After opening the season with a two-game appetizer, the NBA provided us with an 11-course meal on Wednesday. No low-carb dieting here, as fantasy manna was raining down from the heavens. All you can eat, baby! There were some impressive performances, as Hassan Whiteside went 26 and 22, DeMarcus Cousins went 28 and 10 with seven blocks, while teammate Anthony Davis went 33 and 18. On a side note, the Pelicans still managed to lose by 12. Trade alert already? Of all the performances, there was one that rose above the rest. Giannis Antetokoumpo went 37 and 13 with three dimes and three pilfers. The number one fantasy pick in many leagues, G showed why and looks poised to carry teams to the Promised Land. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and climbed Mount Sinai to raise two tablets above his head, so shall G lead fantasy owners across the barren landscape and up the mountain so that they may lift the trophy and bring glory to those that had faith in him. So it was written by Missy Elliot 0:58….to Get Ur Freak On.
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Here’s what else I saw from last night’s action:
Zach Randolph did not play due to oral surgery. Brought to you by the American Dental Association.
Jason Smith got the start for the injured Markieff Morris, but left the game early due to a sprained shoulder. Perfect excuse to work on that left arm when surfing the internet. Mike Scott could get more minutes, but he’s coming off ankle surgery. My best guess is that Kelly Oubre gets more run. Oubre did start the second half and finished with 14 points, eight boards, two dimes, and two swats. He also drained three 3-pointers.
Chris Paul did not play due to shoulder and knee issues. As a State Farm spokesman, does he get hooked up with free insurance? While the injuries don’t seem serious, they could be lingering issues all season. James Harden obviously gets a boost. Harden ended up playing 38 minutes last night, scored 27, grabbed three boards, dished out nine dimes, and pilfered two.
JaMychal Green exited the game early after rolling his ankle. Talk about wheels! Chandler Parsons, Jarell Martin, or Brandon Wright could all be asked to fill in. Parsons played 15 minutes and scored six points and grabbed four boards. Martin played 19 minutes and scored two points, grabbed five boards, and blocked one. Wright ended up playing 27 minutes and scored 10 points, grabbed four boards, pilfered two, and blocked one. The thing to focus on most regarding the Grizzlies is their pace of play. They are no longer the grind it out team. They want to push the ball, which elevates the value of Mike Conley.
With Alex Len unable to go, Josh Jackson got the start at power forward with Marquese Chriss coming off the bench to play minutes at center. JJ played 32 minutes and scored 11 points, grabbed two boards, and dished out one dime. He shot 4-for-10 from the field. Chriss only ended up playing 12 minutes and scored two points, grabbed one board, and blocked one.
Now, the Suns got throttled 124-75 so….there’s that, but definitely not encouraging for a player that many had high aspirations for.
Remember Rodney Hood has a history of jitter issues, wonder if the season opener got to him.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) October 19, 2017
At least he didn’t have the runs from eating Taco Bell! Anyways, Hood was able to play and chipped in six points and two boards in 18 minutes. Mitchell played 26 minutes and scored 10 points, grabbed one board, dished out four dimes, and blocked one. He did shoot 3-for-11 but was very aggressive taking it to the rack.
Jeremy Lin injured his right knee after landing awkwardly. It did not look good. Geez, is it Sunday and am I watching the NFL? It will be interesting to see what the Nets decide to do if the Lin injury does shelve him for an extended period of time. D’Angelo Russell could move to the point with Spencer Dinwiddie backing him up. That probably makes the most sense, as Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert would lock down the shooting guard position. Speaking of Russell, he led the Nets with 30 points, three boards, five dimes, and one steal on 12-for-22 shooting. The Stocktonator loved him last night and feels the same way for his next matchup against the Magic. He was the only player to get 30 minutes of run. Trevor Booker went 20 and 10, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points, grabbed four boards, dished out two dimes, and pilfered one. I’d rather have RHJ, as his game is more well-rounded, but he will not get more than 28 minutes a game.
The Pacers beat the Nets 140-131. Once again, target all players against the Nets. They are going to play at the fastest pace with no regard for defense. Is Chip Kelly coaching the Nets? The two players that stood out to me for Indiana were Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson. Sabonis scored 16 points and grabbed seven boards in 19 minutes. He’s still only 21 years old and is a talented offensive player. Stephenson did not wow, but he contributed across the board and put up 19 shots in 24 minutes. One block, one steal, three dimes, and one board ain’t bad.
