What will you be looking for in the first preseason game?
Preseason for the Boston Celtics begin tomorrow against the opponent they ended the regular season with last year. The Toronto Raptors could be an underdog team to look out for next season. Their season ended on a 5-game winning streak, and they've made small but notable additions to their team such as Tyler Hansbrough, and Steve Novak. They have a promising center in Jonas Valanciunas, an all-star caliber vet in Rudy Gay, and a high-flying potential all-star in DeMar DeRoazan.
Certain things I'm going to look out for in the first game on the Celtics side are Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk's defense, Avery Bradley's offense, and Vitor Faverani.
Since it's only the first preseason game, there's no way I'm going to be drawing conclusions anywhere, but these are just things I want to look at (at least for the first game).
Sullinger isn't in game shape, but since he'll participate in preseason regardless, I'd like to look at where he is overall: how he's moving up and down the court, how often he'll be featured in the post, his post moves in general, his rebounding, his jump, etc. I'm not looking for a double-double or anything (yet), but I just want to see where his game is so far.
For Kelly Olynyk, many people feel like his defense may be the biggest problem in his game so far. If he's matched up with Jonas Valanciunas at any point in time during the game, I'd like to see how he'd handle it. I wish I could've seen Olynyk vs. Andre Drummond in Summer League but unfortunately Drummond sat that game out. I think that would've been a great test for Olynyk. I'm not sure how great Vitor Faverani is, but I think he's the only legit center Kelly Olynyk has faced in practice thus far.
Avery Bradley already has the word "defense" imbedded in his name, but last season his offense was terrible, considering the offensive numbers (especially the percentages) he was putting up during the 2011-2012 season. I'm going to put the blame for his poor offensive numbers on his surgically repaired shoulders. I hope that if that indeed was the issue, it's been solved, and he can go back to 2011-2012 Bradley. I'm also going to see how much he'll play point guard, and how effective he'll be at it.
Lastly, I'll be looking at Vitor Faverani. Since he's the only legit center on the roster it's only fitting that he'll be closely examined. I'll be looking at his offense, defense, rebounding, etc. The only clips I've seen him in are overseas clips, but now he'll be facing real NBA competition, and I'd love to see how well he'll fare.
Of course these are just a few things to look out for. As the preseason progresses, I'll be looking at the rest of the roster, but these are just the things I'm looking at first.
What specific things will you be looking forward to in the first preseason game?