What we’ve learned from the preseason
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
NBA preseasons are nothing if not forgettable.
Rotations are mostly irrelevant, effort is sporadic and the actual competition is mostly an afterthought as decision-makers evaluate players individually in attempt to trim rosters. That means, of course, that fans see less of the players they typically pay to watch and more of the guys who they may never see again.
The lasting memory from this vantage point, it’s sad to say, may be the officials’ seemingly endless string of delay-of-game calls that, well, delay the game even further when a player on the scoring team touches the ball after it has gone through the basket. It’s a new point of emphasis, you see, and there’s never a better time to work kinks like that out than this time of year.
But with the regular season set to start Tuesday, it’s not as if we haven’t learned anything during this annual exhibition. Here’s a look at some takeaways from the early going that should lead to a most-compelling campaign to come.
Derrick Rose is back …
There’s the visual evidence that Bulls star Derrick Rose is truly back from his April 2012 knee ligament tear — the Wily Coyote impersonations from end to end, the splitting of defenders in the paint and relentless attacking of the rim. And then, for those that need to see the proof in numbers, there’s this: at 39.5 points per 48 minutes of play in six preseason games, his scoring pace would have led the league last season.
Rose started slowly, logging less than 30 minutes per game in the first three outings and scaring Bulls fans everywhere when he missed a game in Brazil because of soreness in the same left knee that kept him out for all of last season. But the former MVP has ramped up the operation since. For example, despite the fact that he has averaged just 26.3 minutes in all, he averaged 9.8 free throw attempts — a mark that, by comparison, would have been second in the league last season behind only Houston’s James Harden.
More importantly, it’s clear that Rose’s killer instinct and thirst to … [For more on What we've learned from the 2013 NBA preseason, click here.]