I'm going to keep the following line on my clipboard so I don't have to type it repeatedly: It's preseason so the numbers don't really mean anything. Small sample size? Check. Players not going full speed? Check. It's preseason so the numbers don't really mean anything? Check.
Am I going to look at them anyway? You betcha.
I'm not paying a ton of attention to the overall team numbers because John Wall and Nene have missed the entire preseason, and Emeka Okafor has missed time as well. What I'm looking for is just a glimpse at what players are doing individually this preseason. Who's having a good camp? Who's disappointing?
In my rating system, seven players have been more productive in the preseason than the league average player last season. Here's the list (100 = average; higher is better):
- Martell Webster -- 237
- Trevor Booker -- 198
- Chris Singleton -- 168
- A.J. Price -- 135
- Bradley Beal -- 117
- Brian Cook -- 111
- Shelvin Mack -- 107
Booker has been a big-time scorer in the preseason -- 23.1 points on 25% usage (3rd highest rate on the team behind Jordan Crawford and Jannero Pargo). His overall rating is similar to Kevin Love's last year.
I wouldn't bet on Singleton either. He was below replacement level last season; in the preseason he's averaging 16.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per 36 minutes -- for an overall score similar to what Tim Duncan posted last season.
Is Price really going to maintain his 109 offensive rating and .587 efg (career bests of 102 and .494 -- both from his rookie season)?
Brian Cook? Not no way, not no how.
The most interesting player on the above list is Beal, who's having a solid rookie preseason. His shooting hasn't been outstanding, but he's doing other stuff to help such as rebound, assist, and play a little defense. His offensive rating in the preseason is 107 -- better than the team average (102) -- and on a slightly higher than average usage rate.
I'm not going to post the "below average" list because it's too depressing. Plus, it's preseason so the numbers don't really mean anything. I do note that there's a massive drop-off from the 7 "above average" preseason performers. Every other player on the team's roster rates at or below last year's replacement level in terms of their preseason production.
For guys like Okafor and Ariza, I would expect them to return to something closer to their career norms -- right around league average. I wouldn't expect Jordan Crawford to improve much because his preseason play has been about the same as it was in his first two regular seasons: high usage (30% of the team's possessions when he's on the floor) and awful efficiency.
What to make of Jan Vesely? Shrug. The second year forward has played badly this preseason. Reports are that he's not in shape, which is ominous for a guy who contributes mostly through his hustle.
Kevin Seraphin improved a bunch last season. His preseason performance has been brief (he's been out with a calf injury), but not good when he was on the floor.
Let's keep in mind that it's preseason so the numbers don't really mean anything. It's good to see some of the young guys playing well in the exhibition games. Well, "good" in the sense that it's better than seeing them suck. If there's anything to take from these numbers, it's that Webster, Booker and Singleton appear to be on the right trajectory -- playing better than they did last year.
Similarly, it's good to see Beal holding his own. That's an encouraging sign for a 19-year old rookie with just one season of college ball.
I wouldn't put too much stock in any of this. It's preseason so the numbers don't really mean anything.