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Tuesday August 15, 2006 1:44 pm

Playing the Percentages - Field Goal

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Percentages. What was today’s stock price increase/decrease? How did you do on your math test? You are within the top percentage in your department in sales. Your company has met the percentage goal of their yearly targets. Where are you with the books? What are my chances of winning this poker hand? What are my chances with the blonde at the end of the bar? We are a society driven by percentages.

In fantasy basketball, the emphasis on the percentages has taken a back seat to the flashier stats like points, rebounds and assists. Depending on how your Roto or H2H league is set-up, the percentages could be the difference from being a champ or a chump.

In a mini-series of articles, I will discuss the following percentages; Field Goal, Free Throw and 3 Point. I am a big believer in picking the best player in the draft, however, if you were to decide between Player A vs. Player B and both players have similar stats, I will strongly consider the player that will help improve my team’s percentages. (Percentages used for this article are referenced from the ‘05-‘06 regular season.)

Top Players to help with FG%

1. Shaq O’Neal – The classic debate has been raging for years, Do you take Shaq to help your team’s FG% (.600), but kill your FT% (.469)? Roto owners have an easier decision to pass on him but H2H owners may be able to get away with drafting Shaq.

2. Tony Parker – How would you like to lose in the NBA playoffs and go back to Eva Longoria for consoling? Parker was that lucky man last year. Damn. Parker’s constant slashing in the paint has helped his FG% to a lofty .548, which is very impressive for a PG. There is no reason to think that Parker would stop his ventures in the paint next year. If only he can improve his FT% from .707 (his best season was .755 in ‘02-’03), he’s be so much more enticing… not as much as Eva, but enticing nonetheless.
3. Elton Brand – Borrowing fellow Dropping Dimes’ writer Al’s quote “You may be paying more for the “Brand” name but you know what you are going to get.” With Brand you get yourself a bona fide 20-10 player while shooting an efficient .527 FG%. Last year, Brand had a career best 24.7 ppg and a 77.5% FT. The Brian Skinner and Tyson Chandler trade for Elton Brand didn’t turn out so good for the Bulls, did it?

4. Kevin Garnett – The Big Ticket is still punching the time clock and delivering in workman-like fashion for fantasy owners. Last year, he shot .526 from the field and for his career he has a FG% of .493, so you know what you are getting with KG. The only problem KG will have this year is having Mike James give up the rock, you can trust this Raptor fan.

5. Yao Ming – Being 7’5 does have its advantages - easy to spot on blind dates; no problems with products on the top shelf in stores; apple picking is a breeze, and oh yeah, a high FG%. Yao is starting to play with a little chip on his shoulder and raised his scoring average to 22.3 ppg while shooting an efficient .519 FG%. With T-Mac (more on T-Mac below) still not 100% healthy, Yao should be the focal point of Houston’s offense this year. Yao will continue his ascent as Fantasy B-Ball’s best center.

Players to Avoid for FG% (The Home Makeover aka. The Brick layers)

1. Baron Davis - Baron Davis is the Fantasy Team Killer. If he is not missing games then he is killing your team’s FG% and FT% when he does play. Last year, Baron in his 54 games played shot a terrible .389 FG% and .675 FT%. Is there any hope for Davis to improve his FG%? Nope.  His career FG% is .407. Have someone else draft Davis and save yourself the headaches.

2. Tracy McGrady – T-Mac’s back problems last year made him more of a jump shooter and that is evident with his .406 FG%. His slashes into the paint have been less frequent for preservation of his back and this could be a trend. T-Mac will defer more of the offense to Yao this year.

3. Jamal Crawford – Crawford will be the big loser for playing time in the Knicks backcourt with Isiah at the helm. Further evidence that you need to stay away from Crawford is that his .416 FG% last year was one of his better showings in that category.

4. Larry Hughes – Hughes and Baron Davis might be drinking the same water because Hughes has only played a full 82 games just once in his 9 year career. He is also a crappy shooter with last year’s FG% at .409. The only time I liked Hughes was in the Kelly Rowland video, Dilemma.

5. Stephen Jackson – Also known as Steve Jax to his friends and Steve Jack-it-up a lot to his fantasy owners. His .411 FG% last year was not winning him any fans in the fantasy realm (Trust me, I had him last year). Saying Stephen Jackson has taken some bad shots is an understatement, much like saying cyclist Floyd Landis is in a little bit of trouble.

Next Article – 3 point Percentage

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