Recapping the first Friday of the NBA's regular season, with an explosive performance and an injury in Oakland generating the most buzz.
• Dorell Wright(notes) won't make six threes every time out, but his making threes is nothing new (career 36%), he's got versatile skills to complement the headliners in Oakland, and he appears very comfortable with his the first guaranteed starting spot of his career. We've been hyping him all preseason, but his percent-owned number (55%) remains unnecessarily low, given the situation and production potential here. There are good vibes coming out of Golden State right now, and he's a big part of that. Through two games, he's averaged 37 minutes, 19.5 points on 56-percent shooting, 4.5 threes, 5.5 boards, 1 steal, and 0.5 blocks.
• This didn't help those vibes I mentioned in the previous paragraph: Stephen Curry(notes) left Friday's game after aggravating a right ankle injury that has been with him since the preseason. The injury is not considered serious (he's listed as day-to-day) but he won't play Sunday, and the Warriors are then off until Wednesday. Curry offered the following after Friday's game:
"A lot of guys gave me advice about how long the season is and making sure it's 100 percent. Since we don't play (again) until Wednesday, maybe that would be a smart thing to miss Sunday and have almost a full week and get it right before our long road trip out East. So it all depends on how I feel (Saturday) and go from there."
• It's hard to see how the Cavs were destined for anything but failure on Friday night, as their five starters' career scoring average in 1,126 games works out to 7.4 points. The main lowlights for the Cavs: despite the thin roster, Antawn Jamison(notes) played just 25 minutes and had only 13 points and two boards; J.J. Hickson(notes) dealt with foul trouble (19 minutes, 4 fouls) and was bad otherwise (3-8 FG, 4 turnovers); and Ramon Sessions(notes) couldn't make it happen for himself (1-10 FG) or his teammates (4 assists, 5 turnovers).
Mo Williams(notes) missed Friday's game because of continued problems with his groin injury (he's 50-50 for Saturday), and Anderson Varejao(notes) was away from the team to be with his father, who had heart surgery. Varejao will hopefully be back in the lineup Saturday.
• Need boards but little else? Reggie Evans(notes) is your man if that happens to be the case. He's averaged 15 rebounds in 30 minutes through two games, and his hustle and energy on defense is exactly what this team needs and will keep him in the lineup moving forward. He does require special handling for fantasy purposes, as his career per-36s include 12.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, but only 7.9 points.
And those of you that have rostered Amir Johnson(notes) can consider an add/drop at this point. He's going to have occasional games where he rebounds and blocks a few shots, but combine Evans' strong early play with Johnson's personal foul rate (8 fouls in 32 minutes thus far) and it seems unlikely that he'll make a consistent impact any time soon.
• Linas Kleiza(notes) will eventually work his way up to universal ownership (currently 67%), once he gets a few more lines like Friday's (19 points, 3 treys, 5 boards, 1 steal) to his credit. Kleiza led the Raptors in shot attempts (15) and will have every opportunity to assert himself this season, although Friday's box score might not be a completely typical representation for the team, given the blowout win.
• I'll keep throwing this early-season disclaimer out until I feel that my civic duty has been fulfilled: Leandro Barbosa(notes) (64% owned) aggravated a wrist injury last week that limited him to 44 games last season. He's currently wearing a brace and admits that he will need surgery at some point. The upshot here is that, if you are currently rostering Barbosa, he should be involved in each and every one of your current trade offers.
• Jason Kapono(notes) got the start Friday against the Hawks but played just eight minutes and delivered mostly zeroes; Andres Nocioni(notes) scored 15 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3PT) off the bench in 30 minutes and added five boards, and he's been named the starter moving forward. He immediately warrants consideration in most formats - his diverse skills are a good fit in this starting unit and his numbers in 185 career starts include 13.4 points, 1.4 threes, 5.8 boards, 0.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks. Kapono is likely to go from starter to out of the rotation, freeing up a few more minutes for Thaddeus Young(notes) and Evan Turner(notes).
• For Atlanta, Al Horford(notes) made up for a very poor showing in the season's first game, scoring 20 points on nine-of-11 shooting and adding 12 boards and two blocks. Marvin Williams(notes) made up for a solid offensive output in his first game (15 points) by scoring just six points on 33 minutes on Friday.
