The NBA preseason has come and gone with the blink of an eye. What did we learn? At 0-8, the Lakers were worse than the Bobcats. At 6-1, the Raptors and Sixers were the best of the bunch. But while the team records may be just an illusion at this point, we did watch some players stand out in the handful of games. Here’s who gets my votes for the NBA Preseason All-Stars (and no, for those of you with little imagination, these aren’t predictions for the real All-Star game).
Note: Players must have played a minimum 5 games in the preseason.
C – Byron Mullens, Bobcats | 29.5 mins, 15.0 pts, 7.8 rebs, 0.8 blks, .410 3PT%
A center that scores, rebounds, blocks shotsandshoots threes? Any fantasy owner this season will take that from Mullens, who’ll they’ll likely get in the later rounds. In the preseason, he certainly showed that he could take a large volume of threes, but he also made 41% of them, which is excellent for even a non-center. I had to give the nod to Mullens over Joakim Noah (who averaged a double double), as his preseason performance may have established him among fans as a legit center in the East. Because let’s be honest, nobody watched the Bobcats last year.
PF – Glen Davis, Magic | 22.7 mins, 14.8 pts, 5.0 rebs, 0.9 asts, .500 FG%
Could we actually say that this mess in Orlando is actually Big Baby’s team now? If I had to pick a guy to step up and into the spotlight, it might just be Davis. He seems long past the days of crying on the Celtics bench and ready to take on the leadership role. He will certainly average more than 22.7 minutes per game like the preseason, which means 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds should resemble his floor for the season.
SF – Chris Copeland, Knicks | 24.8 mins, 15.5 pts, 2.8 rebs, 0.8 asts, .517 FG%
Copeland is my favorite feel-good story of the preseason. Vying for the Knicks roster spot, Copeland carried forward his excellent Summer League in Vegas to the preseason. I’m still not sure why there was even a debate about the final roster spot at this point. Highlighted by his 34 point, 6 rebound outburst against the Celtics, Copeland averaged a very solid 15.5 points over 6 games. He practically carried the Knicks in a couple of those games. He gets a spot on my Preseason All-Star roster.
SG – Paul George, Pacers | 28.0 mins, 14.7 pts, 6.6 rebs, 2.1 stls, .848 FT%
Paul George is a very hyped pick for the Most Improved Player award this year. Even though his shooting was a bit down (only 37%), his overall numbers were solid, including 6.6 rebounds, great for a shooting guard. If he posts these preseason numbers in the regular season, it would be another small step forward. Defensively, I think we can expect George to be among the league leaders in steals for years to come.
PG – Jrue Holiday, Sixers | 26.3 mins, 13.3 pts, 4.8 rebs, 6.5 asts, .444 3PT%
Getting 4.8 rebounds out of your point guard is always a good thing. With that, Holiday showed his all around game in the preseason. The numbers across the board are nice and the .444 is a nice bonus. I know it’s only preseason, but if he can manage to stay anywhere close to that range, it would be an improvement over his already solid .380% last season. With pretty thin depth at PG, expect Holiday to play about 35 minutes per game this season, giving him a chance to produce even more. As far as the Sixers are concerned, they’ll take 6-1 (with no Bynum), even if it is preseason.
C – Anthony Davis, Hornets | 32.4 mins, 14.9 pts, 9.9 rebs, 1.57 blks, .467%
It’s almost unfair that expectations are SO high for Davis, but he fulfilled them this short preseason. Even if he only averages 15 points per game, the monster defense is already there. 10 rebounds per game would be excellent for a rookie and I expect him to block over 2 shots per game this year. The Hornets won’t sniff near a playoff spot, but they’ll be fun to watch… because of this guy.
PF – David Lee, Warriors | 31.0 mins, 17.3 pts, 8.7 rebs, 2.3 asts, .505 FG%
This was the hardest pick. I had to give David Lee the nod over DeMarcus Cousins (15.9 pts, 8.4 rebs), Blake Griffin (16.4 pts, 7.7 rebs) and even Serge Ibaka (16.0 pts, 7.3 rebs). Lee led the league in scoring among the qualified players and averaged a near double double. It helps his case in the fact that he led a 6-2 Warriors team to the best preseason record in the West.
SF – Enes Kanter, Jazz | 21.3 mins, 13.1 pts, 9.4 rebs, 0.75 blks, .580 FG%
Enes Kanter is the guy that impressed me the most during the preseason. He lost 25 pounds in the offsesason and is in phenominal shape, and it clearly showed. In posting 4 double doubles in 8 games, Kanter made it look like he wasn’t even trying. He shot 58% from the field and 74% from the line. He did this all in 21.3 minutes per game, coming off the Jazz bench. And damn, check out the guns in the featured pic!
SG – Corey Brewer, Nuggets | 23.8 mins, 15.1 pts, 3.7 rebs, .508 FG%
Everyone knew Corey Brewer could play, but he decided to lay it all out for us this preseason. Whether he averages double digits in scoring for the regular season will remain to be seen, but with this up tempo Nuggets offense, it’s doable, given the minutes. He also had very efficient shooting percentages of 51% from the field and 42% from 3-point range. We can overlook the 59% from the free throw line for now. And the best? Brewer’s a defensive specialist.
PG – Mike Conley Jr., Grizzlies | 27.8 mins, 16.0 pts, 5.3 asts, 1.3 stls, .589 FG%
Like the PF spot, this was another tough call. Conley gets the nod over Damian Lillard (yes, he will give Davis a run for Rookie of the Year) and Eric Bledsoe (his near-triple double really sucked me in). Conley was one of the most efficient players in the preseason while averaging 16.0 points and 5.3 assists. He shot an incredible 59% from the floor and 71% from downtown. If this guy resembles the Conley we might see this year, the Grizzlies will be dangerous with this loaded weapon.
C – Joakim Noah, Bulls | 27.8 mins, 10.4 pts, 10.1 rebs, 1.3 blks, .491 FG%
C – Omer Asik, Rockets | 25.5 mins, 7.7 pts, 11.6 rebs, 0.7 blks, .465 FG%
PF – Andray Blatche, Nets | 20.8 mins, 11.7 pts, 7.5 rebs, 1.2 stls, .518 FG%
PF – DeMarcus Cousins, Kings | 23.9 mins, 15.9 pts, 8.4 rebs, 1.71 stls, .467 FG%
PF – Blake Griffin, Clippers | 26.3 mins, 16.4 pts, 7.7 rebs, 3.3 asts, .558 FG%
PF – Serge Ibaka, Thunder | 24.4 mins, 16.0 pts, 7.3 rebs, 1.5 blks, .586 FG%
SF – Thaddeus Young, Sixers | 28.5 mins, 14.8 pts, 6.7 rebs, 1.3 asts, .586 FG%
SG – Kevin Martin, Thunder | 24.3 mins, 16.5 pts, 2.5 rebs, 2.5 asts, .547 FG%
PG – Damian Lillard, Blazers | 31.5 mins, 16.1 pts, 5.8 asts, 2.5 rebs, .458 FG%
PG – Eric Bledsoe, Clippers | 30.1 mins, 12.9 pts, 4.9 rebs, 4.1 asts. 2.8 stls
PG – Rajon Rondo, Celtics | 30.0 mins, 10.9 pts, 8.3 asts, 4.3 rebs, .773 FT%