Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire and Kevin Love are my starting five. You want defense? Sorry, this is the fantasy department. John Wall, Eric Gordon, J.R. Smith, Nene and Andrew Bogut are the second unit.
Every one of those guys is draftable, depending on your league settings. Just not as high as usual. Let someone else get them at the pre-rank level, but if your league is very competitive and everyone lets them fall — or the auction price is low and stalling — know where they make sense for you. I haven’t completely excluded any of them.
October 23 Games
IND @ CLE: As Jeff said yesterday, you need to interpret a team’s intentions at this time of year. Sometimes it’s easy. The Pacers used their actual lineup, except for George Hill, who is expected to return from his hip pointer on Friday. In his place, D.J. Augustin (9 PTS, 11 AST) has been so efficient that he may have earned a 50-50 job share. When Hill is up to speed, he can play off the ball, so you may see them together. We would have forgiven Danny Granger for being a little rusty. He had an excellent first half (9 PTS, 3 REB, 1 BLK in 12 minutes) and didn’t return, according to plan. His minutes may be limited in the first few regular-season games and his knee is far from 100%, but that was way more encouraging than another DNP.
The Cavaliers are still experimenting. Alonzo Gee (18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL) started at SF, with C.J. Miles coming off the bench. In a bigger surprise, Tyler Zeller (13 & 7) was the starting center, with Anderson Varejao at PF and Tristan Thompson on the bench. Thompson, a disappointment this month, played only 17 minutes and the biggest number he put up was a 5 in the Fouls department. Rookie SG Dion Waiters remains the starter, though 4-14 shooting and modest contributions in other categories won’t help fantasy owners.
MIA @ CHA: A day off for Dwyane Wade meant a start for Terrel Harris and extra minutes for Garrett Temple. Chris Bosh led the way with a stellar line: 21 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 2 BLK in 25 minutes. Don’t overreact to the preseason run Norris Cole has received while Mario Chalmers heals. The Heat don’t often use a backup PG, so Cole could go from “starter” to DNPs in a hurry. Last night, Josh Harrellson and Dexter Pittman shared the minutes that will soon go to Udonis Haslem, who — along with Chalmers — was able to practice yesterday.
It was a big night statistically for Kemba Walker (24), Ramon Sessions (24) and Gerald Henderson (13), as Ben Gordon (ankle) didn’t play. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came off the bench behind Jeffrey Taylor and neither impressed. It’s possible that MKG won’t be in the starting lineup for a while; one option is to start Gordon at SG and move Henderson to SF. Tyrus Thomas got another start at PF because Byron Mullens, whose newly-discovered 3-point shooting makes him a sleeper, missed another game with a swollen right knee he calls “a little bone bruise.”