So, Carlos Boozer decided to show up last night and Luol Deng thought the season hadn't started yet (dude, you were awful). Derrick Rose got a tweet from the President welcoming him back, but it looks like he'll need more games to be back to his old self. He logged 34 minutes, went 4-15 from the floor and scored 12 points, 1 rebound with 4 assists but had 5 turnovers to go with that. Certainly not his ideal start to the season. Jimmy Butler was Chicago's second highest scorer, behind Boozer's 31, with 20 of his own. Perhaps more impressive than his 20 points was Butler's 5 steals. Butler could be a solid option for your fantasy team, keep an eye on him. Noah disappointed with only 2 points but he did manage 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. That's what I like about Noah, when he doesn't score, he fills up the stat sheet in other ways. When he does score, he still fills up the stat sheet.
Andrew Nicholson made the best out of his 19 minutes of game time for the Magic. The 23-year old Canadian racked up 18 points, all in the first half, while shooting 8-10 from the floor. Very efficient from Nicholson, but he was not rewarded for his play by head coach Jacque Vaughn. After being subbed off with 4:51 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Nicholson didn't come back in the game until the 4th quarter. Vaughn's reasoning for this was because he wanted Jason Maxiell (0-5, 0 pts, 5 rebs, 1 steal, 2 blocks) to guard David West. Maxiell did a good job in keeping West in check as he went 4-11 with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 5 turnovers. However, West contributed to the Pacers BLOCK party with 5 blocks. The Pacers had a total of 18 blocks for the game! Roy Hibbert was their leader with 7 blocks, the big man also hauled in 16 rebounds but only managed 8 points. My sleeper pick of the night, Lance Stephenson came through for me with 19 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds. He's definitely a guy I would have on my fantasy team, especially while Granger is out. As expected, Paul George led all scorers with 24 points, he also added 5 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1 steal.
Victor Oladipo came off the bench to play 23 minutes for the Magic and managed 12 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 turnovers. Another one of the players I told you to watch for was Maurice Harkless and he disappointed a little bit, mainly because he failed to grab the rebounds I was hoping for. He scored 14 points but only grabbed 1 rebound. Nikola Vucevic, dubbed as a "double-double machine" by me, was a field goal shy of coming good. He finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
The Kobe-less Lakers managed to defeat the Clippers and it was their bench that made it happen. It's not often you look at the box score and see almost every single player off the bench score in double digits, while, only two starters managed to do the same. Pau Gasol and Nick Young were the only starters to score in double digits, while Wesley Johnson was the only player off the bench (that actually played) that did not get to double digits in points. Pau Gasol started his season off a double-double, posting 15 points, 13 rebounds and pitched in with 4 assists. Nick Young only buried one 3-pointer but thanks to 6 free throws, he was still able to score 13 points, but provided owners with little else in other categories. Chris Kaman was 2 rebounds shy of a double-double of his own, finishing with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in just 20 minutes of game time. Jordan Hill was also 2 rebounds shy of a double-double, finishing his night with 12 points and 8 rebounds in just 18 minutes of game time. Jordan Farmar's first game back with his former team was a hit, as he went 6-10, 2-3 from 3-point land for 16 points and he added 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Jodie Meeks decided to show up (dude is wildly inconsistent), he went 4-8, 3-6 from 3-point land for 13 points. The highest scorer for the Lakers was Xavier Henry, off the bench, in 26 minutes of play, he went 8-13, 3-4 from 3-point territory for 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. He's probably going to be added by a bunch of teams due to this performance, I am still on the fence about him. I just don't think this is what you can expect from him on a consistent basis. If you have an empty spot, he's worth a speculative add.
The Clippers didn't have much to write home about. However, DeAndre Jordan, one of my top 20 center's before the season started, went 8-10 for 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals. Chris Paul was Chris Paul and he went for 15 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds. Blake Griffin went 8-15 for 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists but had a team high 4 turnovers.
Wednesday October 30th
New signing Brandon Jennings is out injured and is expected to miss at least the first four games of the season. In his place, the Pistons will start fan-favorite, Will Bynum at PG. Chauncey Billups will partner Bynum in the backcourt and we should see the trio of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond behind them. I like Will Bynum and I think your team will benefit from starting him until Jennings comes back. He's a dynamic little guy and has great chemistry with Andre Drummond. Look for a couple alley-oops between those two tonight.
