One fatal error that most people seem to make when it comes to evaluating talent for a fantasy basketball draft is focusing too much on just a few categories. Usually those categories tend to be points, assists and rebounds. While those are all important, there are still plenty of other categories that are equally important.
The two that seem to get glossed over more than any are field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. Since these are the least sexy categories, I have to believe that is why many pay them no mind. With that said, the best way to get a leg up on the competition is to be very cognizant of percentages. Here are three percentage studs you'll want to target in your draft.
Ray Allen—Boston Celtics
While he may be advancing in age, Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen has yet to show any signs of slowing down to this point. While he isn't a particularly explosive player, his contributions in terms of percentages are likely unmatched by any other guard in the NBA. Last season Allen shot 49 percent from the field and over 88 percent from the charity stripe while contributing heavily in three pointers made as well.
I think it's safe to say that no other player can offer those types of percentages while still being among the league leaders in three-point shooting. Not only does that make him a safe pick, but the fact that he has been doing this consistently for so long doesn't hurt either. Allen is only being drafted around 55th overall in ESPN standard leagues, and if you can get him at around that pick then you have a steal on your hands.
Luis Scola—Houston Rockets
Which of these percentage beasts will have the best fantasy season in 2011-12?
Most interior players should be able to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, but very few of them are also able to maintain a competitive free-throw percentage. One player who is adept in both areas is Houston Rockets power forward Luis Scola. Last season Scola was a driving force for the Rockets as he shot 50.4 percent from the floor and nearly 74 percent from the line. On top of that, he averaged excellent totals of 18 points and eight rebounds per game.
Seeing as the Rockets missed out on the elite center they hoped for to replace the retired Yao Ming, Scola should once again be the centerpiece of the Houston offense. For whatever reason the Argentinian star hasn't received the respect he deserves in fantasy circles and his only being drafted 65th on average in ESPN standard leagues. Provided Scola is able to maintain those percentages he will perform like a third-round pick at roughly half the price.
Arron Afflalo—Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets shooting guard Arron Afflalo is among the most underrated players in the NBA, so why should it be any different when it comes to fantasy basketball? While Afflalo isn't going to put up eye-popping stats across the board, he contributes in every category and helps your percentages immensely, especially at the guard position. Last season Afflalo shot 50 percent from the floor and hit 85 percent of his free throws. He also chipped in close to 13 points and 1.5 three pointers per game.
Afflalo re-upped with the Nuggets and figures to have an even bigger role this season, especially with J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler currently playing in China. While he isn't the type of player that you draft early, he is precisely the kind of glue guy that every fantasy champion needs. He isn't getting taken until roughly the 11th round in ESPN standard leagues and that is absolute robbery when you consider everything that he brings to the table. Do everything possible to nab Afflalo this season.