3 min read

How much is Robert Swift really worth?

I flipped over to watch a little Mythbusters during a commercial of the Rockets-Lakers series and for some reason I got to thinking about Robert Swift, as I often do. I have no idea how the Mythbusters building a giant Lego ball got my brain to Robert Swift, but it did. But instead of wondering the usual things like, “Does he know what he looks like?” or “If a small cat ran in front of him, would he be able to jump over it?” or “Did he actually paint his nails or is that just Sharpie?” I started thinking about his current career stats, his free agency and what it has to do with his $3.5 million salary.

How much money did he make per minute? Per point? Per rebound? What about for his prestigious four-year career with this franchise that will undoubtedly come to and end this offseason? Because any time a player is often injured, I think it’s actually law to calculate those things to point out how unproductive and how much of an anti-MVP he was. And this was a contract year for for Big Robert. The good news is this was his second most productive year of his career. But that’s also the bad news.

This season, Swift made $3,579,131. So for 82 games, technically, he would make $43,648 per game if he had played in all of them. But he played in just 26 (the second highest for his career!) so that means he made $137,659 per game this year. If Swift would have been paid on a per game basis, he would have made “just” $1,134,846 this season or just 31 percent of his total salary. (Maybe that’s how teams should pay players. And to provide for the fact an unfortunate injury could sideline you for an extended period, you buy “insurance” from the team on your contract. If you don’t get hurt, just like the rest of us schmoes, you’re out the money. But if you choose not to get the insurance, you don’t get paid for the games you don’t play in. Probably a stupid idea, but just thinking out loud.)

This year he made:

  • $41,618 per point (for a little perspective, KD made $2,397 per point; and that’s with making a full million more than Swift)
  • $ 40,215 per rebound
  • $10,435 per minute (or $996 for every minute spent sitting on the bench)
  • $1,193,043 per injury
  • $96,733 per made basket
  • $397,681 per assist
  • $143,165 per time Brian Davis said how high his basketball IQ was
  • $210,537 per blocked shot
  • $3,579,131 per haircut

I don’t mean to belittle the big guy or mock his stunning lack of production, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s a free agent this year and in four years, the Thunder/Sonics paid him $18,481,433 total and got 97 games, 1,500 minutes (15.5 minutes per game), 416 points and 376 rebounds in return. That’s $190,530 per game, $12,320 per minute, $44,427 per point and $49,153 per rebound for those four years. That’s what you call a poor return on your investment. But he did get 154 hours worth of tattoos. So that’s $120,009 per tattoo hour. Gotta say, pretty good numbers there.

If Swift had played all 82 games in all four seasons (328 total), he would have made $56,436 a game. Which is pretty reasonable (by reasonable I mean completely outrageous, but this is professional sports where a tall guy can make more money in an evening than most do in a year, or even two). But instead, he played in 97 and made $190,530. That’s a little difference of $134,094 a game or $13,007,141 total. That’s right, Swift only “earned” $5,474,292 out of his total $18,481,433. Yikes.

(I think these would be interesting stats to gauge GM performance. For every player, you’d take the difference of their per game total salary and how many games they actually played. Or maybe take their previous career averages and get a per point dollar amount and compare that to what they actually put up per dollar. You see where I’m going with that?Maybe that would work. Maybe not. Someone else do that for every player, because I’m far too lazy to.)

Remember, he was pick 12th overall in the 2004 draft. That’s right, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Delonte West, Kevin Martin, Beno Udrih, Anderson Varejao, Trevor Ariza and Chris Duhon were all picked behind him. And every single one of those guys has scored more points this season than Swift has in his entire career. Ouch babe.

I really hope it all works out eventually for Swift. (Supposedly) he’s got a bunch of upside. (Supposedly) he’s a really smart player. And from what I’ve heard he’s an incredibly polite and nice young man that has taken his unfortunate setbacks in stride. So I wish the best for him. But maybe he should make like Courtney Paris and pay back some of that salary. Too bad for the Thunder he probably spent it all on that awesome new neck tattoo.