Paying for Production: Rating Teams and Players by the stat sprocket EXCERPT: This summer the unthinkable happened. The best starting five in the league, the 2005/2006 Detroit Pistons, ceased to exist. Pax and Skiles came a calling, and Big Ben went a walking. Ben Wallace. Joe Dumars. Mr. Davidson. Scott Skiles. John Paxson. Space aliens in braids. Pick any two, add the expletive of your choice in front of the names, and you too can post on PistonsForum. NBA players are paid to produce on the court and to draw in fans. They either help their teams win and entertain the fan base or they are sent away. They are paid based on their past ability to produce, which can be measured, and their ability to fit in and make their teams better, which cannot be directly measured. However, given the number of players who are perceived as poisonous but still sign big contracts, it seems safe to say that owners and GMs place much more importance on the former and far less on the latter.