Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The NBA season opened on Tuesday night and just from watching the first four games, there were some interesting thoughts that flashed through my mind.
If Gilbert Arenas is as healthy as he looked against the Dallas Mavericks, then he was a "steal" at No.31 in this year's draft. He took 21 shots, most on the team, scored 29 points and dished out nine assists. Of course, the shot total will shrink a bit when All-Star Antawn Jamison returns from injury (three-to- five weeks), but Arenas looked like a factor again.
Shawn Marion (ADP 33) will enjoy playing with Jason Kidd almost as much as he did with Steve Nash. Marion had 16 points and seven boards in the opener in 35 minutes of action. He might not be the 21 ppg-11 rpg guy who ran up and down the floor in Phoenix, but he'll be much better than the "Marion" who averaged 12.9 ppg and 8.5 rpg in Toronto last season.
The Celtics have four solid starters, all "fantasy-worthy" (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo) and a borderline starter in Rasheed Wallace coming off the bench. Garnett isn't 100% yet, but he's getting there and will still contribute a double-double every night.
The Cavaliers stand around too much and watch their two superstars (LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal) play one-on-one basketball. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (ADP 145) isn't "fantasy-worthy" any longer and Mo Williams (ADP 63) will see his opportunities drop dramatically over last season.
Having seen the Rockets lose to Portland 96-87, I still don't know from where Houston will consistently get it's scoring. Aaron Brooks led the team with 19 points on 17 shots, but after that it's a mystery. I expect Luis Scola to be a major contributor, but because of foul trouble that didn't happen in the opener.
The Los Angeles Lakers are pretty good, even without starting center Pau Gasol. In fact, this team is so deep they could win without anyone of their starters except Kobe Bryant. I love Lamar Odom's game (16 points, 13 rebounds). When Gasol comes back, it's going to be interesting to see how Phil Jackson divides the frontcourt minutes between Ron Artest, Odom, Andrew Bynum and Gasol. One of these guys, and his fantasy owners, is going to be extremely disappointed.
The Los Angeles Clippers have a lot of talent for a team that won just 19 games last season. Second-year starter Eric Gordon (ADP 74), who averaged 16.1 ppg last year as a rookie, will be a star very soon. The Clippers have three injury-prone players in Baron Davis (played 65 games in 2008-09), Chris Kaman (62 games) and Marcus Camby (31 games) all of whom can be solid fantasy contributors if they can stay on the court. Will rookie Blake Griffin (stress fracture in left kneecap) be joining that group?