NBA Skinny: Redd flag
It’s another season and another reminder that patience, rationality, and an unwavering focus on the end-of-season standings should rule team management practices in the season’s first few weeks. While I touch on a number of players who are having unexpected starts to the season below, for the most part we can’t make definitive judgments on many things after three or four games. Your studs are probably still your studs, so a bit of patience is needed when looking at something like Kevin Durant’s(notes) current field goal percentage. By all means, you shouldn’t hesitate to make rational add/drops when options present themselves on the wire, but keep in mind that nobody should be feeling too good or too bad about anything in early November. And with all that said, feel free to send out those trade feelers in the event that a short-sighted owner in early-season panic mode will help make your team better over the long haul in exchange for some immediate gratification.
Weekend Update: Need-to-know info from the past few days
• Pau Gasol(notes) is traveling with the Lakers on their current two-game road trip (Tuesday @OKC, Wednesday @HOU), but he’s not expected to play in either game after a sonogram showed a possible tear in his right hamstring. He underwent an MRI on Monday, and the results should be revealed within 24 hours. Gasol originally suffered the injury on October 12 and was thought to be nearing a return, but we could be in for a significant swing in that prognosis in the next day or two.
• It didn’t take long for us to get a read on how stable Michael Redd’s(notes) knee is. He played 39 minutes in the Bucks’ opener on Friday and then lasted only 24 minutes on Saturday before being pulled. He’s now expected to miss two weeks of action, but it’s hard to believe that timeframe is anything firm or that it’s all the time he’ll need to get right. Fantasy owners are pretty much stuck with him – there’s still enough production potential that you can’t drop him in standard leagues, but he’ll undoubtedly have zero trade value. For now, all we can do is wait for updates moving forward. How it shakes out for the Bucks: we’ll get to see exactly what Brandon Jennings(notes) can do, and Carlos Delfino(notes) and Charlie Bell(notes) will see the lion’s share of the surplus minutes.
• Delonte West(notes) was back in the lineup for the Cavs on Saturday (24 minutes, 13 points, 1 three, 2 assists, 1 steal) and, given the familiarity with the majority of his teammates, he probably isn’t long for the starting lineup. If he’s currently available in your league, there’s a decent chance that he’ll be a more substantial fantasy asset than your current worst player, particularly if it’s a roto league – West’s nine-category per-game rank was 56th overall in 08-09. West’s return also means fewer minutes will be available for Anthony Parker(notes) and Jamario Moon(notes), the latter of which was on the court for just two minutes on Saturday.
Other Injury/Status Updates: Vince Carter’s(notes) availability for Tuesday’s game will be determined during the team’s morning shootaround … LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) left Sunday’s game with a bone bruise in his knee that is not expected to keep him out of the lineup on Tuesday … Look for Raja Bell(notes) to be in the starting lineup on Monday, although the team has no expectation as to how many minutes he’ll be able to play … Anthony Randolph(notes) estimates that his sore lower back is currently at 90 percent and he’s just about back to full strength … Nate Robinson(notes) could be out two weeks or more with a severely sprained right ankle. He’ll have X-rays on Monday to determine the extent of the injury. In the interim, Larry Hughes(notes) should see steady playing time.
For updates on Caron Butler(notes), Richard Hamilton(notes), Devin Harris(notes), Josh Howard(notes), Allen Iverson(notes), Antawn Jamison(notes), Antonio McDyess(notes), and Mehmet Okur(notes), see the Week 2 Dashboard.
Note: Moving forward, the following section will be devoted to tracking the weekend’s Buzz Index activity, but I figured that touching on some notable over- and underachievers from the first week(ish) of action might be a bit more relevant for discussion. The number in (parentheses) is the player’s “Season (avg)” Rank as of Monday morning.
(1) Carmelo Anthony(notes) – Melo’s line is a thing of beauty thus far, with his biggest contributions coming by way of scoring (37.7 per game) and percentages (54% FG, 88% FT, second-most attempts in both areas). Anthony is clearly feeling it and is on his way to a great season, but I’d be using this opportunity to shop him for a first-rounder like Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant(notes) while the hype is overwhelming.
(3) Channing Frye(notes) – Frye remains unrostered in 36 percent of Yahoo! leagues for no good reason whatsoever. There’s little reason to think that efficient offense featuring a steady output of threes won’t continue, although some tougher upcoming matchups (@MIA, @ORL, @BOS) should help his line normalize a bit.
