The Truth Will Shoot You Free (or, Learning to Love TS%)
First of all, let me thank the veterans who willingly chose to serve and protect our nation, especially those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in order for us to celebrate and enjoy the freedom of life, which includes talking and writing about Fantasy basketball (along with laughing at an offer of Kent Bazemore and Markieff Morris in exchange for Emmanuel Mudiay, Andrew Wiggins and my first pick in next year’s draft.
Ever so briefly, we touched on advanced basketball stats last week, with much of the focus on Player Efficiency Rating (PER). While we accepted the fact that while mildly flawed, PER deserves to be used as an effective evaluator for Fantasy owners, especially when it comes to tracking down potential waiver wire steals and determining whether a player is playing over his head (we’re looking at you, Joffrey Lauvergne) or is beginning to become less attractive (oh, how we can’t ignore that 5.3 PER, Chandler Parsons). This speed date of sorts has resulted in a desire to follow up and discover some of the other advanced stats that owners should focus on.
Let’s journey into the world of True Shooting Percentage (TS%), developed by the Association for Professional Basketball Research Metrics (APBRmetrics), which measures how efficient a shooter a player can be. Every shot -- two-pointers, treys and free throws -- are all blended together, baked in a brick oven for about 20-30 minutes and then served hot with a dinner salad and unlimited rolls.
[caption id="attachment_100713" align="alignright" width="374"] These days, everyone's talking about Doug McDermott's shooting. Photo Credit: Matt Sisneros[/caption]
Or, it would be created by this:
Play with it at your own choosing. As for this writer, who found math in both high school and college to be as daunting as trying to outscore the 1982-83 Denver Nuggets, I’ll simply trust the good people at APBRmetrics and look at the results.
Hmmm...TS%, eh? Has to be a category Stephen Curry leads with ease, right? Right?
Wrong. And wrong. In fact, he’s not the most efficient shooter in the Curry family picture, as younger brother Seth is rolling at an 85 percent clip, albeit in just four games as a reserve off the bench for the Kings. However, if you broke down TS% among qualified players (100 or more minutes played), Steph’s TS% is at 71 percent, which still wouldn’t put him atop the NBA.
That honor currently belongs to Rockets F/C Clint Capela, who has a 78.1 percent mark, much of that driven by the fact he is connecting on two-point attempts at a staggering 79.4 percent rate. Hey, don’t knock the hustle. Capela has two shots in his toolshed: dunks and more violent dunks off misses, and he does a pretty solid job with them. It also helps that Capela actually did spend the summer shooting free throws; while his 60 percent mark won’t remind anyone of Mark Price or Calvin Murphy, it comes a looooooonnnnnnnggggg way from the 17.4 percent he shot from the line in his brief seven-game debut last season.
Capela is owned in 14 percent of polled leagues, yet the secret of his potential is out. He has started three games in place of Dwight Howard, and if Howard goes down for an extended period of time, Capela (who also averages 1.9 blocks per game) could become a Hassan Whiteside-caliber player with a higher ceiling.
That Bulls forward Doug McDermott ranks high on the list shouldn’t come as a shock, as McBuckets is at a 69.3 percent mark. McDermott made a start on Monday and drilled the Sixers with 18 points in 28 minutes. Granted, he offers little beyond his scoring, but if the Bulls continue to put him in the lineup, McDermott’s 11 percent ownership will be attractive to those looking for an offensive jolt.
Yes, there is the other side of the coin, which is why Carmelo Anthony owners aren’t getting enough bang for their buck, as his 49.7 percent rate puts him 254th among the 408 players who have suited up thus far. While fellow Knicks running mate Kristaps Porzingis is becoming a staple for top-ten highlights, the rookie is at a mere 47.3 percent, ranking him 273rd. Wondering about Kobe Bryant? If you’re a Mamba fan, either shut your eyes or just go here to see something slightly less disturbing than the fact there are 303 players whose TS% exceeds the 44.4 percent of Bryant, yet another sign that we are indeed seeing the not-so-glorious end of one of the eight greatest players of all-time.
(Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Magic, Bird, Wilt and Duncan if you’re curious).
Shooting is obviously just one aspect of Fantasy hoops, yet it helps if you can get effective numbers from your roster. When you consider that Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell owns the highest TS% in history (62.9 percent....really, Cedric Maxwell? If the fate of the world is at stake and we had to call on the most efficient shooter of all-time to save us, you’re telling me Cedric Maxwell -- not Reggie Miller, John Stockton or even Robert Horry -- is The Man who’s getting that 3:00 am phone call?), production can come from the most unlikely of people.
Clearing the Bench
*Where’s the great computer basketball simulation? The latest edition of Out of the Park Baseball is the best sports sim ever, while Front Office Football and Second and Ten are probably front and center for white knuckle gridiron excitement, basketball seems to be lacking in this department. I do a lot of traveling, and it would be well above average to find a basketball game that keeps a flight from Houston to Seattle more entertaining that wondering how long I can nurse 3-5 ounces of soda in a plastic cup (yes, I do know one way, yet that defeats the purpose after about 3-4 “cups.”). Open challenge to anyone who has a computer basketball sim: I’ll gladly review it on this site and offer to share the floor with you to review it and also draw in some sales.
*Sucks for those of us who drafted Eddie Lacy in the first round. Damn Alabama running backs....
*The BBWAA finalists proved to be a trifecta of sorts for me: Rangers skipper Jeff Banister is a native of my hometown (La Marque, TX), while Astros manager A.J. Hinch and pitcher Dallas Keuchel represent my current place of residence. Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is also a proud Texas State University alum, although the school was called Southwest Texas State when I attended there.
*My money is on Kings frontman George Karl being the first coach fired this season, although Lakers coach Byron Scott is giving him a spirited chase.
*Entering Wednesday’s games, 19 of 30 teams were averaging at least 100 points per game, with the Warriors (114.9) and Thunder (114.8) leading the way. The fun is in the Pacific, where all five teams are hitting triple-digits each night. Owners who have players facing the Pelicans and Kings should thrive, as New Orleans allows 113.3 points per game, while Sacramento is nearly as generous, allowing 110.6 points per night.
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