We did a little switcharoo and Ryan Knaus took yesterday’s article so I could cover the Kings opener and vice-versa, and with plenty to talk about we’re going to jump right in today.
Also, I have yet to setup my FanDuel system this year but here’s the link to a one-day $25K league. I can’t wait to get in there and that should hopefully happen by the weekend.
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WHAT’S UP DOC?
Andrew Bargnani is such a Knicks pickup. If I were a fan of the team I’d have much rather had a young, athletic kid that was raw but gave a snot (family site) about mixing it up down low. I’d have to do a deep dig that I’m not willing to do right now to find out if the Knicks and Nuggets are compatible trade partners, but if I’m saying that right now is my last year to win with Carmelo Anthony then I find a way to acquire Kenneth Faried, who would enjoy a nice and healthy fantasy existence there.
Anyway, Bargs played 25 minutes in his start at power forward last night and had nine points, one assist, three turnovers and one friggin (family site) rebound. If you’re wondering any swearing I could do on my end would simply be to offer condolences to Knicks fans for their upcoming rectal exam of a season (not so family there).
Raymond Felton didn’t seem bothered by his hammy injury and lasted 37 minutes with 13 points, four rebounds, six assists, one block and one three and dare I say he looked quick. We’ll see how many minutes he gets when the lights aren’t so bright and the team appears headed for the bottom half of the playoff bracket.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (10 points, two threes, three boards, 4-of-13 FGs) is going to exceed expectations and he played 27 minutes last night, but he needs further assistance from his teammates in terms of missed games before he holds any sustainable value. Tyson Chandler had a solid 19 rebounds to go with one steal, four blocks and seven points in 38 minutes. He’s going to be shooting from a bit further out, and after a 3-of-8 shooting night I’m not sure I like the direction that’s heading.
Of course, Carmelo Anthony appears destined to be the guy that just can’t win, and I’m not talking about the standings or the playoffs. He’s getting criticized for talking about his free agency, and wouldn’t you know it he missed the game-winning attempt on a passive, yet open 19-foot shot. Look for him to be a force, as he was with 22 points on 8-of-24 shooting, six boards, six assists, two blocks and two threes, but much like that shooting line dampens a great night his inability to endear himself to folks will characterize an otherwise solid season.
I had to double back and write about Amare having totally forgotten about him, as he played just 11 minutes with five points, one rebound, one steal and three turnovers. If Bargs is bad then Amare is terrible.
THE ONLY SHOT YOU DON’T MAKE IS THE ONE YOU DON’T TAKE…OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT
Derrick Rose didn’t back down from an awful 7-of-23 shooting line last night as he hit the game-winning floater with five seconds left. In actuality he’s trying to do too much right now in many different aspects of the game, from overdribbling and overpenetrating to his shot selection. Look for him to get that out of his system after his high profile absence and get back on track in the shooting department.
I hope somebody out there sold high on Boozer after his big opener – a hard thing to do with everybody wise to his act – and he promptly returned to his baseline with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 33 minutes. Joakim Noah looked a lot better with 15 rebounds in 36 minutes to go with six points, five assists, one steal and one block on just 2-of-7 shooting. Jimmy Butler continued to impress with 11 points, 10 boards, two steals and one block with 4-of-11 shooting from the field. Look for Tom Thibodeau to ride him all year long. Luol Deng rebounded from his stanky opener to put up 17 points, three rebounds, six assists and one trey in 40 minutes. He and Noah are great to own but they will shave years off owners’ lives this season.
GETTING IT WHILE THE GOING IS GOOD
The Clippers and Warriors are two of the more openly arrogant teams in the NBA. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul alone irritate the entire league to no end, while Mark Jackson’s proclamations and the Warriors’ demeanor during blowout wins borders on Clipper-like. It should be no surprise then that these two teams hate each other, even refusing to pray together before the game as is customary for players that do that.
It was the Clippers that had the last laugh last night, but it didn’t really hurt the Warriors’ fantasy guys as David Lee had 22 points, five boards, two assists and one steal, Stephen Curry went big with 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting with three rebounds, nine assists and a mind-boggling 11 turnovers, Andrew Bogut put up 17 points with six boards on 6-of-7 shooting in 28 minutes, Andre Iguodala had 14 points, four rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and one three, and Klay Thompson cooled off with 10 points, one rebound, one assist, two steals and one there in 38 minutes.
Right down the list I’m concerned about the impact of Harrison Barnes on both Thompson and Lee, in particular with Lee profiling like a guy that will slowly move away from the hoop as he hits the second half of his career. No double-digit rebounds for Lee in his first two games certainly isn’t a great start, while Klay reminded folks why you don’t get excited over one game in his stinker. Bogut’s health chases any real excitement but he’s going to be a player while on the court, and Iguodala will also see his numbers go down a tad when Barnes returns but his role is mostly constant with this squad. As for Barnes, he has been ruled out for at least one more game and in general his momentum has been stalled greatly by this absence. He’ll eventually get whatever he earns regardless, but he’s simply one step behind in the race for minutes and touches.
