Coming into this year, the fantasy freaks of the world had two guys on their radar as far as Phoenix Suns centers. Would it be one-time fantasy darling and all-the-time Polish Hammer Marcin Gortat, or lottery pick Alex Len, who could either end up as a modern-day Jon Koncak or a white Dwight Howard.
How about neither? Gortat was traded to the Washington Cheese Wiz in a very odd trade where the Suns ended up with a protected first-round pick and a frozen-in-Carbonite Emeka Okafor – which really isn’t that different than Emeka Okafor – while the ex-Bullets got Gortat and three guys they waived.
Len, meanwhile, is injured, and won’t be ready even when he’s ready, if that makes any sense.
And all of this is perfectly fine in the retirement capital of the world.
That’s because, waiting in the wings, Plumlee was drafted 26th in the 2012 NBA draft after averaging in the mid-teens in minutes for most of his college career before finally getting a good seat on the pine in his senior year at Duke. That’s because, waiting in the wings, was a guy drafted 26th pick in 2012 NBA draft after averaging in the mid-teens in minutes for most of his college career before finally getting a good seat on the pine in his senior year with the Duke Blue Devils.. A guy who played in 14 games (and 55 total minutes) in his rookie year with the Indiana Pacers, averaging 0.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.2 bpg for the big-league club in between stints with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. A guy who was traded for freaking Luis Scola. Ew.
I’m talking about Miles Plumlee, of course. All he did in the season’s first two games was compile lines of 18-15-3 and 13-13-3 all while shooting 56 percent from the floor. He had an off night Sunday against the Thunder, getting into foul trouble early and finishing with 0 points with only 5 boards and 1 block. As I suspected, the points dropped down, but hey, he still got some rebounds and a snuff, and those are really the only stats we care about here anyway.
When I missed this guy late in a draft for the third time I turned into Ed Norton in that office scene in “Fight Club.” “I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise that my fantasy team blows.” And no I won’t settle for his weak-ass bro Mason.
The point of leading with Plumlee here is advice most of you know – get this guy if he’s still out there and you have, say, Ognjen Kuzmic clogging up your bench – but really to say, hey, let’s put this all in perspective. Plumlee is not Shaquille O’Neal, he’s just looking like a real good Board-N-Blocker for 2013-2014.
Statistically, he’ll be a clone of Spencer Hawes when Hawes is on, only with more boards and blocks and a few less points. And he would have been beaten out for the lead by Vitor Faverini, but Vitor only had two boards and 1 block tonight.
Here’s what else I saw down in the paint last week:
DeAndre Jordan – JB was the first to swoon over the big Clipper with the too-little head, but I had the same idea while watching the surprisingly pointless season-opener between the two L.A.’s. What really got me sold wasn’t how many boards (14) and blocks (2) he had, it was more how he got ’em, especially his monster rejection of Hans Klopek from “The ’Burbs,” aka Chris Kaman. The man is quickly erasing all thoughts of Benoit Benjamin [editor's note - nice reference!] from the minds of long-suffering Clip fans, averaging 11.3 ppg, 12 rpg and 2 bpg to start the year.
Roy Hibbert – Frank Vogel’s favorite forgotten man isn’t scoring much here early on, but with Paul George in full-on beast mode, he doesn’t have to. All he did was average 4.7 blocks to help the Pacers off to a 3-0 start. But, ah, Garçon, may we have a little more rebounding to go with our blocks, por favor?
Dwight Howard and Omer Asik – Despite a monster opening to the season, Howard has to share this blurb as punishment for being a super-sized jerk in the past. But there’s an actual point to it as well – Howard and the nearly eschewed Asik combined for 68 rebounds and 7 blocks in the first three games of the season. Can you say Twin Towers? Now, can you say it without snickering a little? OK, nevermind.
