What I’ve seen, since last week

Here’s some of the things that have happened over the past week of the preseason, that I think are worth taking a look at:

Orlando Magic: The Magic men are absolutely rolling in preseason, sporting a 5-0 record and winning games by an average of 24.2 points. They defeated Charlotte despite starting 5 bench guys, handled the Hornets by 54 and smashed the Bulls earlier today by 38. They look very good and very deep at this point.

J.J. Hickson: Hickson is taking full advantage of his opportunity in preseason, averaging 16 points and 9.2 rebounds in just over 24 minutes per game (that’s 24/14 per 36 minutes, by the way). The LeBron-less Cavaliers have scrapped their way to 4 wins in 5 tries this preseason, and have relied on contributions from many different guys, but Hickson has been consistently good. Let’s see if he can deliver when the games count.

Utah Jazz: Like the Magic, the Jazz are also undefeated in preseason action, with a 5-0 record to this point. There has not been one guy that has been ridiculously hot for them; rather, they are using ball movement and offensive execution in order to win. Al Jefferson has been going well, too, after scoring just 6 points in his first Utah game, he knocked in 24 points in his 4th time out.

Nate Robinson: Little Nate is absolutely dominating for the Cs in preseason, averaging 16.7 points while attempting 7.8 free throws per game. His shot hasn’t always been falling, but at least he has been aggressive attacking the rim. He’ll be important for the Celtics this year, as they’re not getting any younger and generally save their best ball for the post-season. Nate should get plenty of burn early in the season.

Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta has struggled so far, dropping their first 3 preseason game before defeating the Hornets earlier today. They have been shooting the ball pretty well, topping 50% from the field in a couple of their games, but the big killer has been free-throw percentage. Not once have the Hawks been able to shoot greater than 70% from the line. They’ll need to work on making more freebies once the regular season rolls around.

Chicago youngsters: Both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have been playing really well for the Bulls, with Rose displaying the quickness and athleticism that had everybody calling him the next great point guard, while Noah is justifying his big extension, averaging 12.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists before today’s stinker against Orlando (1 points, 2 boards, 1 assist). He almost got a triple-double against the Raptors with 16/14/8, however.

Minnesota: Those young Wolves are looking pretty good in preseason, using solid contributions from different guys to pile up a 4-1 record. Beasley and Love look good playing next to one another at the forward spots, with Minnesota seemingly optimistic that Beasley can be a long-time solution at the small forward spot. Love continues to rebound the ball just like he always has (11.2 per game) and it can only help Beasley to play next to an elite rebounder. Martell Webster has continued to be a superb bench performer for Minny, averaging 14 points per game.

Blake Griffin: The young fella has been spectacular in preseason, averaging 17.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He’s also displayed the phenomenal athleticism that made him the no-brainer top draft pick in 2009. Here’s hoping Blake can stay injury free and continue to dunk everything this season, and compete for Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Cousins: One of the guys, along with college team-mate John Wall, which should compete with Griffin for ROY. He’s averaging 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds thus far, and will probably start in the middle for the Kings this season after they learned that Samuel Dalembert will miss 4-6 weeks with a groin strain.

Brook Lopez: I have been super impressed with Lopez in the preseason, where he’s averaging 22.4 points per game. No-one should dismiss this as a preseason performance, as Brook will be right around that for the entire regular season. He’s looked much quicker than guys such as Shaq and Yao, and displayed a nice array of post moves, including a nifty up-and-under he used to bamboozle Yao during the China series.

Austin Daye: He’s been averaging 15.8 points per game so far, and looks like he may be able to take on a bigger role, especially after Jerebko ruptured his Achilles’ tendon and will miss a chunk of the year. Daye’s versatile and this will be a big advantage for a Pistons team trying to find minutes for guys at both the wings and the forward spots. Hopefully he can find a nice role and contribute.

Carmelo Anthony: Despite all the rumours, ‘Melo is still a Nugget, and he’s been playing rather well. He’s averaging 24.3 points and 14.3 free throw attempts per game. Further, he filled up the stat sheet in Denver’s victory over the Clippers, with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists while going 17-19 from the free-throw line. With these performances in preseason, Nuggs fans will probably be getting even more anxious for him to stay in the Mile-High city.

After today, there’s just 6 more days left for the exhibition schedule, with the real thing starting 3 days later. That’s right, fans – just 9 more days until the 2010-11 NBA season begins. Awesome.

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