We’re slowly cranking up the Daily Dose train as the picture of what the NBA will look like this year continuously becomes a little clearer. Where or when Chris Paul is going to land is anyone’s guess, but let’s cover some things we do know. We’ll hit fantasy notes on the first 15 teams in the league today, and then have another update with the other 15 later this week.
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Team-By-Team Breakdown - First Half
Atlanta Hawks – Jeff Teague is the starting point guard and we’re expecting him to break out this season. Joe Johnson is poised for a bounce-back year with Jamal Crawford talking to the Knicks and Pacers, among others, and should be a solid fourth-round value pick. Josh Smith has lost a ton of weight and says he’s going to shoot fewer threes this season. With his weight down he could easily turn back into a shot-blocking beast and have a big year. Another value pick. As of today, Pape Sy is the backup point guard, but he should only be looked at in 30-team leagues, and maybe not even then. Kirk Hinrich is out for a month after surgery, leaving Teague the space to blow up. Tracy McGrady, Jerry Stackhouse and Vladimir Radmanovic are on board for now, and while all of them may end up teasing fantasy owners, you’re probably best just staying away. Draft results: Horford 22nd, Smith 28th, Johnson 39th and Teague 117th.
Boston Celtics – Rajon Rondo (ankle) and Paul Pierce (heel) are already banged up and missing some practice time, although both should be fine by the start of the season…should be. Meanwhile Jeff Green is set to miss another day or two after a red flag was raised in his physical exam after he signed a one-year deal with Boston. We’re going to assume he’s OK, but we won’t know for a couple days. The arrival of Brandon Bass doesn’t do green any favors, while Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen appear to be healthy. Jermaine O’Neal is still the center of record in Boston, but once he goes down, look for Chris Wilcox and Jamal Sampson to get plenty of run. And when you think about picking up Wilcox when it happens, keep in mind the fact he doesn’t block shots. Draft results: Rondo 23rd, Pierce 48th, Garnett 68th and Allen 78th.
Charlotte Bobcats – Still no word on Gerald Henderson’s surgically repaired hip, but we’re guessing no news is good news. He’s slated to start at SG, if healthy enough. D.J. Augustin will be pushed by rookie Kemba Walker, and word out of camp is that Augustin has never looked so focused. Walker might be worth a late flier in drafts, but the job is clearly DJA’s at this point. Boris Diaw is a trade candidate, but we have him as the starting power forward in Charlotte and think he’s a value pick in the later rounds of drafts. Tyrus Thomas, as usual, is worth keeping an eye on, but is coming off of major knee surgery, which is a red flag. Bismack Biyombo is expected to challenge for a starting job at PF, but has yet to be cleared due to a legal mess happening in Spain that’s affecting his buyout. The Bobcats plan on using Corey Maggette as their primary scorer, but I find it hard to believe he’s going to be healthy enough to be relied upon long term. The Cats are still desperately searching for a starting center, as DeSagana Diop is coming off a ruptured Achilles. They might sign Kwame Brown, who would be worth a late look as their starting center. Draft results: Augustin 82nd, Walker 87th, Diaw 91st, Maggette 94th, Thomas 104th and Henderson 112th.
Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose is ready to blow up again and has been a popular pick (over Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul) at No. 3 in fantasy drafts. Tough to argue with that one, but I am taking Wade at No. 3 in my drafts. Richard Hamilton is expected to be signed to start at shooting guard, while Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah are expected to fill out the front line. All appear to be healthy right now, and Noah’s fantasy value is closely tied to his plantar fasciitis, which is under control for now. Draft results: Rose 1st (homer pick), Boozer 36th, Noah 43rd, Deng 53rd and Hamilton 139th.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving is my pick for ROY and is projected to start at PG for the Cavs. Baron Davis has been waived, so Irving is going to get run. Target him after the veteran PGs are off the board. As for Davis, he’s got a back injury that could linger all season, and I would not recommend drafting him this year. I also doubt he is with the Cavs for too much longer. Anthony Parker re-signed and will split time with Daniel Gibson, giving both of them borderline fantasy value and making them possible last-round picks in your draft. Antawn Jamison is still in Cleveland and should start, but he’s also on the trading block. Rookie Tristan Thompson is worth drafting late in your draft. Omri Casspi is projected as the starter at small forward, but is dealing with a sore knee. However, it sounds like he’ll be healthy by opening day. If not, Alonzo Gee will be worth keeping an eye on. Anderson Varejao will play both PF and C, and given the fact the other C’s are Semih Erden and Ryan Hollins, Varejao is going to be a sneaky source of double-doubles this season. You could do worse for a starting center. Ramon Sessions is also still on board in Cleveland and will get run at both guard spots if Davis doesn’t get healthy. Draft results: Irving 66th, Jamison 85th, Varejao 109th and Sessions 132nd.
Dallas Mavericks – Jason Kidd is back and ready to roll for the Mavs and it looks like Roddy Beaubois and Delonte West will back him up. Roddy B is reportedly healthy, but the Mavs just have too many guards for me to get overly excited about him this year. Rudy Fernandez, Jason Terry, Vince Carter and DeShawn Stevenson are all on board in Dallas, creating a true logjam, especially at shooting guard. Terry may end up starting, with Rudy and Vince being his primary backups. However, we’re still waiting for Rudy to show up from Spain, while he and Corey Brewer could be moved soon in a trade. Jose Juan Barea signed with the Timberwolves, but the shooting guard spot for Dallas is one of the most confusing clusters in the league. The forward spots are also a bit of a mess since the Mavs acquired Lamar Odom for a six-pack of Natty Light. Dirk Nowitzki will start at PF, while Shawn Marion and Odom will battle it out for the small forward job. Marion should start, but I think we’re looking at a true timeshare here, while Odom will also play some PF while Dirk is resting. Surprisingly, the center position is the most clear-cut thing they have going outside of Kidd and Dirk, as Brendan Haywood has the job with Tyson Chandler now playing for the Knicks. You could do worse than having Haywood as your second center in fantasy leagues, as he should be fine with the minutes that are coming his way. Draft results: Dirk 10th, Odom 77th, Kidd 86th, Terry 115th, Carter 135th and Haywood 148th.