Efficiency vs Net Dominance: KG vs Howard
The perfect rotisserie basketball player would be dominant and efficient, contributing across the board while taking nothing off the table. In reality, though, there is always some trade-off between what we want and what we can realistically get from our players. If a player has flaws in certain areas, we need him to be dominant enough in other areas to make up for it. Likewise, if a player isn't going to dominate in any given category they had better be able to efficiently contribute in more ways. But if you could only build around players of a certain type, which should you choose: the flawed dominator or the unspectacular but efficient contributor?
This has been on my mind lately as I've blogged about the relative roto value of Dwight Howard vs the value of Kevin Garnett. Howard and Garnett had almost exactly the same ADP in Yahoo! Leagues (11.3 and 13.2, respectively), with each as borderline 1st/2nd round picks. And both are off to slow starts this year as Howard has had to adjust to new teammates while KG is struggling to recover from offseason knee surgery. But even with his slow start the general impression would be that Howard is still among the best bigs in the league as the NBA leader in rebounds and field goal percentage, while KG's 14 and 7 stat line sounds more like a role player than a first rounder.
Why, then, is Howard ranked 124th by average in the Y! player rater while KG is a more respectable 48th? Because while Howard has two dominant categories (rebs, FG%) and two more strong ones (points and blocks), he is still murder on free-throw percentage (56.1% on 10.5 FTA) and is second worst among bigs in turnovers (3.1 TO). Garnett, on the other hand, shoots 52.5 percent from the field, 78 percent from the line, and only turns the ball over 1.5 times per game. Since he doesn't hurt your team in any way, his pedestrian but across-the-board contributions ring up as more valuable according to the Y! system.
That is an interesting result to me, and one to keep in mind when considering potential trades. If you build your team around a category killer like Howard or Gilbert Arenas (39.2% FG on 17.5 FGA, 3.9 TOs/game) it is almost inevitable that you get at least one '1' or '2' category in your point total, which is difficult to overcome in most roto leagues. On the other hand, a roto team built around several Garnett/Brandon Roy/Tim Duncan types might compete for the title even if it doesn't have any gaudy statmakers. In a roto head-to-head league this doesn't apply as much, as an owner of Howard could simply punt a category or two and try to dominate the others. But in a rotisserie league there is a legitimate question as to whether it's ever worth having a best player that comes with a guaranteed '1' as baggage.
Situations to Watch and Quick Hits
Ronnie Brewer (57% owned): Brewer had a slow start to the season, but has been returning to form lately with averages of 13.5 points, 3.5 assists, 2.8 boards and 1.8 steals in the last week. Last year he was universally owned and helped a lot of teams win 'steals', so add him if he's available.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. (53% owned): Dunleavy was an impact player in 2007-08, and is finally back on the court after injuries essentially derailed his last year. If he can stay healthy he is a roto starter.
Ersan Ilyasova (47% owned): I continue to beat the drum for Ilyasova, who is owned in twice as many leagues this week as last but still should be picked up in more. He is a consistent double-double threat that is on a nine-game streak with at least one trey made.
Beno Udrih (47% owned), Donte Green (5% owned), Sergio Rodriguez (3% owned): The Kings backcourt has been a bit of a turnstyle of late as they continue to try to replace Kevin Martin's value, so any of these guys could be worth taking a flyer on in deeper leagues.
Samuel Dalembert (47% owned): Dalembert is averaging 4.0 blocks over his last three games and 16.5 boards over his last two. He is an up-and-down producer, but when given minutes he can really dominate inside.
Luke Ridnour (21% owned): He's still coming off the bench behind Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee, but Ridnour has been pretty solid lately while Jennings has slowed down. Ridnour's averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.8 boards over the last week, and those numbers would look even better before a clunker performance on Monday.
Willie Green (3% owned): Green has been the scoring beneficiary since Lou Williams went down, averaging 20 points in his two starts. Keep in mind, though, that Green has always been a streak scorer, and if Allen Iverson is signed, it would likely end Green's fantasy relevance.
Article first appeared 12/1/09