Congratulations, Chicago Bulls!
You are the official preseason champions. For this, you get a hearty handshake and, maybe, a championship toe ring. I do not know.
Preseason results largely do not matter. Each team has its own specific goals and rotations it wants to use and work through in the eight games alotted. The NBA likes using it to get its teams all around the world and spread the game to markets that would not normally see it and into Europe and Asia.
How do you judge who won? By completely arbitrary criteria!
Chicago Bulls: You go 8-0, and you get named the official winner of the preseason. And for good reason too. Not only did the Bulls win all their games, Derrick Rose returned from his torn ACL and looked like, well Derrick Rose. Rose averaged 20.7 points per game and 5.0 assists per game in 27.4 minutes per game. He even shot 47.6 percent from the field. This is the Derrick Rose we remember. Except, it is preseason. So maybe it does not really matter.
New Orleans Pelicans: Oh, Pelicans, you were so close to going undefeated. But New Orleans, new look and jersey names and all, really look like a different team. Anthony Davis was a monster this preseason, averaging 19.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 27.4 minutes per game during the preseason. He showed a wider variety of offensive moves and we know he has the athleticism and defense to match that. Jrue Holiday is still getting his feet wet in a new environment. And this team has not even integrated Tyreke Evans into the lineup. Evans played just one game for the Pelicans in the preseason.
Brooklyn Nets: The whole Nets experiment is far from solved. Deron Williams played just one game, and 10 minutes in that game. It will be a work in progress to see how the pieces will actually fit together. With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry now on the roster, there is a bit more bluster with this Nets team and winning the war of the words seems to matter right now for this organization as it tries to win New York. That also matters when talking to Miami. LeBron James already commented on the Nets' former Celtics rivals and the Nets beat the Heat twice in the preseason. If that matters.
Phoenix Suns: 5-2? 5-2! Phoenix, how are you supposed to tank with a preseason record like that?! The Suns are certainly going to be among the worst teams in the league with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe likely to be the best players and lots of playing time for Alex Len to grow and develop (or something). Marcin Gortat saw the writing on the wall and wanted out so he could be the guaranteed starter. He got that wish Friday when the Suns traded him to the Wizards for the oft-injured Emeka Okafor. The team scored a lot of points and used a lot of players. That little bit of optimism is not good for Suns fans. It is going to be a long season.
Milwaukee Bucks: There is a bit of optimism that the Bucks can reach the Playoffs for the second straight year. So how will the Bucks' new back court of Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo fit together? Is Larry Sanders maturing and becoming a more consistent and dependable offensive player along with his immense defensive skill? These questions were decidedly not answered during the preseason. A bigger issue might be the court. We will address it later, but let's just say things slipped a bit in the team's BMO Bradley Center debut Friday night. Bucks fans are hoping it is not an omen for the season to come.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies are going through some transition with David Joeger taking over as coach. There are going to be some rough transitions as the team tries to copy the success that had Memphis in the Western Conference Finals last year. That team got a bit lucky though with the Thunder being without Russell Westbrook. The doubters are coming in fast and furious. Sports Illustrated picked the Grizzlies ninth in the Western Conference. That would be out of the playoffs. Memphis averaged only 90.9 points per game and the top scorer was Marc Gasol at 13.7 points per game. That included preseason games where they scored 72 and 73 points. Memphis is going to have games like that because the team's offense has not improved much. It is just preseason though...
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