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Does it Make Sense to Sit Postup Fantasy Basketball Players Against Top Ranked Defenses?
This article will explore the importance of games in fantasy basketball. We all know that fantasy football is a game that relies heavily on defensive games, so we wanted to see if defensive games were a factor in fantasy basketball as well. In particular, we wanted to focus our analysis on the impact of superior inside defense on the low post attack. To do this, we looked at the average performance of post-players compared to interior defenses in the league.
A quick survey of the league indicates that only Boston, LA, Denver and San Antonio have the kind of interior defense one might want to turn away from. Boston has the combination of Garnett, Sheed and Kendrick Perkins that is probably the best the league has to offer. All three are around 7 feet tall and Garnett is the former Defensive Player of the Year. The Lakers are also an above average size team. Between Gasol, Byum, Odem and Artest, the Lakers have one of the best interior defenses in the Western Conference.
Denver is the only Western Conference team that could challenge for that title with Nene, Birdman and Kenyon Martin combining as Megatron for the Nuggets to block shots in the upper decks. Finally, any discussion around home defense cannot overlook the San Antionio Spurs who always bring it in defensively. Duncan and McDysess are two old-school defensive OGs who, along with their teammates’ excellent defense, can really shut down opposition after the game.
Let’s dig straight into some numbers. Table 1 shows the average point and rebound differential for NBA teams after players faced the top four defensive teams used in our data set. Overall, post players can expect a drop in scoring (-3.07ppg) and a rebound (-0.71rpg) when facing the best defenses in the league. While these results aren’t large deviations from a given post-player season average, the take-home message is that you shouldn’t expect monster play to increase your season average when you’re up against a defense. elite.
A few more interesting things emerge from this analysis. First, the impact of a top post defense has a more profound effect on scoring than rebounding. Additionally, the analysis indicates that although we have qualitatively identified 4 superior defensive teams, it appears that Boston and Denver appear to be a level above the defenses of San Antonio and LA. In fact, if you remove SA and LA, the average point and rebound differentials become -6 ppg and close to -1 rpg.
So the question remains, should you bench players based on defensive math. We will stick to the same recommendation we made for football. Never put your star players on the bench, but use defensive games as a go/no-go decision measure to play against mid-level players or inconsistent players.
So there you have it, defensive matchups play a role in fantasy basketball, at least from a post player perspective. While the differentials aren’t drastic, they confirm the fact that your mid-level players are less likely to outperform against superior defense. Luckily for you, the NBA has largely become a game of guards and there are only a handful of defenses with enough personnel to create match-up issues is the low post.
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