Preseason games started this weekend with some of the NBA’s best taking on International teams overseas and at home. I know, it is crazy exciting. In a way it is the first look fantasy owners will get of many possible players to draft. Who knows, maybe we’ll find a nice late round sleeper who just lit it up in Europe. Or maybe the games are meaningless so who really cares what happens. Either way, I’m following the games so you don’t have to giving you all the stuff you need to know with none of the stuff nobody cares about.
Here’s what I saw in NBA preseason action this weekend, European Edition:
Rajon Rondo – 13 pts, 9 assists, 3 rebounds. Istanbul Fenerbahce Ulker, who from what I read is one of the best teams in Europe, was in fact the only European team to win their match up, getting the best of the Celtics in the game 97-91. Rajon shot just 3-for-9 from the floor but he made all six of his free throws which is certainly encouraging. He put up another nice line on Sunday taking on Armani Jeans with 17 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 24:29 minutes, he also hit his first seven field goals. (He hit both his free throws in this game, too.) The strike against Raj has always been his percentages, in particular free throw shooting. If he can improve in this area, Rondo could be a fantasy force to be reckoned with and a top-5 point guard for the season.
Jared Sullinger – The rookie made his debut with the Celtics Friday with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. Sullinger (or “Sully” as he will undoubtedly be referred to by the Boston fans) started the game on Sunday and scored 9 points, adding 7 rebounds and another blocked shot. I think Brandon Bass (5-5 FG, 11 pts, 8 rbds Sunday) will still start over Sullinger once the season begins, by Sully could have good value spelling Ol’ Man Garnett off the bench. The Celtics lack size so Jared may have been a real steal for them in the draft, and a late round steal for your fantasy team.
Jeff Green – 16 pts, 4 rebounds on Friday. The Celtics prize in the somewhat regrettable Kendrick Perkins trade missed all of last season with heart troubles. On Sunday, Green put up 17 points with 3 rebounds in a little over 24 minutes (33 points in 2 games), and went 3-3 in 3pt attempts. Oh, hello there. I see you like to shoot 3’s. That could come in handy for my fantasy team. Unfortunately for fantasy owners Jeff Green will be battling new additions Jason Terry (11 points, 3 three’s Sunday) and Courtney Lee (11 points) for minutes and shots, and Santa’s favorite rookie Dionte Christmas (9 points Sunday) has show promise as well. Clearly, Boston’s bench will be loaded with offensive options, and its definitely something fantasy owners want to monitor leading up to draft day.
Dirk Nowitzki – 8 points, 5 rebounds. Dirkish had somewhat of homecoming in Berlin Saturday, but couldn’t shake the rust off shooting just 3-9 FG. I wouldn’t take this performance too literally, I’m expecting another great year from the German 7-footer this season. Besides, Dirk ain’t worried about it, so you shouldn’t be either.
Darren Collison – 14 pts, 9 assists, 2 steals. Dar-Co made his debut with his new team and what a debut it was. Ever since he excelled filling in for the injured Chris Paul several years back I’ve always had high hopes for Collison but he hasn’t really delivered. He even failed to make the Top 20 Points Guard of 2012-13, and falls just outside the Top 100 in the rankings. Sounds to me like Dar-Co is the perfect buy low candidate.
Chris Kaman – 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Also, had a homecoming of sorts returning to Berlin (to take on Alba Berlin) after playing for Germany in the 2008 Olympics. I love the Mavs signing Kaman. Not just because his addition will take some of the pressure off Dirk since losing Tyson Chandler, but I honestly can’t picture a funnier looking front court than Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman. I love them both, but c’mon, are there two taller, whiter, goofier looking guys in the league? 2012-13 season goal: get my picture taken in between Dirk and Chris Kaman. #perfectprofilepics
Shawn Marion – 12 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block. He also hit all four of his free throws. The Matrix (does anyone still call him that? I will.) is really the perfect fantasy player in my mind, contributing across all categories, no wonder he’s The One.
Roddy Beaubois – 11 points, 4 rebounds before leaving the game with a sprained ankle. Rodrigue is always a “sexy” pick on draft day because of his upside and his blazing speed, but most likely its because his name is so awesome. Honestly, Roddy probably wasn’t worth a look in most formats even before the ankle sprain.
Marc Gasol – 16 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocked shots. Well hello there! Now that’s a fantasy line. Fresh off an Olympic silver medal, Marc “the Shark” Gasol is just outside the top 5 of our Top 20 Centers for 2012-13 but a case could easily be made that he is top 3. With 14.6 pts, 8.9 rbd and just under 2 blocks a game in 2011-2012, brother llama has the tools to take the Grizz, and your fantasy team to the next level.
Rudy Gay – 27 points, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. The happiest man in the NBA played almost 37 minutes in this meaningless preseason game. In fact, almost all the Grizzlies starters played over 30 minutes. Coach Lionel Hollins, calm down. Take a note from Gregg Popovich: preseason games are for losers, playoff games are for winners.
