NBA Preseason Notes

Dirk Nowitzki: Knee Problems -- The German national disappointed the home fans over the weekend by not being able to play in an exhibition game. He could miss a few more weeks if his troublesome knee does not respond to treatment. Nowitzki may have arthroscopic surgery which would put him on the bench for a few weeks at the minimum. He might still be able to start the season, but he will miss out on a lot of practice time with his new teammates. You may want to bump him down a spot or two on your draft board.

Roy Hibbert: Call the Foul Doctor -- I was going for a Dr. Hibbert joke there, but it didn't really come off. The Pacer center collected five fouls against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic was able to get Hibbert out of position, which limited the 7-2 center to just 21 minutes. Like most big men who are not superstars, Hibbert has had his share of foul trouble over his career. He will have to improve his defensive awareness (or at least awareness of the ref's position) to stay on the court longer.

Tyreke Evans: Just Winging It
-- Now we get to the Kings portion of our program and Sacramento should be a fine source of fantasy goodness, especially if coach Keith Smart goes with a short rotation. Evans, who spent the majority of his early career as an out-of-position point guard. has been moved to small forward. The positional change should not affect Evans' fantasy value much as he will still have plenty of offensive facilitation responsibilities. On Wednesday, Evans had nine points, seven rebounds, and four assists in 24 minutes. Nice.

Thomas Robinson: Impressive Debut
-- Sticking with the Kings, Robinson made his preseason debut with 12 points and eight rebounds in a team-high 29 minutes. The fifth pick of the 2012 is slated to come off the bench behind Jason Thompson, but that situation may not last long. Robinson has the strength, athleticism, and nose for the ball to be a solid rebounder in the NBA. He also has some nice face-up moves that should him allow to score enough to be a fantasy consideration toward the end of drafts (or middle in dynasty leagues).

DeMarcus Cousins: Ready for Fantasy Stardom
-- No one has ever doubted Cousins' talent. The 6-11 wide body was the best player on a Kentucky team that featured five pros (or four and a half with Daniel Orton). On Wednesday, Cousins had 21 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes. For a big man, Cousins is not a terrible free throw shooter (70.2 percent in 2011-12). He may need to share the post with Robinson in the new season, but there will likely be plenty of missed shots to grab with Evans, Marcus Thornton, and Isaiah Thomas on the perimeter (none of whom shot better than 45 percent from the field last year).

Damian Lillard: Looks Like a Pro
-- I tend to be a Lillard doubter. If you look at the past few drafts and the players that come from outside of Tier 1 schools, the hit rate is not terrific. Players like Jimmer Freddette, Luke Babbitt, Austin Daye, and Rodney Stuckey have not done much. There are exceptions (Stephen Curry, Gordon Hayward possibly), but I like college players that have played against top competition. That said, Lillard has done well in Summer League and preseason competition. He had 14 points and seven assists on Wednesday. I hope he proves to be another exception.


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