We’re nine days in to the season and I’m already trying to figure out how I’m going to make it through the final 165. In his column last week, Jeff implored us to chill out as it was very early and stats are amplified or de-amplified at this stage. The questions I have for Mr. Andriesse are as follows: Do you sir, in any of your 37 leagues, own Stephen Curry? Do you have rights to Zach Randolph? Did you start Austin Daye in week one? Did you start the putrid Danny Granger (2-14 fg) in a two-game week two? Did you insert Nene this period? If you answered yes to any of these, then by all means, join me at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. As the fateful owner of all five, I envision several more nights sleeping in the dumbwaiter, clear of my wife’s airborne needlepoint tools.
While things haven’t gone as planned thus far for your friendly, unbalanced neighborhood scribe, it has been quite a first nine days. Allow me to highlight some surprising value picks as well as a few dudes who have made fantasy owners shriek in horror. Either that or I’ll just post a link to my team.
John Wall, PG, WAS (23.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 10.3 apg, 4.0 spg, .462 fg, .778 ft, 2-3 3-pt fg, 4.7 to)
Welcome to the Association of Basketball Professionals Mr. Wall. I congratulate those who gobbled him up in the third round or later as this could be the only year in the next 12 that he is not first-round material. Through three games he is averaging stupid numbers and despite an unsightly 4.7 turnovers per contest, is on the brink of fantasy superstardom. Tuesday’s 29-point, 13-assist, 9-steal extravaganza was a thing to behold, something i haven’t beheld in a long time. A sign of things to come for the lightning-quick rook.
Elton Brand, PF, PHI (16.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 3.0 spg, 1.8 bpg, .549 fg, .818 ft, 1.3 to)
I knew it. I swear on the condition of my ’86 Fleer Patrick Ewing that I knew Brand would bounce back in a big way. Following nine all-star caliber years as a Bull and Clipper, Brand’s career was taking the slow swirl down the turlet the last two seasons as a Sixer. Now guided by the venerable Doug Collins, a healthier and happier Brand is beginning to earn his $16 million per. On Wednesday he posted 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and a couple of blocks, and with decent health is capable of continuing his averages in the macho stats the remainder of the year.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR (18.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.6 bpg, .450 fg, 2-2 3-pt fg, 1.2 to)
The prime example of a guy I never want in my drafts only to covet days into each season. Aldridge dedicated himself to getting stronger this year, but when did he dedicate himself to thievery? The man averaged 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks a season ago and just torched the Bucks for four steals and five swats on Tuesday. That trend will not continue, but with Greg Oden yet to return from the Battle of Normandy, the 18.8 points and 9.2 boards could be about right.
Luis Scola, PF, HOU (22.8 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.0 bpg, .507 fg, .739 ft, 1.5 to)
The underrated Scola has tangoed around NBA arenas for more than three years now, and while 2009-10 was a semi-breakout, the ’10-11 version will make last year’s seem like Tom Boerwinkle. The inflated scoring and rebounding totals will come down to earth, but even with Erick Dampier and a two-legged Yao in the fold, 20 and 10 is within reason. The percentages will also remain solid and if he approaches his 0.7 steals and 1.0 blocks from a year ago, the Argentinean could finish with third-round value.
Paul Millsap, PF, UT (21.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg, .632 fg, .684 ft, 1.5 to)
The Paul Millsap Era has arrived ladies and gentlemen. The undersized power forward has patiently waited his turn behind the likes of Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and even Matt Harpring to have a chance to earn some serious daylight with the Jazz. Through four games he has capitalized to the tune of 21.3, 10.8 and 3.5 and his field goal percentage (.632) is a thing of beauty. I thought for sure his defensive statistics would make him relevant, but he is only producing 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks through four games. If those categories improve, and I’d be shocked if they didn’t, we could have a fantasy menace on our hands.
John Salmons, SG, MIL (8.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.3 bpg, .268 fg, .750 ft, 3-4 3-pt fg, 2.8 to)
If a movie were made depicting the first five games of Salmons’ 2010-11 campaign, it would be for mature audiences only. It doesn’t get any more grotesque than these totals for the top 90 choice as he is crushing his owners in every category, including sleep deprivation. In all fairness, he did miss nearly all of the preseason with a knee injury, but it may require the patience of Mahatma Gandhi to hang in there with him in a congested Milwaukee backcourt.
Chris Bosh, PF, MIA (13.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, .426 fg, .826 ft, 0.8 to)
Bosh went from first-round value a year ago to battling James Jones for the title of third-best fantasy producer on his own team. Bosh will have his moments, you can count on that, but to think that he’ll sniff 20 and 10 this year is officially a pipe dream. The man has yet to attempt more than 12 shots in a game thus far and only once has he grabbed double-digit rebounds. If an injury strikes either LeBron or Wade, Bosh will again become a force. But until this happens, prepare for a huge dropoff.
Danilo Gallinari, SF, NYK (6.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.3 bpg, .208 fg, 1.000 ft, 2-11 3-pt fg, 0.3 to)
Remember the Batman episode when Robin was being eaten by a giant clam? The giant clam is named Wilson Chandler and Robin is Gallo. With the potential to lead the league in threes, while adding a block a game, the sweet-shooting Gallinari was going in the top 40 of many drafts. The most amazing part of his start is that I don’t own him. If this is a tryout for the Washington Generals, he has a leg up on Adam Morrison for the final roster spot. Gallo is young and talented and before long should get things straightened out. His injured wrist is likely still bothering him, but there are way too many capable bodies behind him on the depth chart, Chandler in particular, that he needs to get his act together quickly.
Hedo Turkoglu, PF, PHO (8.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.5 bpg, .379 fg, 1.000 ft, 6-15 3-pt fg, 1.0 to)
Turkoglu’s salad days seem over to me and I base that on the notion that I think I can take him in a game of one-on-one. To think he is making over $10 million this year to clog the Suns offense is criminal. His owners probably have to stick with him for a while longer as there are countless opportunities for him to produce in this system. Hakim Warrick is already proving the more efficient player and it could be a matter of time before he supplants the 31-year old Turk in the starting five.
Rashard Lewis, SF, ORL (8.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.0 bpg, .313 fg, 1.000 ft, 2-12 3-pt fg, 1.7 to)
Lewis began to stumble down the mountain last year and appears to have completely fallen off the cliff in ’10-11. Through three games his totals are so egregious that I think his owners should either be awarded a do-over or a round-trip ticket for one to the psychoanalysis center of the owner’s choice. Is this the end of the road for Lewis? Could be, probably will be from a fantasy perspective as he’s an old 31. It would definitely take a change of scenery for him to be startable again. The best advice I can give is to pawn him off on an owner in desperate need of threes or one who doesn’t realize he is no longer in Seattle.