Tag Archives: OJ Mayo

Fantasy Focus: Give Inefficiency a Chance

The NBA season is underway and in full throttle. As a fan, I must admit that this year’s happenings thus far have left me rather baffled, yet also entertained. The main headlines are glaring and unexpected at this point of the season. With the Cavs struggling much more than expected early on, the Griz in first place in the West, and the Sixers rapidly trending towards unchartered waters of historically bad franchises, it’s tough to not be at least mildly amused.

However, these are not headlines that we’re used to seeing. There’s something different about the NBA this season that draws a fascination from fans like myself. Maybe it’s the fact that the top two teams in the Eastern Conference (Toronto and Washington) are being led by emerging young superstar point guards. Or how about the fact that young squads like the Kings and Pelicans are in the mix for a potential playoff spot this year? Whichever way you slice it, it’s very transparent to the objective NBA fan that different mixes of young athletic talent make sense for some teams (Phoenix) but not others (my Celtics…).

The NBA has certainly drawn more intrigue from a fantasy perspective because of how players can take advantage of opportunity when it strikes (Tony Wroten) or become more effective when used in the right role (Tyreke Evans). It’s tough to measure a player’s value because of the different metrics used. An NBA coach will value a good close out by a defender on his team while a fantasy owner will just be upset he didn’t get the rebound. However, for the sake of today’s article, we’ll be looking through my eyes as a fantasy owner. That being said, let’s dive into today’s topic: why some bad shooters should be given a chance.

Let’s look at some scenarios where it can be deemed acceptable to roll with guys that like to shoot around six for 15 (or worse) consistently. There are two guys on my current fantasy roster that fit the bill perfectly for this article: Josh Smith and O.J. Mayo. Both have different styles of play and are involved in different team dynamics, but they do have one thing in common: dreadful shooting percentages. My boy J-Smoove is coming in hot with a shooting percentage of 38% this year while Mayo is shooting at a 39% clip. Why keep them you ask? For different reasons.

Josh Smith's contract hasn't worked out as planned in Detroit but you aren't paying him!
Josh Smith’s contract hasn’t worked out as planned in Detroit but you aren’t paying him!

Let’s start with Josh Smith. This talented guy somehow finds a way to suck night in and night out. He only averages 13 PPG while taking close to 15 shots per contest. Such terrible field goal percentages have always been a turn off for most fantasy investors. I am not one of them. I am a big believer in what people like to call next-level statistics. Take this particular case. People place so much emphasis on Smith’s field goal percentage that they tend to neglect everything else he brings to the table. He is a very valuable commodity due to his ability to contribute in virtually every fantasy category. He is good for around seven boards, five assists, a block and a steal per game. Throw in the added bonus of a three every two games for a power forward and you have a better look at why he is often ranked higher than people would have guessed on fantasy lists.

Smith’s all-around game is surprisingly consistent, especially considering how bad the Pistons have been playing this season. In a fantasy league where each category is a win, I will no doubt bite the bullet on his field percentage and turnovers for his multi-category contributions.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks

Let’s switch gears now. Mr. Mayo lacks the defensive consistency that Smith brings every night and doesn’t really do too much other than score in the high teens on a good night. Now the question comes up again. Why keep him? Unlike Smith, Mayo has had to really earn his minutes this year. A couple of good scoring performances saw him move to a starting role recently, which has also gifted him, and fantasy owners, with more minutes on the floor.

One of the underrated metrics in fantasy basketball is the effect of a team system or rotation on a player’s performance. The increase in minutes due to the reliance on Mayo’s ability to score the basketball gives him the opportunity to contribute more heavily across the board. There are already scorers in the Bucks lineup around Mayo and he will need to find other ways to keep his starting role and increased usage moving forward in the season. His minutes and role are not guarantees by any means, but the potential that comes with increased minutes is intriguing enough for me not to drop him like other expendable players who barely average double digit points. With the fantasy football playoffs coming up, let’s make analogy. We see this every week with less skilled running backs; they get a heavy volume of touches on a weekly basis when it comes to carries, targets, or both, which is why fantasy owners take a gamble on them. I think of Mayo’s situation the same way. He is obviously more likely to accumulate more categorical stats for my team if he is on the floor more. He is one player in my opinion who will keep that starting role if he is able to display and improve his overall value in fantasy and actual performance with the bump in playing time.

