Iverson just OK in return with Sixers

December, 8, 2009

Chauncey Billups, Nuggets: 31 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 3-pointers against the 76ers.
Matt Bonner, Spurs: 28 points (10-14 FG), 8 rebounds and 4 3-pointers versus the Jazz.
James Harden, Thunder: 26 points (13-14 FT), 9 rebounds and 5 assists against the Warriors.
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets: 14 points (5-21 FG) and 4 rebounds versus the 76ers.
Nene, Nuggets: 7 points and 6 rebounds against the 76ers.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: 12 points (4-17 FG), 7 rebounds and 3 assists versus the Warriors.
Though nervous early and fatigued late, Allen Iverson was OK.

In the first game of his second stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, Allen Iverson finished with 11 points, six assists and five rebounds. Probably the most impressive number of the night -- in light of Iverson's month-long absence from the court -- was his 38 minutes.

Rest assured, Iverson will get all the playing time he can handle in Philly. It was striking to see that the Sixers' starters all logged at least 38 minutes versus the Nuggets, while Willie Green was the only reserve to play as many as 10 minutes. (Green couldn't find the range, going 1-of-9 in 16 minutes.) Six weeks down the road, when Lou Williams and Marreese Speights should be healthy, this could be a decent rotation. Right now, though, this is a very thin lineup. Iverson and Elton Brand owners should be pleased with this arrangement, but they also need to hope that their guys can hold up.

Once his conditioning improves, Iverson should get his 20 points a night. However, judging from this game, it's Andre Iguodala who figures to have some really big weeks ahead. Though he's averaging 19.5 points already, Iguodala, a career 46.6 percent shooter, is at just 42.8 percent from the field this season. Against the Nuggets, though, Iguodala was 11-of-21, marking just the third time in the past 14 games that he's been better than 50 percent from the floor. Interestingly, Iggy also went 4-of-10 from beyond the arc -- that's four more 3-pointers than he's attempted in any game this season.

The other noteworthy numbers from this game belong to Samuel Dalembert (eight points, 15 boards and six blocks in 41 minutes). This monster line comes after two games in which Dalembert played fewer than 20 minutes. Fantasy owners will get some huge performances from Dalembert, but it seems the Sixers lean on him in matchups where the opposing center is skilled (like Denver's Nene) or at least capable of getting a lot of boards. With that in mind, Dalembert should be fine when the Sixers face the Pistons and Ben Wallace on Wednesday, but I'd expect he won't be used as much against the smallish Rockets on Friday.

Looking Back

• The Warriors make most opposing players look like fantasy studs, but I do believe that James Harden will only get better from here. Though the Thunder rookie swished just one triple on Monday, he produced season-bests in points (26), rebounds (nine) and trips to the stripe (where he went 13-of-14).

• Making his first start in place of Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla managed four points and eight rebounds versus the Knicks. Przybilla will certainly push 10 boards a night as the Blazers' starting center, but it's been years since the veteran has been capable of two blocks a night. Given the choice -- and you should have a choice, since both players are available in more than 90 percent of ESPN.com leagues -- I'd take Ben Wallace as my Oden replacement. At least with Big Ben you get a few steals to go with your 9-10 rebounds.

Matt Bonner is one of those nice matchup plays for deep leagues. Though he's averaging just 9.3 points, Bonner's had eight games of at least three treys, including Monday, when he went for a career-high 28 points versus the Jazz. The veteran has a chance for another productive night on Wednesday, when the Spurs host the Kings. The Kings don't allow a ton of 3s, but opponents are shooting almost 47 percent against them.

• Admittedly, I hated on Ronnie Brewer (17 points, 10 rebounds and two steals against the Spurs) in the current Fantasy Forecaster, but in my defense I was thinking Andrei Kirilenko would be back by now. But as long as AK-47's balky back keeps him sidelined, Brewer will continue to log major minutes and make significant contributions.

Looking Ahead

Here's a tip for Tuesday: Add the Timberwolves' Ryan Gomes (at Toronto). Despite his 21.3 points per game in his past four games, Gomes can still be had in about 90 percent of leagues. He should have another nice showing versus the porous Raptors, who allow the second-most points and the third-most 3s.

Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?