SOMETHING SMELLS FOUL
DeAndre Jordan has been a hot fantasy name for the past few days but he really showed why owners need to keep things in perspective with him as he hit just 3-of-12 freebies last night. He finished with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field to go with an otherwise solid 17 boards, two steals and one block in 41 minutes. As suggested by his 79/63 ranking in the Bruski 150 (8/9 cat) the minutes are going to be there, but the foul shooting will limit him from having anything close to a breakout outside of punting formats.
The Clips’ wing rotation is going to be an interesting early watch as Jared Dudley appeared to be the odd man out, but with 33 minutes, 10 points, 4-of-6 shooting, two threes and two steals he bumped Matt Barnes (four points, three rebounds, 18 minutes) out of the way last night. We’ll have to watch if this has anything to do with his calf issue or why Dudley got the minutes, and as you can see Dudley has to work very hard to get his numbers this season.
J.J. Redick (17 points, five rebounds, three treys, 28 minutes) and Jamal Crawford (17 points, two threes, 23 minutes) have been unaffected by the logjam thus far. It’s early but it feels like this will continue for the rest of the year. A lot of folks dinging me for Chris Paul at No. 4 over Curry at No. 5 got a smorgasbord of that debate last night, as Paul turned in the biggest line of the young season with 42 points, 12-of-20 FGs, 2-of-6 3PMs, 16-of-17 FTs, count them 15 assists, six steals and an obligatory six turnovers with all that usage. He dunked too, methinks accidentally.
ARE YOU COLD?
So I spent all of Wednesday night and Thursday not knowing Beverley’s status having been offline, so needless to say I was pretty thrilled to see our blurb that he expects to play on Friday. Now would be a great time to see if his owner has cold feet.
HARDENED BY TRADE
James Harden is such an important player I thought I’d devote a section to his recent series of nicks and dings, which included heat packs on his back during stints on the bench of Wednesday’s second half against the Bobcats. He also revealed after the game that he sustained a minor injury to his left wrist, but heat packs are something for owners to watch out for, not panic over, because back issues tend to linger and he’s a guy that takes a ton of contact.
One of the new realities of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is that teams are more careful about their spending, so it was noteworthy to see two guys in Gordon Hayward and Eric Bledsoe that would normally get extended without much fanfare. I think there are some deep philosophical differences between Hayward and the Jazz, while I get the sense that the Suns may just be resigned to the fact that Bledsoe will get a max extension, regardless. I probably don’t know enough particulars to say on the Hayward deal if I’m right about this, but given his projected role this year he’s going to accumulate enough stats to make whatever the Jazz could have secured him for this time around to be lower than what he’ll see on the open market as a restricted free agent.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
CLE @ CHA: Andrew Bynum’s status will be decided at tip-off for games on Friday and Saturday. Fun. I find myself wavering between stashing him and not stashing him if I were theoretically presented with the decision, but since he’s owned in every one of my leagues I’m thankful I have yet to encounter that decision. You almost have to take a flier on his upside, even if you know in your heart there’s a better chance that you come across a photo of him smoking cigarettes while jumping on a snow-covered trampoline than seeing him stay on the floor all year long. I’ll be watching Al Jefferson all year given my controversially low ranking of him in the B150, and watching Houston walk all over him while he jacked up a bunch of shots on the other end wasn’t surprising one bit.
PHI @ WAS: Attention Michael Carter-Williams, this is Earth calling, please return to us Friday night against the Wizards. I’m not rooting for that to happen but that letdown by the Heat was teed up for MCW and it was also the ultimate sell-high moment. Nene (calf) did not practice on Thursday but Randy Wittman downplayed the injury, so it looks like he’ll go tonight. This minor injury isn’t doing anything for my confidence in Nene and I’m starting to wonder if the No. 118 ranking for Gortat in the Bruski 150 is going to end up low. A lot of bodies in that frontcourt, but if Nene goes down for an extended time Gortat could finish the year in mid-round territory.
NO @ ORL: The injury reporting in New Orleans is always pretty light and it’s hard to know if it’s the market size or if Monty Williams just doesn’t do injury reporting all that much. So Ryan Anderson’s 1-3 week absence due to a chip fracture to his toe came somewhat out of nowhere and it’s high time to pick up Al-Farouq Aminu if 1-3 weeks of late-round production can help you. He and Anthony Davis will pick up Anderson’s minutes, and I think I’ve already made myself crystal clear about Davis’ value this season. And we haven’t even got to the part of the program where Jason Smith and Greg Stiemsma implode yet. Orlando is going to simmer in their current state for a while and then look for them to gradually improve as Victor Oladipo does.
TOR @ ATL: Kyle Lowry started off well enough but we’ll be watching how he deals with his finger splint, and it doesn’t seem like there are many secrets about Toronto right now. Same goes for Atlanta, as Jeff Teague started off much like I thought he would and I’d expect the two bigs (Paul Millsap and Al Horford) to be right there with him all year, health permitting.
