We're on the eve of the 10-11 season (
), and yes, I am leaving work early tomorrow to prepare for my night of basketball geekery.
My impressions of the preseason...
- He looked freaking old and hobbled out there. I'm hoping that it's just a function of him both regaining strength in the knee, and him holding back. In the last preseason game, he was a lot more active than he had been, which was great to see. His shot was still off, but I'm not worried about that. I'm really curious to see how he looks tomorrow.
- Same ol' Gasol. He made it out of the preseason healthy, which is all I wanted. You know what you're gonna get from him. He may be heavily relied upon at the beginning of this year, with Kobe being hobbled and Bynum being out.
- He was our best player in the preseason. His activity level was great on both ends. He looks like he's really settled into his role in LA. I used to really dislike him, but he's grown on me.
- The highlight of the preseason, IMO. He's slimmed down, his jumper was falling, and most importantly...he was decisive. That's a huge difference from last year, when he was thinking instead of just playing.
- Same ole' Fisher.
- I'm very excited about Blake. He makes passes that no one on the team makes...he has legit PG level court vision, and we haven't had that for a while. He was really pressing with his shot at the beginning of the preseason, but came around at the end. He also understood the triangle pretty well considering he's a newbie.
- His speed and ability to change ends was the biggest surprise of the preseason for me. Last year, we had a lot of trouble with young, athletic teams that could change ends quickly, but when he was on the floor we were often the faster team. The difference between him and Artest in this respect is noticeable.
He was so-so in the triangle. When he was on the perimeter, he was often in the wrong spot or too close to a teammate, ruining spacing. But he was fantastic at cutting and getting buckets that way. Defensively he was solid, as was the case on the boards.
- The coaches had a lot of praise for the work that he put in in the offseason, and his shot looked a lot better now that he doesn't have a sprained thumb. He's become a black hole though...he's pretty much gonna jack it up there every time. I don't know if this is by design, I think it is, but I wish he'd scale it back a bit here.
- I didn't think he was very good in the triangle, but he's still a very effective inside presence on the defensive end. He blocked and changed a ton of shots.
- This dude's legit. Total steal by Kupchak. Does a great job of running the floor, defending his position, crashing the boards, and knocking down open shots. Apparently the vets and coaching staff love him. Great activity level. I hope he gets some run this year, but it's gonna be hard finding him a spot.
- The biggest disappointment of the preseason. He crashed the boards and used his body well, but he's thinking WAY too much out there. His lack of length was a problem on a few occasions as well. He could be a contributor down the line, but he has a long way to go offensively.
- I love how much we've increased our team speed. That and our outside shooting were our two biggest weaknesses. If Blake can do what he's always done from distance, and Barnes can run the floor the way he does, we're better in both areas.
I'm worried about Kobe, but if my biggest concern is whether or not Kobe's gonna be ready to show up when it matters...things are looking pretty good.