Jahlil Okafor did not play due to illness. Do pro athletes get sick days? Amir Johnson and Dario Saric back up Joel Embiid. Johnson played 15 minutes and scored five points and grabbed five boards. Saric played 23 minutes and scored three points, grabbed three boards, dished out two dimes, and blocked one.
Speaking of Embiid, he was only supposed to play 15 minutes, but ended up playing 27 minutes. 18 points, 13 boards, three dimes, and one swat. Trust the process. I’m beginning to think that Embiid is from another planet and “injury” is the only way that the Mother Planet can keep him down. If let loose, he would dominate the game to such an insane level that he’d get exposed. Being such a young alien, though, Embiid just can’t help himself.
Robert Covington definitely ain’t shy, as he hoisted 11 three-pointers and made seven. He ended the night with 29 points, seven boards, one pilfer, two swats, and one assist. A true Black Hole. He’s not going to shoot 7-for-11 every night, but RoCo is going to contribute across the board and he’s going to get so many open looks in this revamped Philly offense.
Ben Simmons was working it, as he scored 18 points, grabbed 10 boards, dropped five dimes, pilfered two, swatted one, and only had one turnover. It really doesn’t matter if defenders lay off him because he can get to the rim at will. His length and strides are most impressive.
Markelle Fultz played 18 minutes and scored 10 points, grabbed three boards, and dropped one dime. He shows his potential at times, but then he’s got this:
Yo, someone in Philly needs to give Fultz the Dave Hopla videos.
Otto Porter Jr. opened the game on fire, but ended the night with 10 points, eight boards, three steals, and one block. This is his floor. Scroll up two and half clicks on the mouse and you will see what his ceiling looks like.
Marcin Gortat was a fantasy corpse heading into this season, but he scored 16 points, grabbed 17 boards, and blocked three in 34 minutes. Ian Mahinmi only played 14 minutes, so that’s a really good sign for Gortat owners. When the Wizards run into teams that go small, Gortat will cede minutes, but for now, things look A OK.
Dwayne Bacon got the start for the Hornets, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist couldn’t play due to personal reasons. Dwayne did not bring home the bacon, as he only played 20 minutes and scored eight points, grabbed two boards, and dished out two dimes.
With Nicholas Batum down with injury, Jeremy Lamb got the start and chipped in 15 points, four boards, two dimes, and one steal in 28 minutes. Nooooooot baaaaaaaaad.
I thought Malik Monk would have an impact, due to all the injuries, but he shot 1-for-9 from the field and dished out one dime. He must’ve skipped the Fourth Chamber.
Tobias Harris scored 17 points in the first quarter. He averaged 16 points a game last season. Harris was obviously feeling it, as he ended the game with 27 points on 11-for-18 shooting. He also chipped in 10 boards and three dimes. After the game, he was talking about the All-Star game. Whoa, let’s calm down now fella. It’s only been one game.
Stanley Johnson went 0-for-13 from the field. He led the team with 40 minutes played. I don’t know what to make of this. On one hand, Stanley plays basketball, which is a game that requires one to put the ball into the hoop to score points. Stanley is not a good shooter. Taking the 0-fer out of the equation, he’s a career 37% shooter from the field and 30% from three-land. On the other hand, SVG drafted him and obviously has the utmost confidence in him. It looks like he’s going to keep throwing him out there and see what sticks. Stanley did pilfer four, grab four boards, and dish out one dime. It wouldn’t surprise me if he actually threw up an air ball and a teammate caught it mid-air for an alley oop.
Langston Galloway looked very good, as he scored 16 points, grabbed four boards, pilfered three, and made three three-pointers in 25 minutes. He’s down on the depth chart, but he could be the guy on the second unit.
James Johnson only played 19 minutes but he was in foul trouble. With that said, he still put up 11 points, eight boards, one steal, and one block. He’ll be fine.
Josh Richardson got the start and was meh. 10 points, two boards, two dimes, and one block. He did play 35 minutes so I’m not worried.
Jonathon Simmons aka Juice played 28 minutes and scored 12 points and grabbed two boards. It looks like he’s going to be the main guy off the bench for the Magic, a team that wants to push the pace this year. Juice is loose! That reminds me, I went to a small liberal arts school in New York for college during the whole OJ thing. My buddy bought me a shirt with OJ on the front with JUICE IS LOOSE written on it. You should’ve seen the hatred and venom that was channeled my way. Oh, to be young and dumb again.
