Early this morning in Shanghai, the Clippers welcomed Chris Paul back to their lineup and evened the two-game series with the Heat. Both teams will benefit from the unique experience and it was great for Chinese basketball fans. Fantasy-wise, it was a waste of time.
Miami played “small” and had no answer for DeAndre Jordan, who was 8-8 from the floor with nine rebounds and a block. The Clippers are still using Willie Green (5 PTS in 16 minutes) as the “starting” SG with Jamal Crawford (15 PTS in 29 minutes) as the focal point of the second unit. CP3 played 22 minutes and took only two shots, but his presence makes his teammates better. There’s actually a 3-way battle for SF minutes among Caron Butler, Matt Barnes and Grant Hill that is making me shy away from all of them.
For the Heat, Josh Harrellson played well in 21 bench minutes and could be a factor in the regular season. Rodney Carney (15 PTS in 28 minutes) has been the big surprise; he might have made the team, and has at least drawn the attention of other NBA clubs. Dwyane Wade made a brief token appearance and LeBron James played a relatively quiet 20 minutes. Mario Chalmers sat again, but Norris Cole’s 6 TO suggest that he’s strictly a backup when the games count.
October 13 Games
BRK @ PHI: What an arsenal for Deron Williams to choose from. Brook Lopez was outstanding, Joe Johnson had lots of room, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries were willing to do the dirty work. The best news for fantasy GMs concerns C.J. Watson, who will play some SG when the Nets go small. With MarShon Brooks (foot tendinitis) out for a while, Watson got 30 minutes and poured in 19 points. Mirza Teletovic will usually be more accurate than 2-13; let’s be encouraged by his 25 minutes and obvious green light (11 3PT attempts). Andray Blatche (12 PTS) is the eighth man and nobody else figures to play much.
Evan Turner shot 5-14 in 33 minutes for the Sixers; he’s a source of REB and AST who is being counted on to replace Andre Igoudala, but needs a better FG% to become a true fantasy asset. Jrue Holiday seems poised to take the next step. He’s not exactly a draft target, as PG options are numerous, but he’s one of many solid candidates just below the top two tiers. Nick Young scored 21 points off the bench as Royal Ivey started in place of the resting Jason Richardson. Young was 9-9 from the line; that’s a very encouraging stat because he isn’t just bombing away from deep.
NYK @ BOS: A few scribes I follow on Twitter were none too pleased with overtime in exhibition games, which happened in both Philly and Boston. The hottest player in green is Jeff Green, who played 29 minutes and looks like a valuable sixth man. The Celtics experimented with Jason Terry starting and Courtney Lee off the bench, but Jet is better to own either way. Jared Sullinger hasn’t quite displaced Brandon Bass, it just looks that way. The rookie had 14 PTS and 7 REB in 26 minutes before fouling out; Doc Rivers knows what the veteran can do. It’s certainly time to bump Sully up your lists and drop Bass a few notches.
Carmelo Anthony (23) and Tyson Chandler (16) led the Knicks, as Amar’e Stoudemire rested a bruised knee. The venerable Kurt Thomas lined up with the starters, but unheralded rookie Chris Copeland stole the show off the bench. We haven’t said much about James White yet, though he has a chance to start at SG. You see, Ronnie Brewer and Iman Shumpert are both recovering from knee injuries, and coach Woodson prefers J.R. Smith (who rested a sore ankle last night) off the bench. White, who played in Italy the last two seasons, was rusty (1-7) in his debut. Still, he’s better than Mychel Thompson and could have temporary fantasy value in deep leagues.
WAS @ CLE: The correct answer to the question of who will replace John Wall among A.J. Price, Jannero Pargo and Shelvin Mack is D, none of the above. There’s a little hint in the box score; Jordan Crawford played 31 minutes and Bradley Beal 28. That means one of the SG played at least 11 minutes at PG and it’s my hunch that Crawford will continue to be a combo guard until the Wizards are at full strength. Beal (who started and scored 14 points) is the indirect beneficiary of Wall’s injury.
