Monday was quiet with just four games on the schedule, but there’s still plenty to talk about on Tuesday morning.
Dominant (and not so dominant) Point Guards
Stephen Curry had the line of the night with his 18-12-10 triple-double, that also included five steals, a block and just two turnovers. The Warriors, led by Curry, finally made the Sixers look like the Washington Generals, but it took four games for it to happen.
Michael Carter-Williams finally looked like a rookie, getting off to a terrible start and hitting just 4-of-17 shots on the night, but still salvaged an 18-6-4 line. While it’s true he didn’t have a steal and committed six turnovers on the night, the fact he had such a bad game and still constructed a decent fantasy line out of it says a lot. I’m not selling high on the best player on the league’s worst team.
Chris Paul looked amazing again as the Clips dominated the Rockets. No one was happier to see Patrick Beverley in street clothes than CP3 last night, as he blistered Jeremy Lin for 23 points, 17 assists, two steals and a 3-pointer on 7-of-13 shooting. I wasn’t all that high on Paul coming into the season, as his drop in scoring the last couple seasons didn’t sit well with me. But he’s being more aggressive, looking for his shot and simply put, he and Curry look light years ahead of any point guard not named Damian Lillard.
Lin had 14 points and eight assists, while Patrick Beverley was said to look good in warmups as he recovers from his rib injury. Lin’s a fine fantasy start while Beverley is on the shelf, but I still think Beverley will start and be the guy to own once he’s healthy again.
Kyrie Irving tried to make his fantasy owners smile, but probably failed at doing so yet again. He had 15 points, eight boards, six assists, a steal, two blocks and a 3-pointer, but also committed nine turnovers. He hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype yet and now is a good time to make a low-ball offer to his owner.
Ricky Rubio had one of those nights, going 0-for-7 from the field and finishing with four points, five assists and five steals against Irving. He also got benched late in this one, but this is simply a speed bump for Rubio. He’ll have shooting nights like this, but the steals are always going to be there and owners have to be ready to take the good with the bad with him.
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Surprising 3-point Specialists
Despite Curry’s triple-double, Andre Iguodala’s stat line might have been the most impressive one of the night. He hit 11-of-18 shots and 7-of-11 3-pointers for a season-high 32 points to go along with three rebounds, three dimes, two steals and a block. He’s been pretty fun to own thus far, but with Harrison Barnes looking at a return later this week, Iguodala’s minutes are simply going to have to take some sort of hit. I’m not sure that means you have to get rid of him, but when you combine a future hit in minutes with what he did last night, there will probably never be a better day to try to trade Iguodala than today. Dramatic, I know, but true.
J.J. Redick has played well for the Clippers thus far and had his best game on Monday, going for 26 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and two 3-pointers in another start. He should be owned in most leagues at this point.
Omri Casspi, who plays for the Rockets and missed his last game with an ankle injury, blew up for 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three 3-pointers on 6-of-12 shooting. I was made fun of for drafting Casspi with my last pick in several drafts, but he had a killer preseason and Kevin McHale loves him coming off the bench to shoot triples and hit the boards. Francisco Garcia and Casspi are sharing the same role, but if I had to choose between the two right now, I think Casspi has the better potential for big nights. Cisco had 14 points and two 3-pointers of his own last night.
The Clippers got 15 points and three 3-pointers out of Jared Dudley last night, who started at small forward. He’s gotten off to a really slow start this season but looked good last night. Put him on your radar.
C.J. Miles had 19 points, five boards, two steals, two blocks and three 3-pointers for the Cavaliers, but is nothing more than a tease at this point. Unless you’re in a real deep league, just put him on your radar. Having said that, if Dion Waiters doesn’t get it together soon (eight points, 20 minutes), Miles could continue to see his role grow and might start playing more consistently.
Jared Sullinger hit 7-of-11 shots and two 3-pointers for 16 points and five boards last night. He’s off to a quiet start but finally got it going last night. If he ever starts getting more run than Brandon Bass, look out.
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Other Game Notes
Of course I benched Jeff Green and his three games this week after he played just 20 minutes in his last one and has generally been struggling since the preseason. He went off to the tune of 22 points, five rebounds and a block on 6-of-12 shooting and hit 9-of-12 free throws in 40 minutes on Monday. Hey, if I have to bench a guy to get him going for you, I don’t mind doing so.
Vitor Faverani played 28 minutes last night, which is all you really need to know. As long as he’s getting that kind of run, you want to hold onto him for the potential for him to go on a boards and blocks explosion any given night. He had five points, six boards, a steal and a block, but again, the minutes are the key. Kelly Olynyk played 25 minutes, but hit just 1-of-8 shots for four points, four boards and four turnovers. Things could change a month from now but Faverani is the center to own in Boston, and it’s not close.
Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett still hasn’t made a basket in four games, sitting at 0-of-15 after last night’s disaster. He’s scored a grand total of two points through four games, which, according to my man Sekou Smith, is the lowest total for a No. 1 draft pick since 1966. Expect him to be shipped to the D-League for a confidence boost in the near future.
Thaddeus Young was terrible for the Sixers last night and just isn’t living up to the hype. He had six points and just two rebounds on 3-of-10 shooting and outside of a 29 & 8 line against the Wizards, has looked very ordinary in his other three games. I still think he’ll get it going, but it hasn’t happened for him yet.
Sixers shooting guard James Anderson’s roll has been slowed by Tony Wroten. Anderson had seven points, a 3-pointer, five rebounds and a block in 26 minutes last night, while Wroten had 14 points, three boards and a 3-pointer in 22 minutes. Like Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll and several other mediocre NBA players out there, Anderson simply may not be good enough to do much more than he’s done thus far. But as long as he’s getting minutes and starting, he should be good for one big stat line per week. As for Wroten, just keep an eye on him.
Injury Roundup & Notes
Andrew Bynum made it through 19 minutes on Monday, finishing with 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks. He isn’t really moving too swiftly, but the fact he’s actually playing and producing is a good sign. I still have nothing inside of me that hints at wanting to own him, but if he’s sitting on your bench, you might as well hang on for a 10 days and see where this train ends up heading to.
Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton are expected to replace J.J. Hickson (PF) and Anthony Randolph (SF) in the Nuggets lineup tonight. Faried owners are celebrating, while deep-leaguers are keeping a close eye on Hamilton tonight. Wilson Chandler’s still not back from his hamstring injury to claim the starting small forward spot, but should get it once he finally makes his debut. Ty Lawson is expected to go through a glute injury tonight.
Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey are expected to start in the backcourt for the Pistons, which was the plan from the start. Now that they’re both healthy and ready to go, Will Bynum can be sent back to wherever it was you found him last week.
Al Jefferson will miss yet another game tonight with his sprained ankle. It’s been a tough road thus far with Jefferson, who can’t produce if he can’t play. Bruski wanted no part of him this season and while it’s still early, he looks very smart for staying away.
Gerald Wallace left last night’s game with a bruised right knee and didn’t return. Maybe it was a precautionary move or maybe he’s actually hurt. Watch for an update soon.
Chris Bosh didn’t travel to Toronto due to the birth of his daughter, leaving him doubtful for tonight’s game. If Bosh does end up playing, think about using him in a daily league, as he’ll surely want to play well in front of the crowd he used to play for nightly. For the Raps, Steve Novak and his 3-point arsenal are questionable with a sore back.
In other baby news, Larry Sanders skipped practice on Monday with his wife in labor and will hopefully be ready to go on Wednesday. The Bucks light schedule this week worked out well for Sanders’ owners, as he’s on your bench anyway. Now if only he could start scoring, rebounding and blocking shots again. Ersan Ilyasova missed practice with his bum ankle, but should be ready to go on Wednesday. Brandon Knight was a limited participant in practice with his lingering hamstring injury and remains questionable for Wednesday night.
Goran Dragic’s ankle injury will keep him out at least two games, although I think that’s a pretty optimistic number. I doubt he plays this week and am expecting both Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green to have a big week for the Suns in his absence.
Tobias Harris remains out indefinitely with his sprained ankle. To hold or drop is the question, but I don’t have the answer. Impatient owners who need a warm body might have to move on, while patient owners should hang on for as long as possible, as Harris should be a valuable asset if his ankle isn’t going to bother him all year.
George Hill’s hip injury leaves him as a game-time decision tonight and I have him benched in weekly leagues. I really hope his hip condition isn’t chronic, but the Pacers swear he’s day-to-day. C.J. Watson’s a good daily play if Hill is out again.
Rajon Rondo is ramping up his activity, just like Kobe Bryant, but there’s still no timetable on either players’ return.
Andray Blatche missed practice with a sprained left ankle, but is expected to play for the Nets tonight. Brook Lopez has a dinged up ankle, but it sounds like he’s going to go against the Jazz tonight, as well.
Pau Gasol is over his respiratory issues and is good to go for the Lakers.
There are nine games on the slate tonight and here are a few things I’m watching for…
* Cartier Martin vs. DeMarre Carroll for small forward minutes in Atlanta.
* Jonas Valanciunas’ minutes against the center-less Heat. Don’t expect a lot, but his minutes should go up after this one. He tends to sit for long stretches when the opposition doesn't have a true center on the floor.
* Gerald Green vs. New Orleans without Goran Dragic in the lineup. I have high expectations, meaning he’s almost guaranteed to let me down.
* Steve Nash, coming off a good game against the Hawks, returns to Dallas, which should be interesting.
* How badly is Damian Lillard going to blister Jeremy Lin and the Rockets tonight?
Good luck tonight!