Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

The preseason is over and the regular season is set to begin Monday. Preseason is, by its very nature, meaningless. The games don’t count, the rotations don’t reflect teams’ real plans, and the offenses are vanilla. Still, while we shouldn’t take anything that went down these past four weeks as gospel, there are at least things which can raise an eyebrow or two.

With a healthy does of skepticism and a huge caveat that the exhibition season has not been proven to forecast regular-season performance, here are some numbers that stand out from the NBA preseason.

1. The Kings shot the lights out. For a team whose roster is filled with centers and deeply flawed, the Kings shot incredibly well in the preseason, with a league-best 56.4 effective field goal percentage (which factors the impact of 3-pointers). Eight different players had eFG percentages better than 60 percent, which is incredible. Veteran forward Anthony Tolliver shot 63 percent from 3-point range, Matt Barnes shot 60 percent (on five 3-point attempts per game!), and Arron Afflalo shot 44 percent from deep. DeMarcus Cousins shot 66 percent from the field. They were a blistering inferno.
Of course, Sacramento also led the league in turnover percentage in preseason, so they were sloppy, but they did make a lot of shots, which provides a little bit of hope for a team without much to feel good about headed into next week.

2. The Nets were all pace and space. For years, Brooklyn has played at a plodding, methodical pace because of both coaching and the slow, veteran talent on the roster. That’s about to change. Brooklyn finished second in pace (possessions per game) behind Phoenix, a radical departure for them. Per 100 possessions, which factors for pace, they also launched the third-most 3-pointers of any team, at 32.1 per game. For comparison, the second-ranked Warriors shot 32.7 per game. (Houston, in uber-D’Antoni-Morey-ball, shot 35 per game.)
That’s the good news, they’re legitimately trying to play a more up-tempo system, and that should help their young guys. Here’s the bad news: They were still 19th in fast-break points per 100 possessions and 22nd in overall offense. So they were running and shooting a lot of 3s (and making a decent clip, 13th in 3-point percentage) and still not scoring efficiently.


Golden State Warriors' David West, right, shoots over Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday Oct. 1, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Golden State Warriors’ David West, right, shoots over Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday Oct. 1, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

3. Yes, the Warriors were awesome. Golden State stumbled out of the gate in its first game, a loss to the Raptors. Then they went 6-1.
They finished first in offensive rating, second in effective field goal percentage, fifth in defensive rating, second in percentage of buckets off an assist, and the most made 3-pointers per game.
Basically, everything everyone feared about how great this team could be was justified. They look awesome.

4. The Mavericks had a “red flag” preseason. Nothing but warning signs for Dallas. They finished
25th in offense
27th in defense
29th in defensive rebound percentage
22nd in assist ratio
26th in effective field goal percentage
29h in free throw rate
29th in opponent offensive rebound percentage
27th in points off turnovers
30th in points in the paint
28th in fast-break points allowed
22nd in opponent points in the paint

But wait, there’s more! Harrison Barnes shot 27 percent from the field, and averaged as many turnovers as assists. Of all expected rotation players, Dirk Nowitzki had the highest defensive rating at better than 109 points per 100 possessions. Deron Williams, Andrew Bogut and Wesley Matthews all posted net points per 100 possession marks of worse than minus-18, which is horrendous.


It’s Dallas, so you assume you can slough this off. It’s a veteran team, and Rick Carlisle always has the answers. But you don’t start the season looking at Dallas as entering with a lot of momentum from what they built in the preseason.

5. The Pelicans defense still shows warning signs. They had the worst mark in the league for points in the paint allowed despite Anthony Davis and Omer Asik, and sported a 105.7 defensive rating, worst in the league. There was hope that the additions of better wing players and growth from Anthony Davis would correct last year’s issues, but so far it remains a concern. Davis had a stellar 99.8 defensive rating in the five games he played, but Moore finished with a 112 mark. Like the rest of these numbers, this may not translate to the regular season, but it is interesting.

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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