First Impressions



Chris Kaman. The hair is gone but the fantasy value remains.

It’s extremely important not to overreact to anything that happens early in the season. DeJuan Blair will not average a double-double this season, Danilo Gallinari will not hit seven 3-pointers per game and Yi Jianlian is not going to be a fantasy stud.

 With that said, here are a few observations from the first few days of NBA action.

Amare Stoudemire played 40 minutes in the Suns season opener and managed only 16 points, five rebounds, one block and six turnovers. Stoudemire was a second-rounder in my preseason rankings and I’m not high on him this season.

Stoudemire doesn’t rebound or block shots like Dwight Howard and doesn’t score like Lebron James. His percentages are great, but his injury history and current unhappiness in Phoenix make him a worrisome fantasy player early this season.

Chris Kaman has been an absolute beast in his first two games, averaging 20 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the floor. These numbers are quite inflated compared to my projections of 11.6 points and 8.3 rebounds.

However, the absence of Blake Griffin has boosted Kaman’s usefulness for the time being. Until Griffin returns, expect Kaman to settle in around 15 points and 10 rebounds if he can stay healthy and he’s a must add if he wasn’t drafted.

Elton Brand continued his two-year trend of awful with just eight points on 2-of-7 shooting with six rebounds and one block. It appears he just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the 76ers roster and may never revert to his pre-Philadelphia form.

Some drafts I participated in had Brand going in the third round. My projections had him as a ninth rounder. After one game, I win. But, like I said, don’t read too much into the first few games and weeks.

Matt Bonner has started at center for the Spurs in each of their first two games. Bonner is no fantasy stud, but if you have a small ball team in a head-to-head league you at least have to take a look at him as a backup center.

Blair’s 14-point, 11-rebound debut was followed up with six points and four rebounds on Thursday. His season will likely be all over the map since he is a rookie, but the potential for more minutes as Tim Duncan the Spurs vets get rest later on makes him a worthy add.

Gallinari’s seven 3-pointers were tremendous, but consider he took 13 total shot from beyond the arc and attempted only one two-pointer in a game where the Knicks were trailing throughout.

The point is that Gallinari was in a situation where he could attempt to shoot the Knicks back into the game, especially since Al Harrington and Nate Robinson were playing so poorly.

Gallinari was somewhere around a 13th-rounder in the preseason rankings with projections of 11.5 points and 2.2 3-pointers per game. In a Mike D’Antoni system that seems plausible but he has yet to prove he can play inside and contribute in other categories.

If you need 3-pointers, he’s worth stashing early in the season, but there are bound to be wild ups and downs. Plus, his lingering back problems could surface and any minute. Approach with caution.


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