Nearly forgotten swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. may be close to making a start for the Indiana Pacers.
After being sidelined for the entire season thus far with a knee injury, Dunleavy has started practicing and is up to a reported 20 minute sessions. The next step is obviously going to be five-on-five contact drills, ensuring that the knee is alright and that Dunleavy himself is up to par from a conditioning standpoint.
Not that I expect a complete fall-off of the other Pacers, but this obviously means not-so-good things for other scoring options like Danny Granger and Marquis Daniels. Daniels owners may want to start sticking some trade feelers out as he’s in line to take the biggest hit from the pending Dunleavy return.
After missing a dozen games with an ankle injury, Hawks forward and all-around fantasy stud Josh Smith will be back in uniform for tonight’s game against Memphis. Though, if you have him on your roster and have other options given all of tonight’s games, you may want to think twice about starting him.
“That’s the big emphasis right now is to try not to overdo it because I’m so excited to be back,” Smith said. “That’s just a part of listening to your body and knowing how many minutes your body can take the first night back. And I won’t lie, my body will have to tell me because in my mind, I want it all back right now.”
Okay, maybe not all, but if you can afford to stash a high-upside center on your bench…do it.
In a 12-team league where I have a considerably deep bench, last week, I added JaVale McGee with hopes of more double-double love. I’m considering it in another league that is a bit more shallow, with the only hurdle being who to drop. And now that we have the words Sports Illustrated and GMTR, it’s looking like the radar has officially received a new blip. And that blip is a seven-foot tall kid with the wingspan of a pterodactyl.
B-Ref shows his 36-minute numbers to provide a very solid 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks with 52.2 percent shooting. Now, just like Nels mentioned, we can’t bank on 36 minutes. However, once the Wiz brass gets restless, look for a lot more of McGee as the fans love him and (quite frankly!), what do they have to lose? And why shouldn’t you benefit from that?
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Dropping Dimes is trying out a new feature. Fantasy 30 intends to rank all of the NBA teams in terms of fantasy power. A list like this tends to lead to a lot of disagreement and discussion, but the hope is that these rankings will be fluid and updated as the year goes on. Thanks to Ron Chow for the assist. In addition to publishing updates on the Fantasy 30, once in a while we hope to produce sister articles that focus on a specific team and its roster.
#1: Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant ranks as a top four fantasy player this year. The Lakers employ two fantasy-worthy starters for center in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom has played well coming off the bench. Jordan Farmar has sleeper point guard potential, and the team also employs three-point threats like Derek Fisher and Vlad Radmanovic. All of this adds up to the Lakers being top dog early in the year.
In the fantasy basketball ring, one thing is for certain: the Golden State Warriors will score a lot of points. For this reason, we had Monta Ellis going in the second or third round of most drafts until he injured himself in that now infamous moped accident. When the accident happened, we tapped former New Jersey Net Marcus Williams as the man to flourish.
But not so fast. Williams has disappointed big time, and has been shelved by Don Nelson as “third string.” So who gets the playing time? DeMarcus Neslon, that’s who.
Fig Cap: What do you get when you combine Marcus Williams with Don Nelson?
With two forwards and a center already supporting this roster, it was time to address the guard position. The good part about the current make-up of this team is that Rashard Lewis and Antawn Jamison can rack up small-ball statistics, so you are not limited in where you can go with the fourth round pick.
With that said, the tier of Chauncey Billups and Jose Calderon are off of the board. With there being a slew of other options that may be a bit to risky to take at this slot, I have no problems “settling” for…
Mo Williams, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
The first preseason game for the Washington Wizards did not go as planned. Not only is Gilbert Arenas slated to miss some crucial time, but injuries to forward Antawn Jamison and center Brendan Haywood added a little salt in the wound. News today says that Jamison only has a bruised knee and should be good to go. Haywood, however, is looking to miss the next four-to-six months with wrist surgery.
“He’s really big for us back there in terms of communicating to the other guys about what is going on and where we need to be, so that’s going to be missed,” Jamison said. “We’re going to have to find a way for other guys to fill that role.”
Surprisingly, Joe Johnson saw an uptick in dimes per game in the second half of last year, the half where Mike Bibby was manning the point for the Hawks.
This is promising news for those trying to make JJ your number one PG this year. Although he has more value sitting alongside a true PG and manning your SG slot, he’s a viable PG given that you draft accordingly. He was 16th in assists per game last year, behind guys who haven’t yet been taken in our mock. But at the same time, he averaged 4.5 boards per and over 2 threes a game.
Round 3, Pick 9 - Joe Johnson
As a proud former owner of the backboard breaking David Lee, this news out of New York is very refreshing for the big man’s fantasy value under Mike D’Antoni.
There are many reasons starting [David] Lee with Zach Randolph up front is more logical in D’Antoni’s speedball attack. Lee can run the floor, is a better rebounder, passer and decision-maker than [Eddy] Curry. The only thing Curry has on Lee is being a more potent low-post scorer in a half-court set.
But that’s mostly obsolete in this offense, and Randolph can provide low-post points. Simply put, a Randolph-Lee front court is a more sensible tandem.
Oh, and don’t forget that Lee will be in a contract year this season. Money makes the man do crazy things, especially when it comes to the box score.
LEE HOLDS EARLY EDGE OVER CURRY [NYPost]
Had Andrew Bynum been healthy all of last year, we may have a different World Champion team. There’s no doubt the Lakeshow missed his 2 blocks, almost 2 dimes, and more importantly, his 10 rebounds per and that huge inside presence. But that’s spilled milk. Most sites have Bynum ranked at about the 10th best center, and he’s the ninth taken in our draft. Check out why after the jump…
Round 3, Pick 6 - Andrew Bynum
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