• Devin Harris(notes) was big-time for the Nets on Friday (21 points, 7-10 FG, 2 threes, 10 assists) and has looked strong through two games, both Nets wins. Detroit and Sacramento aren't the truest of litmus tests, but he's looked strong and aggressive and none of his fantasy owners are going to complain. Health concerns were the major reason that Harris was a sixth-round pick this season (63.0 ADP), and questions of buy/sell/hold questions will of course start to surface if he starts the season with a strong month or so.
• Speaking of looking strong… Brook Lopez(notes) bulldozed Detroit and Sacramento to the tune of 27 points and 9.5 free throw attempts in two games. He'll encounter a bit more resistance in the coming week, with MIA, CHA, @ORL, and @MIA comprising his next four games.
• Solid games from Jordan Farmar(notes) (26 minutes, 14 points, 2 threes, 1 steal) and Travis Outlaw(notes) (31 minutes, 18 points, 2 threes, 5 boards) meant plenty of time on the pine for an uneven Terrence Williams(notes) (11 minutes, 3 points, 5 turnovers). Farmar wasn't really talked up as a rotation regular, but Avery Johnson has to like his championship experience and he's played the Harris/Farmar pair for much of the fourth quarter in both of the team's games. It's also worth noting that Anthony Morrow(notes) played 34 minutes Friday but only managed four shots (1-4 FG, 0-2 3PT). Things are going to be volatile here and all we can conclude thus far is that Farmar is likely to have a larger role than originally expected.
• Francisco Garcia(notes) was back to the bench Friday for the Kings, but he played another 32 minutes and was near-perfect (18 points, 4 threes, 3 boards, 2 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 block). Re-familiarize yourself with these numbers, note that he is now completely healthy, and then find a way to get him on your roster (49% owned). He'll play plenty as a reserve (but has never needed starter's minutes to produce) and could potentially start at small forward if both Omri Casspi(notes) and Donte Greene(notes) fail to distinguish themselves.
• Samuel Dalembert(notes) was a late addition to the Kings lineup Friday. He'll be limited early - he was originally expected to be out through mid-November - but will be a regular in the frontcourt rotation as soon as he's capable. DeMarcus Cousins(notes) has been fine in his two starts (13 points, 6 boards), but he's also totaled 11 fouls in 48 minutes and will need to show a bit more to eliminate the possibility of Dalembert reclaiming the starting gig.
• Indiana got a 104-101 road win over the Bobcats on Friday with T.J. Ford(notes) playing the entire fourth quarter (24 minutes, 7 points, 4 assists, 2 steals). Darren Collison(notes) played the same 24 minutes but made just two of 10 shots. Jim O'Brien offered this quote after the game:
"T.J. is a proven commodity down the stretch. Right now with Darren only being in his second year, he's not a proven commodity down the stretch. I fully expect (Ford) to be the guy in there at the end of games early in the season."
That's not exactly the way to instill confidence in your young franchise point guard of his fantasy owners. The Pacers aren't going to contend this season, so Collison should be given every opportunity to establish himself down the stretch in these early games, but O'Brien has never been accused of being a deep thinker in these types of scenarios. Collison and his teammates are bound to go through an adjustment process, so for now we have to hope that O'Brien realizes that Ford's value to his team is as an expiring contract and not as a proven commodity down the stretch.
• Josh McRoberts(notes) and Tyler Hansbrough(notes) shared the minutes at power forward fairly equally Friday, with McRoberts seeing 17 (8 points, 4-5 FG, 7 boards) to Hansbrough's 20 (12 points, 6-6 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 steals). This situation is going to be fairly fluid as long as both players are healthy and could get messy when it comes to predicting which player will be better on a given night.
• Rajon Rondo(notes) went nuts against the Knicks Friday, turning in his fifth career triple-double (10 points, 10 boards, 24 assists) and scoring 53.1 points for me in the Buser Blog League. Rondo is averaging 16.7 assists in 42 minutes after three games.
• Glen Davis(notes) will have a very consistent and important role for the Celtics this season and, if the early returns are any indication, he's going to fill it very well. Through three games, he's averaged 14.3 points on 67-percent shooting and 5.3 boards in 29 minutes, and he's yet to turn the ball over even once. His line isn't going to blow you away for nine-category purposes, but he's a very good deep league target and also makes sense as a Kevin Garnett(notes) handcuff.
