Mostly NBA Notes: Andre Drummond breaking out, Pau Gasol bouncing back and a look around the league

Dalton Del Don
November 3, 2013

Andre Drummond was no secret entering the year, as he averaged 11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 spg and 1.1 bpg while shooting a ridiculous 67.1 percent from the field during 10 starts last year (seeing a modest 25:41 mpg over that span) as an extremely raw 19-year-old. That also came with an ugly 38.6 FT percentage, which is going to be the big man’s biggest factor of whether or not he can ever be a truly elite fantasy player. Locked into the starting five this season, he’s lived up to the hype over his first two games, as he's averaged 12.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in the early going, and he’s only attempted one free throw. It’s tough to draw any conclusions over two games, but with his obviously increased role (staying out of foul trouble is Drummond’s second biggest worry) and talent that jumps off the screen, those who “reached” for him aren’t going to be disappointed, especially those in H2H formats who punted FT% (seriously, he doesn’t shoot them very well). Drummond is clearly a budding star (somewhat surprisingly, Greg Monroe has taken a liking to his new role at power forward as well, as he’s getting 20.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 spg and 0.5 bpg). Of course, things may all change once gunner Brandon Jennings returns to action.

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At this point, the “Uncle Drew” act is obviously no secret to anyone involved, but here’s the latest version, featuring Nate Robinson and Maya Moore.

I was kind of on board for the “Pelicans” name, but holy crap, this is a different turn than I expected when it comes to their mascot.

Pau Gasol is coming off a down year, when he averaged a career-low 13.7 ppg. While injuries were partially to blame, the obvious reason was him not fitting into Mike D’Antoni’s system, at least with Dwight Howard also on the roster. Both his playing time and Usage Rate were down, but he enters a contract year feeling healthy in 2013/14 after undergoing therapeutic procedures on both of his knees during the offseason. Equally as important though is the departure of Howard, which means Gasol will finally go back to playing center, his natural position. Moreover, with Kobe Bryant (knee) out indefinitely and the rest of the Lakers roster so depleted, Gasol is going to be the focal point of Los Angeles’ offense. He’s averaging 15.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 2.7 apg over three games in which he’s seen just 25:30 mpg, the latter being solely the result of fluky game situations. Gasol is going to see a lot more playing time on most nights, and he’s one season removed from being the No. 13 ranked fantasy player (he ranked No. 5 the year before that). Gasol is in store for a big bounce back year and should be considered an elite center, even at age 33.

Bad British Basketball Commentary.

In honor of Halloween, here’s a Grim Reaper Scare Prank.

And here’s a Mr. Pumpkin Scare Prank.

Rudy Gay saw his numbers rise across the board after getting traded to the Raptors last season, when he got 19.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.3 3pt. This isn’t especially surprising, since he went from a team with plenty of weapons to one in which he immediately became the offensive focal point. In fact, Gay’s Usage Rate (28.93) after joining Toronto would have ranked 10th for the season among all players, just behind James Harden (28.95). So far this season, Gay has averaged 17.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.7 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.0 3pt. You’ll have to excuse his two assists on the year, as he’s been too busy jacking up a whopping 55 shots. While most of that news looks positive for fantasy owners, the problem is that he’s made just 18 of those FG attempts, resulting in a hideous 32.7 percentage. It’s a continuation from a down shooting campaign last season, which is a bit confounding since he never had shot worse than 45.3 percent from the floor in any of his previous five years, and he also underwent corrective eye surgery (and got into “the best shape of his career”) during the offseason. Despite being an overrated real life player (or at least he was at one point), I still think Gay can be plenty valuable in fantasy terms this year, although there’s also the worry of where he’ll end up later on, as he’s a major candidate to be traded.

Dr. J: “Braces Led To Conception Of My Daughter.” Well then!

This newscaster’s explanation of her son’s “itchy gums” didn’t go as she planned.

Quick Hits: What a battle between Stephen Curry and Chris Paul on Thursday night, when the former hit nine three-pointers (including this four-point play with two wide open teammates under the basket) and the latter became the first player since 1973/74 with 40+ points, 15+ assists and five steals (to be fair, that was the first year steals became an official stat)…I’m not suggesting you rush out to add him in shallow leagues, but I will point out how crazy Trevor Ariza’s start to the season has been. He’s averaged 20.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg and 3.5 3pt. Huh?...I still worry Michael Carter-Williams is going to be a FG% killer, but he sure looks like he’s going to be a fun player to own this year. His nine steals during his first game were the most ever by a player making his NBA debut. I’m already willing to take back my “Victor Oladipo will be the most valuable fantasy rookie” statement…Speaking of the 76ers, how crazy is their start to the season? Not only did they jump out to a 19-0 lead over Miami, but this is a team that entered with an over/under of 16.5(!) and is currently 3-0 (including victories over the Heat and Bulls, with the other on the road against a Washington team plenty picked to make the playoffs). Can we give Brett Brown the Coach of the Year award right now?

