Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Killers

No, this won’t be a column about the horrible band responsible for “Somebody Told Me,” easily 2004’s most annoying song. Believe me, I could make that happen, and it would be long and there would be plenty of vitriol. Instead, today we’ll focus on a different set of killers – guys that will murder you in FG%. It’s easy to dismiss FG%, but it would be foolish to do so. Since it’s not a cumulative statistic, it’s sometimes disregarded, but it counts just as much as points, assists or steals. And because it’s not a cumulative statistic, it’s sometimes harder to quantify how much someone is helping or hurting you. There’s obviously ESPN’s indispensable player rater, which you should all be familiar with.

The players covered here will include plenty of studs, and I sure wouldn’t mind having most of these players on my team. But the fact remains that if you have more than one of the guys listed below, it will take near perfect management for you to win your league. Having two or more of the players below will almost certainly leave you in the bottom three in FG%, and it’s hard to win a league with three or less points in a category. In my league, the first place team does have just 2 points in blocks, but he also has at least 6 of the other 7 categories and has 6.5 in the other. But it’s almost easier to do that with blocks than FG%. Why? Because if you have two of the guys listed below, they were probably two of your top three or four draft picks. That means you are probably left thin in other areas, most likely blocks and rebounds, since almost all of these players are guards.
The Main Offenders
Damon Stoudamire, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Kirk Hinrich, Jamal Crawford, Tracy McGrady, Quentin Richardson

If you own one of these guys, you can’t afford to have anyone else on the list. It’s truly amazing how bad Stoudamire has been this year. Besides having huge drop-offs in every cumulative category, his shooting has been about 33% worse than anyone else in the league. At least AI and Kobe dominate in points, assists and steals, although Damon has turned it around since he’s been benched. Kobe’s 2-for-16 last night is a perfect example of how he hurts you. He’s getting dangerously close to Antoine Walker territory, believe it or not. Well, peak ‘Toine maybe. But check it out:

Kobe 04-05: 27.0/7.5/7.4, 1.3 spg, 1.3 bpg, 1.7 3pg, 39% shooting on 20.5 fg
Toine 00-01: 23.4/8.9/5.5, 1.7 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.7 3pg, 41% shooting on 21.2 fg

If you can get someone like Peja and a decent big man for Kobe, it might be worth it. Hinrich might be somewhat to look at dealing now that he’s strung together a few good games. He’ll continue to get you plenty of 3s and assists, but as someone who has him on my team, checking the box score and seeing “5-for-15” every night really hurts. Beware of Quentin Richardson, especially those of you in Yahoo leagues, where he’s ranked ridiculously high. To get him at this point you’ll have to give up something of significant value, and even if you are desperate for 3s, he will bring you down as much in FG% as he will help you from long range.

Not Much Better
Jerry Stackhouse, Eddie Jones, Larry Hughes, Carmelo Anthony, Rafer Alston, Antoine Walker, Chauncey Billups
People who picked up Jerry Stackhouse looking for a lift in points are just getting some DNPs to go with his brutal FG%. Avoid him at absolutely all costs. You should know better. Eddie Jones is right up there with Damon Stoudamire when it comes to players who have just been brutal. At least Larry Hughes is leading the league in steals and Rafer Alston is a 3s, assists and steals machine. Speaking of Alston, he’s probably not someone you’re looking to trade since he’s outperformed expectations, meaning you have a certain attachment to him. And while he will have the ball in his hands more with Carter gone, that just means more shots that won’t be falling. If I can pair him with a weaker player and get someone like Bibby and another solid player, I’d do it. It’s just a matter of time before Antoine joins the above list. You’re playing with fire if you’ve been keeping him around this long.

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