Real games are just a week away and the pre-season is starting to wind down. Teams are playing their starters more, making their final roster decisions and being very cautious with the slightest ailments.
The better organizations knew the answers to most questions before the pre-season began whereas the weaker ones are still trying to figure things out. If you take anything away from this week’s meaningless games, it should be which teams look settled and which ones do not. If you want to avoid fantasy frustration stick to players on the settled teams where possible.
Yesterday’s big news was that Dirk Nowitzki hopes to miss 3 weeks instead of the forecast 4 to 6. A small but encouraging reprieve for his owners.
October 22 Games
NYK @ PHI: The Knicks are still an unsettled group, especially on the perimeter. Amar’e Stoudemire‘s ruptured cyst adds to the uncertainty and may lead to bigger issues down the road since Carmelo Anthony is a better 4 than he is a 3. Melo didn’t show it last night though going 7-23 in 35 minutes with only 6 rebounds. As we predicted yesterday, Jason Kidd got the start at SG but did nothing of note. Ronnie Brewer got his first game action of the preseason and looked rusty failing to score in 15 minutes. On the positive side, Chris Copeland followed up his 34 pt performance with a 15 in 26 minutes but was a defensive liability reflected in a by far game worst -14. Don’t put any stock in Raymond Felton‘s 23 pts as it came against a PG-less opponent.
Philly, on the other hand, looks ready to go. In their final pre-season game, they sat half their rotation (Andrew Bynum, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Dorell Wright and Kwame Brown) and lost PG Maalik Wayns to a mild concussion five minutes in but still cruised. Jason Richardson took advantage of the weak Knicks perimeter scoring 23 including 6 3PM, 7 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, and BLK in an all-round monster performance. Thaddeus Young was 10 of 12 in the field but more importantly cemented his place as the starter at PF by holding Carmelo in check.