The Switch: Lance Stephenson got hot off the Pacers' bench on Friday and wound up eating into Gerald Green's playing time -- Stephenson finished with 15 points, two 3-pointers, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 25 minutes. He also shot 6-of-9 from the field, compared to starter Gerald Green's seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. I was high on Green once Danny Granger (knee) went out "indefinitely," and I am not giving up on him yet (he has the versatility to be a very useful fantasy player in 30+ minutes), but I'm keeping a close eye on Stephenson, whose physical specs are ridiculous, and who suddenly looks like a real bench threat.
Out of Sight: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looks like a safe drop in re-draft leagues. His offense has been a major question mark all preseason, and he finished his debut with two points on 1-of-7 shooting, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Long Goodbye: Eddy Curry, we hardly knew thee. After two appearances for the Mavericks, in which he totaled nine points and four rebounds in 25 minutes, Curry once again finds himself unemployed. The Mavs turned to him in desperation with Chris Kaman (calf) on the sidelines to start the season, but Kaman is hoping to return on Saturday and Troy Murphy was officially signed on Friday, nudging Curry out of the frame. Curry proved this preseason that he can still score in bunches, but he gives up points just as readily on defense, and his chronic fumbilitis still flares up when he feels any pressure with the ball. Even if he signs with another team, which he might, he's little more than a punchline in fantasy leagues.
Be Cool: There's no need to panic over Nikola Pekovic's lousy Friday night, as he scored nine points on 2-of-8 FGs and 5-of-8 FTs, with five rebounds in 32 minutes. He managed to get DeMarcus Cousins into early foul trouble, and should have a more productive evening vs. Toronto on Sunday.
The Man in the Brown Suit: Chris Kaman (calf) went through "most" of Friday's practice and hopes to make his Mavericks debut on Saturday, but check back for updates -- the fact that Eddy Curry was waived on Friday suggests that Kaman will be ready.
They Can Only Hang You Once: Brandon Roy's retirement comeback got off to a good start on Friday -- he shot just 4-of-14 from the field for 10 points, but chipped in five rebounds, six assists and one steal in 30 minutes. So far, so good. Fellow NBA returnee (if it's not a word, you know what I mean) Andrei Kirilenko also fared well, chipping in 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and one block. Add a steal and the occasional 3-pointer, and this is what owners can expect from AK all year long. For the Celtics, Jeff Green bounced back from an atrocious debut in Miami (he said adrenaline and nerves got the best of him), finishing Friday's game with 11 points, one 3-pointer, one rebound, two steals and one block in 27 minutes. His minutes should hover around the 30-minute mark all year, and I'm willing to pencil him in for season-long averages of 13.0 points, 0.8 threes, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game. Green provides the sort of under-the-radar value that can really help in deep leagues, so don't drop him just yet.
The Tell-Tale Heart: Derrick Williams got a start at PF with Kevin Love (hand) unavailable, but he looked overmatched in 21 minutes, finishing with eight points and seven rebounds, while shooting 3-of-12 from the field. The Wolves clearly aren't optimistic and would probably trade him for anything of value -- D-Will has terrific physical gifts, but he may not have the on-court awareness to live up to his lofty No. 2 overall draft position.
A Dream Within a Dream: What would James Harden do as a follow-up to his 37-point debut with the Rockets? How about setting a new career-high with 45 points in a road win vs. the Hawks, on hyper-efficient 14-of-19 FGs and 15-of-17 FTs, with two 3-pointers, seven rebounds and five turnovers. I recommended Harden as a late-first-round pick after last weekend's trade, and he's making that look very conservative. I'll be shocked if at the end of the season he isn't the most-frequently-owned player on winning fantasy teams.
His Last Bow: Al Horford did play after his pectoral surgery last season, but he appeared in just three playoff games and came into this season somewhat overlooked in most fantasy drafts. He had 14 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal and zero blocks vs. the Rockets on Friday, but as long as he's healthy there's no reason he can't match his overall second-round nine-cat value from the 2010-11 season (third-round in eight-cat leagues).
Three Act Tragedy: Eric Gordon. The latest news suggests he could return after resting for 4-6 weeks, but it's time for fantasy owners to cut their losses.
The Hollow: Nicolas Batum said after Friday's game, in which he shot 1-of-11 from the field, "This is the worst shooting night in my life." He said he'll lose sleep over the poor outing, and there's no doubt he'll bounce right back. Elsewhere, Carl Landry scored 20 points off the Warriors' bench, with six rebounds and one block, but I'm not sold. His production is typically "hollow" in that he rarely gives you any assists, steals or blocks, and his bench role will shrink as Andrew Bogut gets healthy.
Chasing the Dime: Nate Robinson exploded in 27 minutes off the bench vs. Cleveland, making 7-of-9 FGs (two 3-pointers) to finish with 16 points, five rebounds and a whopping 12 assists. Robinson's shot will run hot and cold, but his ability to chip in 4+ assists and 1.5+ threes makes him a viable fantasy bench PG/SG. Shifting our attention to Atlanta, Devin Harris started at SG but played only 22 minutes, scoring all nine of his points in the first half -- he's not worth owning with so much competition for SG minutes (Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson). Jeff Teague scored 14 points and had seven assists but he barely played 27 minutes -- his owners shouldn't panic, but we may have underestimated Lou Williams' ability to cut into Teague's minutes and production.
Red Wind: Jeremy Lin had 21 points, two 3-pointers, 10 rebounds (five offensive), seven rebounds and three (3) turnovers in 40 minutes on Friday, and he looked perfectly comfortable taking contact. Lin fell in most drafts due to concerns about his surgically-repaired knee, but he's adjusted beautifully to James Harden's presence and he'll be a major value-pick as long as he stays on the court. Chandler Parsons is averaging about 36 minutes through two games, and if you need a SF he is absolutely worth a pickup -- he's a combined 5-of-18 from the field, but once he finds the range he'll start flying off waiver wires.
That will conclude the Saturday Dose, which will be a weekly feature at Rotoworld this season. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via the email and Twitter links below.