• Landry Fields(notes) was very useful in his second start (11 points, 1 three, 10 boards, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal) and has averaged 32 minutes through two games. Mike D'Antoni likes that he does "all the little stuff" and said he'd be surprised if Landry wasn't able to hold down the starting spot all season.
• Don't be surprised if Danilo Gallinari's(notes) slow start (20% FG, 25% 3PT) continues in one way or another. He's currently dealing with pain in his shooting wrist, an injury that caused him to miss the Knicks' final two preseason games. There hasn't been talk of his needing more time off, but he played just 12 minutes Friday and was clearly not right. Wilson Chandler(notes) and Bill Walker(notes) would benefit if surplus minutes were to become available.
• The Magic offense was downright putrid against the Heat - they shot 30 percent as a team and somehow managed only five assists (14 turnovers). Remove Dwight Howard's(notes) eight-of-15 and Ryan Anderson's(notes) five-of-eight and the rest of the bunch made just eight of 46 shots (17%). Howard was useful amidst the carnage (19 points, 7 boards, 2 steals, 1 block) but got zero help against a Heat defense that will end up being a touch matchup on most nights.
• Marcus Thornton(notes) turned in an efficient offensive night Friday (18 minutes, 10 points, 4-9 FG, 2-2 3PT), not something that can be said for Marco Belinelli(notes) (24 minutes, 5 points, 2-8 FG, 1-3 3PT). We'll chalk this one up to matchups, as Belinelli had to deal with Arron Afflalo(notes) while Thornton was checked by J.R. Smith(notes), but these are two players that will continue to be tracked in the early going.
• Shelden Williams(notes) grabbed 13 more boards and now has 29 through two games. He's also totaled eight turnovers with one assist, zero steals, and zero blocks, so not everything has going according to plan. But he's going to continue to get run and absolutely makes sense as a low-budget addition for big-man stats.
• The Thunder got the contributions they needed from their key players to pull out a 105-104 road win over the Pistons. What is most notable for fantasy purposes in this early stage is the minutes at shooting guard: on this night, Thabo Sefolosha(notes) played 29 minutes (4 points, 1-1 FG, 2-2 FT, +11) while James Harden(notes) got 16 off the bench (1 point, 0-5 FG, -10).
• Oh yeah and this just in: that Serge Ibaka(notes) kid can play (28 minutes, 16 points, 10 boards, 2 blocks Friday). His percent-owned number (59%) could stand to come up a bit, regardless of Nenad Krstic's(notes) designation as the starting center.
• We saw some vintage Ben Gordon(notes) on Friday night, as he delivered 32 points in 31 minutes (11-16 FG, 2-3 3PT, 8-9 FT). The Pistons went with an eight-man rotation and played small on a number of occasions, as Will Bynum's(notes) right hamstring kept him out of the game and Greg Monroe(notes) was saddled with another DNP-CD. We'll see how the minutes shake out and how Gordon follows up with his big night when the Pistons travel to face his former team in Chicago on Saturday.
• Although Kevin Love(notes) topped out at 27 minutes Friday, he played consistently throughout the game and was productive outside of making just three of 13 shots (17 points, 11-12 FT, 16 boards, +19). Anthony Tolliver(notes) appears to have made a fan of Kurt Rambis through two games (26 minutes, 10 points, 1.5 threes, 7.5 boards, 1 steal, 2.5 blocks) and should continue to see steady bench minutes.
• Now is not the time to panic when it comes to a slow start for John Salmons(notes), who has totaled 54 minutes and 12 points on 31-percent shooting through two games. He's going to need some time to come around after missing the entire preseason with a right knee sprain, and he's not in danger of losing his starting gig any time soon.
• The Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph(notes) on Friday but got just enough defense to pull out a close win over the Mavericks in Dallas. Randolph was out because of a bruised tailbone and will be a game-time decision on Saturday.
• Lamar Odom(notes) took advantage of Hedo Turkoglu(notes) playing power forward and put together a monster line (40 minutes, 18 points, 8-12 FG, 17 boards, 5 assists). Hedo wasn't invisible (31 minutes, 7 points, 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 turnovers) but he's clearly trying to figure things out at a new position on a new team and has been poorly utilized to this point of the season (9.3 points, 7.3 FGA, 41% FG, 3.3 boards, 2.0 assists, 1.3 turnovers). Hakim Warrick(notes) was invisible (17 minutes, 2 points) after a strong game Thursday and Channing Frye(notes) wasn't any better (16 minutes, 2 points).
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