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For the first few weeks of the season, I try not to focus on the standings. I look, of course, but I do so knowing that there have been outlier games, whose impacts are more pronounced due to the small sample size. Also, most teams have a player or two that’s missed the majority of the games and they might also have been starting a replacement player that’s not going to keep it up much longer. However, we’re now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season. The data is relatively predictable. You should know which categories you need to focus on in order to gain points and which ones to ignore, either because you’re stuck at the bottom or entrenched at the top of a category (or if you always win or lose the category by a ton in head-to-head).

Today, we’ll look at the ESPN Player Rater. Tony RP’s Player Rater updates will give you a picture of who’s most valuable by position. I thought I’d go by category to see who’s doing what for us. Here are the top 20 players by category plus the bottom 20 for relevant ones, skipping players that have hardly played. So, it’s just the per-game stat leaders you may be familiar with, except that the percentage categories are weighted by volume. Turnovers are from BasketballMonster, since ESPN doesn’t include them.

So, how is this useful? Obviously, you want players that score well overall on the Player Rater. But, if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to see some of your players pop up on these lists. Also, keeping in mind which categories you need help in, this can help you find some trade targets. Or, if you’re out of it in points or FG%, maybe ship off a guy that’s in the top 20 that’s not doing much else for you. If you’re in the middle of the pack in FT% and you see that you have one of the worst offenders there, maybe you can ditch him and gain points (just keep in mind what you might be losing in other categories from him). A lot can be gained by learning what’s actually happening compared to what we assume is happening based on previous years or projections.

Next week, I’ll get back into multi-category rankings for those that are ignoring categories, whether intentionally or as a matter of the hand you’ve been dealt. Think punt FG% & TOs, or for FT% punters: 3PTM+AST+ST+PTS+TO rankings, which are what you want to complement your FT% anchors with. That’s when you can really find trade value, since all players now have a new value to your specific team.

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ESPN Player Rater Averages (per-game) through 11/27.

FG% Best

  1. LeBron James
  2. Clint Capela
  3. Anthony Davis
  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  5. Enes Kanter
  6. Steven Adams
  7. Rudy Gobert
  8. Hassan Whiteside
  9. DeAndre Jordan
  10. JaMychal Green
  11. Dwight Howard
  12. Kevin Durant
  13. Dewayne Dedmon
  14. Larry Nance Jr.
  15. Nene
  16. John Collins
  17. Otto Porter Jr.
  18. Karl-Anthony Towns
  19. David West
  20. Jakob Poeltl

FG% Worst

  1. Lonzo Ball
  2. Marcus Smart
  3. Justin Holiday
  4. Danilo Gallinari
  5. Ersan Ilyasova
  6. Sean Kilpatrick
  7. Darrell Arthur
  8. Michael Carter-Williams
  9. Donovan Mitchell
  10. Tyler Johnson
  11. Mike Conley
  12. Josh Richardson
  13. Austin Rivers
  14. Malik Monk
  15. Kay Felder
  16. Dennis Smith Jr.
  17. Russell Westbrook
  18. Paul Zipser
  19. Eric Gordon
  20. Patty Mills

FT% Best

  1. Stephen Curry
  2. Damian Lillard
  3. Kevin Love
  4. James Harden
  5. Danilo Gallinari
  6. Ricky Rubio
  7. Lou Williams
  8. Kemba Walker
  9. Reggie Jackson
  10. Devin Booker
  11. Kevin Durant
  12. Kristaps Porzingis
  13. Rodney Hood
  14. Eric Gordon
  15. Kyrie Irving
  16. Kyle Lowry
  17. Derrick Rose
  18. Delon Wright
  19. Karl-Anthony Towns
  20. Tyler Johnson

FT% Worst

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Mason Plumlee
  3. Ben Simmons
  4. John Henson
  5. Josh Jackson
  6. Andrew Wiggins
  7. Jaylen Brown
  8. Willy Hernangomez
  9. Andre Drummond
  10. Elfrid Payton
  11. Jahlil Okafor
  12. Jusuf Nurkic
  13. Brandon Ingram
  14. Lonzo Ball
  15. Ron Baker
  16. Tristan Thompson
  17. Trevor Booker
  18. Kevon Looney
  19. Pascal Siakam
  20. Bismack Biyomo

TO Best

  1. Brandan Wright
  2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  3. Ekpe Udoh
  4. Marvin Williams
  5. Wayne Ellington
  6. David Nwaba
  7. Tony Snell
  8. Kyle Korver
  9. Joe Harris
  10. C.J. Miles
  11. Shabazz Napier
  12. Noah Vonleh
  13. JaMychal Green
  14. Nemanja Bjelica
  15. Terry Rozier
  16. Tobias Harris
  17. Andre Iguodala
  18. Ryan Anderson
  19. Al-Farouq Aminu
  20. Otto Porter

