more successful season than the Nets: the Nets made it to the playoffs! So here’s the second chart, which accounts for that: it’s how much money each team spent per win including playoff wins:

The chart above is interactive. Can’t see it? Click here for the non-interactive image.

Well, it looks a little better, but the Nets position remains unchanged: Though their spending slices under $4 million per win when you include the playoffs, they were still the least cost-effective team in the league.

Conversely, this makes the NBA playoff teams that stayed under the tax look even better. The Spurs actually get under $1 million per win, making them the only team in the league to do so. The Indiana Pacers, who fought tooth and nail against the luxury tax, jump to second place with just a few thousand dollars above the $1 million mark. The Phoenix Suns drop to 5th, thanks to missing the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.

Lots of insights to glean from this about NBA spending habits. What are your thoughts?

Notes: salary information from ShamSports. Amnesty payments, coaching salaries, and daily reporter salaries not included in total cost.