You only get one chance to make a first impression. On a multiple choice test, they tell you to go with your first answer. So, now that we're one week into the NBA season, what are the stories that have made an initial impact on me, made me re-think some things I thought I knew as recently as last week? I'm glad you asked.
Defenses: Who to avoid and who to seek out
There are currently six teams holding opponents under 90 ppg, but the only one that I am sold on right now is the Celtics. If the Thunder or Heat are still doing it in a couple of weeks I'll add them to this section, or if the usual suspects like the Cavs or Spurs step it up I'll add them as well. But for now, the team you might want to avoid when making close roster decisions is the Celtics. This week the Celtics play the 76ers, the Timberwolves, the Suns and the Nets. The Phoenix game on Friday is especially interesting, because it pits the irresistible force (Suns O: 117.3 ppg) vs the immovable object (Celtics D: 81.3 ppg allowed).
At the other end of the spectrum the Knicks (117.3 ppg allowed), Grizzlies (115.8 ppg allowed) and Warriors (115.5 ppg allowed) are all teams that you want to actively seek out as opponents. This week the Knicks play the Pacers, Cavs and Bucks; the Grizz play the Warriors, Lakers and Clippers; and the Warriors play the Grizzlies, Clippers and Kings. This should be a great fantasy week for the Clips, who get to play two of the worst defenses in the league. And the in the Warriors-Grizzlies contest on Wednesday we might just see 150 points scored by one or both teams.
Brandon Jennings (67% owned in Y! leagues): As mentioned above, Jennings is an early Rookie of the Year candidate. With the numbers he put up in the first week he should not be available in a full third of Yahoo! leagues.
Andray Blatche (64% owned): With Antawn Jamison out, Blatche has been playing like an impact performer. He teases us with his talent every year, and thus far on the season the 23-year old is averaging 21 points, 6.3 boards and 1.3 blocks per game.
Larry Hughes (48% owned): Hughes began the year completely out of the Knicks rotation, but he played well when given the chance this weekend, and now he is the starting shooting guard. With Nate Robinson out in the short term, Hughes has a good opportunity to establish himself and take hold of the position.
Marreese Speights (40% owned): Speights is still coming off the bench for the Sixers, but he's scored 20 or more points in two of the first three games (he was in foul trouble in the one poor game he's had) and is averaging 16.7 points and 7.3 boards on the year.
Ryan Anderson (25% owned): Anderson gets hidden among all the big names on the Magic roster, but he had earned the starting power forward job in the preseason and has taken advantage of all of the injuries/suspensions on the wing to average 17.3 points and 3.7 treys over the first week.
George Hill (4% owned): Hill is purely a backup in San Antonio, but the second year guard had a productive first week (11.7 points, 3.0 boards, 1.3 treys, 1.3 steals) and is a Tony Parker injury away from real relevance. I picked him up in a deep keeper league, and at the very least he is worth keeping an eye on.
Article first appeared 11/3/09