Because I aim to please I decided to go big on this Dose, as usual, but the Kobe Bryant wrist injury and Andrew Bynum beast mode got me digging into game tape. Decisions to buy or sell those guys are going to be big for owners, so I figured I’d go a bit more in-depth. I left them for the end, though, so if you don’t own those guys you can get right in it.
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MAMA THERE GOES THAT HAND
Maybe Mark Jackson or Doctor A can help me with my Golden State Warrior play calls, but in the meantime we’ll learn today how much James Anderson or Gary Neal can help owners when Manu Ginobili’s broken hand gets a timetable (hopefully). After a day for the dust to settle this situation is pretty simple, but has a few quirks.
Anderson will start (unless Pop changes his mind) until Ginobili returns, and Neal still needs a few games to get into shape. During that time Anderson will have the chance to earn a significant role. If he hasn’t made an impression, he will likely cede starter’s minutes (and possibly the starting job) to Neal, who is mostly proven and has Pop’s trust. So do you take the guy with a head start or the guy who is proven if you’re staring at both?
Neal has the higher upside if he goes off due to his potential for elite 3-point shooting, but Anderson shouldn’t be poo-pooed in that department, either. He hit 39 percent of his attempts last year and about 37 percent in college. He’s no Neal, but he’s not inept either. Anderson compares similarly to Marcus Thornton, who could score but also didn’t rock the combine with measurables, either.
The answer lies in what you need. If you need a player this week the bet is on Anderson and his head start, his 6’6” height advantage (Neal is 6’4” and would make a small backcourt with Tony Parker), and the fact that Neal is not in game shape. The following week it’s Anderson if he’s hot and Neal if he’s not. If you’re looking for a home run, despite the fact that Neal could theoretically hit a bunch of threes and go off, you’re betting that Anderson follows up on his preseason promise and never lets go. If you’re playing it a bit safer and you’re iffy on Anderson, it’s Neal given what he has proven.
Don’t say I don’t give something for everybody around here.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Rookie Kyrie Irving hit 8-of-10 shots last night and finished with a season-high 20 points, two threes, three boards, six assists, two blocks, and zero turnovers in Tuesday’s win as he continues to live up to the hype. He’s providing fourth-round per-game value in 8-cat leagues in just 26 mpg so far and earning his lofty early mid-round ADP. Right now Irving is netting just under a steal and a full block per game, along with 1.2 threes to go with solid shooting percentages (45.9/46.2/78.6). He is otherwise averaging 14.6 points, 3.8 boards, and 5.6 assists.
Looking at his late fifth round ADP (based on sketchy ADP data I might add), I never got my hands on the No. 1 overall pick because I had him projected at a seventh round return. Irving’s versatility is buoying his value and it’s a near certainty that he adds 10 mpg to his workload. I’d be willing to bet that we’ll see slippage in his field goal shooting, and most certainly his 3-point shooting rate. That block per game is going to go south, too. Overall, he’s only getting better. Scary.
Knowing he’ll have another 10 minutes per game eventually to add counting stats, betting on top-60 value this year looks real good early. Heck, top-40 value looks like a good bet, but let’s slow our roll five games deep. Congratulations, though, if you burned a fifth round pick on Irving on draft day, because I know I had trouble pulling the trigger that early on a guy in a timeshare with eight college games under his belt.
Fellow rookie Tristan Thompson had his first breakout game last night, scoring a season-high 16 points with nine boards and two blocks in just 24 minutes. This upcoming road trip sounds like a bad time to make rotation changes mid-stream, so my gut says Byron Scott holds him back until the end of it, but Thompson is a guy you’ll want to watch real close over the next few weeks. Once the Cavs pull the trigger on him these numbers are reachable every night. Thompson has definitely passed the ‘bust test,’ and the early returns are good for the Cavs’ war room.
PING PONG BALLS
D.J. Augustin came in sporting a 1-of-11 shooting line from last game, but bounced back with a 10-for-18 mark for a season-high 26 points with four treys, four rebounds, nine assists, a steal, and a block in the Cats’ ugly loss to the Cavs on Tuesday. Kemba Walker was pretty bad last night and has hit a rookie speed bump, and Augustin’s ankle hasn’t made any news lately. Position battle advantage: Augustin. It can stay that way all year as long as Augustin plays well, obviously, and without any traction Kemba is not a must-own player in 12-team leagues.
Boris Diaw started the season with a bang as the focal point of the Bobcats’ offense, but hit rock-bottom with his second straight stinker on a zero-point, five-rebound, one-block outing in 18 foul-plagued minutes. Maybe he’s one of us thicker fellas that can run for days with 30 extra pounds tugging at his waist, but one has to think the schedule got to him.
Owners have lost the opportunity to sell-high for now, but it’s something to consider after each peak of production going forward. One advance scout said last night that the Bobcats are bad enough to finish with the league’s worst record, with Brook Lopez’s timeline for return to the Nets being the tie-breaker between the early toilet bowl contenders. What does this mean? For one, look for Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens to get plenty of run down the stretch. Mullens was miscast in Oklahoma City as a classic post guy (shocking, I know), but his pick-and-pop game is welcomed in Charlotte where scoring is needed. It’s a very complimentary pairing given Mullen’s rebounding and low-post difficulties, and Biyombo’s scoring troubles. They complete each other.
Diaw won’t just go away, of course, but we’re talking about an older, inconsistent asset over the years with conditioning issues playing on a losing team.