NBA Preseason Notes

Dwyane Wade: Continues to Shine in Preseason -- After sitting out Tuesday's exhibition game, Wade came roaring back on Wednesday against Washington. In a team-high 33 minutes, Wade provided 23 points and seven rebounds in the loss. The guard has taken a few games off in the preseason because he is coming off of offseason knee surgery, but when he has played, he has looked in championship form. Health is always an issue with Wade, but he will produce excellent numbers as long as he is on the court.

Grant Hill: Out with Bone Bruise on Knee --
If the famed Phoenix training staff is able to keep players like Hill and Steve Nash healthy, should we worry when those players leave the Valley of the Sun? Hill, now with the Clippers, will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a bone bruise in his knee. Over the past four years in his dotage as a member of the Suns, Hill played in 80 or more games three times. Last year he did miss 17 games, but he had shed the injury prone label so deservedly given to him when he was in Orlando. Hill was already a fringe fantasy player, but health concerns should keep him on the waiver wire.

Terrence Jones: Starts and Produces --
With Patrick Patterson out with a quad injury on Wednesday, Jones received the start at power forward for his fellow Kentucky Wildcat alum. The rookie produced 15 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes. At Kentucky, Jones showed athleticism, defensive awareness, and the ability to fill whatever role the team needed. While it does not seem likely that he will be a superstar, he should be a solid player who can score, rebound, and use his strength for positional defense when called upon.

Eric Bledsoe: Puts Up Huge Line --
The third-year guard was just one steal shy of a triple-double on Wednesday against the Lakers. He had 22 points, 11 assists, and nine steals in 44 minutes while Chris Paul watched from the bench. It's not hard to wonder what Bledsoe would do if he were a starter, but that has not been his destiny in life thus far. At Kentucky, he played next to John Wall. He did start 25 games as a rookie, but mainly backed up Baron Davis and Mo Williams. Last year, Paul came to the Clippers, once again limiting Bledsoe's value. He generally doesn't shoot well enough (just 38.9 percent from the field in 2011-12) to have much fantasy value, but he could be an assists add if he gets playing time.

Tyler Zeller: Making a Move for More Minutes --
The rookie joined the Cavaliers' starting lineup in the team's final exhibition game and looked good. Going against Roy Hibbert, Zeller had 13 points and seven rebounds. One of the more polished low post players in college basketball last year, Zeller fell out of the lottery because of his perceived lack of upside. If Zeller does start, Anderson Varejao would move to power forward and Tristan Thompson would come off the bench. All three bigs should see significant minutes, but this news should bump Zeller up a bit on draft boards.

Jonas Valanciunas: Likely Starter at Center for Raptors --
The big Lithuanian did not do much at the Olympics this summer, but he has done enough in preseason to beat out Aaron Gray for the starting spot for Toronto. (Faint praise, perhaps, but praise nonetheless.) In five preseason games, Valanciunas has averaged 7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in 23.8 minutes. Foul trouble will be an issue for the rookie who was drafted in 2011. In leagues that require two centers, Valanciunas could be a consideration although the aforementioned Zeller has many more offensive skills.


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