If you already own Kevin Love, his fractured right hand is a bad break indeed. If someone else owns him, you might send a friendly note of sympathy and a trade suggestion. If your league hasn’t drafted yet, this is a possible opportunity.
He’s certain to fall, from third or fourth overall to much later in the first round, if not lower. In keeper leagues, Love’s value hasn’t changed. Target him.
In redraft leagues, you know he’s going to miss a fifth of the season, a sixth if he’s a fast healer. That’s not so bad in Roto, but in H2H the regular season is just 20 weeks long. Having your first pick on the bench for the first quarter of the season makes it more difficult to make the playoffs. As usual, much depends on your settings. With plenty of bench spots in a 12-team league, you can weather the storm better than in a short-bench 20-team league.
Any debate about Love vs. Chris Paul as third overall pick is over. Fourth is suddenly an uncomfortable draft spot. Given the large gap between CP3 and Russell Westbrook in AST, STL and TO, and the other great PG options, a case can be made for Al Jefferson, who is certainly no Love. Picking late in the first round might be better than the middle this year.
Timberwolves whose value increases for the first few weeks of the season include Derrick Williams, Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic. Don’t overdraft Williams just because he goes from backup to probable starter; as @JerryZgoda of the Star-Tribune told us in a Twitter conversation yesterday, that’s not even guaranteed. Bumping the versatile AK-47 and Pek up a notch makes more sense.
WAS @ TOR: It was the first time Kyle Lowry (14 PTS, 6 AST, 3 STL) ran his new team. Rookie SG Terrence Ross (knee) didn’t play; DeMar DeRozan is safe as the starter for a while. One reason not to abandon Jose Calderon (12 PTS, 8 AST) in fantasy leagues is his ability to play off the ball. Jonas Valanciunas (8 PTS, 8 REB, 3 BLK) is bigger than Amir Johnson, stronger than Ed Davis, faster than Aaron Gray and almost as skilled as Andrea Bargnani. Last night Johnson and Davis played together on the second unit and Amir (13 PTS) knocked down some open looks, while Gray didn’t appear.
Trevor Booker returned to add some much-needed frontcourt depth to the injury-riddled Wizards. It’s possible that A.J. Price edged ahead in the battle to replace John Wall at PG for the first month, with 8 points and 8 assists in 22 minutes. Jannero Pargo had 10 points in 21 minutes, with no assists and two turnovers, while Shelvin Mack got less than 5:00 and missed both his shots. Once again, Martell Webster started at SF and Trevor Ariza came off the bench. That could continue into the regular season.
CLE @ PHI: It’s clear that Kyrie Irving (23 PTS) is ready and my man Tristan Thompson (10 PTS, 10 REB) is fitting in well alongside Anderson Varejao (10 PTS, 6 REB) but the Cavaliers still have a decision to make with Dion Waiters. The rookie SG was 2-9 from the floor, missing all five 3-point attempts. Daniel Gibson got hot off the bench (18 PTS in 21 minutes) to keep himself in the mix, and though Alonzo Gee was quiet in just 14:37 last night, he can also start at a wing spot.
The 76ers shook up the starting five because Jason Richardson had the night off. Evan Turner slid over to SG and Dorell Wright (17 PTS) played 28:00 at SF. Nick Young (19) stayed red hot and rookie PG Maalik Wayns — who was born in Philly and attended Villanova — looked very good off the bench. It’s about time we mentioned Arnett Moultrie. The 6’11” rookie won’t play much early in the season, but is doing enough to suggest he might be a factor in the second half, or sooner if anything happens to Thaddeus Young.
MEM @ HOU: Though the Grizzlies went deep into their bench late, and Wayne Ellington started at SG for a resting Tony Allen, there were no surprises. Unless you count a poor shooting night for Marc Gasol (1-7) and Rudy Gay (4-16) that can be written off to training camp apathy. We’re all waiting for games that matter.
