You see what I did there in the title? I oversold it, didn’t I? You’re imagining a new statistic that will change fantasy basketball forever, because a state someone would consider awesome would certainly do that. And seeing as how I wasted no time calling this stat awesome, you’d be right to assume it’s revolutionary. It isn’t. So now, before I’ve even explained what bopOSPM is, I’m already apologizing for calling it something it isn’t. If only blogging tools came with delete buttons, I’d start all over.
Earlier this summer, Neil Paine over at Basketball Reference compiled a list of the 20 best offensive players against the league’s top defenses. Also known as, Offensive Basketball-on-Paper Statistical Plus/Minus, bopOSPM struck me as interesting back in July, but nothing that could necessarily be applied to the fantasy game. It’s basically a barometer of who to start and who to sit; basketball’s equivalent of pitcher matchups in baseball. The best 30 pitchers in the league you’ll start against the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies or whomever. But after that, good fantasy owners tend to play the matchups a little more shrewdly. With the exception of maybe a few players, there really isn’t anyone in the top 20 who you wouldn’t draft within five slots of where they show up on the bopOSPM list.
Then I got to thinkin’ – which you can infer means that I was sitting on the toilet – this stat would be useful in two instances past draft day. The first would be in streaming situations or in deeper daily leagues where game-by-game matchups are important to evaluate. The second would be as a tie breaker between your average start vs. sit decisions that everyone must make at some point.
Let’s start with the second instance just to be confusing. Fantasy hoopsters (<- my term that I tell everyone my grandmother came up with) are constantly hitting the waiver wire trying to tap into secondary players suddenly in the position of getting big minutes and doing something with them. If you were trying to decide whether to pick up Paul George or Jared Dudley, bopOSPM could be useful. George collapsed against good defenses (-4.47), while Dudley led the NBA in positive differential between the best 15 defenses in the league and the worst. What that means is that Dudley could be played against good teams and George couldn’t, something that would be helpful to know when deciding who to start, who to sit or who to pick up and stream.
That kickass segue brings us to the aforementioned first instance, in which bopOSPM gives certain players in certain matchups a certain edge. The Chicago Bulls had either the best or second-best defense in the league last season (depending on your metric of choice). Derrick Rose came out on top of Paine’s bopOSPM list. One of the reasons, undoubtedly is that he didn’t have to play against the Bulls. That’s at least two fewer games he didn’t have to play against the league’s top defense. There’s a lot to be said for owning a player in a weak division who plays well against top defenses. Players like Rose not only thrive against the heavy hitters, but being on a heavy hitting team, he doesn’t need to prove it as much as, say, Kevin Love will. Because when Rose isn’t thriving against top defenses, he’s facing weak ones … and thriving.
It’s just another tool to evaluate players on a game-to-game basis or from player-to-player when otherwise in a toss-up.
Now, chew on this for a couple days. I’m leaving town to get married and will not likely be thinking much about bopOSPM. At least not that I’m willing to admit to anyone.
I’ll be back and posting far more regularly once the nuptials are behind me next week. Promise.
Wish me luck, gang!