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The Numbers Game

The Minutemen

by Ryan Knaus
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

This week's column balances the need to help owners still scouring the wire for value in the season's final days, and the need to look ahead to next season. We'll discuss players' per-minute fantasy appeal by filtering an individual's overall 8-cat fantasy value through the amount of playing time they've received.  

 

This is essentially a thought experiment which takes the top-200 players and projects their values if everyone were playing 36 minutes per game. For instance, Enes Kanter sits at No. 101 for 8-cat value this season, averaging 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds, while shooting 57.7% from the field and 80.2% from the line. He's playing only 20.6 minutes off Billy Donovan's bench, however, and if we extrapolate his value to 36 minutes his cumulative z-score jumps from 2.99 to 5.22, which would rank him No. 66 this season.  

 

I immediately excluded players who averaged under 10 minutes per game or appeared in fewer than 30 games this season. That left 348 players, but to avoid having the numbers skewed by irrelevant outliers I pared the population down to 200 by eliminating the worst players (by cumulative 8-cat value). 

 

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Let's look at the results:

 

Name

8-cat Total

8-cat Rank

8-cat per 36 mins

8-cat per 36 Rank

Difference

Nikola Jokic

4.05

82

6.89

56

2.84

Hassan Whiteside

9.89

18

12.23

8

2.34

Enes Kanter

2.99

101

5.22

81

2.23

Manu Ginobili

2.63

112

4.85

88

2.22

Andrew Bogut

2.94

103

5.13

83

2.19

Jonas Valanciunas

5.10

65

7.00

53

1.90

Gorgui Dieng

5.59

60

7.46

45

1.87

Jrue Holiday

6.73

45

8.60

27

1.87

Kristaps Porzingis

6.45

49

8.16

33

1.71

Nikola Mirotic

3.66

91

5.35

75

1.69

Tim Duncan

3.83

89

5.53

73

1.69

Dennis Schroder

2.16

129

3.81

104

1.65

Robert Covington

5.58

61

7.22

51

1.64

Jeff Teague

6.12

51

7.76

42

1.64

Jared Sullinger

2.66

111

3.98

101

1.33

Ricky Rubio

7.99

28

9.31

24

1.32

Robin Lopez

3.84

88

5.14

82

1.30

Nerlens Noel

5.26

64

6.54

60

1.29

Kent Bazemore

4.35

77

5.64

69

1.28

Chris Paul

13.44

5

14.72

5

1.28

LaMarcus Aldridge

7.23

38

8.48

29

1.25

Greg Monroe

5.74

59

6.99

54

1.25

Kawhi Leonard

12.94

6

14.18

6

1.24

Kelly Olynyk

1.59

144

2.82

131

1.23

Karl-Anthony Towns

9.93

17

11.15

16

1.22

Pau Gasol

9.29

21

10.48

19

1.19

J.J. Redick

4.29

79

5.48

74

1.19

T.J. McConnell

1.42

147

2.58

138

1.16

Will Barton

4.45

74

5.60

71

1.15

Marvin Williams

5.01

67

6.16

66

1.15

Paul Millsap

10.63

14

11.78

10

1.15

Marcin Gortat

5.77

57

6.86

57

1.09

Stephen Curry

20.30

1

21.37

1

1.07

Amir Johnson

1.86

140

2.93

129

1.07

Myles Turner

1.92

137

2.99

124

1.07

Lou Williams

3.99

85

5.04

85

1.06

Reggie Jackson

5.91

54

6.95

55

1.04

Cody Zeller

2.26

123

3.30

112

1.04

Kyrie Irving

6.68

46

7.72

43

1.04

Kenneth Faried

2.43

119

3.44

110

1.01

Nikola Vucevic

7.15

40

8.16

34

1.01

Dirk Nowitzki

6.95

42

7.95

35