The Rockets have only two “household names” in Jeremy Lin and Kevin Martin. Lin scored just 7 points in 31 minutes, but his line is filled with other goodies: 12 AST (only 2 TO), 5 REB and 4 STL. Kev-Mart is back, after a season he (and his fantasy owners) would like to forget. He shot 8-11 (4-5 from downtown) to lead all scorers with 22. PF Patrick Patterson (17) looks good, but on this night both centers had some foul trouble. Omer Asik (9 PTS, 11 REB in 22:19) and backup Donatas Motiejunas (4 PTS, 4 REB in 11:12) will produce if they can stay on the floor. Carlos Delfino hit three triples off the bench and rookie Terrence Jones (who should add PF to his SF eligibility before long) continues to impress.
PHO @ DAL: Nobody expects Dirk Nowitzki to play one minute in the remaining exhibition games. There are hints that he might not have his knee scoped and could be ready (if not 100%) for the regular season. In his absence, rookie Jae Crowder played great (10 PTS, 6 REB, 5 STL, 3 BLK) and while not the tallest forward, the former Marquette star might contribute more than I thought, sooner than expected.
Three Suns starters were +20 in less than 20 minutes. I know, plus-minus is a “junk stat” and there are many other ways to measure effectiveness more accurately. But it tells you at a glance that Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Jared Dudley are ready for the season. Rookie Kendall Marshall sat out, allowing Sebastian Telfair 26 minutes as the backup PG.
GSW @ SAC: The Stephen Curry watch continues to go well for his nervous owners; another 19 points in 23 minutes and no health issues. David Lee shot a poor 5-18 but 16 PTS and 14 REB is always a decent fantasy line. Klay Thompson was also sharp. However, the two rookies who started were very quiet. Harrison Barnes is locked in a timeshare with Brandon Rush at SF and neither has stepped up to claim the job. Center Festus Ezeli picked up five fouls in 10 minutes, so veteran Carl Landry played 37 minutes off the bench. That pattern may continue until Andrew Bogut (fractured ankle) is healthy enough to play.
The Kings laid an egg in front of their home fans, shooting 33.3% as a team. DeMarcus Cousins (2-10) and Tyreke Evans (3-13) were the worst offenders and nobody stood out in a positive way. OK, if you’re in a crazy-deep league, Chuck Hayes looked a little more like his old self, with a couple of BLK and AST as the undersized backup C.
DEN @ POR: A dull effort by the high-flying Nuggets is easy to explain. Ty Lawson got the night off, and Andre Miller was rusty. As a team, Denver went 2-20 from 3-point range. Wilson Chandler saw his first action of the preseason, a scoreless 12 minutes. On a positive note, Kosta Koufos started at C and outplayed Timofey Mozgov. Again.
Even without Damian Lillard (foot) the Blazers romped. Nolan Smith (9 PTS, 8 AST, 5 REB) filled in capably at PG and Coby Karl scored 11 points in 21 minutes as the backup. Rookie SF Victor Claver, hampered so far by a sore back, lit it up with 13 points in as many minutes. He could be a better late-round flyer than Luke Babbitt.
UTA @ LAC: Mo Williams is giving a mild groin strain some time, and his replacement Jamaal Tinsley failed to score in 22 minutes. Still, the Jazz lost by only two points. Randy Foye hit four 3-pointers off the bench and Enes Kanter (14 PTS, 9 REB) continues to play the best ball of his young career.
Chris Paul is just getting in shape; he’ll play a lot more minutes when the games count, and backup Eric Bledsoe (11 points in 25 minutes) will play less. As expected, DeAndre Jordan had a tougher time scoring than he did against Miami’s center-less lineup, but 11 PTS and 16 REB is still a great night. Blake Griffin was even better: 5 REB, 5 AST and 5 STL to go with a game-high 23 points. As the Clips wait for Chauncey Billups (Achilles) to be ready, Willie Green starts on a short leash at SG, and Jamal Crawford always comes off the bench firing.
