For the last two years DeMarre Carroll has produced in fantasy basketball much like he has in real life. He’s been an efficient role player type, producing well above top-100 value in the aggregate with stats that don’t scream for attention but aren’t lacking either. This is a guy who was available late last year in most snake drafts in the 90-120 range of players taken off the board and was priced accordingly in auction drafts. While he made his name during the 2015 playoffs guarding the likes of King James, fantasy heads knew his stats were valid long before this:
I was a big in investor last fake season in DeMarre Carroll for a couple reasons. The first is because his value was somewhat sneaky in that his popcorn stats (ie. Pts, Rebs, Asts) don’t jump off the page, but aren’t exactly negatives either. Yahoo, ESPN and NBA.com commonly employ eight or nine statistical categories in their leagues with each category carrying equal weight and importance, so the amateur competitor does well to look beyond the basic stats we’re all drawn to over analyzing for the sake of the larger image; specifically, I’m talking about the Pts category ‘cause, you know, damn, its hard not fixate on that one sometimes. When you take your eyes off the big numbers and take a look at the small, however, DeMarre Carroll shines.
The second reason why I liked him was because of how thoroughly unsexy his name was. Playing for a team like the Hawks that doesn’t receive consistent media attention allowed Carroll’s production in 2013-2014 to fly under the radar. A late first round draft pick in 2009, Carroll also failed to bring with him the hype that surrounds early lottery picks. This is important because terms like ‘superstar potential’ are thrown out about these types players every year, often causing them to be reached on. Dion Waiters, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and Trey Burke all serve as recent examples of this phenomenon. DeMarre Carroll’s quiet pedigree along with his subtle stat line indicated to me that there might be a market inefficiency to take advantage of and, luckily, there was.
Unfortunately, the cats out of the bag now and he is no longer so anonymous. Where there was some reason to doubt Carroll last year – as he only had one bonafide season of production under his belt – no such discounts are likely to be available this year. This is especially true if you happen to play in leagues with Raptors fans, as one of your buddies is bound to be just a little too excited at the prospect of drafting him.
But what can we realistically expect from DeMarre Carroll this upcoming season?
During his time in Atlanta, Carroll’s fantasy value was defined by Stls, 3’s and TO’s. His production in these categories was bolstered by efficient shooting percentages and good rebound totals. While most players carry both positives and negatives, Carroll lacked a truly negative stat; His free throw percentage (70.2%) wasn’t great, but this was offset by minimal attempts (2.6 per game) and a good field goal percentage (48.7%).
Moving forward we should expect some things to change. This is always the case when players move teams, the tough part is judging whether or not his stats will improve or show regression. All signs point to Carroll seeing an increased role on offense, but I’m skeptical that this will improve his value. While I would guess that he sees more shot opportunities (perhaps one or two more attempts a game), the quality of the shots he’ll be taking may suffer. Meaning it’s hard to foresee his scoring boosted by more than a point or two per game, with the increased production likely offset by lesser percentages. It’s not out of the question that his scoring will skyrocket, but this would be a genuine shock. I’d also be wary of Carroll reproducing his superb 3-point production from last season, as his shooting percentage was a career high (39.5%) and because he’ll likely see less open looks no longer playing beside Kyle Korver. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a 0.5 decrease in 3-pointers made from him this upcoming season as a result.
But there are some definite positives here too. For one thing, as the main defensive cog of Dwayne Casey’s team he is likely to see just as many if not more minutes than he did in either of the previous two seasons. More minutes always equal more opportunity for stat accumulation. Also, with Carroll scheduled to slide over to the power forward spot in certain line-ups it would make sense for his rebounding numbers to improve. This was likely to happen anyways considering that the Raptors are a poor rebounding team and DeMarre Carroll won’t have to battle two above average glass-cleaners in Paul Millsap and Al Horford for boards.
Here are my own projections for him based upon these musings:
(I admit these are based solely on reasoning and not calculus)
As you can tell his numbers improve in some areas but have fallen in others; while this may look like an even trade off, I suggest for fantasy purposes that his value will be diminished some. This isn’t to say that in real life he won’t meet or exceed expectations, but fantasy isn’t real life. My reasoning? Scarcity. Rebs and Pts are important stats but are less rare than the trio of Stls, 3’s and Blks, something that DeMarre Carroll has been an elite contributor in for the past two seasons. When you factor in anticipated drops in efficiency paired with increased attempts from the free-throw line as well as the field, DeMarre Carroll projects to fall just short of his asking price.