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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the Batman movies, Commissioner Gordon is portrayed as a subservient, damsel in distress character. “Oh no! There’s trouble in Gotham. Let me run up to the rooftop to signal the Batman so that he can take care of everything.” I kid. Commissioner Gordon was old and needed the youth, strength, and resources that Batman could provide. But, before he became a useless POS, Jim Gordon served in the US Marine Corps and was a Special Forces veteran who could kick some serious ass. That’s where we are at with Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. He’s only 22 years old and 6′ 9″ 220 pounds. He can dribble, shoot, rebound, block, pass, jump like a flea, and run like a gazelle. He’s basically the new and improved version of Blake Griffin. Sad to see the Matrix slowly phasing out Blake for Aaron. Anyways, last night the NBA’s Commissioner Gordon put up the first 40-burger of his career:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 40 15 4 4 1 1 6/12 13/23 8/11

He led his team to a 121-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team led by Russell Westbrook, aka Beastbrook but I prefer to call him the Hulk. Off the court, Westbrook seems like a funny, charismatic guy. On the court, SMASH….SMASH….SMASH! Dude plays with reckless abandon, which results in an abundance of turnovers, but he will dunk on your grill at every opportunity. And keep coming. And coming. And coming. He truly leaves everything on the court, which is why I’d always want the Hulk on my side, because I know he’d always have my back. As for last night:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
 37 11 5 5 0 7 7/10 11/23 8/12
Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player using a single number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

 

In 2029, the planet GJ 273b will receive a message that could change the lives of the inhabitants there. That is, if life does in fact exist. This month METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the organizers of Sónar (a music festival), announced they had sent a series of missives towards Luyten’s star, which GJ 273b orbits. The message consists of mathematical operations and, of course, music. The team plans to send messages to thousands of other stars. Maybe we can find the planet of Giannis Antetokounmpo. This season, he is averaging 29.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.8 blocks. Since 1973, only three players have done something similar.

Players with 29+ points, 10+ rebounds, 1+ steal, 1+ block in an entire season

 Player  Season  Points  Rebounds  Steals  Blocks
 Bob McAdoo  1973-74  30.6  15.1  1.2  3.3
 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  1974-75  30.0  14.0  1.0  3.3
 Bob McAdoo  1974-75  34.5  14.1  1.1  2.1
 Bob McAdoo  1975-76  31.1  12.4  1.2  2.1
 David Robinson  1993-94  29.8  10.7  1.7  3.3
Giannis Antetokounmpo*  2017-18 29.5 10.5 1.5 1.8

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

Luc Mbah a Moute had a +57 in plus/minus against the Nuggets on Wednesday, which marked the highest mark in the past 20 seasons.

Last Friday, LeBron James (the key player in our team of the week), notched his 57th career triple-double. James finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists, and three blocks. Only Larry Bird did so (two times), and without the blocks, only four players in the last 25 years have had 27-16-13.

Player Season Points Rebounds Assists
Draymond Green 2015-16 29 17 14
James Harden 2015-16 33 17 14
Russell Westbrook 2016-17 27 17 14
James Harden 2016-17 53 16 17
LeBron James 2017-18 27 16 13

(courtesy: Basketball-Reference)

It is no coincidence that the Team of the Week had LeBron James on the roster. James was the number one player in fantasy with 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 3.3 3pts, one steal, and 1.3 blocks during that span. Add Trevor Ariza with 5.5 3pts, Klay Thompson with 4.0 3pts, Aaron Gordon doing well across the board, and DeAndre Jordan with his line and 75% from the free throw line and the result is a Tomahawk.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey y’all. We’re back again, like we never left, with another Saturday Special. Today we’re kicking it off with none other than the Tall Baller From the G himself, Dirk Nowitzki. He had a nice little vintage performance, as he led the Mavericks to a win over the Thunder, going for 19/5/4/2 on 7-for-10 shooting with four threes. Dirk’s no longer a fantasy stud, but it’s nice to be able to show love to one of the greats when they deserve it. Dirk might get sporadic rest days as the season goes on, but he’ll generally be given free reign to do as he pleases while the Mavericks happily tank for a pick. Anyway, here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Celtics’ impressive 16-game winning streak is now over. Is it a coincidence that 16 is half of 32, which is the number of games that the ’71 Lakers won in a row? I do not believe in coincidences, until I do. Which makes this iteration of the Celtics half the team of that glorious Lakers squad. All kidding aside, it was an impressive run. The team stepped up when they lost Gordon Hayward, Brad Stevens is now a legitimate Presidential candidate, Kyrie is…..well, Kyrie, and the defense has been the league’s best, by a big margin according to defensive efficiency. I tried everything in the book to jinx the streak. Voodoo dolls, shrines, sacrificing of virgins, and rubbing my scrotum with four-leaf clovers. All to no avail. I had to harken back to the past. All the way back to the ancient days of the early 1990’s. It was during that time, the secret was unlocked by the Leprechaun movies. You see, in the original, the leprechaun is defeated when the well it falls into is blown up. Explosion. Fire. In the third movie, the lepechaun is defeated via flamethrower. Heat was needed and Heat we got Wednesday night, as the Miami Heat took down the Boston Leprechauns 104-98. Who led the way? None other than Goran Dragic, aka the Dragon, who was spewing fire from all over the court: 27 points, five boards, four dimes, and one liberation. He shot 8-of-17 from the field and 2-of-4 from downtown. Waiters Island was booming, as Dion Waiters scored 26 points, grabbed two boards, and dished out six dimes. He shot 11-of-24 from the field and 4-of-10 from downtown. How do you beat the Celtics? Shoot 49.4% from the field, which was 4% higher than their season average. Translation: bring the Heat.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dinner was done, the kids were in bed, the dog was walked, and I was just about to kick back and finally watch the next episode of Stranger Things Season 2, when my phone buzzed. It was an email from Son letting me know that he had not left the bathroom since happy hour ended at his local sushi joint and he needed me to write today’s fantasy recap. So of course being the dedicated Razzball soldier I am, I let him know that I would add to my assist total and take the rock. It was only after agreeing to write the recap that I realized this was one of the busiest nights of basketball all season, so Son, I want to see a doctor’s note.

I know I have some big shoes to fill, but I will do my best to entertain the masses with a recap of yesterday’s action.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh yes. Kemba was top shelf last night. 5-47-6-5-0-0-1. Took a lot of shots, no pun intended. 27 was the final tally, but he was hitting them (17 FGM). Kemba has been just a tiny bit of a letdown to start the year, but this game puts him right back on track. It wasn’t enough to beat the powerhouse Chicago Bulls though, as they fell 123-120 and dropped to 5-9 on the season. Man, the East is not good…The Knicks might make the playoffs! There were a lot of games last night, so I’ll try to touch on the most important/interesting stat lines. Anywho, here’s what went down on Friday in the NBA:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Player Rater is a tool to evaluate the performance of a player with only one number. This is not a perfect tool and will not guarantee victory in fantasy, but this is useful to help improve and evaluate your team.

In each category of scoring, a number is calculated to represent the average total in that category. If a player has the average, his rating in that category is 0.00. The numbers represent how much a player is above or below the average.

If the rating is positive, that player is an above-average fantasy player in that category. If the rating is negative that player is below-average. The sum of all ratings in each category gives us a number (the PR), and then we rank the players accordingly.

I have not included turnovers, as the evaluation in PR is very controversial in my opinion, so if you’re in a league with turnovers, you must keep in mind this.

If you have any question let me know.

Please, blog, may I have some more?