Fantasy Basketball, Week 2
Illuminating the Point Guard commotion.
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
The first week of games is in the books. You know what that means, right? Only 24/25ths of the fantasy season remains. Time to get to work on our rosters.
Nothing stood out more than the collection of point guard performances in Week 1. In my preview I advised fantasy owners to pump their brakes before pulling the trigger on Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose in the opening rounds of their drafts. Why? Well, I like my point guards to hit threes. Part of the thinking behind that was, since they are such popular players, they’ll probably be taken higher than I’m willing to draft them. During the opening week, those guys made me look foolish for passing them up.
Rondo is averaging 16.7 assists through his first three games, including the 24 assists he dropped on the Knicks on his way to a triple-double. Westbrook is showing considerable improvement across the board. Through three games he’s averaging 22.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals. His shooting percentages are up to 46.7 (FG)/93.6 (FT) from 41.8/78 last season. And, Rose only delivered what is arguably the best fantasy line we’ve so far this season against the Pistons; 39 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 threes, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Notice the threes, something Rose said he was working on. This is the first sign showing any improvement from last season, so it could just be an aberration.
Luckily, for those of you that didn’t draft Rondo, Westbrook or Rose, they aren’t the only point guards who lit it up. Here are some other point guards who are off to hot starts:
• Chris Paul is looking like he did two seasons ago. Through three games, he has 28 assists and only 4 turnovers.
• Jason Kidd is doing his thing, once again. Along with a 65-foot buzzer beater, Kidd has an 18-assist game under his belt already and he’s averaging 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 11.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.3 threes. In his 17th season in the League, he can still get it done.
• Rondo wasn’t the only PG to record a triple-double last week, as sophomore Brandon Jennings added one to his young, impressive resume. He finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against the Bobcats. He’s a field goal percentage terror, but shot 6-8 that night, including 3-3 from downtown. I would strongly consider selling high because he’ll likely finish the season with a sub-40 shooting percentage that will devastate you in that category.
• Mike Conley put together two strong efforts last week. Against the Hawks he tallied 23 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists and dropped 14 points, 7 rebounds, 11 assists and 7 steals on the Timberwolves.
• Devin Harris is off to a marvelous campaign, averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 assists while shooting 57.6 percent from the field.
• Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans is picking up just where he left off. He’s averaging 20.7 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
• Rodney Stuckey is averaging 18.7 points and 7.7 assists, and has only turned the ball over 4 times in three games.
It was an ugly start for some point guards, though:
• Just as Stephen Curry was starting to justify being a Top-5 pick in many drafts this year, he went down with an ankle injury. He, reportedly, will return this week. The most frustrating part is, it appears it could be one of those lingering injuries that could cause him to miss considerable time down the line.
• One would think, or at least hope, that the acrobatic Blake Griffin would be enough incentive for Baron Davis to step up his game. So far, it hasn’t happened. Davis is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 assists while shooting a dismal 32.4 percent from the field. He sat out the last game against the Spurs because of left knee soreness and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro gave him, and the rest of us, a piece of his mind. ESPN reports Del Negro believes Baron’s lack of off-season conditioning contributed to his injury. “Baron knows he was behind in his conditioning and he’s had to work so hard to get in condition that he’s had to put some extra strain on his knee,” Del Negro said. “That causes a lot of problems for everybody; for Baron, for the team, for everyone involved. He needs to be a leader and a catalyst for this team and by not preparing the right way he’s hurting himself and hurting the group and he knows that.”
• Jrue Holiday seemed ready to flourish this season. It’s early yet, but he and the Sixers are off to similarly miserable starts. He’s averaging only 8.7 points and 3 assists through three games. We’ll see if he can get his season going in the right direction when he matches up with Wall and the winless Wizards on Tuesday night.
ON THE WIRE
Fantasy leagues come in all different shapes and sizes, so everyone’s free agent pool won’t look exactly the same. Here are some players who might have flown under the radar in many drafts who could be worth a pickup in your league.
Mike Bibby – Last season, it was the Jamal Crawford Show and Bibby had his worst season ever. This year, Bibby could play a more significant role, especially if he keeps playing so efficiently. He’s 8-15 from downtown and has 14 assists to only 2 turnovers.
Josh McRoberts – Another Dukie. The Pacers‘ starting power forward is averaging 9.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He’s also able to step out and hit the occasional three-pointer as he’s done in two out of three games thus far.
Reggie Evans – If you’re in need of a pure rebounding specialist, Evans is your guy. He’s really going to produce nothing else but boards. He’s the League’s early rebounding leader at 16.3 per game, but don’t expect help in any other categories.
Hakim Warrick – He showed what he’s capable of producing with Steve Nash as his point guard when he hung 18 points and 11 rebounds on the Jazz. The Lakers weren’t having any of that the following night, as he finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. I think Warrick is the Suns‘ closest replacement to Amar’e. If he’s able to develop some chemistry with Nash, he could end up earning some big minutes and producing more lines like the one in Utah.
Omri Casspi – He’s 9-13 behind the arc in his last two games. It appears he has the starting small forward position locked up. Unfortunately, he provides little else other than points and threes.
Richard Jefferson – The focus of some Gregg Popovich individual coaching sessions this offseason, Jefferson’s practice seems to be paying off. He’s producing consistently and efficiently through the Spurs‘ first three games, averaging 17.3 points and making 64.3 percent of his field goal attempts.
Eric Bledsoe – He’s worth a look if Baron Davis misses any serious time. He has the ability to produce in various areas as he demonstrated when he started for Davis against the Spurs. He finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks and 1 three in 39 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan – The joyful return of “Upper Case” to the column. With Leandro Barbosa nursing a minor wrist injury, there should be more minutes for DeRozan. He made the most of his extra time against the Kings, scoring 24 points.