Friday, November 05, 2004

Very Early Thoughts

Get Jamaal Tinsley now, while you can. He is in for a monster year and will certainly be one of the top 15 PGs in the league. He won’t get 14 assists every night, but his career averages of 7.3 in 29.6 minutes translates to just over 9 per game if given 37 minutes. Getting those minutes was his problem in the past, but with a fat new contract and injuries to Anthony Johnson and Reggie Miller, he should be on the court a lot. Take away the 10 minutes of overtimes and he still had 35 minutes last night. He was taken, on average, behind people like Gary Payton, Tony Parker and Carlos Arroyo, and barring injury he’s a sure thing to easily out-produce all of them.

The 76ers could be a very frustrating team for fantasy owners. It’s important not to read too much into one game, especially if it’s the first game with a new coach, but at this point Allen Iverson and probably Kenny Thomas are the only ones guaranteed consistent minutes in Philly. O’Brien will mix and match until he finds a rotation he likes, but it’s possible he could end up going for something close to the Hubie Brown system, giving between 25-30 minutes a night to a handful of guys (Green, McKie, Korver, Dalembert, Jackson, Igoudala).

Watch out for Rasual Butler. He played a team high 43 minutes last night and nailed three 3-pointers. He shot 46% from long range last year and a hot start could make him a fixture in the starting lineup. Everyone thought Eddie Jones would be the main long-distance beneficiary of Shaq clogging the middle, but don’t count out Butler. If he wasn’t snagged after his season opener, grab him quickly.

The Knicks guards will be the only consistent performers on that team. Both Crawford and Marbury had excellent season debuts, and will see plenty of time. This is no surprise about Marbury, but there were questions about Crawford. He’ll still hurt your FG%, but you were expecting that anyway. The Knicks frontcourt goes six deep with the Thomases, Mohammed, Sweetney, Jerome Williams and rook Trevor Ariza, and that will hurt the value of everyone. I’d only feel comfortable starting Kurt Thomas out of all of those.

Don’t worry about the Rockets. A rough start couldn’t be that unexpected. McGrady will still end up in the top dozen as long as he stays healthy, and Yao will still be a top-5 center. Don’t panic.

Not every great first game will be matched. In particular: Juan Dixon, Chris Mihm and Bobby Simmons. The latter two could make decent short-term pickups, but know that you missed their best games.

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