#5. Timofey Mozgov
Average Ranking: 6
Coming in at No. 5 in our rankings is the Los Angeles Lakers' new big man, Timofey Mozgov. You'll be shocked to hear I disagree once again with the consensus rankings, as I had Mozgov a good deal lower than he's ranked here.
As you may know, the Lakers signed Mozgov to a four-year, $64 million contract this summer. Words cannot express how much I hate this deal. I know deals keep getting bigger, but you have to wonder if the Lakers really needed to go anywhere near $64 million to get this deal done. By all accounts, Mozgov was the first player the Lakers targeted in free agency, working out a deal right out of the gates in the first hour.
Last year, Mozgov only played 17.4 minutes per game, so let's look at per 36 numbers: 12.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks. He had a -1.2 BPM and a 14.6 PER, which, for those of you less sabermetrically inclined, would indicate he was performing slightly below the average NBA player.
Mozgov just turned 30 and is coming off a year where he had a knee surgery that apparently was not all that successful. He has never played more than 26 minutes per game and come the playoffs, he couldn't even sniff the rotation for the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
All this to say: I really really really hate the decision to sign Mozgov to the kind of money that was thrown at him. I don't think he's worth much to the Lakers now, let alone two-to-three years from now. I think it was either the worst or the second-worst free agent signing of the NBA offseason, depending on how you view Evan Turner's deal with the Blazers (which was also bad).
However, Mozgov does have some positives that could raise his 2016-2017 value to the Lakers. He's a solid pick-and-roll man that I'm sure will be setting many screens for D'Angelo Russell. He can shoot OK from midrange, but almost never does. He's also not a bad free throw shooter (career 72.9 percent). By all accounts, he's a solid defender, although the Cavs did defend a bit better with him on the bench (101.6 points allowed per 100 possessions while he was off the court, 103.7 while he was on on).
All told, Mozgov could be a decent piece for the Lakers this season if he doesn't take a step back (which he could). He certainly comes in at a position of need, and will almost assuredly be better than Roy Hibbert was. However, if you ask me, I'm not sure he provides more value than that of Tarik Black, and I certainly don't think he was worth the large investment the Lakers made for him. I keep coming back to the fact that his team didn't value him enough to play him when the games mattered -- he only played in 13 of Cleveland's 18 playoff games, and even for those that he did play in, he only saw the floor for 5.8 minutes on average.
I'm still looking to be shown the light on Mozgov. If you have reasons that I should be more optimistic on the deal or higher on his value for this season, please comment and let me know.