Seeing Kevin Martin drop 27 points on 11 field goal attempts isn't a surprise to we of the serious Kings fan stock. When given the ball, we know he can get to open space, get to the rim, get to the line. When a fresh-faced rookie draws his number? Makes it even less of a surprise.
Still, it's glorious to see after five months (actually, arguably about 16 months) without real Kings basketball. While there were pockets of trepidation in watching a kid with 1.5 good years under his belt get locked up through 2013, we might have forgotten how young Speedracer is and how much he can still improve. Whatever he did this summer, it looks like it's working.
And while Brad Miller's final numbers don't make you gasp, seeing the way he attacked the defense is refreshing as all hell. How many pump-fake drives did B-52 complete with a flush last season? Single digits, right? He went to the well multiple times in the second and third quarters last night, a welcome arrival. Last year, opponents followed the Spurs gameplan by swarming Miller in the high post, giving him no room to squeeze into passing lanes. Seattle followed suit last night, and Brad made them pay. Eventually, folks are going to think twice before dry-humping Brad up top, and that's going to open up his jumper. Hopefully.
Beyond Martin and Miller, the backcourt defense really stuck out. Mike Bibby wasn't a revelation, but I'll accept small steps. Quincy Douby was. I said before the game I'd be looking for his offense; his offense still kind-of stunk -- he ran like two plays in his 19 minutes on the court, deferring usually to Bibby, John Salmons and Orien Greene. But his active defense, that was impressive. Two steals and a block... and the block was legit. He was probably a step below Greene (who is a f*cking monster -- 3 steals and a block in 15 minutes, wasted double-digit seconds of Seattle's shot clock on multiple possessions). But we know QD could shoot in college, and he's shown a Martinesque ability to slice into the lane and drop a floater. If that offense comes around and he keeps up this defensive ability beyond his de-facto playing time audition... well, then I'm excited.
As for Kevin Durant... god, he looks young, even from Section 206 Row S. Despite drawing Martin on one end and Ron F'n Artest on the other, he still produced a few jawdroppingly smooth plays. It's going to be a long year for him, though... Durant desperately needs Wally Szczerbiak to stay healthy so Damien Wilkins isn't starting. All those dribble-drives and turn-arounds and post-ups Wilkins attempted in the first quarter? That should all be Durant. What Durant did -- stand out by the arc and wave his hand when Ron-Ron slacked down towards the key? That's all Wally. At least in my overanalytical mind it is. Even if P.J. Carlesimo doesn't treat KD like a superstar, opponents might -- Ron-Ron and Mikki Moore doubled him at the three-point line a few possessions in the second quarter. The list of players who draw that type of attention is short. And KD's already on it, 16 minutes into his pro career.
Have I broken the record on how many assumptions you can make following a preseason game yet? Good.