Kyrie Irving misplaced his shooting touch this summer. So far he’s 11-46 in four exhibition games, a 24% clip. Do I look worried? Despite losing to a weak opponent, this was a confidence builder for Tristan Thompson: 18 PTS, 10 REB and 4 BLK in just 24 minutes. Inconsistency seems to be part of the Dion Waiters package. A hero off the bench the night before, he was listless as a starter in this one. Jon Leuer, who we plugged in as backup SF on the latest depth chart revision though he’s more of a PF, grabbed 10 boards in 23 minutes.
CHI @ MIN: To the dismay of the home fans, Kevin Love (elbow) didn’t play. When comedian Steven Wright is asked, “Did you sleep well?” he replies, “I made a few mistakes.” That’s what happened to Love, who will be fine. Both teams mailed this one in, except for mighty Nikola Pekovic, who played 39 minutes, scored 16 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and carried his team to a W. Brandon Roy (13 PTS in 27 minutes) deserves a mention for staying healthy; won’t it be great when we take that for granted?
As expected, Alexey Shved (15) gets better every game. Unlike his countryman Andrei Kirilenko (who had the night off) the rookie speaks little or no English and is adjusting to life in the United States. As he becomes more comfortable off the court and learns to communicate with all of his new teammates, he’ll continue to improve. Shved, Luke Ridnour (who made his first appearance of the preseason) and eventually Ricky Rubio will make minutes hard to come by for J.J. Barea.
The Bulls are a veteran team with a crafty coach who has yet to even tap the accelerator. It’s kind of cool that Jimmy Butler played all 48 minutes; he’s clearly the only backup for Luol Deng, who rested a sore groin. Richard Hamilton was rested, so Marco Belinelli started at SG. Nate Robinson, who we chided a little here yesterday, shot 3-11, which is three times as good as his previous outing. Why Marquis Teague isn’t getting more of a look at PG is hard to fathom.
DET @ MIL: Brandon Jennings (17 PTS, 6 AST) and Ersan Ilyasova (22 PTS, 7 REB) led the way to an easy win over the tired Pistons. My man Tobias Harris blocked four shots — in the first nine minutes! However, he was overshadowed by John Henson, who really caught my eye in the Summer League. In 27 minutes off the bench, the rookie also swatted four shots, scored 12 points, pulled down six boards and handed out four assists. How he will fit into a crowded Bucks frontcourt remains to be seen, but the future is bright.
Andre Drummond went 1-4 from the FT line but was a force, with 19 PTS, 10 REB and a BLK. I was wrong about the rookie’s learning curve. He’s already twice the player (or ten times; math isn’t my strong suit) that Charlie Villanueva is, and he just turned 19! Keep in mind that coach Frank is giving entire nights off in a random pattern, so Jonas Jerebko started for the absent Jason Maxiell. Rookies Khris Middleton (11 PTS) and Kim English (9) each played 27 minutes in their first appearances of the preseason; Tayshaun Prince and Will Bynum were on the DNP-CD list.
UTA @ LAL: Kobe Bryant (18 points) returned, rookie Robert Sacre (9 PTS, 10 REB, 2 BLK) continued to fill in for Dwight Howard and the Lakers used 16 players. Their apparent plan is to be the first team ever to go winless in exhibition games, then undefeated in the regular season. Antawn Jamison, one of many unhurried veterans, might be a very good sixth man at both PF and SF when the games matter.
Paul Millsap (personal) was not with the Jazz, so Derrick Favors got another start, but didn’t impress enough to justify where some folks are drafting him. Once again, Enes Kanter looked terrific, with 14 PTS and 14 REB (plus 2 STL and a BLK) in just 20 minutes. The Jazz also substituted freely, so we’re not drawing any conclusions.
