By Andrew Thell
– I was excited when Dorell Wright got a fresh start through free agency, signing with the Golden State Warriors back in July. He’s always been a pet player of mine who just couldn’t seem to put it all together in terms of health and consistency in his limited chances. The former preps-to-pros 19th-overall pick has all the talent in the world, but throughout his six years in Miami he had a hard time cracking the starting rotation and staying on the floor. When he’s been out there he’s always flashed athleticism and range though, topping out in the 2007-08 season with modest, but efficient, totals of 8 points and 5 boards with nearly a steal and block per on 49% FGs and 83% FTs in just 25 minutes a night.
Even with Don Nelson out of town, I can’t think of a better landing place for Wright’s versatile and up-tempo talents than Golden State. He won’t keep this up, but so far the results have been good: 20 points, 5.5 boards, 4.5 threes, 1.3 steal and 1.3 block on 51% FGs in 37 minutes a night (the most of his career by a long shot). Again, this shooting won’t keep up (especially from deep), but Wright is a rangy 6-8 athlete who can score and put up hustle stats on this fast-paced offense. I’m taking a flier on my fantasy teams, and as one of my 30 Players I Want to See More Of from last season I’m happy he’s finally getting tick and producing.
(Dorell Wright photo credit Yahoo!/AP)
– Listen, I was a big Chris Bosh fan. He seems like a nice, affable guy and he’s a great basketball player – or at least he was. But when Bosh signed with LeBron and Dwyane this summer he basically threw in the towel on being his own man and a franchise leader (same goes for LeBron) and signed up to ride coattails and be a role player. I know winning is what this game is all about, but I have a hard time respecting his decision. It’s like when Karl Malone made his last-ditch bid for a ring with the Lakers in 2003, except even more pathetic with Bosh having his whole promising career ahead of him. I would have really liked to see Bosh get it done somewhere as “The Man,” and maybe we will someday, but I don’t have a whole lot of interest in watching this 13 points and 6 boards on 10 shots a game business.
– You’ve read it everywhere else already, but here’s the obligatory “Rajon Rondo is ridiculous” report: after dropping 17 dimes with 0 (zero) TOs against the Pistons on Tuesday and 15 more on Wednesday the wily son of a bitch is averaging 16.4 assists per game and set an NBA record with 82 assists in his first five games. He’s officially in the discussion for NBA’s best point guard, and if you’re booting free throw percentage on your fantasy team he’s easily one of the most valuable players in our imaginary game.
– I think Mike Conley‘s new five-year contract worth $40 million surprised everybody, but the kid has been playing lights-out so far this season. The astronomical 3.4 steals per game will come down, but if he can maintain that 16 points and 9 assists per game while playing heady defense he might just be worth it. When draft night rolled around in 2007, who woulda thought Conley have the best career of the Ohio State products on the board?
– I really like Larry Drew’s new motion offense in Atlanta, and at 5-0 the early returns have been good. With so many young athletes who can dart around the court in the half-court and without any plodders on the roster is makes a lot of sense for the Hawks. Al Horford‘s numbers have been pretty similar to last season thus far, but he looks good. In the games I’ve caught Horford is showing improved moves and footwork on the blocks and better touch on his intermediate jumpers.
– The early returns on Blake Griffin are promising, but perhaps not as great as the hype machine would lead you to believe. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is extremely explosive and attacks the rim and glass with reckless abandon. He oozes potential, but he’s also putting up big numbers on a very bad team and is still as lacking in polish as many of the pessimists thought. The 17 points and 10 boards per are great, but 46% FGs and 52% FTs aren’t so great and in five games Griffin has blocked just one shot. If he can stay healthy big things are coming, but it’s going to take some time. Or maybe I’m just bitter I traded him before the season on my keeper team …
Checking in with John Wall, Brook Lopez, Mike Fratello and more, after the jump …
– I finally got a chance to sit down and watch a John Wall game on Tuesday night, and I picked a good one. Wall absolutely went off in the overtime win over Philly to the tune of 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals (and 8 TOs) on 9-for-16 shooting. He was clearly quicker than anybody else on the floor save perhaps “Sweet” Lou Williams, and at least for one night his jumper looked better than advertised. His dancing moves were pretty good, too. Gilbert Arenas is rapidly hurtling toward irrelevancy.
– Speaking of Louis Williams, that kid can score. I can understand why the 79ers didn’t see him as their point of the future, the ETB favorite is not a natural facilitator, but damn he is quick and can fill it up when he’s on. Coming off the bench on Tuesday Sweet Lou dropped 30 points on 16 shots in just 32 minutes, and he now sits at 18 points and 4 assists in just 25 minutes for the season.
– On the offensive end of the floor fantasy owners have to be pleased with what Brook Lopez has shown so far, but his rebounding and shot-blocking have been lacking. Lopez is clearly the Nets best player and the focal point of their offense, and I was beginning to wonder if the extra attention paid and energy expended on the offensive end is impacting the rest of his game. That’s why it was encouraging to see him swat 5 in Wednesday’s matchup with the Bobcats, though the rebounds still haven’t been up to snuff. The 23 points are great and it’s encouraging to see him getting to the line 7.5 times a game in the early going, but there’s no reason he should only be grabbing 6.5 boards a game.
– Mike Fratello sounded drunk on that Nets-Bobcats broadcast Wednesday. During a first-half commercial break Fratello began drawing doodles all over the upcoming schedule and asking play-by-play guy Ian Eagle if he could decipher them. When Eagle couldn’t, Fratello explained that the squiggly lines over ORL were a magic wand and the ones over CLE were the “crown that’s no longer there.” Eagle responded, “You realize we’re on the air, right? This isn’t a rehearsal?” Later in the second half Fratello inexplicably exclaimed “he likes the mushroom and swissss!” NBA League Pass = good times.
– Boris Diaw looks fat. I don’t remember his gut or ass looking that big.