- Tom Carpenter, Fantasy and Insider
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While one player's assist has just as much value as another player's assist, the same can't be said about their percentages. That's because field-goal and free-throw percentages are weighted by the volume of attempts taken by each player. An example I use regularly is Steve Nash. When you look at his stat lines each season, he seems like a well-rounded fantasy monster because he cranks out tons of assists, scores well, drops some treys and has great percentages. However, his percentages can be fool's gold.
This season, Nash is shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 91.8 percent from the charity stripe. Those are fantastic percentages. However, he's averaging just 11.6 field-goal attempts and a career-high 4.2 free-throw attempts per game. That's not an insignificant amount of attempts; certainly having Nash on your team is going to be a plus. On the other hand, he alone will not make a huge change in your roto standings if you're way behind in percentages. Consider that Amare Stoudemire is averaging nearly twice as many attempts per game from the field (19.6) and free-throw line (8.2) this season, so his 49.9 field-goal percentage and 77.5 free-throw percentage carries nearly twice the weight.
Here are some more high-volume players to target and low-volume players to avoid in trades if you're looking to boost your percentages.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: There's no doubting that Durant is The Man in fantasy hoops, because he contributes in literally every category and will be in the chase for the scoring title. But it's the sheer volume of attempts that makes him such a superstar in Fantasyland. So far, he's hit 46.4 percent of his 20.1 field-goal attempts per game and 88.9 percent of his 8.8 free-throw attempts per game. Of course, he may not be a practical asset to acquire, because you'll have to give up a ton of talent to pry him away from his owner. However, nobody is going to do more for your fantasy squad quicker than Durant, though other big-time players like Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will have a big impact, too.
Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers: Gordon averaged a massive 18.0 FGA and 10.3 FTA in 13 December games. The volume of attempts for Gordon has come down the past two months, but he's still very productive. In 10 games this month, he's knocked down 49.2 percent of his 17.7 FGA and 86.0 percent of his 5.7 FTA. His value goes up even more when you consider that these terrific percentages are produced by a guard. If you're trying to boost your field-goal percentage, filling a guard spot with Gordon's numbers is going to give you a significant advantage.
Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors and Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: While neither is a solid shooter from both the field and the free-throw line, I have to mention them due to the top-end volume of shots they take from the field. Ellis leads the NBA with 20.9 shots per game, while Rose is second with 20.2 per game. Ellis has knocked down 46.5 percent of his attempts, and while he's taken a respectable 6.2 FTA per game, he's hit just 75.7 percent of them. Rose, on the other hand, has had more success with his free throws (81.9 percent of 6.2 FTA per game), but his shooting from the field has been disappointing this season (44.5 percent). With volume like that, both are worth considering, despite their shortcomings.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets: 'Melo is similar to Ellis and Rose in that he has great volume but quite a shortcoming in one category. So far, Anthony is averaging 43.8 percent of his 19.2 FGA and 79.9 percent of his 7.9 FTA this season. Clearly, he remains one of the best volume free-throw shooters in the association, but his field-goal percentage is subpar. There are a few reasons why it's worth betting on that percentage rising in the second half. To begin with, it's by far his lowest mark since shooting 43.1 percent during his second season (2004-05). Also, while it's been a few years since he shot better than 46 percent, he proved capable of maintaining a high percentage in the past when he averaged 47.6 percent or better from 2005-06 through 2007-08. Clearly he's distracted by his impending free agency and the constant trade talks. Odds are that he'll finish the season strongly, especially if he gets traded. Take the risk on 'Melo.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers: It's pretty obvious how good Aldridge is, considering he's averaging shooting 48.3 percent on 17.4 FGA and 77.5 percent on 5.5 FTA this season. This month, though, his volume has gone through the roof: 19.9 FGA, 50.6 percent from the field; 6.9 FTA and 78.7 percent from the line. With Brandon Roy out of the mix for the foreseeable future, Aldridge could maintain this pace for the remainder of the season. Let's just hope the impending X-rays on his sore hip come back negative.
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies: Gay's volume isn't epic by any means, but he's solid enough to make a difference, especially if he's used in your small forward spot. He's averaging 47.4 percent on 16.5 FGA, 47.4 percent from the field, and 80.7 percent on 4.6 FTA. Because he contributes in every category and maintains solid percentages, he's basically a junior version of Durant. While that means he won't have the same impact on your stats, it also means he can be had for far less in a trade.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: He may drive his coaches nuts by not playing any defense (0.6 spg, 0.3 bpg), but it's only a mild nuisance to fantasy folk, because he makes up for it by pumping out great all-around stats in every other category. That includes averaging 46.7 percent on 15.3 FGA and 87.9 percent on 6.6 FTA. We've also seen his field-goal percentage rise each month, and he's knocked down 51.5 percent of his shots this month. Expect Love to continue dominating just like he has this month.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz: Williams is only hitting 45.7 percent of his shots this season, which is his lowest mark since 2006-07. He's worth paying attention to, though, because any point guard who can average 45.7 percent from the field on 15.0 field-goal attempts per game, and 85.7 percent on 7.2 free-throw attempts per game is going to make a big difference for your team's percentages. It's worth noting that the Jazz have leaned on him more for offense this season, which has been reflected by career-highs in FTA (previous high was 5.7 in 2008-09) and 3-point attempts (4.9 per game this season; previous high was 3.4 per game last season). He's had a rough month, hitting just 40.8 percent of his 13.4 attempts per game, but he averaged 47.9 percent during November and December, so look for that field-goal percentage to rise back over 46 percent in the second half of the season.
Fool's Gold: Guys like Kevin Garnett, Al Horford, Elton Brand, Ray Allen and Grant Hill all carry intriguing percentages, but your overall rotisserie standings aren't going to be affected greatly by adding them to your roster, because they simply don't take the necessary volume of shots to make a big impact. That's not to say they can't help you out, since every little bit helps, but you'll need to be careful to not overvalue their hollow percentages when assessing their trade value or how much they will help you climb in field-goal percentage or free-throw percentage.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.