Saturday, December 17, 2011

NBA Preseason Notes - 12/17/11

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We talked about this a lot last season, but Kevin Love is a machine when it comes to double doubles. And apparently last season wasn't a fluke as Love picked up right where he left off going for 21 points and 15 rebounds in just 27 minutes in Minnesota's preseason opener tonight. Love averaged 20.2 points and a league leading 15.2 rebounds a game last season for the Wolves including 64 double-doubles, second only to Dwight Howard who had 66. Love had 53 consecutive double-doubles at one point, the longest streak in nearly 40 years. Only last season, it didn't seem to matter how well Love played, the Wolves still found ways to lose finishing with a league-worst record of 17-65. Tonight was different though. With newcomers Jose Juan Barea, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams on board, the Wolves looked sharp draining 15 3-pointers and blasting the Milwaukee Bucks 117-96. Barea, who came over from the Mavs, had 14 points and 6 assists off the bench, Rubio made his long anticipated debut after being drafted in 2009 filling out the scoresheet with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, and the rookie from Arizona and 2nd overall pick in the draft Williams finished with 14 points and the Wolves were +26 with him on the court in his 21 minutes. Now granted this is preseason and these were the Bucks so I'm not exactly ready to start talking about Minnesota as a playoff team, but at first glance I'd say they should definitely do better than they did last year. And don't forget, they still have Darko!

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The Rockets tried so hard to bring in an established center this offseason going after Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Nene only to wind up with none of them. They've even been linked to Samuel Dalembert in the past few days, but have still yet to pull off a move. But considering this is a club that used to trot out 6'6" Chuck Hayes at the 5 when Yao Ming was out, not having a true center isn't exactly a new problem. Tonight it was 6'10" forward Jordan Hill who got the call and the former Knick delivered scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds - 8 of them on the offensive glass - as the Rockets beat the Tim Duncan and Tony Parker-less Spurs 101-87. I don't know if Hill is the long term solution, and personally I'd love to see them try and develop Hasheem Thabeet who at 24 years old and standing 7'3" has the potential to be an imposing force in the middle - at least on defense. Anyhow, we'll see what the Rockets do. I think they're still going to try and bring in someone else as they try to get back to the postseason following back-to-back years of finishing 9th in the Western Conference.

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Not a bad debut for the kid from BYU. Jimmer Fredette started for the Kings tonight and finished with 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting, drained 4 threes, and grabbed 4 rebounds to go along with 4 assists. Granted the Kings were beaten 107-96 by the Warriors, but they didn't dress big men DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes and as a result were outrebounded 47-32. Fredette averaged 28.9 points per game last year for BYU and Kings fans are hopeful that his natural scoring ability will transfer to the NBA the way it has for Golden State's Stephon Curry and not the way it did for ex-Gonzaga star Adam Morrison. Again, it's just preseason and none of this counts for anything, but tonight was a good start if you're a Jimmer fan.

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