So it looks like Jason Kidd is punting the center position again this year. Greg Monroe played 17 minutes while Thon Maker, the starter, played 14 minutes. I actually had some hopes for Thon but like Kaizer Soze….it’s gone.
So, the Boston situation did play out how we expected it to. Marcus Smart started at point guard and chipped in 12 points, seven boards, four dimes, and three steals. He played 32 minutes and is going to be an asset. He only shot 4-for-13 from the field, but was 3-for-7 from three-land. Terry Rozier played 27 minutes and he put up 15 points, seven boards, six dimes, and two pilfers. Both are viable pickups.
Jrue Holiday shot 2-for-11 from the field and ended up with four points, six boards, four dimes, and one pilfer. Momma always said there’d be days like this. Outside of Holiday, AD, and Boogie, this Pelicans team is devoid of talent. I think chances are high that they blow this thing up.
Go pick up John Collins. I feel like that’s a directive from Skynet. Anyways, I thought it would take time for Collins to make an impact, but he played 22 minutes, scored 14 points, grabbed five boards, dished out one dime, and pilfered two. He shot 6-for-10 from the field. I was super impressed with him when I watched Summer League, so I think he’s legit. If he’s already getting 22 minutes now, that number is only going to increase as the season wears on.
Marco Belinelli ah shot-ah seven-ah for fourteen-ah. Did you read that as an Italian accent? Try again. Belinelli scored 20 points, grabbed three boards, dished out three dimes, and pilfered three. It was a nice across-the-board contribution, but he’s all about the shooting. If he gets around 26 minutes per game, he has some relevancy.
Yogi Ferrell started at shooting guard, with Seth Curry out indefinitely. He scored nine points, dished out two dimes, and pilfered one. He did play 32 minutes, but this squad is all about Dennis Smith Jr. 16 points, 10 dimes, and three boards. It is kind of scary that he loves taking it strong to the rack, but he’s opening himself up to some serious injury. That’s really my only concern with DSJ. I love you, man!
Nerlens Noel only played 20 minutes but scored 16 points, grabbed 11 boards, pilfered one, and swatted three. It’s baffling that he only gets 20 minutes a game. He even went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. That’s not a real thing going forward, but it’s nice to see every once in a while. Free Noel!
Nikola Jokic did not have a good game. I’m sad, but not “perform seppuku” sad. Going up against Rudy Gobert tends to make that whole offense thing difficult. Jokic ended scoring seven points on 3-for-10 shooting, grabbing 12 boards, and dishing out eight dimes. He did not contribute any defensive stats, which has been the reason for hatred from his detractors, but no one can expect many of those against Gobert. Jokic will be fine. I hope. I’m sharpening my knives as we speak.
Jamal Murray got the start at point guard, but he didn’t do much with the opportunity. Eight points, two boards, and two dimes. Emmanuel Mudiay had a similar stat line, but the fact he also played 19 minutes does not bode well for Murray truthers. Raise your hand if you’re a member. Ok, do you know what deodorant is?
Will Barton played 31 minutes and scored 23 points, grabbed six boards, dropped two dimes, pilfered one, and blocked one. He’s the main guy off the bench and can play multiple positions. He’s not a starter, but he plays starter minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge balled the F out. 25 points, 10 boards, four dimes, and two blocks. This is what the Spurs thought they were getting when they signed him two years ago. Now, keep in mind that Kawhi Leonard did not play, but there are some very encouraging signs that possibly foretell good things in the future. First, is the three-year $72.3 million extension the Spurs gave LMA this summer. Second, Pop came out and said, “I tried to make him a different player. I think that really affected his ability to feel comfortable and confident on the court. And we took care of that, basically by me, letting him know that we’re gonna do it differently and that it was on me, and not on him.” I love Pop. There’s a reason why, since Pop took over the coaching duties in San Antonio, that they are 4-1 in the NBA Finals, have never missed the playoffs except for the first year when he took over mid-season, and consistently win 50-60 regular season games a year.
Pat Connaughton played 32 minutes and scored 24 points. The Blazers smoked the Suns 124-76.
Trevor Ariza. Remember yesterday, I wrote that there’s a poll on Twitter asking, “Who’s the most average NBA player?” and I wrote that in the Ariza section. Well, he played 32 minutes, shot 0-for-6 from the field, ended up with two points, two boards, and two dimes.