1.00

Brandon Bass

1.29

155

2.28

145

0.99

Isaiah Thomas

9.08

22

10.07

20

0.99

Evan Turner

3.46

97

4.45

92

0.99

Dwyane Wade

5.34

62

6.30

64

0.96

C.J. Miles

1.69

143

2.65

134

0.96

Kevin Love

6.93

43

7.89

36

0.96

Al Horford

7.93

29

8.88

26

0.95

Cole Aldrich

0.50

189

1.44

169

0.93

Shane Larkin

1.44

145

2.36

144

0.92

Zaza Pachulia

2.59

114

3.51

107

0.92

Matt Barnes

3.51

95

4.42

93

0.92

Darren Collison

4.38

76

5.29

77

0.91

Markieff Morris

2.16

128

3.06

120

0.91

Jae Crowder

6.96

41

7.86

37

0.90

Mirza Teletovic

1.23

156

2.13

148

0.90

Jeremy Lin

2.35

121

3.24

116

0.89

Ryan Anderson

4.84

71

5.72

68

0.89

Aaron Gordon

1.72

142

2.60

135

0.88

Ian Mahinmi

2.17

126

3.04

122

0.87

David Lee

0.73

182

1.60

161

0.86

Patrick Beverley

3.26

99

4.12

96

0.86

Mike Conley

5.91

55

6.76

58

0.86

Taj Gibson

2.33

122

3.17

119

0.84

Derrick Favors

6.62

48

7.45

46

0.83

Jon Leuer

0.90

169

1.73

157

0.83

Mason Plumlee

1.96

133

2.79

132

0.83

John Henson

0.71

183

1.54

163

0.83

Chandler Parsons

3.71

90

4.53

90

0.82

Omri Casspi

2.48

117

3.27

115

0.80

D'Angelo Russell

2.70

110

3.50

108

0.79

David West

0.74

180

1.53

164

0.79

Zach LaVine

2.71

109

3.49

109

0.78

Tony Parker

2.44

118

3.22

117

0.77

Jamal Crawford

2.19

124

2.97

127

0.77

Otto Porter

4.51

73

5.28

79

0.77

Michael Carter-Williams

4.21

80

4.96

86

0.75

Al-Farouq Aminu

2.86

106

3.61

105

0.75

Thabo Sefolosha

1.36

151

2.10

149

0.74

Ish Smith

2.86

105

3.60

106

0.74

Zach Randolph

3.48

96

4.20

95

0.72

Darrell Arthur

1.11

160

1.83

154

0.72

Marcus Smart

2.19

125

2.91

130

0.72

Jahlil Okafor

3.54

94

4.25

94

0.71

Klay Thompson

8.80

23

9.50

22

0.71

Jarrett Jack

5.77

58

6.47

61

0.70

Victor Oladipo

7.75

31

8.45

30

0.70

Danny Green

1.82

141

2.52

139

0.70

Andre Iguodala

1.92

138

2.60

136

0.67

Toney Douglas

0.78

176

1.45

168

0.66

Bradley Beal

4.39

75

5.05

84

0.66

Kobe Bryant

2.35

120

2.99

125

0.64

Russell Westbrook

14.32

4

14.96

4

0.64

Wesley Johnson

0.86

171

1.50

166

0.64

Jerryd Bayless

2.57

115

3.19

118

0.63

Jose Calderon

2.16

127

2.77

133

0.61

Serge Ibaka

5.01

66

5.61

70

0.60

Tyler Johnson

1.17

157

1.76

156

0.59

Brook Lopez

8.46

24

9.05

25

0.59

Devin Booker

1.87

139

2.44

142

0.57

Patty Mills

0.76

178

1.33

173

0.57

Deron Williams

4.97

68

5.53

72

0.56

Al Jefferson

1.03

161

1.60

162

0.56

Eric Bledsoe

10.42

16

10.98

17

0.56

Ed Davis

0.77

177

1.34

172

0.56

Ersan Ilyasova

1.34

152

1.89

151

0.55

Evan Fournier

4.73

72

5.29

78

0.55

Julius Randle

1.96

134

2.51

140

0.55

Allen Crabbe

1.40

149

1.94

150

0.54

Thaddeus Young

5.85

56

6.38

62

0.54

Rodney Hood

4.35

78

4.87

87

0.53

Jordan Hill

0.71

184

1.23

180

0.52

Jared Dudley

1.37

150

1.88

152

0.52

Roy Hibbert

0.95

164

1.46

167

0.51

Kyle Korver

2.54

116

3.05

121

0.51

Rudy Gobert

4.02

84

4.51

91

0.50

Chris Bosh

6.68

47

7.17

52

0.49

J.R. Smith

2.80

108

3.29

114

0.49

Tony Allen

1.12

159

1.61

160

