So Russell Westbrook played yesterday… Ummm… What?
After hurting his knee in last year’s playoffs, then requiring a second surgery on October 1st, Westbrook was one of the biggest fantasy news stories early in preseason with an uncertain timetable. ¬†Well that table has expired much earlier than anyone expected, and Westbrook was out there without a minutes restriction last night. ¬†It’s like the first surgery was done in Hostel, then the next one at the X-Mansion. ¬†Seriously, reports ranged from from early to mid-December as a target return date, but a little Adamantium in your bones goes a long way! ¬†The good news is he’s back, but the bad (and frankly, not shocking) news is he was mighty rusty. ¬†In nearly 33 minutes, Westbrook shot only 5-16 (0-2 3PTM 11-14 FT) for 21 points, with 4 Reb and 7 Ast and 4 TOs. ¬†Besides shooting like Michael Chiklis, you’ll take that line any day. ¬†Very encouraging to see Westbrook get to the line that frequently, and the minutes were indeed non-limited. ¬†He looked pretty Westbrook-ish in highlights as well. ¬†Even if Westbrook isn’t quite the player he was the past few seasons, all owners are looking at a steal for where they got him post-second surgery. ¬†Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy hoops action:
Reggie Jackson – Should get solid minutes off the bench, but his value obviously takes a healthy hit. ¬†Still played 28 minutes last night, 4 more than Thabo Sefolosha, and that was still with Derek Fisher getting 20 minutes as well. ¬†I think the real hit is any upside for Jeremy Lamb, who scored 8 in 16 minutes last night. ¬†Jackson and Westbrook are going to run together at times, with Fisher getting those 20ish minutes as well. ¬†I’d hold Jackson in most 12-team leagues, but he’s expendable if you have a bevy of hurt guys already.
Serge Ibaka –¬†Well… Not looking so good thus far for one of my breakout picks. ¬†Hey, I’m biting the bullet with him on three of my teams including the REL dynasty, but I doubt that makes you feel any better. ¬†He’s flirted with double-doubles every game, but hasn’t shot well, only has 2 blocks, and well, just plain hasn’t been good the first week. ¬†But I still have big hopes, and Westbrook returning I don’t think will hurt. ¬†It can’t get much worse right? ¬†Right?! ¬†I’ve seen two Thunder games this year and can say that he looks more confident on offense, they just aren’t falling.
Miles Plumlee –¬†Part 1 of NBA’s Waiver-Wire’s Big Man Hoarders. ¬†Two straight dub-dubs with three blocks in each to start the year, but then laid a clunker last night, going scoreless with 5 Rebs and a Blk after getting into early foul trouble and failed to get worked back in. ¬†Alex Len¬†didn’t even see the court last night, as¬†Channing Frye¬†played nearly 34 minutes going 7-14 for 19/5 with a Stl and 2 Blks. ¬†If I need threes and a big rather than the boards from a big, I’d actually get Frye over Plumlee. ¬†A little more experience and less prone to clunkers like Miles.
Vitor Faverani –¬†Part 2. ¬†I like him a shade more than Plumlee, but both showed why they’re never going to consistent this year with Faverani also getting benched most of the second half. ¬†Slim was singing his praises last week, a day before his huge 12/18 game with 6 blocks. ¬†Slim is the site’s Billy Zane when it comes to wire pickups. ¬†“You should listen to your friend Billy Zane. ¬†He’s a cool dude. ¬†He’s trying to help you out!” ¬†That said, Brad Stephens benched him late as mentioned, and you just don’t know what the playing time will be like on a team “Wiggin’ out for Wiggins.” ¬†Dude totally trademarking that.
Jeff Green –¬†Benched the whole 4th quarter in the close game as well. ¬†Wiggin’ out for Wiggins! ¬†Celtics beat writers calling it “defensive lapses” that lead to time on the pine. ¬†Brad Stephens said he’d rather just bench everyone because they have “being good lapses”.
Goran Dragic –¬†Hurt his ankle. ¬†Or as Goran would say, his “gleŇĺenj”. ¬†I didn’t see the injury and seeing injuries is one of my least favorite things about being a sports buff. ¬†I had the Wolves game last week when Ronny Turiaf fractured his elbow. ¬†I didn’t want to watch, but could hear it on replays. ¬†Anyway, long winded way of saying I am not going to look at the injury and reports were it didn’t look good and he was in a lot of pain. ¬†Prepare for the worst and keep your ears peeled for news throughout the day.
Gerald Green –¬†Played a lot of the minutes left behind by Dragic last night. ¬†Went 7-14 in 33+ with 5 3s for a 21/8/2 slash with 4 TOs. ¬†Green is athletically awesome, but shot friggin’ 36% from the field last year! ¬†Worth a look in deep leagues, especially if Dragic misses extended time.
Archie Goodwin –¬†I think they have to give him minutes. ¬†He’s only played 19 minutes in two games thus far (didn’t get on the court last night), and they’ve gotta give the kid some run if Dragic misses a lot of time. ¬†Deep league owners (as in 16 or 20) should hold if they can and see how the guard situation in Phoenix plays out. ¬†As his owner in dynasty, I still think he has a bright future.
