The Wire Troll: Pau’s Bro Making his Mark
Mark Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies: Viewed as an afterthought in the deal that sent his older brother to Los Angeles, Gasol looks like a legitimate NBA talent through the Grizzlies’ first six games. His scoring has come and gone, but he is showing consistent effort on the glass. He owes a lot of his 10.8 PPG and 8.8 RPG averages to a huge game against the Warriors (27 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks), but there’s enough here to warrant an addition.
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T-Wolves’ rookie Kevin Love had his best game on Friday, pouring in 20 points and eight rebounds in a loss to the Kings. His minutes had been kept low with Randy Gomes starting, but Love has started the last two and is someone on the rise…Former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani has alternated good and bad games this year. He’s still not rebounding enough and the fact that he has only cracked 22 minutes in a game twice is a concern. Still, he’s a possible stash option…Sacramento’s Jason Thompson was making the most of his playing time this season, reaching double-digits in his first five games and doing some solid work on the boards. However, he played just 11 minutes on Friday following the return of Brad Miller. That makes Thompson nothing more than a flier in deep formats.
Marvin Williams, Atlanta Hawks: He sat out the opener while serving a one-game suspension and played sparingly in his first game back, but the 22-year-old power forward has racked up 25 points and 12 boards in his last two games. Right now he’s still primarily a source of points, but if he can get his rebounds up he could be a solid contributor.
Kelenna Azubuike, Golden State Warriors: A steady hand off Nellie’s bench for most of 2007-08, Azubuike has tallied back-to-back 20-plus-point efforts and made his first start of the year on Friday. The 6-foot-5 swingman has done a yeoman’s job on the boards and is launching his fair share of threes, though at this point too many of them aren’t falling. However, Coach Nelson isn’t the kind of guy that’s going to rein him in, so opportunity should eventually equate to production for Azubuike.
Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks: Step aside, David Lee! Chandler got the starting nod over everybody’s favourite rebounding machine on Friday, and he responded with 17 points and four rebounds. It was the fourth time in five games he reached double figures. His rebounding has fluctuated and a fairly low field-goal percentage makes him somewhat one-dimensional at this point, but he seems to be taking well to Mike D’Antoni’s offense, which gives him upside.
Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks: While Milwaukee’s first-round pick, Joe Alexander, has barely gotten off the pine, second-rounder Mbah a Moute is emerging as the Bucks’ sixth man. Known as a defensive stopper – he drew comparisons to Bruce Bowen (sans the dirty tactics) entering the draft – Mbah a Moute has shown surprising offensive aptitude and pulled down 25 boards in the last three games. Despite his strong play, he’s better suited for larger leagues.
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With Agent Zero on the mend, Nick Young has emerged as the third scoring option in Washington. He’s a one-trick pony right now, offering scoring and little else…Sean May continues to struggle to get back into condition, which has moved Jared Dudley into the starting lineup. He hasn’t done much statistically, but he’s a hard worker and could emerge as a favourite of Larry Brown because of it. He’s an option exclusively in deep leagues at this point…Trevor Ariza beat out Luke Walton for playing time during the preseason and is currently the Lakers’ second or third option off the bench. He’s not playing enough to resonate in standard formats, but can be decent depth in deeper versions…Brandan Wright is off to a slow start, but flashed what he’s capable of on Wednesday when he posted an 18-point, 13-rebound effort. With Al Harrington in the doghouse in Oakland, Wright is looking like a strong pickup.
J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets: The trade of Allen Iverson opens up additional playing time and shots for Smith at the two-guard, though George Karl continues to bring Smith off the bench by starting Dahntay Jones. Smith’s numbers haven’t changed appreciably following the move, but the streaky guard’s value goes northward regardless. Add him in all leagues.
Marquis Daniels, Indiana Pacers: The absence of Mike Dunleavy has opened up playing time for Daniels, who has shown more in the first four games of ’08-09 than he did in the last four seasons. He has notched two double-doubles in his past three games and is currently second on the team with 8.0 rebounds per game. It’s hard to know what role he’ll play once Dunleavy returns from his knee woes, but Daniels deserves ownership in all leagues until further notice.
Nate Robinson, New York Knicks: Robinson has adjusted nicely to D’Antoni’s scheme and is currently contributing across the board, including a surprising 4.2 rebounds per game. Nate Dogg is seeing time as the primary backup at both guard spots and is a solid option in all formats.
Roger Mason, San Antonio Spurs: With both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker out of action, Mason suddenly finds himself as San Antonio’s No. 2 scoring option behind Tim Duncan. He has scored 44 points in his last two games and won’t hurt you with his rebounding or passing, either. His long-term fortunes are a little cloudy, but he should be a worthwhile fantasy contributor for at least the next several weeks.
Sebastian Telfair, Minnesota Timberwolves: Telfair has 23 points and 17 assists in his last two games and started over Randy Foye in Minnesota’s last game. The former first-round pick has never lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he reached the NBA, but he could be a nice source of assists going forward.
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A recent move to the starting lineup has agreed with Jason Terry, who poured in 49 points and dished out 17 assists in two games since the switch was made. Still, his primary value still comes from his ability to put the ball in the net…Rudy Fernandez has adjusted quickly to NBA life, scoring between 14 and 20 points in four of his five games this season. He’s not contributing much else just yet, but he carries enough name value that he won’t last long on waiver wires. Act accordingly…The hyper-quick Aaron Brooks has flashed his talent this year, but he has been wildly inconsistent, scoring 14 points one game and none the next. He has a chance to push Rafer Alston for minutes, though, which makes him a possible flier in deeper formats…Miami’s Mario Chalmers is starting at the point and playing north of 30 minutes a night, but that hasn’t translated into much production outside a 17-point debut – in fact, he has scored just 17 points in the four games since that combined. Those in deep leagues can consider making a move based on his assists, but he’s more of a name to file away for later in the season.