Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Saturday Dose, which will attempt to cover the highlights of Friday's always-busy NBA schedule. Rather than a game-by-game breakdown, this column will consist of discrete paragraphs on injured players, previews of Saturday's games, standout performers, and much more. We're all looking for clues to season-long value in the first week, so each paragraph is graced with the title of a famous detective story from mystery illuminati Agatha Christie, Elmore Leonard, Dashiell Hammett, Walter Mosley, Raymond Chandler, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As a fair warning, most "Saturday Doses" will not be this lengthy -- they'll be quick-hit recaps of noteworthy players and events.
The Dain Curse: Brandon Rush left Friday's game with what looked like a terrible left knee injury. He landed awkwardly and his knee buckled, and he was unable to leave the court under his own power. Hopefully it's not as bad as it looked. For however many games Rush is sidelined, Harrison Barnes will get more minutes as the starting SF, and Jarrett Jack will need to pick up some slack in an expanded bench role. Jack already has upside in case Stephen Curry's balky ankle gives him any trouble, and I think he's a nice WW target. As for Barnes, I honestly am not sure what to think -- he won't give you many steals or blocks, but he's a natural scorer who could hit enough 3-pointers to be worth a stash. Of the two, I'd take Jack.
If you haven't yet signed up for Rotoworld's Season Pass....seriously, what are you waiting for? You get months of exclusive insights from the RW hoops crew, members-only live chats with Dr. A, and tons more. Go check it out.
The High Window: Kemba Walker's immense upside was on display in Friday's win over the Pacers -- he had 30 points on 10-of-21 FGs and 9-of-10 FTs, with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. His fantasy value as a rookie was sabotaged by his 36.6 percent FG shooting -- this was just one game, but it's hugely encouraging for everyone who plucked Kemba out of the late rounds.
Follow me on Twitter: @Knaus_RW
Farewell, My Lovely: Chase Budinger was a good thought as a preseason sleeper, since Rick Adelman likes him and he can rain 3-pointers in sufficient minutes. Unfortunately, it looks like he'll be stuck in a sub-30 minute role off the bench, and on Friday he managed just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, with five rebounds in 21 minutes. Factor in Kevin Love's return as early as late-November, and Bud can safely be cut for a more promising FA.
Swag: Danilo Gallinari returned from his left ankle injury to score 23 points with two 3-pointers, eight rebounds and four assists. Tobias Harris looked great in a start at SF on Friday, scoring 18 points on 8-of-11 FGs, with two 3-pointers, six rebounds and one block. John Henson's return to the lineup could dent Harris' playing time, but in the meantime he's a nice waiver wire pickup. Jamal Crawford scored 21 bench points in a win over the Lakers, and Kobe suggested J-Craw will win Sixth-Man of the Year with the Clippers. Randy Foye scored 20 points off Utah's bench, and he's worth a look if you really need 3-pointers.
The Big Four: 1) Kobe Bryant is playing through his strained and bruised foot, but after scoring 40 points on Friday he left the arena in a walking boot, and said he "felt like his foot is about to fall off." Keep an eye on his status this week. 2) Anthony Davis suffered a "mild concussion" on Friday -- he's been ruled out for Saturday, but is day-to-day beyond that. The Hornets next games are at home on Wednesday and Friday. 3) Andrew Bogut played 18 minutes on Friday but won't play on Saturday, part of a planned-rest strategy the Warriors are hoping will keep him healthy. He's expected to be on a 20-minute-limit until "at least" December, which is awful news for everyone who drafted him. 4) Danny Granger remains "out indefinitely" with his sore knee -- I'm not optimistic about his outlook, but it's too early to cut him outright.
Trouble is my Business: Hedo Turkoglu broke his hand in Friday's season opener -- we should have a timetable once he's re-evaluated on Saturday, so check back soon. My best guess is that he'll miss over a month, but again that's my uninformed opinion (UPDATE: Hedo had surgery on Saturday morning and will indeed miss "a minimum" of four weeks). The Magic don't have a clear "successor" at small forward -- Moe Harkless (groin) should get solid minutes once he's healthy, Al Harrington will help when he returns from knee surgery, and both J.J. Redick and Josh McRoberts stands to gain in Turkoglu's absence. Realistically, I expect Hedo's production to filter throughout the lineup for however long he's out, muddying the water in fantasy leagues.
The Curtain: Steve Nash sat out Friday's game with a bruised shin. It doesn't sound that bad, but it was reported on Saturday morning that the 38-year-old could miss up to a week, putting him in danger of missing games on Sunday and possibly Wednesday. Steve Blake would start at PG in his absence without offering much value to fantasy owners, and the Lakers are in real danger of starting the season 0-4 or 0-5.
Split Images: Omer Asik grabbed 19 rebounds without scoring a single point in 35 minutes on Friday. He snagged a ridiculous nine offensive rebounds, but was 0-of-7 from the field. Mercifully, he didn't attempt any FT attempts (career 48 percent from the FT line). Shifting our attention to Boston, we can find a split-personality performance from Leandro Barbosa, who had 16 points in 16 minutes in the Celtics' opener, but just two points in seven minutes on Friday. Barbosa will spend more time in the valley than on the peak this season, and Boston's backcourt projects to get even messier once Avery Bradley returns from shoulder surgeries.