We’re nearly two weeks into the regular season and I don’t think anyone participating in fantasy basketball has any idea what’s going on. How could the NBA think that 66 games over 125 days could possibly work? It seems as if every player is either hurt, out for no apparent reason, or simply dreadful.
Personally, I ended Week 1 in last place in the Damn Lies League, a mere 50 points out of first. I walked around my house in a stupor on Sunday evening, a la Robert the Bruce at the Scottish gravesite after betraying William Wallace. Week 2 has been much better thanks to the return of a two-legged Andrew Bynum, but as a Dorell Wright owner, I’m still teetering on the brink of driving to the Bay area and giving him a massive Indian burn.
But this column, which I will commit to on a weekly basis, is not about me and my incessant whining. It’s about you, our coveted Damn Lies readers, and your need for some good ol’ fashion advice on whom to start, sit and pick up for the coming week. Let’s get down to business.
Tony Allen, SG/SF, Memphis – With Zach Randolph gone for the next two months we could see plenty of Rudy Gay at power forward, O.J. Mayo at shooting guard and Allen at small forward. Newly acquired Marreese Speights will fill a decent-sized role in the Grizzlies front court, but 30+ minutes a night for Allen is enough for him to carry your team in steals.
Paul George, SG/SF, Indiana – Anyone whose retinas aren’t detached can see that this will soon become George’s team. Like teammate Danny Granger, he’s long, lean and athletic, but is much better defensively and way more efficient. He’ll get 30+ minutes a night for the next 10 years.
Ben Gordon, SG, Detroit – Gordon is one a few players missing time in Week 2 for personal reasons. Assuming he is back for next week’s five-game slate, know for certain that new coach Lawrence Frank believes in him. Gordon’s confidence is returning, meaning shots should be flying up pretty soon at an alarming rate. The man does have offensive ability and 18-20 points and a ton of threes are well within reach.
Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota – I’ve yet to see him actually play, but I’m already in love with his unselfish game. This is the type of pure point guard every team needs and he is already playing 25-minutes a night in a reserve role. remember the knock on him that he couldn’t shoot? Well, he’s knocked down six of his first nine from 3-point range. Get him in your lineups immediately!
Jason Terry, SG, Dallas – Terry is one of two or three guys in the league who I think anytime he fires up a shot, no matter where he is on the floor, that it is going in. The 34-year old is still playing 30-minutes a game, is still among league leaders in threes made and is still adept at stealing the ball. With Jason Kidd soon to be motoring around in a Rascal and Roddy Beaubois smelling badly, Terry should be in for a strong season.
Samuel Dalembert, C, Houston – Dalembert and Charlotte’s Boris Diaw should start working on a line of Manziers for men 6’9″ and above. Sammy D is way out of shape and he is not going to get more than the 20 minutes a game he is currently getting until he lays off the Ring Dings. I wouldn’t drop him as his rebounding and shot-blocking ability could win you a championship down the road, but for now, plant his large derriere on your bench.
Landry Fields, SG, New York – Fields is about to take the initial fall for the Knicks’early-season failure and Iman Shumpert will probably reap the benefits. It can’t be that Carmelo killed their chemistry or anything, can it? Nah, must be that Fields isn’t trying as hard as he did last season. Sit Fields until Melo needs surgery on his right elbow following another vintage 30-shot night.
Channing Frye, PF, Phoenix – I’m a little hesitant to sit Frye as he could get hot at any moment, but with Markieff Morris looking like the real deal and Hakim Warrick playing decently, Frye has little room for error. Not too many guys can block a shot and also knock down two threes per game, but don’t go chasing it, especially when the signs are looking this bad.
Rashard Lewis, SF, Washington – It doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict the end of Lewis as a starting player in the National Basketball Association. Despite Lewis’ legendary nosedive, head coach Flip Saunders continues to give him plenty of daylight. This could soon change as Jan Vesely is now healthy and ready to assume a semi-prominent role. Chain Lewis to your bench.
Dorell Wright, SF, Golden State – The 2010 Fantasy MVP is currently the 2011-12 Fantasy LVP. Wright literally does nothing on the floor, except his knack for heaving the occasional line-drive 3-point attempt that goes awry. I’m appreciative of Mark Jackson continuing to give Wright more chances as Brandon Rush has looked terrific in a reserve role. Jackson also seems to dig rookie swingman Klay Thompson, so Dorell’s leash is probably pretty, pretty small.
Pick ’em up:
Marshon Brooks, SG/SF New Jersey – The other night, without Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries, Avery Johnson had on the floor the worst team in NBA history. Adding injury to insult, Brooks, who looks to be a nice find out of Providence, rolled his ankle. He is apparently ok, and has been green-lighted to shoot at will. While his FG% will likely suffer, his peripherals might be surprisingly good.
Alonzo Gee, SF, Cleveland – The Omri Casspi experiment is not working out well thus far for Byron Scott, and it seems as if the former Laker is enamored with Gee. He is averaging a shade under 28.0 minutes as a reserve and providing solid across-the-board numbers. He has played every fourth-quarter minute in each of the Cavs’ last two contests. Now is the time to pounce.
Gary Neal, PG/SG, San Antonio – With Manu Ginobili on the shelf for the next six weeks, it looks as if Neal will be the guy to own. We may see a little of James Anderson and a little of Danny Green, but Neal, now recovered from an appendectomy, can be a great source of points, threes and steals.
Iman Shumpert, SG, New York – We’re 52 minutes into Shumpert’s NBA career and Mike D’Antoni has toyed with the notion of anointing him starter at shooting guard over Fields. Even in a reserve role, Shumpert will play around 25 minutes. Anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time, while seeing this much daylight for D’Antoni, must be scooped up.