When I blogged about my addiction of managing fantasy sport teams, I mentioned two of which that certainly had me at hello – Facebook’s Fantasy Football and Salary Cap Basketball (NBA). And whilst I performed considerably well in the fantasy football in my first year, the same cannot be said about my fortunes of managing an NBA club in fantasy land.
It was kinda disappointing too because I was doing pretty well at one stage. During my first blog, I was sitting pretty in the top 1% of the global rankings. Within the next few weeks, I actually shot up to as high as the 0.8% mark. Then, things started to go downhill from there….I would eventually wind up in only the top 2%, ranked 3,221 out of 221,501 teams.
So, what happened?
Read on as I share about some tips on what to look out for in FB’s Salary Cap Basketball for aspiring managers. And trust me, the learning curve is quite different from managing a fantasy football team..:-p
1. The factor that thwarted my successful rookie year as NBA Fantasy manager was the simple fact that I overlooked a key rule – position limits. Over the course of the NBA season, there are 82 games to be played. For each team, there will be the default starting 5 consisting of a center, 2 forwards and 2 guards. There will also be 3 utility players who can also score points for your club on every gameweek (unlike Fantasy Football (FF) that only scores 11 players). Position Limits essentially mean all starting positions (the 5) can play a total of 82 games. This is merely to reduce the factor of someone keeping LeBron James or Kevin Durant on the roster forever to score big points. Problem is, as the manger, we’d need to be alert as to when each position is approaching its 82-game limit, and then make necessary changes to avoid the position getting unplayable = no more points. Still following? Anyway, I was trapped in quite a bit of a jam about 3 weeks left before the end of the regular season when almost all my positions were locked up and I could barely score points in the weeks that ensued. I have to admit this rule is still kinda tough for me to understand let alone manage it.
2. Daily Trades – Since basketball is played almost on a daily basis, there are trades to be made DAILY. Yup, you read it right – DAILY. Unlike FF where the trades are made every week, giving managers more time to analyse, strategise, talk tactics on forums, etc., in NBA Salary Cap, we need to plan our team and strategies almost instantaneous when the tip off for the final game for that gameday has started, which would signal the start of the next trading day. kan cheong leh?..:-D Concept is the same – buy low, sell high to get more budget so that the team can be built on more superstars. Only challenge is to make the trades as EARLY as possible when the trade window opens. You see, since teams play almost everyday, teams that DON”T play will likely see their players dropped. When players are dropped, their value decreases, and thus the opportunity to buy them presents itself. For teams who will be playing the next day, you;d expect when teh window opens, all the superstars on those teams will be snapped up. When players are bought, their value increases.
3. Make Quick Bucks – Using the illustration above, here is the method to increase the salary cap. Identify two superstars from different teams that can usually perform for their clubs – eg. Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. Both play in power forward positions and their value typically hovers around $20M. Buy ONE of them to start off the season, say Pau. On the trading day when he is NOT playing tomorrow, quickly sell him off and buy Dirk who’s value would be lower than $20M. When the next day comes along when Pau will play, quickly sell off Dirk and buy Pau at the lower rate BEFORE his price shoots up again due to massive ‘demands’ to buy him. After a few days of ‘cross-selling and buying’, your salary cap will increase pretty fast. Problem is that I am not always in front of my PC to make those trades so I wasn’t able to really push up my salary cap last year; but I have seen several players who are really good in making those trades and increase their cap very high.
4. Injuries – Just like FF, we have to take note of all injuries to players of your team and also other teams. One of my favourite site to view such injuries is from CBS Sport’s coverage of NBA Injuries. Knowing which player is injured or when he is expected to play plays a big part in ensuring a successful fantasy team. There have also been some tips to strategically buy injured players so that they don’t get to play and thus preserving the position limit thing but I don’t think I have gone to that level of professional management yet…:-p
5. Utilise Database – make use of the stats available in the gamepage. There you can sort the players by points scored, value, games played, etc. to see which are the players who can rack up points and those who cannot. Kevin Love was one such example last season. Not many expected him to be a revelation in Minnesota but after the first few weeks, he became a regular feature on most teams for his phenomenal scoring and rebounding abilities.
I have to admit there is still much to learn about NBA Salary Cap – how to make use of the utility players, managing the position limits, making the trade within the opening few minutes, etc. It is also tougher since this game requires DAILY attention and there are days when I do not go online so I would expect some cruel points would be lost there.
Anyway, if the NBA ever sorts out its current lockout, I would most certainly play again – if not to improve from my score from last season, but just cause I’m a basketball fan. 😀