October 14 Games
SAS @ HOU: This will be a much better test for the young, green Rockets than their easy win over New Orleans on Friday. Omer Asik might be one of those players who keeps improving the more he plays. I’ve been touting four Houston rookies for the last month, but Royce White (anxiety) has yet to appear and Jeremy Lamb (foot) is hurt, so my fantasy focus is turning to Terrence Jones, who can back up at SF and PF, and Donatas Motiejunas, who is a perfect complement to Asik at C, Mr. Outside to the big Turk’s Mr. Inside.
Bear with me when I repeat myself, people. I’m an old man with a limited number of thoughts, trying to write 10,000 words a week about fantasy hoops. Some of them won’t be original, and on the Spurs, I’m admittedly a broken record. Guess who will play on any given night, and they are great to own. Own too many of them, and you’ll be buried in your league by random DNPs and (even worse in Roto) GPs with limited minutes.
ATL @ MEM: It’s not significant in standard-sized leagues, but the second unit backcourt for Memphis is still uncertain. Jerryd Bayless can play both spots, Wayne Ellington is a SG. If they share the minutes, neither has much value. So far, I like what Marreese Speights is doing. As a PF-C backup, he’s going to get minutes, and his game has always been fantasy-friendly, even when he was a semi-permanent resident of the doghouse in Philly.
We need to see Zaza Pachulia (groin) to get a true read on the Hawks. If he starts at C, Al Horford at PF and Josh Smith at SF, that’s a tremendous front line. It would have a negative effect on Kyle Korver, who seems ahead of Anthony Morrow as the “small” SF and 3-point specialist. Despite some lineup shuffling in their latest, Jeff Teague and Louis Williams are set as the starting guards; when Devin Harris (knee) is up to speed, we’ll see how he is used.
$1,000 Fantasy Hoops Contest
Our October 31 tournament isn’t the only FanDuel salary cap league I’ve joined. On Oct. 30, with only three games in the NBA, there are a limited number of player choices in the $500 Tue NBA Dribbler. That’s a $1 entry fee, and 331 of the 558 spots are filled already. The total prize pool is $500. First place wins $125 cash, 2nd $70, 3rd $40 and if you finish 51st, you win $3 — triple your investment.
You can change your lineup as often as you wish, until the 7:00 deadline. For now, here’s mine:
PG Kyrie Irving WAS@CLE $7,400
PG Darren Collison DAL@LAL $5,100
SG C.J. Miles WAS@CLE $4,900
SG O.J. Mayo DAL@LAL $5,500
SF LeBron James BOS@MIA $9,900
SF Martell Webster WAS@CLE $5,000
PF Chris Bosh BOS@MIA $7,100
PF Pau Gasol DAL@LAL $7,900
C Chris Kaman DAL@LAL $7,100
As by far the best player available that night, LBJ costs a small fortune. There are two choices: assemble the best possible team around him, or try to “beat him.” By using Paul Pierce instead, you’ll have $2,500 in cap room to upgrade Miles and Webster, perhaps to Jordan Crawford and Shawn Marion.
For a dollar, I’ve already got my money’s worth, because it’s such an enjoyable challenge to select a team. I’m also in the $2K Tue NBA Shot – that’s right, $2,000 in cash prizes for a $2 entry fee — where first prize is $300 but there are up to 1116 teams.
If you don’t like the odds in those large pools, you can join much smaller leagues, from head-to-head vs. one opponent, to 3 players, 5 players, 10 players or 20 players. And if $1 and $2 leagues sound like small change, there are escalating entry fees: $5, $10, $25, $50, $109, $270 and $535. Whatever suits your budget and your confidence level.
If you need to see it to believe it, give FanDuel a try for free; no credit card or deposit is required. They offer NFL leagues until the NBA begins, many with no entry fee. Click their logo to get started today.
We hope you’ll join the one-day fantasy tournament for Sheridan Hoops readers at FanDuel. There’s a $2 entry fee; $1,000 in cash prizes. First place wins $200, second $125, third $100 and even 61st is in the money. Pick nine players within a $60,000 salary cap and the team that compiles the most fantasy points — on October 31st only — wins.
Follow us on Twitter — @SheridanFantasy — all season.