Tony Parker – 9 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes. Unlike, Coach Hollins, Popovich had only one of his starters (Kawhi Leonard) play over 20 minutes. You might think its because they were playing Montepaschi Siena, but in truth, they’re resting up for the postseason in the preseason. Gotta love the Pop. Manu Ginobili added 11 points in slightly under 13 minutes, and Tim Duncan had 9 points in 15 minutes. Use caution when drafting the Spurs, the starters will play as much as they have to, but won’t play at all when they don’t have to.
Danilo Gallinari – 15 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 3pts. Well cock-a-doodle-doo, Rooster. This game was in Las Vegas. Which is why I thought myself, Nuggs and Clipps in a preseason showdown in Vegas–uhh…jackpot! With an improved offense in Denver, it takes some of the pressure off Gallinari to carry the offense. He could be a nice pick for 3’s and rebounds and should continue to be a top scoring option for the Nuggets behind Ty Lawson and Iguodala.
Andre Iguodala – 8 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds. The Nuggets really made out with the Dwight Howard trade. A.I.2 might not have many 25+ point games, but he’ll contribute stats around the board in every other category. With shooting guard as shallow as it is, Andre should be a safe bet to be a great fantasy asset.
Kenneth Faried – 18 points in just under 24 minutes. Faried is on a lot of ‘perts sleeper lists, and he should fill in nicely for NeNe in Denver. Say YayYay to Faried. I’ve seen Faired go as early as the 5th round in drafts, and if he can build upon his 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds per game in 2011-12, he could be worth reaching for.
Eric Bledsoe – 25 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals. Wow, that’ll help your fantasy team. Bledsoe wins the fake fantasy award honors for performance of the weekend. Unfortunately for Bledsoe, Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups see the majority of the time at point, but he’ll always have that night in Vegas.
Jamal Crawford – 19 points, 5 assists. Not a bad debut for J-Craw with his new team. He could be a valuable scorer off the bench for the Clippers and possibly for your fantasy team. I’m not telling you to draft him but keep your eye the Crawford.
DeAndre Jordan – 14 points, 2 rebounds, 3 blocks. Had career highs in points (7.4), rebounds (8.3) and blocks (2.0) last season and he’s just 24. Is the best is yet to come? Draft him and find out. He’s the shot blocker we want Blake Griffin to be.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals. MKG looked good enough in his ‘Cats debut putting up 12 points on 4-10 shooting. As mentioned in my Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fantasy, there might be a learning curve for Mike KG. His percentages might not be great, but he should be a good source of points and rebounds in a Bobcats lineup in need of a little of everything. MKG will try to be everything.
Byron Mullens – 18 points, 8 rebounds, and hit three 3-pointers. Don’t laugh–OK, you can laugh, but Lord Byron was Charlotte’s top fantasy player last season with 9.3 PPG/5.1 RPG. That doesn’t explain why he took seven 3’s Sunday, but he hit three so who am I to talk shizz? I’m probably not drafting you anyway, so keep on doing what you’re doing, Byron. Take all the threes!
Bradley Beal – 18 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 3ptm. I thought the B-Cats were bad, but looking at that Wizards line up without John Wall…yikes, WOOF. Luckily, for Washington fans B-Rad just might fulfill my Bradley Beal fantasy. This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!
Ray Allen – 10 points, 5 assists, 3 steals. Jesus Shuttleworth made his Miami debut and Boston Celtics fans everywhere wept a little.
Lou Williams – 18 points, 2 3pt. Carrying over from last season Williams continues to be the man off the bench. Hard to believe Jeff Teague will be starting over Louie all season, but he’ll get his points regardless.
Al Horford – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks. Yes, four blocks. Welcome back, old friend.
Anthony Davis – 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks. Un juego en Mejico! Aye caramba! The Brow showed up in Mexico to play in his N’Oleans debut, and put up an impressive line in just over 23 minutes hitting some tough shots in the process. Extrapolate that, and he’ll be a great fantasy asset, but careful you don’t draft him too early. Yes you, wait another round or two if you can. Fellow rook, Austin Rivers shot poorly but still managed 10 points and 2 steals making this years team already more exciting than last years.
Gustavo Ayon – 12 points, 6 rebounds. Gustavo did not disappoint in front of his hometown crowd in Mexico City. His team the Magic, however, did disappoint. They are just awful.
Harrison Barnes – 13 points on 5-11 shooting from the floor. He came off the bench in this game but The Black Falcon is the projected opening day starter over Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush. If the 11 shots and three 3-pointers (0-3) are any indication, the former Tarheel and no.7 overall pick could be could be a useful source of points for your fantasy team if he can get the job done.
Pau Gasol – 9 points, 7 rebounds in under 20 minutes. The new look Lakers (minus their new center Dwight Howard who sat with his ailing back) were on full display last night as they got blown out by the Golden State Warriors. I guess this team really did need a Dwight Howard.