Spencer Hawes – 24 and 9. 16 and 14. 18 and 11. These are the kind of games that Spencer Hawes might have sprinkled in between a string of mediocre stinkers last year, thereby bringing the Hawes supporters out of the woodwork only to get shouted down like they were among Philadelphia’s many town crazies. But these were in three wins against quality opponents to open the season, including arguably the two best in the East in Miami and Chicago. Could be a strong campaign for Spence before he becomes the Tom Berenger in the Sixers’ real-life version of “Major League,” where everyone gets dumped in an attempt to lose. But what if they keep winning? Stay tuned …
Andrew Bynum – It was appropriate that his return coincided with the Halloween season. This was what 76ers fans everywhere were dreading: The Least Hardest Working Man in Pro Hoops decided to actually train and work hard to come back and play for former coach Mike Brown and the Cavs after dogging it all year in Philly because he never wanted to be there. Well, that happened, as Bynum played in the season’s first two games. But he only played eight and 11 minutes, respectively. And, in perhaps a nod to his former (does 0 games played count?) team, he looked like Jeff Ruland during his second stint with the Sixers, even though Cavs announcers went gaga over his “strength” when he laid in a miss against Brooklyn for two of his three points. And then he sat on Saturday. I will be shocked, shocked I tell ya, if Conan the Destroyer of Franchises plays 30 minutes even once this season.
Tyler Hansboro – Didn’t really think I’d be putting anyone from the Toronto Raptors in this week’s column, let alone Tyler “Psycho T” Hansboro. But besides having the worst nickname of all-time, the endlessly annoying Hansboro has had himself a nice launch to the season, averaging 7.3 boards and 1.3 blocks to go along with 6 ppg and 60 percent from the floor. If you can stomach seeing his very punchable face every few days, he’s not too shabby as a bench guy in a very deep league. Yes, yes, that is a lot of qualifiers.
Samuel Dalembert – There was a lot of hype for Sammy D heading into this year’s fantasy drafts and I’m not really sure why. He’s a nice guy and all, but smiles and charity work do not translate into boards and blocks in any league I know of. He has two blocks in three games so far. I think you can do better.
Bismack Biyombo and Kevin Seraphin – How are these two guys intertwined? Because both have been shoved into nothing roles thanks to recent acquisitions. After a decent season last year, Biyombo was rendered useless along with the rest of the Bobcats (sorry JB) [editor's note - I'll cheer for them only when they become the Hornets again!] thanks to the signing of Al Jefferson (who I actually like but who is already fighting through injuries). He showed what he could do Friday by posting 11 boards and 2 blocks with a side of 10 points, then showed why he’s so frustrating by putting up donuts the next day. The Wizards liked the way Seraphin looked last year, but now that they’ve decided to win games and landed Gortat, they think Seraphin looks like roadkill smothered with garbage juice. If you put Biyombo or Seraphin in the middle of, say, Dallas’ lineup, these guys might do OK. Just a suggestion.
Tim Duncan – Injured already. Trust me, he’s old. He’s only a year younger than me. And if you add the garden variety oldness that comes with being in your upper 30s plus 17 years worth of wear and tear and banging and falling on hard wood every night, that’s a lot of old going on right there. If you drafted him ahead of DeMarcus Cousins, well, I feel sorry for you. But not that sorry.
Vitor Faverini – Kelly Olynyk hogged the headlines during the preseason as the “Steal of the Draft,” then at the last minute became the Hare to Vitor’s Tortoise. The beefy Brazilian, who also had a great preseason, won the job and has now rewarded coach Brad Stevens. The highlight so far came Friday against the Bucks when Vitor piled up 18 boards and 6 blocks to go with 12 points for a very Dikembe Mutombo-esque line. Who wants to sex Vitor?
Little Big Man of the Week Award: Eric Bledsoe is a sleeper who has come alive, making all the experts who targeted him in the off-season look like geniuses here in the early going. He gets our first award because he’s 6-1 but so far has yanked down 19 boards in the Suns’ first three games. Way to go Eric – look who put on his big boy pants this week!