MIL @ BOS: Brandon Knight (hamstring) is out and Luke Ridnour (back) is doubtful so it’s the Gary Neal and Nate Wolters show, in that order. O.J. Mayo will probably max out his usage tonight too. Avery Bradley is questionable for tonight with a concussion and it sounds like Brad Stevens isn’t going to take any chances if he’s iffy. If he can’t go the Celtics will be forced to tap Jordan Crawford full-time at the point, and that sounds like a drug they don’t want to take until they absolutely decide they need it.
OKC @ MIN: Serge Ibaka didn’t step up to my lofty prediction’s level but the 15 shot attempts sure were nice, and they’re a reflection of how his offensive game has blossomed. Jeremy Lamb isn’t doing anything right now and that bodes well for Reggie Jackson holding solid value when Russell Westbrook returns. Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher combined for 44 minutes on Wednesday, and if Scott Brooks coached in New York he’d have been fired two seasons ago for decisions like that. Get ready for Kevin Durant to put up a line like we’ve never seen before. It’s coming in the next two weeks. I don’t know if it’s going to be against Minny but these two teams have had some big nights playing each other in the past.
DAL @ HOU: I think owners may have had Monta Ellis fatigue this year after everything negative that’s been said and written about him, and I’m hoping that my No. 39/56 (8/9 cat) ranking of him is high enough. It’s probably not. There’s a lot to watch here on the Houston side with Beverley’s potential return, the power forward situation and whether or not Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi are going to join the fantasy party this season.
DET @ MEM: Rodney Stuckey (thumb) could start on Friday and owners should expect low-end results. Extensions on guys like Quincy Pondexter don’t really generate a whole lot of interest, but I could see him rendering Tayshaun Prince obsolete rather quickly this year. Keep an eye on him as he could be a late-round value guy this year. Rated at No. 96 in the B150, I didn’t have high expectations for Zach Randolph and he’s the guy that doesn’t fit the philosophy right now, so owners should watch to confirm that he’s bouncing back along the right schedule after a very bad opener. It’s not hard to see him as a guy that would start slow and slowly get things cooking.
MIA @ BKY: It looks like Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) has a green light to return tonight, and if you have dead weight it might be worth it to invest a pickup if he’s unowned. When healthy, he has a shot at some larger fantasy lines but right now there is a lot of anxiety about his value, deservedly so. Deron Williams’ minutes will apparently be lifted by Sunday’s game according to GM Billy King, but that implies a chance the restriction could be lifted sooner and a big game against the Heat profiles well for that. Dwyane Wade may not play in back-to-backs until December … it wouldn’t be surprising if you replace the last word in that sentence with January, though you can’t quote me on that yet. Look for the Heat to take out their revenge for their loss to the Sixers on the Nets tonight. And with that Sixers’ win I’m not moving my prediction from six wins for them just yet, though every win is going to sting on that call.
POR @ DEN: LaMarcus Aldridge is moving further and further away from the hoop and that’s usually not good for a big man’s fantasy value. He can score all he wants, but it’s the rebounds, steals and blocks (and then the missed games) that will dictate his final value, which I stuck at a controversial No. 52/39 (8/9 cat). Denver feels horribly wrong right now, and I can’t put a finger on it but they’re in the midst of a full-on change to being a post-up centric team because that’s what Brian Shaw believes wins championships. The interesting thing is that amount of selling it seems he has had to do with this plan, and the amount of commentary from players about it that just seems uninspired. The Kenneth Faried situation doesn’t feel right and it truly seems like J.J. Hickson is going to be the guy at power forward in Denver. I had a pretty significant downgrade for these guys due to pace and I think pace and spacing are going to be an issue for the guards this season as unremarkable offensive players like Hickson and JaVale McGee are force fed the ball.
UTA @ PHO: This is the fantasy bowl as Bruski 150 favorites Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter all hit the same court. I had Alec Burks at a healthy 128 in 8-cat, but he’s showing the versatility I wanted to see in the preseason and he could be poised to beat that mark. The Miles Plumless situation is also very high on my list of things to watch out for, given the pacing and fantasy potential in Phoenix’s offense. By default we’ll also be watching out to see if P.J. Tucker holds his role as majority owner of the SF minutes and what will happen when Markieff Morris comes back.
LAC @ SAC: Surprise, surprise, the Kings don’t like the Clippers either, and will do them no favors as they head into Sacramento coming off their win over the Warriors. Now the Kings have letdown potential in them after such an emotional night on Wednesday, but they might have less letdown potential than the Clippers do, as the Clips view Sacramento as a third world country. I don’t know what the spread is but I like Sacramento against it, and from a fantasy perspective I’d expect more of the same out of Sacto.
SA @ LAL: Tim Duncan (chest contusion) is already doubtful for tonight’s game, but at least he’s traveling with the team and I wouldn’t overreact to this one injury, especially since we had him pegged for a ton of games off anyway. I’m getting the feeling we’ll have a different Lake Show every night with so many interchangeable parts.