TO Worst

  1. DeMarcus Cousins
  2. James Harden
  3. Russell Westbrook
  4. LeBron James
  5. Joel Embiid
  6. D’Angelo Russell
  7. Ben Simmons
  8. Andre Drummond
  9. Ricky Rubio
  10. Kevin Durant
  11. Jeff Teague
  12. Victor Oladipo
  13. Kris Dunn
  14. Eric Bledsoe
  15. Marc Gasol
  16. Dennis Schroder
  17. Devin Booker
  18. John Wall
  19. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  20. Blake Griffin

PTS Best

  1. James Harden
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  3. LeBron James
  4. Kristaps Porzingis
  5. Anthony Davis
  6. Stephen Curry
  7. Damian Lillard
  8. DeMarcus Cousins
  9. Kevin Durant
  10. Bradley Beal
  11. Blake Griffin
  12. Victor Oladipo
  13. DeMar DeRozan
  14. Joel Embiid
  15. Kyrie Irving
  16. Devin Booker
  17. Kemba Walker
  18. LaMarcus Aldridge
  19. Russell Westbrook
  20. C.J. McCollum

3PTM Best

  1. James Harden
  2. Stephen Curry
  3. Klay Thompson
  4. Eric Gordon
  5. Robert Covington
  6. Paul George
  7. Ryan Anderson
  8. Tobias Harris
  9. C.J. McCollum
  10. Rodney Hood
  11. Kyle Lowry
  12. Trevor Ariza
  13. C.J. Miles
  14. Joe Ingles
  15. Justin Holiday
  16. J.J. Redick
  17. Wesley Matthews
  18. Kevin Durant
  19. Kyle Korver
  20. Wayne Ellington

REB Best

  1. Andre Drummond
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. Dwight Howard
  4. Hassan Whiteside
  5. DeMarcus Cousins
  6. Karl-Anthony Towns
  7. Anthony Davis
  8. Nikola Jokic
  9. Clint Capela
  10. Joel Embiid
  11. Rudy Gobert
  12. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  13. Enes Kanter
  14. Kevin Love
  15. Tyson Chandler
  16. Alex Len
  17. Ben Simmons
  18. Russell Westbrook
  19. Marc Gasol
  20. Marcin Gortat

AST Best

  1. Chris Paul
  2. James Harden
  3. Russell Westbrook
  4. John Wall
  5. LeBron James
  6. Jeff Teague
  7. Ben Simmons
  8. Lonzo Ball
  9. Kyle Lowry
  10. Dennis Schroder
  11. Draymond Green
  12. Elfrid Payton
  13. Darren Collison
  14. Stephen Curry
  15. Kemba Walker
  16. Spencer Dinwiddie
  17. Damian Lillard
  18. Reggie Jackson
  19. Jarrett Jack
  20. Rajon Rondo

ST Best

  1. Paul George
  2. Chris Paul
  3. Ben Simmons
  4. Russell Westbrook
  5. Kris Dunn
  6. Jimmy Butler
  7. Gary Harris
  8. Thaddeus Young
  9. Eric Bledsoe
  10. Kent Bazemore
  11. Stephen Curry
  12. Jeff Teague
  13. Ricky Rubio
  14. Patrick Beverley
  15. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  16. Otto Porter Jr.
  17. James Harden
  18. Larry Nance Jr.
  19. DeMarcus Cousins
  20. Victor Oladipo

(AP Photo/Jim Young)

BLK Best

  1. Rudy Gobert
  2. Myles Turner
  3. Kristaps Porzingis
  4. Kevin Durant
  5. Anthony Davis
  6. Clint Capela
  7. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  8. Brook Lopez
  9. Marc Gasol
  10. Joel Embiid
  11. Hassan Whiteside
  12. DeMarcus Cousins
  13. Salah Mejri
  14. John Henson
  15. Ekpe Udoh
  16. Karl-Anthony Towns
  17. Draymond Green
  18. Bismack Biyombo
  19. LaMarcus Aldridge
  20. Pau Gasol

This week’s classic fantasy line:

89-90 Hakeem Olajuwon

Games: 82

MPG: 38.1

FG%: 50

FT%: 71

PPG: 24.3

RPG: 14.0

APG: 2.9

SPG: 2.1

BPG: 4.6

I see he was also a 20% career three-point shooter (in only 125 attempts), so I imagine these days, The Dream would also be knocking down a few of those each game as well.