The power forward spot is the least glamorous on the Magic. There are no All Stars or former All Stars lining this position -- unlike every other position on the Magic (think about that and don't get too disappointed). This is the gritty position, the unglamorous duo that works to stretch the defense and assist Dwight Howard when they can.
Ryan Anderson still seems to be preferred model for the Stan Van Gundy offense. No doubt, Orlando had a lot of success with a stretch-4 spacing the floor rather than a traditional power forward. Rashard Lewis created numerous matchup problems throughout his time in Orlando because of his agility beyond the 3-point line. It (theoretically) gives Dwight Howard more room to operate.
Everyone was still questioning what Brandon Bass would add to the mix even entering the 2010-11 season because of how little he was used in 2010. Bass offered the more traditional route for the Magic at power forward.
But it is not like Bass is a slouch outside the paint. He was 46.1 percent from 10-23 feet according to HoopData, including 47 percent from 16-23 feet. Bass is a superb shooter who is improving his offensive play around the rim to add to his strong jumper -- not to mention continuing to work his defense.
Out of all the starters and positions we have looked at so far, Bass and Anderson are likely the most underpriced or adequately priced players. The Magic can keep getting the production they get from Anderson and Bass and be absolutely fine.
We have not been able to say that (don't worry, Dwight Howard and the non-existent other centers are up next) so far.
Again, this cost-efficiency analysis is a far from perfect measure. Jason Fleming of HoopsWorld though has provided us some way to evaluate the cost-efficiency of players by dividing a player's salary by their PER. Fleming ranked the top players starting at each position.
And for the first time in this series, a Magic player ranks near the top of the list.
Fleming calculates Bass is the tenth most cost-productive center after he posted a 16.0 PER on a $4 million. His $250,000 cost-efficiency ratio certainly sounds reasonable for a starting power forward. This is especially considering that he made more money than all but one player ahead of him -- No. 1 pick Blake Griffin. Bass, in fact, was the highest ranked player not to be on his rookie contract.
All things considered then, it seems like Orlando is getting a pretty good deal out Brandon Bass right now. I do not think the Magic could ask much more from him than his 11.2 points per game -- although I am sure everyone would like to see him postm ore than 5.6 rebounds per game and a 16.7 percent defensive rebound rate (although that was a career high).
Really, since PER measures only offensive statistics, Bass should really focus on continuing to improve his defense and rebounding moving forward. He is giving exactly what the Magic want right now.
Much the same can be said for Ryan Anderson. Defense and rebounding should be his focus moving forward because his offensive numbers are right where they need to be.
Anderson's per 36 minutes numbers and advanced statistics make John Hollinger really excited and Anderson might be the one player on Orlando's roster that has some actual value in the trade market. Whether Orlando would actually trade him or consider trading him might depend on how good Justin Harper ends up being.
Anderson posted an astounding 19.0 PER last year while making $1.4 million. That is a $74,160 cost-efficiency ratio. That is the first Magic player to be in five digits in this whole cost-efficiency analysis series. That is incredibly low. Players with similar PERs and salary include Serge Ibaka. Of course, both Anderson and Ibaka are on their rookie contracts. Big pay-days are coming.
So what should Orlando look to sign Anderson for in the near future? That is a good question. But Anderson certainly seems in for his payday. Josh Smith has a similar PER and made $11.7 million last year. Smith and Anderson are obviously two very different players with very different values about them. To get to Bass' level of a $250,000 cost-efficiency ratio, Orlando would pay Anderson $4.75 million. That sounds like a reasonable salary for Anderson -- at least on par with what J.J. Redick will be paid at the end of his deal.
Anderson is definitely being underpaid right now and Orlando is getting the most out of him that it can -- at least offensively.
For another point of reference, Rashard Lewis had a $19.6 million salary this year (save your jokes) and posted a season-long 12.0 PER -- it was just 11.0 with the Magic. That works out to a cost-efficiency ratio of $1,631,143. That is really really bad. But it was about the same as the ratio Gilbert Arenas posted -- his was $1,641,731. Let's just agree Washington and Orlando were both losers in that deal.
As the roster stands now (and as presently constructed), the Magic are getting exactly what they pay for at power forward. There is very little to complain about here.
Photos via DayLife.com.