Headlines of the Week: Depressed Chinese Bachelor Cuts His Penis Off Because It’s Surplus To Requirements Then Cycles to Hospital For Treatment (But Forgets to Take Severed Organ With Him)...Gas Station Clerk’s Smartphone Stops Bullet During Robbery...California City Sues Sriracha Factory For Spicy Fumes In The Air That Cause Terrible Side Effects...Sriracha CEO on Odor Gripes: “If It Doesn’t Smell, We Can’t Sell.”...“Mambo No. 5” Singer Lou Bega Receives Tons Of Condolences Following Death Of Lou Reed...Man Buys $27 of Bitcoin, Forgets About Them, Finds They’re Now Worth $886K.

Quick Hits Part Deux: It’s fun to point to some early outliers and whatnot, but after averaging 15.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.5 spg, 1.0 bpg and 1.5 3pt over his first two games in a situation that hadn’t fundamentally changed, Tony Allen was held scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting during this third game of the year, reminding us not to overreact to small samples…Javale McGee has averaged 3.3 blocks per-36 minutes in his career, so it wasn’t hard to get excited about him now that George Karl is gone and ownership has essentially demanded he become a starter in 2013/14. It’s been a brutal start, as he’s somehow averaged just 11:24 mpg during his two games to open the year. Despite being 7-0, 250, McGee has never been a good rebounder, but I still think he’s more of a buy-low now (if that’s even possible) than someone to get overly worried about, especially if you need blocks. He remains a serious threat to lead the league in the category…The Milwaukee rotation is a mess right now, with O.J. Mayo, who signed a three-year, $24 million contract during the offseason, coming off the bench Saturday. Mayo, Ersan Ilyasova and especially Larry Sanders are all off to extremely slow starts, but it’s best to remain patient with all three…Damian Lillard, who somehow led the NBA in minutes last year as a rookie, looks like a man possessed so far, especially from downtown, where he’s 12-for-24 over three games.

Headlines of the Week Part Two: Nicolas Cage Outbid Leonardo DiCaprio For a Dinosaur Skull That May Have Been Stolen...Dell Locates Source of Cat Pee Smell in Laptops After Four Months...Nevada Lawmaker Says He’d Vote For Slavery If His Constituents Wanted Him To...Halloween Fantasy Turns Into Reality As Woman Beats Boyfriend Dressed As Domestic Violence Victim...Parents Did Not Report 10-Year-Old Daughter’s Gunshot Wound Because They Thought It Was Her Period.

Quick Hits Part Tres: I was skeptical Omer Asik could coexist on the floor with new teammate Dwight Howard, but he’s grabbed 11.7 rpg so far, although his minutes and points are both down…It’s discouraging to see Dwyane Wade already resting during the second game of the season, albeit not totally surprising. The team obviously cares most about his health come playoff time, so don’t expect this to be an uncommon occurrence during back-to-backs this year. It’s worrisome to fantasy owners, especially those in H2H leagues…It looks like there might be a next level to Klay Thompson’s game. He scored 38 points in the season opener while sitting out the entire fourth quarter. He’s shown a willingness to get to the line more and is a pretty terrific defender. Thompson is already one of the best shooting guards in the league…Anthony Bennett remains out of shape and is buried on Cleveland’s depth chart right now. The No. 1 pick may prove relevant later, but you better have a deep bench to be holding him in redraft leagues…Somehow, Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire and Metta World Peace are all completely fantasy irrelevant, even with J.R. Smith sidelined…Derrick Rose’s return hasn’t been the smoothest, but it was cool to see him hit this game-winner against the Knicks.

Longread of the Week: “Lost Soul.”

Quick Hits Part Four: If the first three games were any indication, all of Doc Rivers’ preseason praise about DeAndre Jordan was warranted, as the big man has averaged 11.3 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 2.0 spg and 2.0 bpg, which are all career-highs. Unfortunately, the extra run has also led to 6.7 FT attempts per game, making his poor shooting from the stripe all the more harmful (he’s never attempted more than 3.0 FTs a game in a season)…The two most obvious players who likely weren’t drafted in many leagues but have impressed early on and look like they may be major contributors all season are Vitor Faverani and Miles Plumlee. The former may eventually have to contend with minutes from Kelly Olynyk, but he’s clearly Boston’s starting center right now, having averaged 12.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 0.5 spg and 4.5 bpg over his first two games in the NBA, and he’s not a total disaster at the line either (64.3%). Meanwhile, Plumlee has gotten 15.5 ppg, 14.0 rpg and 3.0 bpg, as last year’s first round pick is locked in as Phoenix’s starting center (although like Faverani, he may have to battle Alex Len at some point). Again, small sample caveats apply, but if you’re in a deep league with a typically barren waiver wire, I’d bid aggressively on both during your first FAAB session. And if Alec Burks (18.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 48.8 FG%) is somehow available in your league, make sure that’s rectified as soon as possible.

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