History has its fair share of dynamic duos, whose split left one basking in overwhelming success and the other flying off into oblivion.
Simon and Garfunkel. Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Richard Gere and the gerbil.
When it comes to famous big man pairs, it’s just as tough to predict how things are going to shake out. Tim Duncan did pretty OK after David Robinson retired. Ralph Sampson after he was separated from Hakeem Olajuwon? Not so much. When the Rockets split up the original “Twin Towers” during the 1987-1988 season, “The Dream” went on to win a couple titles while Sampson – instead of becoming the best pro ever, as predicted – went on to a life on the end of the benches in Oakland and Sacramento. At the time, this was not a good thing.
For now, we can gawk at the big brains (and big shiny dome) on Greg Bower and say the Pistons made a wise choice.
(editor’s note – Daily Notes will be out later this morning!)
The Pistons are 3-0 and Drummond is averaging 16.3 boards and 2 blocks per game. That’s well within our Golden Zone of 15-20 (boards plus blocks).
After getting their first win over the Nets last night, the Bucks are 1-3. And despite a damn nice 23-13-1 line, Monroe is averaging a modest 10 rebounds and one block per game.
Obviously, we’re in the early going. Some things are going to change. Detroit can’t be this good – no team with Ersan Ilysova in its starting lineup can have championship aspirations. And Milwaukee won’t be this bad – too many long, dynamic players, and it’s just a matter of fitting all those young Bucks together.
For fantasy purposes, I do see Drummond continuing to be a beast. Maybe he needed Monroe out of there to truly unlock his inner Moses Malone.
If last night’s game is any indication, I can see Monroe getting a few more boards and blocks, but with all kinds of tweeners and even point guards (Michael Carter-Williams) who can board, he’ll have plenty of competition in the paint. Besides, he’s only had one season where he averaged double digits in rebounds.
Going forward, I see this duo playing out like the Brutus Beefcake-Greg Valentine tag duo after they split up following Wrestlemania III. Beefcake, of course, went on to even larger stardom as “The Barber,” but “The Hammer” kind of slipped down a tier.
Enough of this wrastlin’ talk. Let’s get into some more B-N-Bs.
Gorgui Dieng – Nobody can figure out what’s up in Minny. If you’re in a youth movement, why are you starting Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince? And if we’re to accept the idea that OK, KG and Prince will start out the season playing some minutes and then step aside for rest so the youngins can get some run, then why is Nemanja Bjelica the first guy off the bench and not Dieng? Still not dropping, but I’m getting close.
Josh Smith – Almost useless now that he’s a PTP-er on Doc Rivers’ bench, but still could be deployed as a blocks streamer who could get you a few boards too. Plus fewer minutes means fewer FT attempts, which in Smith’s case means fewer bricks.
DeAndre Jordan – Is averaging 15 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. I just wanted to write that and look at it. Yum.
Zaza Pachulia – What do you do if you’re Mark Cuban and Jordan jilts you at the altar and runs back to the Clippers? You go out and get yourself some Zaza, dammit! Yeah, how you like that L.A.? Dallas gonna run an immobile, 31-year-old slab of Russian beef out there at center to form an ancient NBA version of the Iron Curtain and take the Western Conference. Well, maybe not, but Zaza’s not too bad at taking up some space, grabbing some boards and even swatting a shot here and there.
Willie Cauley-Stein – Nine boards in each of his last two games to go along with some blocks, steals and other goodies. With DeMarcus Cousins likely to miss a little time, Old Young Man Willie will get a chance to shine for a few games.
Victor Oladipo – If you’re a smaller guy, and you’re getting double figures in boards-plus-blocks, I like that. Vic is averaging about 9 boards and a little more than a block per game, and that doesn’t seem out of whack at all. He’ll pull down 7-9 rpg and average 1.5 bpg for the season.
Blake Griffin – I was going to bitch about Griffin “only” averaging nine rebounds per game until I realized that’s an improvement on last year, and he’s also scoring 32 ppg on 64 percent shooting. OK, not bad. How about a block every now and then, though, since you can, you know, jump over cars and stuff?
Kristaps Porzingis – Well hello there. A little double-double action (13 points, 14 boards) to go along with two swipes last night in a loss (what else?) to the Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard – Put up an 18-14-1 to help secure the win. That’s his third game out of four with double-digit boards. There’s nothing Sugar-K can’t do!
Nerlens Noel – Still say he looks great, but the key to what he and Jahlil Okafor can do in Philly lies in the hands of a floor general, or lack thereof. They don’t even need a Magic Johnson or a John Stockton (although that’d be … nice), they just need capable guards who can run a half court offense and, well, pass. They looked a lot better last night, for example, with Nik Stauskas in the game, but Stauskas isn’t a PG. T.J. McConnell did a nice job of getting the big men the ball, but he’s not really a viable NBA player. Will be interesting to see what Tony Wroten’s got going when he comes back from injury.
Rudy Gobert – I suggested selling high last week (in non-keeper leagues!), and if you did, I hope you got a stud back. If you didn’t, don’t. He brought a great Mischief Night gag to Philly, in fact, he brought a half-dozen of them, sending six Sixer shots flying to go along with 11 boards.
Kyle O’Quinn – Looked like the Kyle O’Quinn of early last year in the first two games, grabbing double digit boards and rejecting three shots total, but has looked more like Colin Quinn in the last two. He’s a streamer for B-N-B action.