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The NBA season is still in its infancy (as I write this Tuesday afternoon, at least four teams have yet to even start their season), but Christmas Day featured an exciting array of performances and two extremely close games. There's already a feeling of teams trying to fight for a full 48 minutes every night, and that should produce some great fantasy efforts.
Here are a few observations from the opening tip:
* Chicago's very own Luol Deng, SF, is the highest-ranked player in Yahoo! fantasy basketball leagues after two games with 43 points and 17 rebounds overall and a .500 field goal shooting mark. Could this possibly continue?
Deng has always had no more than bench value in fantasy leagues because of his tendency to score early and become lost late in games. The Bulls' first two games witnessed Deng and his unfortunate new haircut playing with manic energy late into the fourth quarter. I don't think he'll keep an elite ranking, but this does look like a different Lu.
* Brook Lopez, C, New Jersey, became the first high-profile injury victim of the season. He's out a minimum of six weeks with a stress fracture. Too bad, because he looked to be in line to average a double-double this year, and even after he comes back it wouldn't be surprising to see him play few minutes and take it easy on rebounding attempts. The bright spot in all this could be a better season for the Net's PF, the former Mr. Kardashian, Kris Humphries, who had 21 points and 16 rebounds in his first game since re-signing with the Nets right before the season started.
* LeBron James, SF, Miami, and Carmelo Anthony, SF, NY, both scored 37 points on Christmas Day, but for my money the best performance of the day was by Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston: 31 points, 13 assists, five steals. Rondo should be scoring big while Paul Pierce, SG/SF, nurses an injury, and he brings a well-rounded stat game that comes close to the value you get from Derrick Rose or Chris Paul.
* DeAndre Jordan, PF/C, LA Clippers, registered eight blocks in his first game, adding to the already abundant hype surrounding the big man in the shadow of teammate Blake Griffin PF/C.
* Fantasy Basketball Daily notes the 14-rebound performance from Damion James, SG/SF, NJ, in its latest "News and Notes." That's a nice surprise from the SG slot, though at 6'7", he does have the right tools for it.
* The New York Daily News reports on the injury to promising Knicks rookie and Chicago area native Iman Schumpert. The rookie point guard had looked to have decent fantasy value after getting the starting nod from the Knicks.
* ESPN's Fantasy Basketball Blog discusses the debut of Ricky Rubio, PG/SG, Minnesota, who had six points and six assists in his first outing. Assists should be the primary source of his value, at least in the early going.
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