A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

MVP/Power Rankings Monday: The 10 Closest Things to Takeaways from preseason (2012-2013 NBA)

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Yes, the “It’s just preseason” caveat applies to any conclusions one wants to draw from preseason in the NBA. But oh, it’s so tempting. Here are 10 things that may or may not be indicative to take from preseason

10. The Spurs found another “who?” steal in Nando De Colo – Nando looks like the real deal. He has great height for a PG/SG, with a strong feel for the game and court vision and shooting game. He’ll be a mismatch problem for teams to deal with off the bench.

9. Omer Asik is a monster – The Rockets knew what they were doing giving such a big contract to the Bulls’ backup center. Asik is one of the biggest Cs/players in the league period and looks like a special rebounder and defender so far. Dominant defensive Cs is how you win.

8. Marvin Williams is finally ready for a breakout season – Marvin may not have the talent Atlanta thought when they took him 2nd overall in 2005, but he was likely underused all the same. He has an outstanding feel for the game, his length is a great asset defensively and he’s turned himself into a sharpshooter at the SF position. These 3 tools makes him a huge asset for Utah if he’s used properly.

7. Big Baby Davis could have a Big Year – If you’re looking for a dark-horse statistical breakout candidate, look out for Big Baby. Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson leaving the team opens up a ton of free shots in the frontcourt. Davis came on at the end of last season starting in place of Howard at C. Perhaps that’s the position for him, where he can be an offensive mismatch with his outside shot.

6. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is not ready offensively – Kidd-Gilchrist looked so good offensively in summer league that there were whispers he take a big role immediately on a Bobcats team needing any scoring options, but he hasn’t shown that capability yet in preseason. If he develops a jumpshot in the future he may get there, but I expect it’s not his year offensively.

5. Andre Drummond is useable offensively – I covered this last week. With his size and athleticism, the ability to finish lay-ups could make him a potentially devastating C for Detroit long term.

4. Brook Lopez could “Rebound” this year – More than his scoring which looks great for the Nets so far, he’s been rebounding like he did his first 2 years in the NBA. While Andrea Bargnani has never shown the ability to board, Brook’s early decent start on the glass always indicated he has the skills to, but perhaps just didn’t want to. Strong rebounding numbers this year could get Brook to his first all-star game.

3. Abandon ship on Lamar Odom’s comeback season Last year, a tough year personally and the lockout was an excuse for Odom’s weak conditioning. This year, he’s even in worse shape and has played very poor.  Maybe what Lamar needed wasn’t to live on the beach, but Phil Jackson to be his personal zen master/psychologist. One more reason Jackson would be the perfect Vinny Del Negro replacement, joining a list including “He’s used to living in LA”, “It’d be a perfect FU to the Lakers” “The Clippers, like the Bulls and Lakers did, have 2 young superstar talents ready to win”, “Blake Griffin’s passing would kick-ass in the triangle”, and finally, “He’s the greatest coach of all time, of course it’d be a great idea to replace Vinny Del Negro with him”

2. Anthony Davis IS ready offensively – It had been written all year that Davis had more perimeter/guard skills than the Kentucky offense needed him for, instead using him to camp near the basket for freebie points. In preseason he’s done a great job showing this, with a face-up shooting game dominating his offensive repertoire – he’s really starting to look like a young Kevin Garnett. The Hornets will need offensive options, especially if Eric Gordon misses a chunk of games this year. As a result, Davis could jump out to 15ppg+ immediately.

1. Dwight Howard is still Dwight Howard – It’s only been one game, but it was painfully obvious that Dwight has fully recovered from his back surgery to full, prime physical form. As always, he has a breathtaking mix of strength and athleticism explosiveness – a true specimen. In regards to this preseason, the most important takeaway by far for this NBA season is that the Lakers will be getting a physically healthy Howard.

By Julien Rodger

Twitter: @ASFW_jrodger

Email: julienrodger@gmail.com (Send me a question, if I get enough I’ll do a mailbag or answer it in an article)

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