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Fantasy Basketball: How to use Advanced Stats

Advanced stats could be the advantage you need to win your league this year....

Kobe doesn't understand advanced stats, but you can...
Kobe doesn't understand advanced stats, but you can...
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a stats revolution, and it's oh so overwhelming.

I get that.

But in this new era of mathematical advancement, some new metrics have truly changed the way we parse the game's narrative.

Fancy way of saying: Advanced stats can help you.

But for whatever reason, most leagues stick with standard statistical categories - ESPECIALLY in basketball.

So how do advanced stats help you - when you still have to play the game with standard cats?

Enter this article.

Here are the advanced stats I use most often, and more importantly HOW I use them...

1. USG%

if you've been reading my articles consistently, you'll know that I refer to 'usage' regularly.

There are many ways to calculate usage, but basically you are calculating what percentage of the team's possessions involve one particular player. So a ball hog like Kobe Bryant is always among the league leaders in USG% - which is no surprise - but usage yields many surprises.

Say there's a 2nd unit player putting up pretty good numbers - and you notice his usage is LOW. That means that you can deduce this player is producing with LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES. By identifying the most efficient players that have yet to blossom into stars, you can find tomorrow's stars TODAY...

2. eFG% and TS%

These are 2 different stats, but they are related, so I'm pairing them for simplicity.

eFG% is effective field goal percentage. eFG% adds the value of 3-pointers into the stat. It can be helpful when evaluating Fantasy Basketball players - as you can see the added value of players with 3PM potential.

TS% is true shooting percentage. This amalgamates 3s, FGs and FTs. It gives you an overall shooting % of players in 3 different Fantasy Basketball cats.

While each of these stats is useful for different reasons, some players tend to be high in both cats.

These stats give you a broader view of an individual player's contribution to the various ways you can score the basketball. Multicat players are more important than players who merely do one thing well. These stats are a good way to quickly see who the undervalued assets are. When combined with USG%, you can see how much a player contributes to different types of baskets - and how much ball domination they need to do that.

Players lower in usage and higher in eFG%/TS% are valuable commodities.

3. BLK%

Block percentage is one of my favourite advanced stats. It's pretty basic: it calculates the percentage of the opposing team's field goal attempts that is blocked by a particular player. (Very similar stats: AST%, STL%, REB%, etc)

Call it personal preference, but I always like finding block specialists before anybody else. BLK% is the best way to do that. It's why I've been so high on John Henson the last couple years (among the league leaders in BLK% every year with minimal USG%).

Use any of the percentage stats to find value in a particular category, but make sure to pair it with usage: it's all about efficiency.

4. PER

John Hollinger's famous Player Efficiency Rating.

It's basically an attempt to combine all of an individual player's positives and negatives - and distill them down to a useful, definitive number.

I'm not entirely sold on it - and the players with the best PERs tend to be the NBA stars anyway - but it's worth looking at. Identify low-usage players, and see who has the highest PERs. There is value here - albeit not particularly specific.

But still, like all of these advanced stats, it depends on how you USE them.

I could list countless other advanced stats, but I think I've given you a decent primer.

New stats get invented every day, so it's really about paying attention to the latest information...

I do believe in our world of information though, the managers who win are the ones who are willing to go that extra mile to get the advantage.

Many websites now incorporate advanced stats. The information is out there.

But figuring out what they really mean - and how to use them - is a different matter entirely.

Mind.

Blown.

Right?

Bobman