There are wide-ranging opinions concerning the Atlanta Hawks and the decision to sign veteran center Dwight Howard in free agency. The 30-year-old big man brings a fantastic pedigree to the table, but by nature of question marks with his health and with extended mileage following a prep-to-pro jump, Howard does bring a reasonable amount of risk.
With that said, Nate Silver and Allison McCann of FiveThirtyEight have released “CARMELO” projections for the 2016-2017 season and beyond, and this particular system does not treat the Howard signing kindly.
A full picture of the evaluation can be found on the FiveThirtyEight site, but Howard’s contract of three years and $70.5 million does not stack up to the value projections put forth here. In total, the CARMELO system assigns a $34.1 million valuation to Howard’s contributions over the next three seasons, peaking with a $13.4 million figure in his first season with the Hawks.
Much of the downside in this projection comes from the offensive side of the ball, where Howard projects as a negative overall asset, both in the immediate and in the future. It should be noted that this is, by no means, a universally accepted system, but at the same time, CARMELO utilizes readily available statistics that don’t paint Howard in the brightest of lights at this point in his lengthy career.
Atlanta also employs another player, Kent Bazemore, that is skewered by the system when compared to his recent contract agreement, though Paul Millsap scores quite highly in the same system when contrasted with his salary. Many statistical evaluations will come to the surface in an attempt to project the performance of Howard and others in advance of the 2016-2017 season, but fans of the Dwight Howard acquisition will be hoping that this particular system isn’t remotely accurate for Atlanta’s starting center.