See, sometimes headlines write themselves. I ran Bradley Beal through statistician Doppelgänger, and the first name that came up: Monta Ellis.
Fans of witches can breathe a sigh of relief – it was the near-fatal resemblance to a partial season of Ellis. It was from 2011-12 when he was Golden State Warriors Ellis (and former great Kwame Brown wizards) traded to Milwaukee Bucks Andrew Bogut.
This article about wizards means that even relief is #SoWizards. While Ellis was the company’s best, Gilbert Arenas was next on the list…from the 2009-10 season when he wasn’t much good, and b) he was suspended for bringing guns to the locker room.
The list is from there… well… let’s just say I don’t want to give any of them $251 million over the next five seasons.
Here is the best ‘bright side’ picture I can paint at the moment: Bale has a history as a very good player who has put big numbers in scoring for decent efficiency. He is a three-time All-Star and has also made the third All-NBA Team once. The criticism of his defense has been further exaggerated – it’s not strength, but it doesn’t destroy the team either, especially in betting games.
He works hard at his game, seems interested in being a part of the DC community, and appears to be loved and respected by his teammates.
Last season was awful (PPA: 115 – in PPA, 100 average and above is better) for someone allegedly a franchise-level building block, but he and the Wizards are convinced that it was a one-year aberration, and that we’ll soon be back to what they seem to think played the building blocks at the level of excellence.
On the other hand, there is This is the thing I wrote in May Which indicates that the rebound season should not only be assumed. From this article:
My view on the risks of awarding a Supermax contract to Beal continues to produce flashing red lights. In my estimation, Bale will likely continue to miss a large number of matches due to injury, and that he will face a severe drop in production… previously Saw this last season.
In other words: This miraculous bargain that the witches so hard put into getting him to sign carries a grave risk of making a fatal mistake. Contains customizations for another #SoWizards contract.
This was the conclusion of the analysis I did ignore him 2021-22 season.
What happens when I look at this performance through the lens of a doppelgänger? Well, Monta Ellis, one-legged Gilbert Arenas and the like. See for yourself:
For those unfamiliar, my Doppelgänger stats machine works by comparing player performance across 14 different categories including age, playing time, velocity neutral chest score stats and scores from my PPA scale. All of this is aggregated into a single score that provides (theoretically) a roster of NBA players from 1977-1978 with similar productions at a similar age.
Here’s Bale’s roster from last season:
- Gilbert ArenasAnd the Washington Wizards, 2009-10, Age: 28 – I know, I put Monta Ellis in the title. But he was only part of Ellis’ season, and that whole season he appears in the top three anyway. Getting this version of squares as a comp is not encouraging. This was the post-injury period, and while he wasn’t doing well, it was the last average or best season of his career.
- Jerry StackhouseAnd the Detroit Pistons, 2001-02, Age: 27 – This season, Stackhouse scored a 116 PPA at age 27. His peak was 128 the previous season. At the time, the Wizards traded Richard Hamilton for Detroit to pair him with Michael Jordan, and Stackhouse published 117 PPA in Washington. And… this was the last average or best season of his career.
- Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, 2011-12 – Ellis has a 102 PPA this season, the 26-year-old. He followed up with PPA 104 and 102 on 27 and 28. He had two more seasons of 90+ PPA and finished in the NBA on 31. Ellis was similar to Stackhouse in one difference with Beal – both of them reached lower peaks. Stackhouse’s best year was a PPA of 128 at age 26. For Ellis it was 136 at age 22. Beal’s best season (so far) was 160 at age 26.
- Tracy McGradyAnd the Houston Rockets, 2007-08, Age: 28 – McGrady was an exciting player, his best season having been a 235 PPA at the age of 23. Then he was injured. Much. Even with injuries, he scored 173 PPAs in 66 games at the age of 27. This 28th season (124 PPAs over 66 games) was the beginning of the end. His PPA at 29 was 126, but he only played 35 games. He had another season average or better (102 PPA over 72 games at age 31), and was out of the league at 32.
- Mitch RichmondAnd the Sacramento Kings, 1994-95, Age: 29 – Finally, encouraging companies. My analysis suggests that Richmond was overestimated during his career, but that his career had an atypical arc. His best seasons were ages 30, 31, and 32 (PPAs 141, 153, and 147). This season, his PPA rating was 116. Naturally, Washington traded for him at the age of 33, and he took the “cliffside” part of his career. He had a PPA of 89 in his first year with the team, and 106 at age 34 (his last season on average).
- John StarksAnd the New York Knicks, 1993-94, Age: 28 — That tied the previous season as the Starks’ career best (PPA: 111). He had another two average seasons (105 on 29 and 109 on 30), and wrapped up his career with another five below average. A bit like Stackhouse, while performing at a similar age close to Beal’s last season, the Starks’ peak was much lower than Beal’s.
- Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings, 1993-94, Age: 28 – First iteration of the doppelgänger, Richmond is basically the Wizards’ best hope due to its late heyday. Relegating off the cliff at 33 wouldn’t be much of a concern as Bale’s contract expires after a season of 33.
- Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets, 2011-12, age: 27 – So far, there is a clear trend, even for me. The overlay list is mostly for good to very good players on their way down. Williams is no exception. He had four seasons with 160+ PPAs, the last of which was at the age of 26. His output from the age of 28 is in: 151 (78 games), 139 (64 games), 104 (68 games), 98 (65 games). He had another below-average season and retired at the age of 32.
- Michael Reed, Milwaukee Bucks, 2007-08, Age: 28 – Redd, a second-round pick, was arguably Ernie Grunfeld’s best-ever pick. He was an All-Star one time, and made the third All-NBA team—both came in the 2003-04 season, although his best year I think was a 161 PPA in 2005-06 (age 26 season). This 28-year season was the beginning of the end for Redd. He posted a 125 PPA in 72 games, and followed it up with 137 the following year…but only in 33 games. He finished his career with three injury-packed seasons (18, 10 and 51 games respectively) which were all rated below average when he could hit the ground running. Finished at 32.
- joe johnsonAnd the Atlanta Hawks, 2010-11, Age: 29 – Bright Side: While Johnson averaged a 110 PPA this corporate season, he rebounded to score a top 151 in the following seasons. The worrying side? This 30-year-old was the last very good season in Johnson’s career. He continued his peak with two additional seasons on average plus: 119 at 32 and 101 at 33. He continued to play until age 36, but was unproductive and frequently injured.
To get back to the headline, did the witches give a quarter of a billion dollars to the new Monta Ellis? Nah. Could this contract somehow work for the witches? I don’t see how.