November 4, 2017, 5:15 pm
Last week we began our discussion on Otto Porter’s low ADP relative to his finish from last season. The first reason discussed is that the turnovers category is often the most underrated. This week, we will look at the most overrated category, points.
Proving points to be overrated is tricky because the best fantasy players are, in fact, the highest scoring players. Last season, only two players among the top 36 in points per game average finished outside of the top 60; Devin Booker and Andrew Wiggins.
Booker’s rookie season showed plenty of potential, including that ridiculous 70 point game. Given that Booker is entering his second year, a substantial jump in value would not be too shocking. Therefore, even though Booker was being drafted nearly 100 spots above his finish from last year, factors such as natural improvement and increased opportunity provide alternate reasons for his ADP rather than just overrating his points.
This leaves us with Andrew Wiggins. Entering his 4th year, Wiggins has been the 130, 115 and 117 ranked player on a per game basis in his first three seasons. Wiggins has been ranked outside of the top 100 each of the past two seasons despite averaging over 20 points a game. Wiggins is the personification of an “empty points” player.
Last season, Wiggins was the only player in the top 130 to provide positive value in only one category. Let that sink in for a second.
In addition to his low historical production, the Wolves added Jimmy Butler this offseason. Adding Butler is likely to reduce Wiggins’ opportunities in the offense and, ultimately, reduce his overall fantasy value. I understand the argument that adding Butler may improve Wiggins’ percentages, lower his turnovers and boost his defensive categories but that is really just wishful thinking. The instances of adding a high usage, non-point guard to a team increasing a player’s fantasy value are rare. The more likely scenario is that even if Wiggins did experience some marginal improvements in efficiency, his overall value would take at least a modest decline with the addition of Butler. Yet, despite his 117 per game finish last year and the addition of Butler, Wiggins’ ADP was 56 this season.
Unlike Booker, Wiggins was already among the league leaders in minutes last season and was facing a likely decrease in usage this season. Nevertheless, Wiggins was being drafted at a level he has not approached during his three previous NBA seasons. I do think there are others factors at play, namely what I call All-Star Value, but the likely primary driver behind Wiggins’ ADP is that fantasy owners are being seduced by his large points per game average. All-Star Value will be discussed in greater detail in a forthcoming column. While Wiggins in the only player who meets the one category definition from above, a quick perusal of the previous few seasons will show you the likes of Kobe, D-Rose, and Wade among players with high PPG and All-Star Value getting overdrafted.
I am ragging Wiggins a lot here, so let me say briefly in his defense that he does contribute something in all the categories – it’s just that those contributions are below average. With minor improvements across the board Wiggins could blossom into a 9-cat player, but entering the season he had only proven himself as an asset in only one category. Additionally, his durability is a major plus as he has missed only one game in his first three years. All that said, his production has never approached even top 75 value on a per game basis.
Getting back to Porter, out of last season’s top 24 finishers he was second to last in points. The only player scoring less than Porter was Draymond Green. Like Porter, Green was underdrafted following his breakout season. However, Green’s ADP has caught up to his production the last couple of years. The other underdrafted player discussed last week, Myles Turner, had the fourth lowest scoring average.
Clearly the points category is at the top of most fantasy owners’ minds. Among the reasons are that high scoring is typically associated with the best fantasy players, points is the only category that counts in an actual basketball game and points is always the first stat listed. Regardless of why points hold so much sway over fantasy owners, the ADP of Porter provides a great lesson on how to maximize value by taking advantage of this bias.
Next week we will evaluate the effect of other categories on Porter’s ADP.