And we're back! Here is another edition of the FNC, a periodic column by 3 Got Game's NBA Analytiks intended to recap some of the more important headlines that may help in your quest to winning that ever elusive fantasy NBA championship. Let's get to it.
Kevin Garnett Is Rising (Slightly)
KG is apparently running, jumping, and dunking with an ease that teammates have not seen in recent years. Garnett said, "I have a lot more confidence in my leg and my body. I feel a lot better, and eager to start camp." This is fantastic news for both Celtics fans and Garnett owners across the fantasy landscape. While Doc Rivers will surely limit Garnett's minutes again this season, a healthier knee may reduce the number of games missed, as well as translate into higher per-minute productivity this season.
Paul George and Josh McRoberts Are Rising
Earlier this summer, I wrote that Pacers rookie Paul George's playing time would depend almost entirely on his ability to "bring it" on the defensive side of the ball. Remember that coach Jim O'Brien puts a premium on defensive intensity and started 76ers rookie Andre Igoudala back in 2004-05 for precisely that reason. Six seasons later, both Paul George and Josh McRoberts are doing their best Iggy impersonations. Coach Obie said:
We keep hustle stats which are deflections, charges, offensive rebounds and in the first three days. Not counting today Paul George had 36, Josh had 31 and nobody else had over 15 so that translates into extra possession and I don't care if you're a rookie or what position you play, those kind of stats, they don't lie. If you're being active like that and you're getting your hands on balls and stepping up and taking charges, then you have to be on the basketball court.
Coach Obie also said that if the season were to start today, Josh McRoberts would be getting 36 minutes per game. Wow.
Clearly, I was too quick in dismissing Josh McRoberts' chances at winning the starting power forward position last week. You should definitely keep a close eye on Josh as we head into preseason. And please feel free to take a late-round flier on Paul George. These reports only reinforce my enthusiasm for the long, athletic, uber-talented rookie from Fresno State.
Marreese Speights, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes Are Neutral
Even though Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young ran with the starting unit last week, I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see Marreese Speights and Evan Turner take their places at some point during the season, perhaps as early as November. It's just too early to tell how minutes will be distributed once the season starts, so do not overreact to fluctuations here and there in the meantime. The only two sure-fire 76ers right now look to be Andre Igoudala and Jrue Holiday, who had Adam Madison glowing all last week.
Jrue Holiday Is Rising
Speaking of Jrue Holiday, he certainly does not need anymore hype, but for some reason, people can't stop gushing about the second-year's potential. Kate Fagan of Philly.com Sports recently wrote:
It's quite likely that when everyone gets to see Holiday play on Tuesday against the Nets, they're going to be similarly excited about watching Holiday this year. During the scrimmage, Holiday drove right into the lane, spun back to his left hand in the heart of the lane, and went up to finish against one of the opposing big men (maybe Speights). He just hung in the air, shifted his body away from the defender, and finished with his off hand. It was a play that perhaps no one else on the team could have made.
On top of being super-talented, Jrue also has a solid work ethic to boot. In the same article, Coach Doug Collins is quoted as saying:
[Jrue] is unbelievable. What I’m doing right now is he’s such a hard worker. He wanted to come out and work some more and I said, ‘Jrue, remember, you didn’t play the first 60 games last year and so you could do all that. Now you’ve got to start thinking 36 minutes a night, all 82 games. I don’t want you to leave your legs here right now.'
So while GM's continue to salivate over consensus sleeper candidates Darren Collison and Raymond Felton, just know that Jrue Holiday may emerge as the best point guard of the three. (Somewhere 3 Got Game's Van Wilder—owner of Jrue Holiday in our keeper league—just peed himself in joy and happiness.)
Terrence Williams and Derrick Favors Are Rising
Terrence Williams' triple-double against the Bulls left an indelible impression on fantasy GMs late last season. Months later, TWill continues to impress. Training camp reports indicate that he is unquestionably in better shape than all of his teammates, a testament to his offseason workouts. Moreover, coach Avery Johnson also acknowledges TWill's improvement on the court:
Terrence’s versatility to score, post-up smaller guys, initiate our offense for us then play off the ball...you can do more things with him. He still may do something crazy one out of every five possessions, but it was four out of five earlier. He’s taking pretty good care of the ball and making good passes.
The position battle between TWill and Anthony Morrow is far from over. There is still a long way to go before the season starts. But for GMs wondering about Terrence's progression, these reports should only help his value.
- Anthony Randolph may start at the five, which is what I've been suggesting all along. What Anthony Randolph gives up in size, he more than makes up for with his length and athleticism. While he might struggle against the likes of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, there's no reason why he can't hold his own against most centers in the league.
- John Wall has been looking awesome in scrimmages...Richard Jefferson has apparently put in a lot of work this summer on re-working his shot...Dejuan Blair is leaner than last year (which might actually work against him)...Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver continue to position battle, but regardless of who starts, that will be a timeshare...and rookie Derrick Favors continues to show flashes of potential.
- Erick Dampier is still trying to swindle some owner into a new contract...Marcus Camby is banged up a bit but should be fine for the season. Al Harrington is dealing with plantar fasciitis (keep an eye on this). Kevin Martin says he's more focused on defense this year (but don't hold your breath)...and Delonte West recently did his best "Bill Clinton" in denying rumors that he smashed with Gloria James. Good work Delonte.
That's it for now! Have a great weekend everyone!
Ken is a writer for NBA-Analytiks www.nba-analytiks.com