There you have it. Two vastly different justifications for why some bad shooters can be given a chance in the fantasy basketball world. Who knows? In two weeks I could be singing a different tune but that is just the nature of the NBA, which is why is why I find it so addicting. I hope this sheds some light on your fantasy basketball woes and go Celtics.

Why Fantasy Basketball and Stock Trading Are One in the Same

nba-money

Hey Guys,

Every once in a while, I get these crazy ideas and I have to write about them.  This is one of those times.  In a world where our potential audience is drawn to the likes of ESPN, Twitter and Deadspin for their sports information, we strive to differentiate ourselves here at DRaT.

With this dramatic prelude, I am going to break down the striking similarities between active portfolio management and managing one’s fantasy basketball team.  Over the next three segments, I will lay out the skinny on successfully managing both an investment portfolio and a fantasy basketball team. While this might not be the most pressing issue in sports today, I can guarantee you that this type of content won’t be found on ESPN (or Grantland, for that matter).

Let’s begin with the basics.

Starting a Portfolio/Drafting Your Squad

A portfolio, in its simplest form, is essentially just a collection of assets.  When one is said to be diversified, the assets are appropriately uncorrelated and move to the beat of their own drum.  In other words, a well-diversified investor wouldn’t be overly susceptible to one of its assets tanking.   Whether we are talking about cash, bonds, real estate or equity, all assets have both risks and rewards attached to them.  Therefore, it is imperative to optimally proportion your capital in various asset classes to ensure steady performance.  Over the long run, a responsible and savvy strategy should lead to success.  For simplicity’s sake, let’s shift our attention to the equity (stock) portion of one’s portfolio.

So you’re probably asking yourself how does this relate to fantasy basketball?

Think about it like this.  Assume that you spend hours sifting through ESPN, Rotowire and other media outlets to get the latest buzz on sleeper picks and player projections.  You are essentially engaging in what we like to call investment research.  Whether you desire to beat the other 11 schlubs in your fantasy league or beat the millions of investors in the stock market, you do this homework because you believe it will give you a leg up on the competition. Whether successful or not, you do this instead of picking players’ names out of a hat.

When it comes to the actual draft, most perennial league winners have a rough outline of their overall strategy.  Whether it’s spending all your money on the marquee guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant or diversifying among good, but not great, players like Zach Randolph and David West, there are infinite amounts of trade-offs that one has to consider.  Then, there are those who spend all their money in the first five minutes and their counterparts who save their chips for the end,  Although there are many strategies that can lead to favorable results, only one wins out in the end.   Nevertheless, the most adequately-run portfolio does not always win when the sample size is as small as a championship week head-to-head match up.  But this is just the risk of playing the game and owning a fantasy basketball team.

Once the draft begins, unexpected market reaction (or volatility) can sometimes derail these aforementioned plans.  Therefore, it is absolutely critical that draftees don’t overreact and succumb to the short-term fear instilled by the market.  If the plan was truly rational and well thought out, it should work.  It’s important that investors (fantasy sports owners) don’t believe everything they read and really trust their intuition when making any type of investment decision. Sounds simple enough, right?

Remember, volatility can be a good thing for both stock owners and fantasy owners alike.  This is where an investor can pick up extremely cheap shares of formally beat-up stocks like Blackberry, Nokia and Rite Aid (Full Disclosure: I’m loaded with shares, of course) or draft the likes of DeMarcus Cousins for $21 and Goran Dragic for $7. The uncertainty provides opportunity for those who seek to exploit market inefficiencies.   And the storm also provides heartbreak for those who panic and sell off shares of Tesla Motors in the midst of a short-lived bear raid or inversely spend $13 on O.J. Mayo.

Although the proper set-up of one’s portfolio and the rationale behind the drafting a basketball team are obviously critical to long-term success, these facets merely provide a starting point for it.

Stay tuned for my next segment regarding the symmetry existing between altering one’s investment strategy and revamping the dynamic of a struggling hoops ensemble.