At this point in his career DeShawn Stevenson is known for two things; that he was drafted out of high school, and that he turned down a 3 year, $9 million contract from the Magic last season and instead played for the minumum with the Wizards. What you may not know about Stevenson is that he has started all 82 games in each of the past two seasons and shot 46% from the floor. In fact, his stat lines from the past two seasons have been nearly identical:
2005-2006: 11.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.0 AST, 10.93 PER
2006-2007: 11.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.7 AST, 12.92 PER
Not stellar stats of course, but good enough on a team like Washington that doesn't really need too much more scoring with Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and Atawn Jamison. As such, the Wizards have offered Stevenson a 4 year, $12 million deal to stay in town. So is this a good deal for DeShawn? To answer that question lets play a little game. Here are the stats for another 26 year old, free agent shooting guard. Let's call him "Player X" for now:
2006-2007: 10.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.2 AST, 13.87 PER
Pretty close to Stevenson's numbers right? So you would think he would get about the same money, right?
Player X is Jason Kapono, and he just agreed to a 4 year, $24 million contract with the Raptors earlier this week, an average of $6 million per season. So is Kapono worth TWICE as much as Stevenson, even though they are the same exact age, have nearly the same stats from last season, and Stevenson in fact has a more consistent track record in the league? The answer is of course no. There is no way that Kapono is worth twice as much as Stevenson. The real question then, is whether it is Kapono that is being overpaid or Stevenson that is being low-balled. To answer that question, lets take a look at yet another 26 year old, free agent shooting guard's stats from last season. Let's call him "Player Y" for now:
2006-2007: 12.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.3 AST, 14.63 PER
That player is Matt Carroll, who recently agreed to a 6 year, $27 million contract with the Bobcats, which comes out to about $4.5 million a year. So two other players with nearly identical stats to Stevenson, with less starting experience in the league, who are the same exact age as Stevenson, are getting $6 million and $4.5 million a year respectively while Stevenson is being offered $3 million a year from the Wizards. It seems to me that the Wiz probably need to move that deal up to at least the value of Carroll's contract for it not to be an insult to Stevenson.