It's been a few years now since this strategy first appeared, and by this point, it's been tested thoroughly & used to win many leagues. In addition to dominating open leagues, this strategy has given owners more options in other types of leagues, as they've incorporated parts of the strategy into their own. What is the strategy & how do you take advantage of it? Read on!
State Farm Presents: The Assist Bump Strategy
The State Farm concept (if you're confused, think about all of the Chris Paul commercials) can basically be boiled down to the following statement: Get a bunch of ast% on the floor & win 60 games. Is it really that simple? Not quite... but it almost is. As with all of my guides, I strive to help you understand why something works, not just tell you how to do it.
Before I go any further, credit must be given where the credit is due: I did not invent this strategy
. The person that came up with this is probably the most innovative owner I've ever come across in the sim, jlg1983
. He is also responsible for the "6 Minutes of Hell" strategy which quickly got nerfed. I won't go into it here, but if you're curious, just take a look at the records section for team & individual 3pt%.
Anyway, jlg told me he was tired of every team emphasizing rebounds & using Rodman (or multiple Rodmans). He also hated that people almost felt forced to use players at the smallest position they could play (example: Lebron at PG). He brought up the very good point of: "What's the point of Rodman if I never miss?" and actually named a team that. He immediately made a huge splash, running multiple teams to 60+ wins & deep playoff runs. He eventually started winning titles with it, and WIS has not been the same since.
Enough with the history. Let's get to how this thing actually works. As I have told you in my Building Better Teams thread
, there are several facets of the game in which you can focus on to try and win. Most strategies revolve around trying to stay competitive in all three while dominating in one. This strategy does not do that. This strategy goes all in on the facet I call the Shooting Struggle, and it does it by mostly emphasizing on overloading on assist%. What is assist%? Here's the link
, but I'll quote it below:
Assist% is an estimate of the percentage of a team's made field goals on which the player assisted while he was on the floor. In the SimEngine, Assist% is a component that can impact (positively or negatively) the shooting percentage of the player's team on offense. It also helps determine if a made field goal resulted from an assist and if so, which player is credited with the assist.
I bolded the part that is important to what we're doing here. So, with this in mind, more ast% means you are more likely to make a field goal attempt. Here's the fun part: When you start stacking ast%, this drastically increases your fg%.
So how much do you need? At this point, I've done enough testing to definitively say: more. Below 50% on the floor seems to be a penalty. Above 80% and you start to see some boost, if not significant. 100% or more and things start to shine, but you'll still see a lot of inconsistency. The sweet spot really seems to be at 150% and above. It's at that point you start seeing 15%-20% increase in fg%. Yes, you read that correctly. A 50% shooter all of the sudden becomes a 60% shooter. A 60% shooter is suddenly 70%+. But it doesn't stop there. I've run 160%. I've run 170%. I've run 180%. The results are always absurd, and you see significant increases the further you go.
You do, however, reach a point in which you can't get by the possession penalties, so you do have to keep some team-construction basics in mind (usage). Typically, you build a huge amount of assists and have one really high usage, high efg% guy that you feed. It helps if this guy is high ast% as well, btw, so don't skimp here unless you're going for something in particular. Most often, this guy is Lebron (09-10 & 12-13 most often used versions), and he is usually your power forward (though I know jlg's won with him at center and him at small forward). While your monster will be your biggest threat, all of your feeders will be shooting & scoring at a high rate as well.
You're probably not going to win the possession battle very often. In fact, it probably won't even be close. You will get beat on the boards, and you will turn the ball over. A lot. You should be shooting good enough, however, to counter that. Who cares if your opponent shoots 20 more times than you if you make 10 more field goals? At the end of the day, you'll have more points than he will.
There aren't a whole lot of players over 40% ast% in the sim, so your selection becomes extremely limited, especially when you consider the frontcourt. Diversity is out of the window. There are very few centers over 20% assist (Boerwinkle, Noah, Lacey); there are a few more power forwards, but you're probably only going to use one of three (and two of them are both named Lebron) unless you're going for something unique. Your small forward will almost always be Magic Johnson, and typically, both of your guards will be John Stocktons, though there are quite a few options at PG you can run (Rondo, Nash, Mark Jackson, etc). There are exceptions, but very few, so most ast% squads are extremely similar. If you're aching to be creative, this strategy may not be for you.
It is possible to put together a decent rebounding squad using lower ast% versions of players in the frontcourt, yet those players are often the same players you'd be using in a normal ast% squad. (example: 2022 minute Boerwinkle is 30%+ dreb & 15% ast while 1175 version is only 23% & 29%). Even if you don't care about that, I've had far more success just bumping up the ast% over the reb%.
Managing the minutes is often a struggle. It is impossible in an OL to get backups at the same level as your starters. You have to pick & choose some places where you let the strategy lapse, but the better teams are the ones that make the best use of the backups. You're pretty reliant on rookies to fill a lot of minutes here, but that's no different than any other OL. Just count on the fact that none of those rookies are going to be 40% ast% beasts.
Coaching the State Farm Crew
I typically don't give coaching advice in these threads, but I feel that it'd be almost a crime to not say this with this particular strategy: Always play up-tempo. Just do it.
Using Ultrapass in Higher Cap Leagues
It's very iffy. If you have a limited environment like a draft league or a banned-player league, I don't encourage going all-in on it. As the cap goes up, understand that everybody is able to draft more of everything, and thus the advantage you gain in the shooting struggle is greatly lessened while their advantage in the other areas is even wider than it already was on you. I'm not saying that it can't be done - it can - just be prepared to figure out pretty quickly that you wasted your money and will struggle through an up & down season.
Using the Bump Concept in General
I do, however, recommend using the concept with all of your teams. It's that powerful. You don't have to go all-in to get use out of the bump. Even when I don't use this strategy, I keep elements of it in mind. It literally changed the way I build teams. There are probably 200 wisnba player seasons I won't even consider that I used to use all of the time. No matter what league I'm in, I'm trying to get a nice ast% bump, even if I'm not able to get to 150% or whatever magic number I'm aiming for. At the very least, I like to get 60% or more just in my back court.
Beating the Bump
The strategy is not unbeatable. There isn't really a specific counter, but in general, high defense, low turnover, high offensive rebound squads do well against it. It doesn't matter if you can't hold the bump squad under 60% and you're sitting at 51%; all that matters is that 51% of your fgas is more points than 60% of theirs. You do that by dominating the possession battle, and you do that (against this squad in particular) with offensive boards and few turnovers.
Use the concept to build better teams. Go all-in a time or two to see the sick stats you output and to better understand how it functions. Don't rely on it as your only way of playing, but understand how it works and how to beat it because it's becoming even more popular than it already was.
The original post was made well over two years ago. I have completely revamped it in November of 2015, so many of the responses following won't make any sense. The last few pages are mostly updates and teams that I've posted below.
Here are a few examples of this strategy in action:
The OG (jlg's record setting squad)
157% w/ Durant
151%, lower tov% guys
154% w/ Shaq
177% 73-9 squad; the pinnacle?