Its pretty clear that James Harden has been the story of the 1st week of the 2012-'13 NBA season. With over 100 points scored in his 1st three games as a member of the Rockets, Harden is averaging 35 points per game, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. However, just one night after shooting 72%, Harden shot just 33% and its clear that fatigue is going to set in during the course of an 82 game season. Do not expect 40 or even 30 point performances on a regular basis. However you can expect him to continue to fill the stat sheet up with at least 5 assists and rebounds every night. Other positive surprises around the league range from Damian Lillard looking like the clear Rookie of the Year out in Portland, and Carmelo Anthony looking to battle LeBron James and Kevin Durant for the MVP award.
Lillard has scored at least 20 points in the Trail Blazers first 3 games and is averaging 9 assists and 4 rebounds a night. Everthing you read about Lillard is positive and everyone in Portland is already in love with his style of play.
Melo is proving to New York Knicks fans that he is focused on a championship and has retooled his game to fit the team mentality. In the opener against the Heat, Carmelo scored 16 points in the first quarter finishing with 30, while grabbing 10 rebounds and forcing Eric Spoelstra to bench LeBron and Dwayne Wade with nearly 4 minutes left in the 4th. He then followed that up on Sunday afternoon with a defensive presence that New York has never witnessed before. After recording his 2nd blocked shot in the 1st quarter, Anthony chased after the loose ball, jumped 3 rows in to the crowd and save the ball, only to have it go out of bounds on the other side of the court. None the less, fans are taking notice and if the rest of the NBA doesn't they better watch out!
In fantasy news, owners have been hit hard with injuries already, including myself who lost Steve Nash and Hedo Turkoglu for multiple weeks. Other notible injuries include Jason Richardson, Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, Anthony Davis and Andrew Bogut who are all banged up and will miss random games here and there.
Brandon Rush tore his ACL on opening night and is done for the season. That is HUGE news for Harrison Barnes owners as the SF position for the Warriors now has one less body to share minutes with.
For those of you looking to replace Steve Nash for the time being, do not go after Steve Blake (4% owned Yahoo). First take a peak at Greivis Vasquez (71%) of the surprising Hornets team who have beat the Bulls and Jazz and took the Spurs down to the final minute. Vasquez is averaging 36 minutes a night while dishing out nearly 10 assist per game. If he is gone, you should go after Jarrett Jack (39%) of the Warriors and Nate Robinson (23%) who is on a Bulls team that features a PG type play of his skill set. Jack is scoring 10 points a night while dishing out nearly 7 assists per game on a team loaded with scorers who knock down open jumpers and is seeing nearly 30 minutes per game. Robinson is averaging 12 points 5 rebounds and 5 assists in just 23 minutes a night. If he can play with control and keep his turnovers down, he is sure to earn more minutes.
When it comes to replacing Hedo, Carl Landry (39%) is a great option as is J.J. Hickson (64%) and Chandler Parsons (28%). Landry has scored 60 points in the Warriors first three games and is doing so while shooting 65%. With Bogut's health issues, Landry will see plenty of 30 minute games while at least playing 24 minutes per night as a role player. Either way, he is a part of the scoring rotation for Golden State. He is also adding 7 rebounds a night. Hickson earned the starting center role this offseason and is pulling down 11 rebounds a night, dropping 12 points per game as well. He is only shooting 43% but 14 offensive rebounds in 3 games is important stat here, as he should be getting lots of tip-ins. Parsons is shooting even worse at just 32%, but he scores about 10 points, will rebound, is a good passer and can hit the 3 ball (even though he has yet to find his stroke). Even with all of the talent on the Rockets roster at the SF, PF tweener position, Parson's still gets 40 minutes per game. That tells you something. With Harden and Lin the focal points and their ability to drive and dish, Parson's should be seeing plenty of open looks and once he gets in rhythm should put up some decent fantasy numbers.
Scorers to Add
Jamal Crawford - Clippers PG, SG (78%)
DeMar DeRozan - Raptors SG, SF (71%)
Carl Landry - Warriors SF, PF (39%)
Rebounders to Add
Shawn Marion - Mavericks SF, PF (65%)
J.J. Hickson - Trail Blazers PF, C (64%)
Omer Asik - Rockets C (61%)
3pt Shooters to Add
J.J. Redick - Magic SG (65%)
Danny Green - Spurs SG, SF (43%)
Mike Dunleavy - Bucks SG, SF (41%)
Steve Novak - Knicks SF, PF (33%)
Assists to Add
Greivis Vasquez - Hornets PG, SG (71%)
Mario Chalmers - Heat PG (59%)
Jarrett Jack - Warriors PG, SG (39%)