Players to look for: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Will Bynum, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter Jr., Nene, Chauncey Billups.
Kenneth Faried will be held out until he fully recovers from his hamstring injury, that will give J.J. Hickson an opportunity to shine. Hickson is a good play today and until Faried comes back. He's a great source for rebounds, but I'm not sure how valuable he will be once Faried comes back. While Faried is out, I would definitely take a look at Hickson. Ty Lawson will also be held out of tonight's game, giving Andre Miller and Nate Robinson a huge boost in value for this game. Wilson Chandler will also miss the game (SHOCKER!), Darrell Arthur, Jordan Hamilton and Anthony Randolph could benefit from that. I'm personally excited to see how rookie Ben McLemore does in his first NBA game for the Kings.
Players to look for: DeMarcus Cousins, J.J. Hickson, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson, Andre Miller, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Ben McLemore, Isaiah Thomas, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson.
A fantastic showdown between two of the best point guards in the league with Kyrie Irving and Deron Wiliams going head-to-head. Paul Pierce is expected to recover in time to start in this game for the Nets, but Andrew Bynum, is of course, not going to be available for the Cavs. Anderson Varejao is expected to play a role, however, his minutes could be limited for the forseeable future. Therefore, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller will be relied upon heavily. I like Thompson to out-produce Zeller, and I think he is a solid choice for your fantasy team if you are hurting for big men.
Players to look for: Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Tyler Zeller.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Rockets announced they will be starting Patrick Beverley at point guard over Jeremy Lin to start the season. I like Beverley as a sleeper this year, but this is going to be a point guard situation that will frustrate owners all year. Essentially, I think Kevin McHale is going to go with the "hot hand". The starting five for Houston is expected to be: Beverley, Harden, Parsons, Asik and Howard. I like all of those guys to have productive nights. I also like all of them for the season, I'm interested to see how Asik and Howard work together. They could cause severe match up problems for opponents.
Players to watch for: James Harden, Dwight Howard, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Beverley, Omer Asik, Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon.
This one should be a doozy! A rematch of the Western Conference Finals, Memphis will be seeking revenge after being swept by the Spurs. The Grizz will be relying heavily on their "big 3" of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. The Spurs are once again, deep as ever, and anyone can come up big for them. Old Man Duncan is still alive and kicking, Tony Parker will still break your ankles (and your girl friends heart), Danny Green has emerged as a sharp shooter and Kawhi Leonard is establishing himself as a defensive force.
Players to look for: Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili.
Unfortunately we won't be seeing Russell Westbrook vs Trey Burke as both point guards are recovering from injury. However, there's still a lot of fantasy value on both teams. Reggie Jackson is a solid addition to your fantasy team while Westbrook is out injured. Serge Ibaka is a blocking machine, Kevin Durant is nothing short of amazing and the Jazz have a handful of promising players that have yet to meet their expectations. Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors are among those players. Jazz will need all three of those guys to be firing on all cylinders in order to have a glimmer of hope in this game and beyond.
Players to look for: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward, Reggie Jackson.
Two guys I am banking on to have great seasons will be featured here, in the same backcourt. Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic will begin their dynamic partnership against the Trail Blazers. Dragic has been mentioned as a trade chip lately, and we might not see the dynamic partnership of him and Bledsoe last all season. However, while it does last, let's enjoy it. Damian Lilliard will be looking to build off his phenomenal rookie season and the always reliable LaMarcus Aldridge will be ready to shine.
Players to look for: LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Markieff Morris, Miles Plumlee, Nicolas Batum, Thomas Robinson, Meyers Leonard, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez.
Thursday October 31st
Hopefully, we will see a better Derrick Rose and a MUCH better Luol Deng in Chicago's second game of the season. The Knicks will be ever reliant on Carmelo Anthony to carry them as far as he physically can. I'm interested to see if Jimmy Butler can put together two straight good games.
Players to look for: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani.
Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers
Only two games on deck for Thursday as per usual. This one should be an exciting back and forth, up tempo game between two highly talented teams. The Clippers will be looking to notch up their first win of the season after being embarrassed by the Lakers bench. I expect big games from Griffin and Paul and DeAndre Jordan should lead the way in rebounds and blocks.
Players to look for: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguadola.
Those are the games I am most intrigued about for today and tomorrow. I will be publishing part two by tomorrow, hopefully, highlighting Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
As usual, leave your thoughts in the comments section or on twitter @asfarfaketeams.
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