Fight the Hype
The Brian Chases of the world get to see 20 minutes in the pre-season, while the Derek Fishers sit and chill and rest those creaky knees. It's also the best time of the year for younger guys who are trying to move up the depth chart. Sometimes those guys play in over their heads and score 20 points, but half the time it's against a team that doesn't have any of its top eight players. Here are some guys who performed well in the pre-season that you probably shouldn’t get all that excited about.
Sebastian Telfair, PG, Celtics:
Bassy averaged 15 points, 4.1 assists, and 1.63 steals in 8 games this pre-season. Not only that, but his field goal percentage was 53.6%, and he shot 61.5% on three pointers. In two years with the Blazers, Telfair shot a career 39.4% from the field and 32% from long distance. We'd like to think that he's turned the corner, mainly so the Celtics fans we know won't run around screaming like Manny Ramirez just broke a toenail and is out for the year. But it's hard to believe that Telfair has made "the jump" in just eight pre-season games while playing against the Knicks and Raptors in half of 'em.
Marcus Williams, PG, Nets:
Oh, we think Williams is going to be a star one day and that teams will regret letting him drop, but it's not gonna happen this year with Jason Kidd starting ahead of him. Williams averaged 16 points and 7 assists in six pre-season games, but the guy did average 3.5 turnovers a game. He's going to lead a basketball team down the line, but Williams is as likely to have a breakout rookie season as 'Til Death is likely to make a second season. Oh, hey, we still like Brad Garrett!
Jason Maxiell, SF body, but PF game, Pistons:
In the post-Ben Wallace era, they call Maxiell “Ben Lite.” 16 points, 6 rebounds, and a whopping 1.1 blocks in eight pre-season games makes him fun to watch against second stringers, but Elton Brand would have a field day scoring on and defending Maxiell in the regular season. A tweener frame of 6’7” and 260 is just fine at the University of Cincinnati, but the only thing we think he’ll have in common with Wallace this season is his low free throw percentage.
Nene, PF, Nuggets:
We don’t like Nene; we think he’s a prick because he thinks he’s so big that he can drop “Hilario” from his name. And just because he averages 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game this pre-season doesn’t mean he’s going to break out and have a big year. Everyone keeps expecting Nene to start putting up Amare Stoudemire numbers, but when not tearing his ACL on the first day of the season, he’s only putting up 12 and 6. Don’t get us wrong, we’d take 12/6 from our backup big guy, but don’t get suckered into giving up too much for this guy in your fantasy league.
Ime Udoka, G/F, Blazers:
This is a nice story. Udoka has played only twelve games in two NBA seasons, and yet he made the Blazers’ opening day squad as a late addition to the pre-season roster. In five games, he averaged 12.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.4 steals. But even the Knicks dumped him last season -- the Knicks. The Blazers love Udoka’s perimeter defense and have even flirted with the idea of starting him at shooting guard, but it's hard to believe he's going to stun the world in the regular season.
Anthony Roberson and Dajuan Wagner, SG, Warriors
Roberson shot 53% and averaged 15.3 points, and Dajuan Wagner averaged 13.4 points on 47.9% from the field. That’s cool and all, but we’re talking about the Warriors here. I think John Starks led them in scoring not too long ago.
Wagner, the fourth shooting guard on the depth chart, hasn’t shot well since he left high school. Even at Memphis, Wagner shot only 41% from the field. We want to see him light it up before we’re convinced that he can live up to being selected #6 overall.
Roberson is never going to get shot attempts behind Richardson, Ellis, Pietrus, and Wagner. When you’re the fifth shooting guard on the depth chart on a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since Bob Dole had two arms, it’s not going to happen. Hey, free airfare!