October 18 Games
NOH @ ATL: Let’s see if Devin Harris starts again at SG. That would really change his fantasy value; I’d all but dismissed him as the backup PG. Louis Williams might not lose value by coming off the bench if he plays both guard spots. Hawks coach Larry Drew is trying a different rotation every night and it’s hard for us to be certain about anything.
After a slow start, Greivis Vazquez needs to pick up the pace. You can ignore the Hornets’ last game; it was a back-to-back road trip and Anthony Davis didn’t play because of a mild groin strain. With the sensational rookie healthy and six days to prepare for this one, they should be ready. Except for Eric Gordon, whose latest setback with his knee will delay his debut. It does sound possible that Gordon will be ready for the regular season, though players are notoriously optimistic and coach Monty Williams is noncommittal.
DET @ MIA: Don’t underestimate the physical and mental effects of the Heat’s trip to China. I’m sure it will be beneficial in the long run, a cultural awakening for some players and a fraternal experience for all. There’s still two weeks left to get ready and they can be forgiven a little jet lag tonight.
This is still a good test for the Pistons. Their laughably easy win over the Magic taught us nothing and gave some rookies a chance to contribute, but I think coach Frank will tighten his rotation this evening. Greg Monroe can pound it inside against Chris Bosh, and Jason Maxiell seems ahead in the PF battle, with some frontcourt bench minutes going to teenager Andre Drummond.
MEM @ MIL: The Grizzlies played in Houston last night, making this game a test of stamina. Don’t expect their best lineup, or their best effort.
Rested and at home, most of their roles settled, the Bucks should have an easy time of it tonight. They will be without promising rookie PF John Henson, who bruised and sprained his knee on Tuesday and will miss at least the next two weeks. C Ekpe Udoh (knee) is just about ready to return.
BOS @ BRK: I still can’t believe that Avery Johnson gave his starting five Tuesday night off and the Nets’ second unit beat the Celtics in Boston. This rematch could be lopsided. The Brooklyn crowd will be large and enthusiastic for a preseason tilt, and the well-rested first team will play together. Andray Blatche, whose summer of working with John Lucas the Elder seems to have paid off in a new body and completely new focus, is rocketing up my draft list. C.J. Watson may play some SG alongside Deron Williams in addition to backup PG duties, and 3-point specialist Mirza Teletovic is one of my favourite deep sleepers.
The Celtics are right in the middle of a strange, compressed schedule. They went to Turkey and Italy for what soccer people call “friendlies,” then all six of their exhibitions on home soil are packed into eight days. That’s followed by nine days of nothing but practices and scrimmages before visiting Miami October 30 to open the season.
$1,000 Sheridan Hoops Fantasy Contest
When you finish drafting your traditional fantasy teams, consider daily leagues. 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 place doubles your investment. Pick nine players within a $60,000 salary cap and the team that compiles the most fantasy points — on October 31st only — wins.
|FanDuel Dozen||Oct. 30|
|Starters||$5,000 to $7,000|
Yesterday’s chart listed some possible picks for that Hallowe’en event; today let’s look at the more limited choices for Oct. 30, the first night of the regular season, with only three NBA games.
With $60,000 to build the best possible 9-man team, LeBron James is either essential at $9,900, or prohibitively expensive. One problem is the lack of real bargains among the Scrubs. If the $9,000 Dwight Howard doesn’t play, $3,400 Robert Sacre pairs nicely with LBJ. Also very thin on a 3-game night is the C position. If you don’t like either Laker, with limited options I’m suggesting Tristan Thompson ($5,700) as the best bang for your buck.
Thursday is supposed to be my short morning article, making way for Bruce Wrigley’s column this afternoon. Don’t miss his take on auction drafts, and thanks for reading this far.
Follow the whole Sheridan Hoops fantasy team on Twitter — @SheridanFantasy — we’ll be tweeting late lineup changes and breaking news until the end of the regular season.