With the preseason now over and just day separating us from the blinding glory that is the 2009-10 NBA regular season, it’s time to go through who thrived and who dived (I know “dove” is correct here, but I had to make it rhyme) during the prelude to the 82. Though the preseason is never a completely accurate barometer of things to come, it could give us some insights into what to expect from certain players.
Read on and let us know what you think.
- Roy Hibbert (C – Pacers): He led the preseason with 3.57 blocks per game and chipped in 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 24 minutes per contest. His penchant for fouling will dictate the ceiling on his sky-high potential, but Hibbert has secured his place on most fantasy squads, and rightfully so.
- Chris Douglas-Roberts (PG/SG – Nets): CDR was noted as a sleeper by a few fantasy fans during the summer, but after averaging 18/4/2 and playing solid all-around ball in seven preseason games, he should be on everyone’s radar. Though he hasn’t attained SF eligibility yet, he could end up starting there as Courtney Lee mans the starting shooting guard spot. Don’t expect too much from him, but it’s clear that Douglas-Roberts has secured his share of minutes on the Nets this season.
- Greg Oden (C – Blazers): Mr. Glass handed in seven very impressive preseason games, averaging 13.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in just 22.4 minutes per game. He missed one game because of a bruised innner thigh, but that shouldn’t be cause for any concern. You know the story: If Oden can stay off the injured list, he seems primed to turn a lot of doubters into believers this year.
- Tyreke Evans (PG/SG – Kings): Besides becoming Blake Griffin‘s biggest competition for rookie of the year, Evans has locked up the starting point guard job for the Kings and turned in an impressive showing in seven preseason contests, averaging 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists (and 4.0 turnovers). He’ll have his ups and downs, but make sure to keep your eye on Evans in your drafts and on your waiver wires.
- Andrew Bynum (C – Lakers): He’s another fragile center who notched big lines during the preseason and finished averaging 20.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 30.2 minutes per game. He missed the last preseason match against the Nuggets last night because of a minor shoulder injury but Bynum is set to play on opening night. If his health is there, gaudy numbers are sure to follow.
Other winners: Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Morrow, Jason Thompson, Brandon Rush, DeJuan Blair
- Allen Iverson (PG/SG – Grizzlies): A hamstring injury kept him out of the entire preseason, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of gelling with his teammates when he does return to the court. With Mike Conley injured, the door is open for Iverson to make an immediate impact if he can return quickly, but expect a rocky season for the former All-Star.
- Nene Hilario (PF/C – Nuggets): He turned in a disappointing preseason, finishing with averages of 9.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 20.6 minutes of work in his seven appearances. Nene looked a bit out of shape during this stretch and does not look prepared to repeat his stellar 2008-09 stats.
- Jose Calderon (PG – Raptors): Though he finished with a bang, Calderon did not look impressive in eight preseason games. He finished with 8.4 points, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 23.8 minutes of work in each of those contests and could disappoint a lot of owners who expected him to finally assert himself as an elite fantasy point guard this year. If Hedo Turkoglu, who didn’t have a great preseason himself, handles the ball like he did in Orlando, Calderon’s ceiling could be lower than many thought going into this year.
- Ramon Sessions (PG/SG – Timberwolves): He was a hot commodity this offseason but appears set to produce mediocre stats this season in Minnesota. Sessions shot a low percentage and failed to impress in any way during eight preseason games. Jonny Flynn looks like he has a good grip on the starting point guard spot for the Timberwolves, so don’t look to Sessions for reliable production, at least in the early part of the season.
- Russell Westbrook (PG – Thunder): After a solid rookie campaign, Westbrook was a very sexy pick in fantasy drafts this year. He still offers a lot of promise to give his owners great value at his typical pick position, but the preseason served as a reminder that he still has weaknesses. He shot 39.8 percent last season while turning the ball over 3.3 times per game and showed the same vulnerabilities in the preseason, shooting 28.3 percent and turning the ball over 2.57 times in 25.4 minutes in his seven preseason games. Don’t get too down on him, but be aware of his remaining flaws.
Other losers: Mike Conley, Desmond Mason, Raymond Felton, Mario Chalmers