(5) Louis Williams(notes) – No, I don’t think Williams will “keep this up”, seeing that 27/10/7 in a 141-127 win over the Knicks on Saturday is inflating his current line. Do I think he’ll be a solid option at point guard all season? Yes.
(6) Danilo Gallinari(notes) – Will the 20-plus points and 12 attempts from downtown per game continue? No. But Gallinari absolutely has the potential to finish among the league leaders in threes made, with continued health being the determining factor. He’s now made 46 percent of his threes (50 of 108) in 31 career games.
(12) Marc Gasol(notes) – The Gasol/Z-Bo pairing has worked out for both so far, with Gasol owing the defensive boards (8.3 of 11 total) and Randolph concentrating on the offensive glass (5.5 of 8 total). Gasol’s percentages are also out of this world at this point – he’s made 73 percent of his field goals and 85 percent of 8.7 free throws per game. Take a look at the Grizzlies’ schedule for November and you’ll notice that there isn’t a lot of stiff frontcourt competition on the horizon – the good run should keep going, so we’ll revisit a possible sell-high scenario a few weeks from now.
(16) Chris Kaman(notes) – Those of you that have rostered Kaman should be petrified of his early-season load of playing time (41 minutes per game). Take a look at what followed stretches of extensive playing time in 08-09 and 07-08. Here’s a hint: find the first extensive inactive streak and look at his minutes in the weeks leading up to it.
(24) Aaron Brooks(notes) – Three good games do not a fantasy season make, but Brooks has looked good creating scoring opportunities for both himself and his teammates thus far. The shooting percentage and assists are going to come down, but like Louis Williams, he’ll easily rank among the best value targets at his position when it’s all said and done.
(40) Marreese Speights(notes) – A pattern has emerged in just three games. In two of the games, Samuel Dalembert(notes) dealt with foul trouble and Speights averaged 23 points and 7.5 boards in 28 minutes. In the one game that Sammy D was able to stay on the floor, Speights had four points and seven boards in 13 minutes. There’s zero risk in terms of a pickup here, but consistency should not be expected while he’s a reserve.
(109) Amar’e Stoudemire(notes) – The Suns have shared the wealth thus far, and Amar’e is just sixth on the team in field goal attempts per game (10), while Grant Hill(notes) has been hoarding rebounds (9.7 per game to Stoudemire’s 6). Don’t panic, as both numbers should normalize as we move forward.
(133) Al Jefferson(notes) – Your two choices: make do while Jefferson works his way back into form after knee surgery or sell low and watch him be a huge second-half contributor for someone else’s team.
(175) Charlie Villanueva(notes) – Charlie V has been particularly slow to come around thanks to a preseason hamstring injury and early-season foul trouble (six fouls every 37 minutes of playing time). His offense is still a massive part of the team’s plans, however – Ben Wallace(notes), Kwame Brown(notes), and Jason Maxiell(notes) have scored a grand total of 28 points in a combined 202 minutes.
(222) Jose Calderon(notes) – What is the surest sign that Calderon is out of sorts in the early-going? He’s already missed more free throws in three games (four) than he missed in 68 games last season (three). Take his career percentages into consideration (50/38/89) before you do anything rash after three games.
(231) Derrick Rose(notes) – Rose is clearly not yet 100 percent back from a preseason ankle injury. Once he’s healthy, we’ll be able to make a more accurate assessment of how much of a reach he was in re-draft leagues.
(309) T.J. Ford(notes) – I’d by lying if I were to say that Ford’s owners shouldn’t be concerned with 44 minutes, 10 points on 18-percent shooting, and three assists through two games. The next game or two could be key for Ford’s starting role, as Jim O’Brien already has taken a liking to Earl Watson(notes).
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
The early-season ups and downs have HoopsKLYCE.com currently atop the leaderboard, a half-point ahead of Funston’s team. My squad is comfortably in last, thanks to a collective slow start that features Kevin Durant, Jose Calderon, and Monta Ellis(notes). Recent transactions included Udonis Haslem(notes), Rafer Alston(notes), Hakim Warrick(notes), Nenad Krstic(notes), and D.J. Augustin(notes), among others.