Eric Bledsoe –¬†One thing’s for sure, Bledsoe is straight ballin’. ¬†26/7/14 with 3 steals last night, but did have 8 TOs. ¬†Hit that huge game winner over the weekend. ¬†Love this guy, and loved him coming into the season. ¬†Yet he’s not on any of my teams… Sadface. ¬†Strike that. ¬†Scarface. ¬†I want to dunk my head into narcotics.
Mike Scott –¬†After a good preseason, got 22 minutes off the bench and went 13/5/1 and a steal and took 13 whopping shots. ¬†Dem a lotta shots. ¬†I thought he looked good in two games I saw him play in last year down the stretch when he got some run, and he was solid in college at Virginia. ¬†The Hawks have only three interesting guys on their bench, so deep league owners take note of these guys (my FAAB bid of $9 was an easy winner in REL).
Cartier Martin –¬†Hawks bench guy #2. ¬†9/4/3 last night scoring all his points on three 3s in 28 minutes off the bench. ¬†He reportedly started the second half over DeMarre Carroll as well. ¬†I bid huge on him because I wanted to corner the Hawks minutes as best I could ($19) and maybe overspent. ¬†Oh well. ¬†Then there’s…
Dennis Schroeder –¬†…to round out the Hawks bench guys. ¬†Obviously he’s well behind Jeff Teague, but will get run. ¬†He was more on the radar than the above two guys (already drafted in REL), but played well last night in his best NBA game going 10/3/4.
Xavier Henry –¬†Wheels got moved into the Lakers starting line-up last night, and went 18/0/1 in 26 minutes. ¬†Hit two 3s and shot pretty well (5-11) and is on track to get that FT% better hitting 6-8. ¬†I bid $13 on him in REL, but knew I wasn’t getting him (went for a ginormous $61). ¬†Too much uncertainty with Kobe Bryant returning at some point for me to invest that much FAAB.
Kevin Martin –¬†Wait the Wolves are 3-0?! ¬†I said way in the off-season I like them to make a playoff run and get in if everyone stays healthy, and so far so good. ¬†The flip side is, I wasn’t big on Martin. ¬†Put up 30 last night, hit 5-5 from deep and then not much else with 3 Rebs 2 Asts and 2 Stls. ¬†No complaints if you’re a K-Mart owner though!
Corey Brewer –¬†Still starting, but had his minutes at just over 24 to Derrick Williams‘ 21. ¬†Given Brewer was inflated by being with the first unit, but he was +14 on the floor to Williams -15. ¬†Still think Brewer will be useful as the last guy on your roster in 12-teamers.
Victor Oladipo –¬†Scraight balla. ¬†8-13 19/6/4 with 2 Stls in only 22 minutes off the bench in the Magic’s surprise rout of the Nets. ¬†Jason Kidd better lay off the sauce after this one before driving home. ¬†I know he wants to have no memory of this game! ¬†Voice Over (initials VO always mean that to me) did have 7 TOs to sully the nice line. ¬†Everyone’s least favorite starting line-up clogger Arron Afflalo went 5-14. ¬†Alcoholics Anonymous (AA is always that) did flirt with the triple dub though, at 16/6/8.
Andrew Nicholson – Dan’s buying it, and so far so good for his favorite punner! ¬†17/11 last night with a block. ¬†He’s better than Jason Maxiell who is somehow starting, but I’m still not much of a believer.
Trevor Ariza –¬†After a huge start to his season, went ice cold last night shooting 4-16. ¬†Still managed a 13/7/0 with 2 Stl slash and played 31 minutes. ¬†Worth owning in deeper leagues, streamer in under 14.
Bradley Beal –¬†Wasn’t hot by any means, but took a good step towards warming up shooing 6-14 last night and 4-8 from deep for 19. ¬†Ariza was like, “dammit Beal!” ¬†after Beal pulled some Pedro Cerrano voodoo to transfer his shooting woes to him. ¬†Hey, that sorta locker room stuff is a step up from what Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were doing!
Brandon Jennings –¬†Returned last night, and played the most minutes of any Pistons guard at 31. ¬†5-12 (1-2 3 PTM 3-6 FT) 14/3/4 and 4 Stls. ¬†Nothing huge except the steals, but good to see him out there. ¬†Effectively cuts Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from any relevance, and he’s droppable in virtually all redraft leagues. ¬†Which is a bummer because he looked good against the Grizzlies last week in a game I caught. ¬†A Jennings KCP backcourt at some point would be ridiculous to watch. ¬†Anyway, its a backcourt clogged with Gs and KCP needs injuries to get a role. ¬†But if KCP indeed fills in capably when he can and has a good offseason, could be big in 2014-15.
Michael Carter-Williams –¬†Cooled off in his second game, but then heated right back up against the Bulls on Saturday, going 26/4/10 with 3 Stls. ¬†Shot 10-22 which you love, and only 4 TOs, which is more than acceptable. ¬†Too early for ROY votes?
DeMarcus Cousins –¬†Only played 18 minutes on Saturday going 8/7 with 3 Stls. ¬†Why would they bench him he’s their best player?! ¬†It’s like we’ve never seen this before… He is just too frustrating for me to own.
Next Games: I’ll be highlighting BOS @ MEM then HOU @ LAC tonight. ¬†The main things I’ll be watching for is how Brad Stephens plays his best players, especially in what should be a pretty bad loss, then how Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan matchup. ¬†Will be a dandy. ¬†Notes from those and the other two games tomorrow and good luck in week 2!