Friday, October 24, 2008

Preseason Points

It was preseason finale eve and some interesting happenings occurred. So let’s unwrap some fantasy presence:

Line of the night:
Spencer Hawes had a monster line of 25 points on 12-for-19 shooting, 16 rebounds, three assists, and a three. Hawes just got an extension and it didn’t take long to show there’s some potential with the Kings' new investment. Brad Miller will be suspended for the first five games and Hawes might be worth a start for the first week regardless of league depth. He may have already taken the Spence out of suspense for those waiting to see if he is a capable NBA player for Sacramento.

Atlanta at Detroit
Maurice Evans stepped into the starting role for Joe Johnson and Maurice didn’t post big numbers. Evans played 41 minutes scored 14 points on five-for-13 shooting and missed all seven attempts from three. Evans didn’t contribute much else. On the other hand, Flip Murray had a solid line consisting of 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, a three-pointer, a steal, and a block. Evans and Murray are both expected spell the backcourt with regularity along with Acie Law (six points, three assists, two rebounds, and a three). Moreover, Evans was brought in to fill the void of Josh Childress, and he’s not off to a good start. J-Chill shot 57-percent from the floor last year, and Evans has only shot 38.5-percent in his last five preseason games. Evans did shoot 49-percent last year for Orlando, but Orlando is a better team and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Evans might lose his sixth manhood to Law or Murray.
Most important point: Stats aside, Law, Murray, and Evans have looked pretty good, but for my money I’m taking Acie Law be-IV(four) any other ATL reserve.

There are a lot of breakout candidates on the Pistons this year. The cat is outta the bag on Rodney Stuckey being the sixth man for the aging Pistons. Stuckey really shined last year once the Pistons were set with the two seed in the east and averaged 14 points and four assist in 27 minutes for April. Stuckey did get 22 minutes in the playoffs, so he has certainly proven he has a role with everyone active. Stuckey has looked great this season, but he had his worst showing in the preseason Thursday night by missing all nine of his shots in the first half and finishing three-for-18 from the floor. Stuckey is still worthy of a pick near 100.
Rasheed Wallace didn’t play and Antonio McDyess got the start, but Detroit gave Jason Maxiell a long look. Max played 36 minutes and scored 13 with eight boards. Max will be competing with Amir Johnson for minutes and Amir wasn’t amazing. Johnson fouled out in only 15 minutes on the court. This is the second time he has fouled out this preseason, and he also had five fouls in 18 minutes in another game. It’s pretty easy to draw comparisons to Andray Blatche considering Amir is a solid shot blocker and has been fouling a ton.
Most important point: Amir has certainly looked like he can add some blocks and boards to your fantasy team, and he has received moreminutes than Max, too. However, his propensity to hack will curtail his progress. Furthermore, with so many guys with upside and a new coach in Detroit, fantasy owners will want to keep a watchful eye on which players get minutes (or at least check back with us here even though I can't keep my most important point to one point).

Milwaukee at Minnesota
Luke Ridnour has apparently pulled away from Ramon Sessions for the starting point guard spot. Luke had 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two threes, and a steal in 27.5 minutes. Sessions only scored two and added zero dimes in nine minutes. Luke has been getting a lot more run for the last few games and it appears he will be able to get 30 minutes each night. Andrew Bogut missed the game with his ankle injury, but he should be ok for the opener and shouldn’t be dropped on cheat sheets more than a few spots. Charlie Villanueva got a light night of work after his stellar preseason which is likely a sign he has a secure role even with the addition of Richard Jefferson.
Most important pointS:Luke has the job, but he does have knee issues, so deep league owners should hold onto Sessions in case of an injury. Luke should be drafted in standard leagues now, too. The Bucks appear to be fairly relevant with all five starters being fairly fantasy friendly for the foreseeable future (say that three times fast).

Al Jefferson was very efficient by making seven-of-eight from the floor and making all five of his free-throws for 19 points in 25 minutes. Big Al was not quite outdone by Kevin Love who scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in only 21.6 minutes. Love also added a three-pointer, which was his first made in five attempts this preseason. The fact that Love is shooting from deep will hurt his field goal percentage much like Josh Smith. Rashad McCants has also performed quite well off the bench, and might even have more value than Manu Ginobili for the whole season (having a two month head-start certainly helps)
Most important point: If you’re the patient type, Kevin Love should be a legit pick around 100.

Indiana at Dallas
There doesn’t appear to be too much in question within Indiana. Marquis Daniels certainly helped himself with a nice 22 and nine line while filling in for Mike Dunleavy. Brandon Rush had some strong showings early, but finished on a down note with only two points on 12.5-percent shooting. TJ Ford nearly got a triple-double with 19 points, nine dimes, and seven assist. Danny Granger scored 24 with a couple threes and making all 12 of his free-throws.
Most important point: TJ Ford is the real deal. If he can stay healthy he should have no problem being a starting PG for many fantasy teams.

The Dallas is pretty much set with their rotation as well. Antoine Wright looks like he’ll be starting at the two, but despite his team and potential, he will likely be irrelevant in standard leagues. Wright scored four points in 14.8 minutes. Jason Kidd could only add three points, however he added six assists and eight boards.
Most important point: Jason Kidd is going to kill your fantasy team’s field goal percentage regardless of the team. It looked like he was going to be better once the trade happened when he shot 50-percent in his first six games, but then he shot only 40.6-percent in the remaining 23 games last season.

Miami at New Orleans
Dorell Wright returned to action and scored nine and joins several Heat players that mattered in fantasy last year, and won’t matter this year. On that note, Chris Quinn made two of his four free-throws and missed all three shots from the floor. For the guys that matter, Beasley scored 14 and has continued to look like he is the favorite for Rookie of the Year. Udonis Haslem had his most inefficient line by only scoring four and pulling down seven boards in 27.3 minutes. Erik Spoelstra gave Mario Chalmers another long look with 10 points, five boards, and zero assists in 26 minutes. Marcus Banks added nine with a three and a steal in 21 minutes.
Most important point: Mario Chalmers has been better as the preseason has progressed and should probably be the first Miami point guard taken after pick 175.

The beat goes on for New Orleans as CP3 had 13 dimes, Chandler grabbed 10 boards, and David West scored 22.
Most important point: CP3=PN1 (pick number one)

Oklahoma City at Phoenix
Russell Westbrook had a very nice eight-cat line with 22 points on seven-for-13 shooting, he made all six from the line, had four assists, six rebounds, a steal, and two threes. However, he had eight turnovers in the loss. Kevin Durant played 36 minutes and scored 19, and Jeff Green looks like a legit pick after 100 as he 12-point and seven-rebound line.
Most important point: Earl Watson didn’t play and should Watson get hurt or be traded Westbrook will be a serviceable fantasy starter.

Amare Stoudemire dislocated his left pinkie after scoring 17 in the contest. Amare should be fine considering it is only his pinkie and it is on his non-shooting hand. If Kobe can play with torn ligaments in his pinkie, Amare will be fine. Don’t worry. Anyway, Matt Barnes returned to the starting squad and had a solid line of 12 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and two threes. Barnes is going to get minutes and there might not be a better option for points with a late pick.
Most important point: Amare shouldn’t go past fourth in your drafts this weekend.

Buzzer Beaters:Not much happened in the other two games (besides Hawes), but it is worth mentioning that Tracy McGrady was grimacing due to pain, and Yao Ming had to leave the game with an apparent ankle injury. They both were fine, but don’t underestimate the fragility of Yao and T-Mac. I must also remind you that it's only preseason, so don't read too much into the trends.

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