(photo courtesy of Felipe M)
Recently I was asked by a fellow fantasy leaguer the following question:
"With both players playing 2 games next week, which one is the better option at center: Chris Bosh or Nikola Pekovic."
He also added that he's in a tough division where only less than 5 games separates his team from the team in last place. Also, he added, he ponies up $5 for each loss. Yikes!
It's a Head2Head, categories league: the team that wins the most categories in a weekly period gets credit for one win.
We looked at each player's schedule and noticed that Bosh will play at Oklahoma City Thunder and at home vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.
Conversely, Pekovic has a game at Cleveland Cavaliers and at home vs the Utah Jazz. The following categories are used in the asker's league:
- 3PTs Made
Taking a look first at FG%, Chris Bosh will face off against the 3rd best defensive team in terms of "FG% Against." Bosh gets an easier matchup with Portland and their 23rd best defensive team in that same category. However, Pekovic's opponents have been a lot more generous. Utah ranks 20th, but Cleveland owns the worst FG% Against in the NBA. So based on those matchups, I give FG% to Pekovic.
FT% is about even with Pekovic getting more trips to the line than Bosh. So again, it boils down to match-ups. OKC and Portland are ranked 17th and 8th respectively in terms of "FT Attempts Against." On the other hand, Pekovic will face two teams that hack a lot with Cleveland ranking 28th in giving up the most Free Throw Attempts, while Utah ranks 20th. Both players shoot similar FT%, but advantage goes to Pekovic.
I've mentioned that Bosh is the slightly better scorer, but looking at match-ups again, Bosh will face the 15th ranked best defense in OKC and Portland ranks 20th. Pekovic will face 18th ranked Utah and I'm sure is salivating at meeting Cleveland's 28th ranked defense. Nevertheless, I still give a slight advantage to Bosh in the points' category.
Pekovic is already the better rebounder and has better match-ups next week. He will meet Cleveland whom ranks 18th in rebound differential and while the Jazz ranked 14th. Bosh will play at OKC and the 5th best team in rebound differential, but Portland ranks 16th. Regardless, it's not enough to overtake Pekovic in the rebounds' category.
All the other categories are too evenly matched to consider, perhaps giving a very slight advantage to Pekovic for blocks. There's a higher chance that Bosh will have the green light to shoot and make a 3-pointer, but the probability is very minute.
If you look at intangibles, the Miami Heat, despite their thin roster, will probably cruise into the All-Star game and might continue to ease up on Bosh's minutes. Bosh has recorded 35 minutes or less in 4 out of his last 6 games. Pekovic, on the other hand, will probably continue to play with more consistency as the Minnesota Timberwolves are thin in their frontcourt and Pekovic has basically been their only option inside. Pekovic has played in over 35 minutes in 3 out of his last 5 games.
So the consensus pick at center is pretty clear at this point: go with Nikola Pekovic!
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