A lot of people were upset about Jonathon Simmons leaving the San Antonio Spurs and signing with the Orlando Magic this week.
Sure, Simmons showed flashes of offensive and defensive brilliance that made for great highlights, and he did well in the playoffs against the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors, but there's a reason that Simmons is going to make $20 million over the next three years in Orlando.
It's because he wasn't worth that much in San Antonio.
Coming into this past season, it seemed like Simmons was going to take another big step with the Spurs. The guy who had to pay to get his NBA tryout was going to make the leap and get paid big money to stay in San Antonio.
But that leap never happened. Those disappointed with Simmons's departure only remember the flash.
The numbers say that there wasn't much substance to his game.
Take a look at the stats for this season, not the points, rebounds, or assists, the advanced statistics that adjust for his time on the court.
His win shares per 48 minutes were the fourth-lowest on the team, only beating out Bryn Forbes (who may be cut), Dejounte Murray (a rookie who only played garbage-time minutes), and Nicolas Laprovittola (who was released during the season).
One of my favorite statistics is VORP: Value Over Replacement Player. It basically tells you how much better or worse a guy is compared to the league average. You know what Simmons's VORP was this past season?
That's right. Simmons was the definition of average over the course of the year. Does that sound like the kind of guy the Spurs would re-sign for $20 million over three years?
No, it doesn't.
Coming off the bench, Simmons was supposed to be a spark capable of taking over games and providing a huge relief when the starters struggled. Or someone that could be counted on to close out games while the starters rested.
Yes, Simmons had 10 playoff games this past season in which he scored in double digits. But over the course of the entire regular season, that number was just 17.
Look at the rest of the advanced statistics. Simmons doesn't break the top seven on the Spurs roster in terms of PER, true shooting percentage, assist percentage, turnover percentage, any win share stat, or any box plus-minus stat. In most cases, he doesn't even crack the top 10.
Now there are certain players that the Spurs have brought on as free agents and those players have seen significant improvement in joining the Spurs system. But Simmons was already with the team and had all season to make his case to stay and make big money with the Spurs, but he just never got there.
Sure, the Spurs could've gambled and paid Simmons the money to stay hoping that he would turn into something great, but the Spurs didn't want to commit that much money to a project. Not when they could bring in a proven scorer like Rudy Gay for less money and just two years on his deal.
So while we'll certainly miss those occasional chase-down blocks and explosive dunks, there's always YouTube.
And we can still be happy that Simmons's story continues and that he got that big paycheck to set up him and his family for life.
We're also allowed to be happy that he won't be making that money in San Antonio.
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