|Rajon Rondo looks primed for a true breakout campaign this season. He improved as the season progressed last year and looks even better this year. He wonít score a ton of points playing on a loaded team like Boston, but rare is the point guard who shoots close to 50 percent from the field. Heís a poor free throw shooter, but he doesnít take enough attempts there to do any real damage. Rondo is one of the better rebounding point guards in the league, and his assist total should jump during his second year as starter. He should also contend for the league-lead in steals, so he has plenty of value despite playing fourth fiddle on his own team.
Andris Biedrins is off to a huge start to the season, averaging 17.5 points and a staggering 14.5 rebounds. The big news is that Don Nelson may have finally warmed to him, as Biedrins is playing 36:12 minutes per game, nine more than last season. Despite a 6-11, 245 lb frame, heís athletic, making him a perfect fit in Golden Stateís uptempo offense. With Baron Davis and Monta Ellis not around, Biedrins will shoulder more of the scoring load, and heís a huge help in FG%. Heís regressed as a shot blocker, and you wonít find an uglier shooter at the charity stripe, but the onslaught of double-doubles isnít going away anytime soon.
When Marquis Daniels broke onto the scene as a rookie in 2003/04, I was convinced he was a future star. Heís 6-6 yet capable of playing point guard and racking up big steal totals, but Daniels has been a huge disappointment during his career. Itís only been two games, but given 35 mpg, here is what Daniels has produced this year: 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, 47.6 FG%. Thereís no doubt he can fill up the stat sheet if given the opportunity, and with Mike Dunleavy nursing a knee injury that could be potentially serious, it looks like Daniels may finally get a chance. Heís never lived up to his potential, and this playing time increase may only be short-term, but he needs to be owned in all leagues right now.
I recently saw the odds on the Lakers winning the NBA championship this year at 3:1. While I almost never go with favorites, this strikes me as tremendous value. Have you seen Los Angeles play lately? Thereís a very real possibility this team wins 70 games this season. Andrew Bynum hasnít even begun to scratch the surface, and Jordan Farmar is one of the most improved players in the league. Trevor Ariza is good. Lamar Odom off the bench? Did I mention Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are on the team? Iím not even sure why they are playing out the season, as itís a foregone conclusion; Lakers take it all in 2008/09.
Speaking of Los Angeles, maybe last yearís Pau Gasol trade wasnít the epic rip off it seemed to be, as Marc Gasol looks like the real deal. During the first four games of his NBA career, heís averaging 10.3 boards in just 30 mpg. He also looks more than capable on the defensive side of the floor (0.8 spg, 1.8 bpg) and possesses solid moves in the post. Itís early, but those who took Gasol late in fantasy drafts may have gotten the biggest steal of all.
Not sure why he was in Scott Skilesí doghouse to begin with, but Ramon Sessions simply has to be Milwaukeeís starting point guard. Heís at least locked up the backup job, something he didnít secure when the season began. But come on, Luke Ridnour? Really? Sessions is a far better defensive player, and all heís done during nine career starts is get 13.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 12.1 apg 1.8 spg and 47.2 FG%. Youíll have to deal with Ridnour getting the starts for the time being, but patient owners who stash Sessions should be rewarded handsomely later on.
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 11/4/2008 8:12:00 PM
|Is it my imagination, or is Joe Dumars starting a major rebuilding project in Detroit?
I don't know about any of you, but I have a hard time seeing how Allen Iverson makes Detroit any better for this year. I do see how $22 million worth of expiring contract might help Dumars pull off an extreme roster makeover this summer, though. Is it possible that Dumars is conceding the East to the Celtics/Cavs/Magic this year?
On the Nuggets' end, this trade has to represent a significant upgrade for Carmelo Anthony and, most likely, J.R. Smith as well. If the trade had happened over the summer -- and given Billups a full training camp and preseason to get used to his new teammates, I'd probably think this move would put Denver pretty squarely in the Western Conference playoff picture. But after watching some of last year's in-season trades (Jason Kidd, Shaquille O'Neal) put teams in the doldrums for weeks, I'm a bit skeptical about them in general.
Posted by Charlie at 11/3/2008 2:24:00 PM