0.48

Willie Cauley-Stein

0.66

186

1.14

182

0.48

T.J. Warren

0.83

173

1.31

174

0.48

Tobias Harris

5.32

63

5.80

67

0.48

Isaiah Canaan

1.17

158

1.64

159

0.48

Jerami Grant

1.32

154

1.78

155

0.47

Elfrid Payton

2.04

132

2.50

141

0.46

Eric Gordon

4.88

69

5.34

76

0.46

Courtney Lee

2.14

130

2.59

137

0.45

Alex Len

0.80

175

1.25

178

0.45

Gary Harris

3.65

92

4.10

98

0.45

Bismack Biyombo

0.74

181

1.19

181

0.45

Raymond Felton

1.41

148

1.85

153

0.45

DeMarcus Cousins

10.72

13

11.16

15

0.44

Luol Deng

3.56

93

3.98

100

0.43

Matthew Dellavedova

0.95

163

1.37

170

0.42

Terrence Ross

0.85

172

1.27

177

0.42

Steven Adams

0.95

167

1.36

171

0.41

Jordan Clarkson

3.43

98

3.83

102

0.41

Blake Griffin

6.87

44

7.27

50

0.40

Jabari Parker

2.96

102

3.36

111

0.40

Goran Dragic

4.21

81

4.60

89

0.39

Rudy Gay

6.18

50

6.56

59

0.38

Draymond Green

10.57

15

10.94

18

0.38

Shaun Livingston

0.44

193

0.82

190

0.38

JJ Barea

0.59

188

0.95

188

0.36

Derrick Rose

2.62

113

2.97

126

0.35

Jeff Green

1.32

153

1.68

158

0.35

PJ Tucker

2.09

131

2.44

143

0.35

Avery Bradley

4.88

70

5.22

80

0.35

O.J.A109 Mayo

0.95

168

1.28

175

0.34

Norris Cole

0.95

166

1.28

176

0.33

Marc Gasol

7.36

36

7.69

44

0.33

Monta Ellis

5.97

53

6.30

63

0.33

Tyson Chandler

0.69

185

1.02

185

0.33

Patrick Patterson

0.80

174

1.12

183

0.32

Harrison Barnes

1.95

136

2.27

146

0.32

Luis Scola

0.47

192

0.78

191

0.31

Langston Galloway

0.61

187

0.90

189

0.29

Paul George

12.12

8

12.40

7

0.28

Danilo Gallinari

7.17

39

7.44

47

0.27

Jameer Nelson

0.75

179

1.02

186

0.27

Jeremy Lamb

0.28

195

0.53

194

0.25

Tristan Thompson

0.87

170

1.12

184

0.25

C.J. McCollum

7.51

34

7.76

41

0.25

Dwight Howard

1.95

135

2.17

147

0.22

Wesley Matthews

3.07

100

3.30

113

0.22

Joe Johnson

2.81

107

3.02

123

0.21

Meyers Leonard

0.32

194

0.53

195

0.21

Emmanuel Mudiay

1.03

162

1.23

179

0.20

George Hill

3.86

87

4.05

99

0.19

Rajon Rondo

8.39

25

8.57

28

0.18

Anthony Davis

11.60

9

11.77

11

0.17

Bojan Bogdanovic

0.48

191

0.65

192

0.17

D.J. Augustin

0.18

198

0.34

197

0.16

Carmelo Anthony

8.25

27

8.40

31

0.14

Hollis Thompson

0.49

190

0.64

193

0.14

Nicolas Batum

7.69

32

7.83

39

0.14

Giannis Antetokounmpo

7.66

33

7.79

40

0.13

Iman Shumpert

0.23

196

0.34

196

0.11

LeBron James

11.16

12

11.27

14

0.11

Trevor Booker

0.14

200

0.25

199

0.11

Trevor Ariza

6.09

52

6.19

65

0.10

Arron Afflalo

1.42

146

1.52

165

0.10

Cory Joseph

0.20

197

0.28

198

0.08

Andrew Wiggins

4.03

83

4.10

97

0.08

Damian Lillard

11.29

11

11.35

12

0.06

Kevin Durant

17.01

2

17.08

2

0.06

DeAndre Jordan

0.95

165

1.01

187

0.06

Dion Waiters

0.16

199

0.21

200

0.05

Marcus Morris

2.93

104

2.95

128

0.02

Kemba Walker

9.85

19

9.86

21

0.01

Brandon Knight

7.39

35

7.40

48

0.01

Gordon Hayward

7.29

37

7.28

49

-0.01

DeMar DeRozan

7.88

30

7.85

38

-0.04

John Wall

11.39

10

11.34

13

-0.05

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

