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Fantasy Basketball Punt Guide: Punting Three-Pointers


Welcome to another part of RotoBaller's NBA punting guide. You can find the first part -- Trevor Crippen's overview of punting -- here, and you can get the second part -- Justin Carter's look at common issues with punting -- here.

In the NBA world we live it, it feels almost impossible to punt three-pointers, as everyone --even  Ben Simmons -- is making a shots from beyond the arc.

However, because of the shear amount of threes and fantasy players pushing to get them, punting the category may actually be one of the most viable options out there and non-threats from deep are likely to fall in every draft.

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Three-Point Punt Targets

EARLY ROUNDS

The first step in this build is essentially making sure you are not going to be taking James Harden or Stephen Curry. Last year Paul George ranked third in the NBA in threes made at 292, while Curry beat that number by 62 and Harden topped the league with an amazing 378 made.  If either of these players is on your radar in round one then punting this category is simply not an option.

The other thing to consider in the early rounds is that guards and wings generally tend to make more three’s, so when punting this, draft bigs who will drive you to the top of such categories as rebounding, field goal percentage and blocks. The top targets in these areas early are Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andre Drummond.

The other obvious choice here is Ben Simmons, who despite summer workout videos and one preseason make, still is likely to be a complete dud in this category.  Simmons is a monster in terms of assists, rebounds, and field goal percentage, though.

 

MIDDLE ROUNDS

Punting threes also helps in the middle rounds as it takes out specialists such as J.J. Redick, Joe Ingles, Lou Williams and Brook Lopez. These are players that are generally only two to three category contributors, but are pushed up draft boards for that reason only.

The prime mid-round target is likely to be Justise Winslow, the newly appointed point guard for the Miami Heat. Not only does Winslow provide a nice combination of assists and defensive stats, but his position versatility is well suited for punting threes. Much of the same things can be said for guards like JA Morant, Ricky Rubio and Marcus Smart.

The one thing to keep in mind as you are employing this strategy, punting threes can also mean passing on several players who are elite in the free-throw percentage category.  Terry Rozier would be a player that is not an elite threat from deep, but is in the 80% range from the charity stripe and a nice target.

 

LATE ROUNDS

In the late rounds there are several players to cross off your list when punting 3PTM.  Joe Harris, Eric Gordon, and Tyler Herro stand out as guys who could be elite in that category, but provide less value if you are punting.

One young player making a name for himself in the preseason is rookie Brandon Clarke. In college he shot a meager 25 percent from three, but his insane block rate, steal rate and field goal percentage fit in with exactly what a punting three’s build would look like.

Another player who drops due to his poor shooting is Jaylen Brown, who saw a drop to just 1.3 triples per game last year. However, with more usage up for grabs with Kyrie Irving gone and a solid role, Brown’s all-around stat line would fill out many categories late.

With a team likely to be focused on bigs, finding guards to fit this build late could be tough, but players such as Ish Smith, Kyle Anderson, and Patrick Beverley fit the model.  Meanwhile, traditional bigs such as  Cody Zeller, Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee are excellent options who are likely to drive up categories like blocks and rebounds while not crushing your free throw or turnover numbers.

 

OVERALL 

As punting threes will be something almost no one will try, it makes the strategy a great one, but there are a few things to remember.  First, be sure to not make punting three’s also punting free-throw percentage, although teaming a guy like Andre Drummond up with Justise Winslow will do you wonders in blocks, field goal percentage and rebounds, it could also sink you in two categories if you do not fill in around those players with good free-throw shooters.

The other thing to remember is that some players are just not viable for this build, so passing on players such as Lopez or Donovan Mitchell may not be fun, having them will be counter-productive to the total build.

The good news though is that along with elite shooters also tends to come a lack of other counting stats, poor turnover numbers and low field goal rates. These area would be easier to win with a plethora of bigs who handle the ball less and shoot around the hoop means you will fly up those categories.

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