Coaches play a huge role in the NBA. They are often the first ones blamed (and fired) if a team isn't living up to expectations. Their philosophies help to mold and shape a team's identity. Just think of where the Lakers and Bulls franchises would be without
But which coach provides the most help to fantasy owners? I asked the RotoExperts to find out...
This question is a no-brainer. Earlier in the season, I'd have had to select
There are two main ingredients to the perfect fantasy-friendly coach. The first is offensive pace: how many possessions does the coach demand of his team? Fantasy managers want a coach that pushes the rock and asks his players to shoot early and often. More possessions mean more stats, and more stats are fantasy gold. Look at the difference between the slowest team in basketball, the Detroit Pistons (89.3 pace factor), and the fastest team, the Golden State Warriors (100.6 pace factor). On average, the Warriors have over 10 more possessions per game, which means 10 more chances at that assist, three-pointer or rebound that will put you over the top in your weekly matchup.
Using the Warriors as an example brings to the forefront that
It follows that a very predictable coach may not offer you the chance to find gold on the waiver wire. Think of Gentry. Despite boasting the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA, the list of waiver wire acquisitions on his squad is short (only
I would love to say it's someone other than D'Antoni of the Knicks, but I honestly can't. You have to consider a few factors here. First, he has five players who are currently in the top-100 in standard Yahoo! leagues, with a possible sixth,
This year it has become clear that fantasy owners need to glom on to anyone who suits up for D'Antoni. While his system would leave Norman Dale and any other coach who demands five passes before a shot disappointed, owners of
No coach is more fantasy-friendly than D'Antoni. His style is actually a perfect storm of fantasy-friendliness: he runs an extremely up-tempo system and sticks to his rotation. Unlike Don Nelson over on the Left Coast, D'Antoni doesn't randomly shuffle players in and out of his lineups every night, leaving fantasy owners to pass out in befuddlement. No, D'Antoni knows who his guys are, and he sticks with them. And that allows fantasy owners who roster his players to sleep comfortably at night.
My vote for most fantasy-friendly coach is D'Antoni. Everyone remembers how free-flowing the Suns were last year, and what a flop they turned into when Terry Porter replaced him at the beginning of this year. The '08-09 Knicks are averaging just over 10 more points per game than they did in '07-08. The up-tempo strategy inflates the value of players on that team, with more shot opportunities and rebound attempts. Do we think that David Lee would be an All-Star candidate in a ball-control offense?
Looks like the general consensus is that teams coached by D'Antoni are the way to go in fantasy leagues. In fact, the only other coach receiving a vote here was Gentry, who is a disciple of D'Antoni's sytem. I expected Don Nelson to get a little more love, but given his habit of mixing up the minutes and benching players on a whim, I can understand why he doesn't warm the hearts of fantasy owners the way D'Antoni does.