NBA Preseason Notes

Anthony Davis: Makes His Debut The top pick in the 2012 draft made his preseason debut with the Hornets in Mexico City. He had a modest eight points to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes. At Kentucky, Davis' offense was a work in progress, but his defense was pro level. He will likely undergo a similar process as he gets used to the NBA. Davis is draftable immediately for blocks and rebounds, but his points may come mostly on offensive rebounds as he continues to improve his shot. Davis' mechanics are good and he may be able to extend the range on his jumper to beyond the arc before too long.

Harrison Barnes: Comes Off the Bench Another rookie, Barnes, came off the bench to begin his NBA career. While Brandon Rush was the starter for Golden State, it may not be long before Barnes, and his polished offensive game, becomes a starter (or at least gets a starter's complement of minutes). The question with Barnes is whether he will be able to crack the duo of Stephen Curry (should the Warriors' star be able to stay healthy) and Klay Thompson. Barnes is likely a late round fantasy pick with mid-round upside.

Greg Monroe: Offense Runs Through Center? Monroe has improved nicely in his two years in Detroit, but he may blossom into a fantasy star in his third year. The Pistons are talking about allowing the center to facilitate the offense. Monroe was an excellent passer out of the high post at Georgetown, but has only averaged 1.8 assists over his career. If the center were able to get to four assists per game along with double-double numbers and a strong field goal percentage, he'd be among the best centers in the fantasy game. While the move would be unconventional for an NBA team, the Pistons don't really have much to lose.

DeMarcus Cousins: Getting Defensive Another second-year center looks to improve upon his game. Reports from Sacramento are that Cousins is working to improve his defense. He is already a good offensive player with great offensive rebounding totals, but the Kings need to shore up their defense in order win more. While Cousins averaged 1.2 blocks and 1.5 steals (which are decent enough fantasy numbers), improved defense could result in reduced fouls (and, theoretically, more playing time). Other than forcing out former coach Paul Westphal, which may have been needed anyway, Cousins has shown fewer attitude problems in Sacramento than people might have expected.

Charles Jenkins: Doling Out Dimes With Stephen Curry sitting out the exhibition game against the Lakers on Sunday night because of his tender ankle, Jenkins was able to get playing time and showed an excellent ability to set up his teammates. He had seven assists in just 15 minutes. The former Hofstra star may be a player to keep an eye on because Curry is recovering from ankle surgery and missed 40 games last year. Jenkins averaged 9.4 points and 6.3 assists in 16 games last April.

Shelvin Mack: He's No John Wall, but... Mack is battling A.J. Price and possibly veteran Jannero Pargo for the starting point guard spot while Wall recovers from a stress reaction in his right knee. The second year player out of Butler had seven assists in 23 minutes against the Bobcats on Sunday night to put his best foot forward. As a rookie, Mack received little quality playing time behind Wall, but showed a decent command of coach Randy Wittman's offensive scheme when given an opportunity. Mack could be a nice early season add for assists, while Wall recuperates.


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