3.89

86

3.81

103

-0.08

Khris Middleton

8.37

26

8.28

32

-0.09

Jimmy Butler

9.78

20

9.48

23

-0.30

Kyle Lowry

12.20

7

11.78

9

-0.42

James Harden

16.71

3

15.79

3

-0.92

 

Note that most players' per-minute production wouldn't be identical if they suddenly saw their playing time spike overnight. More minutes against higher-quality starters could take a toll, more minutes could lead to fatigue and more injuries, etc. This does give us an idea of raw potential, though, as we see in the case of Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets' big man is averaging just 21.2 minutes per game so he has plenty of room for growth, minutes-wise, and when we extrapolate his stats he leaps from No. 82 to No. 56 for 8-cat purposes. Keep in mind that the second number assumes everyone is averaging 36 minutes, so if Jokic's minutes spike and the rest of the league stays the same he'd look even better (in that scenario he'd be No. 45 this season).  

 

It's no surprise to see Hassan Whiteside among the leaders in value-gained with expanded minutes, which is a scary thought. He's already a top-20 guy in 8-cat leagues (and a first-round value in 9-cat), yet he's playing under 30 minutes per game this season. Whichever team pays him in free agency this summer will have millions of reasons to feed him big minutes, setting the stage for another monster season in 2016-17.  

 

We can ignore excellent per-minute guys like Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, but there are plenty of younger players whose upside should be kept in mind. Jonas Valanciunas, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Mirotic, Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington and Kanter all fit the bill, as do Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. Teague and Schroder both have guaranteed contracts for the 2017-18 season, however, so it would likely require a trade for either of them to spring into a 36-minute role.  

 

Most of the elite players are already hovering around 35 minutes per game but it's interesting to see Stephen Curryso high on the list of 'winners' when projected at 36 minutes. That represents a gain of just 1.8 minutes for Steph, but he's so incredibly efficient that even a 5.3% increase to his playing time gives him the 34th-largest bump in 8-cat value. It's just one more reminder of his total fantasy dominance this season.

 

File away some of these names and consider re-visiting this list as your 2016 fantasy draft approaches -- these season-long totals offer a large enough sample size to accurately forecast which players stand to gain the most if their situation changes for the better. Will the Wolves hire a new coach who gives Gorgui Dieng consistent minutes all season? Will restricted FA Jared Sullinger land in a less-crowded frontcourt, either by signing elsewhere or having the Celtics waive Amir Johnson's non-guaranteed contract? Can Jonas Valanciunas finally escape the 26-minute purgatory he's been in under coach Dwane Casey? The answers to these questions and more will determine whether the potential gains above are realized, or remain out of reach.

Ryan Knaus
Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.