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LSU Professor gets assist from NBA formula

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 8:41pm

Professor Larry Crumbley at the E.J. Ourso College of Business at LSU is looking for a better way to evaluate teachers. The current system is solely based on how the students rate professors. Crumbley says "the inmates control the prison." ESPN's Jon Hollinger uses a formula called PER (Player Efficiency Rating) that rates NBA players based on their performance. Crumbley says a similar formula could be used in the higher education system to evaluate teachers.

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LSU’s D. Larry Crumbley Finds Relationship Between NBA Performance and Pay

D. Larry Crumbley, KPMG Peat Marwick Endowed Professor in the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business’ Department of Accounting and the LSU Center for Internal Auditing, recently conducted a study titled “Performance Does Not Necessarily Equal High Pay.”

Crumbley’s research examines the correlation between the compensation of the Top 10 National Basketball Association players and their commensurate performance.

“At the start of the new year, some people began to worry that their salary level does not match their performance,” Crumbley said. “Compensation does not guarantee commensurate performance.”

Crumbley arrived at a telling statistic by dividing the players’ salaries by their player efficiency rating, or PER, a rating created by Columnist John Hollinger.

“PER sums up all of a player’s accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance,” Crumbley said.

For the purposes of his study, Crumbley analyzed the salary and PER of the following NBA players:


Player                                                PER        Salary        Salary/PER

1. LeBron James (Miami)               27.34 $14,500,000 $537,358
2. Dwight Howard (Orlando)          26.13 $16,509,600  $631,825
3. Dwyane Wade (Miami)                25.65 $14,000,000 $545,809
4. Chris Paul (New Orleans)          23.76 $14,940,152  $628,794
5. Kevin Love (Minnesota)               24.39 $3,638,280 $149,171
6. Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers)           23.94 $24,806,250 $1,036,184
7. Kevin Durant (Okla. City)             23.7 $6,053,663 $255,489
8. Russell Westbrook (OKC)          23.63 $4,017,720  $170,026
9. Derrick Rose (Chicago)             23.62 $5,546,169  $234,808
10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)               23.52 $17,300,000 $735,544

For the 2010-2011 season, when these 10 players’ PER scores are divided by their salaries, Love was the most productive player moneywise, followed by Westbrook. Also indicated by Crumbley’s study, Bryant was the least productive of the 10 players using the measure, followed by Nowitzki.

For the 2009-2010 season, Crumbley found Durant to be the most productive player overall. Los Angeles Laker Pau Gasol was the least productive of the Top 10 players using the PER measure.

Although the 2010-2011 season is not yet finished, Crumbley indicated that the numbers are not likely to change drastically, but also noted that six of the Top 10 players are still contributing in the postseason. Another aspect of the season that Crumbley commented on was the New York Knicks blockbuster acquisition in February 2011.

“The New York Knicks recently gave up four rotation players, all of them 26 or younger, and three draft picks and $6 million dollars to acquire Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and in the process gutted their roster,” Crumbley said. “Anthony’s new salary divided by PER is $993,991, and Billups’ was $986,080.”

The Department of Accounting at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business strives for excellence in teaching, research and service to the accounting profession. With a mission of producing graduates at all levels who excel in their pursuits, the department offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in various fields including industry, auditing, finance, government and academia. For more information, visit, call 225-578-6202, or email




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