As we've said numerous times the past few weeks - it's hard to tell anything from preseason games.
You can't look at Sacramento's apparently improved defense too closely - Dallas missed Dirk, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, and Devin Harris, and the Lakers were without Kobe. (And yeah, as far as these teams go, Dallas without four of its top five players is about even with the Lakers minus Kobe. Which makes it unconscionable that Kobe isn't the defending MVP.)
One thing you can put some stock in is rebounding, though. And so far, the Kings have been much better rebounders than they were last year.
Through two preseason games, the Kings are getting 78 percent of their defensive rebound opportunities. How good is that? Miami led the league last season with 76.4 percent. Again, it's not only two games, but it's two preseason games. Still a bit exciting.
On the offensive boards, things aren't as bright. The Kings have improved so far, getting 26 percent of their opportunities. They pulled in 25.4 percent last season. It's a slight improvement so far, so you'd hope they can get nominally better on that end.
During the Lakers game, I was specifically watching the rebounding opportunities for the team. Brad Miller was in the paint on nearly every defensive board opportunity, which is promising. (Though, yes, Miller ended up with only two defensive rebounds to go with his three on the offensive end.) Ron Artest was getting in there, even though he only had a few boards. Mike Bibby wasn't leaking out, leaving that to Kevin Martin and getting himself a solid five defensive boards. That will help speed up the offense - Bibby getting the ball immediately and getting up the court is more effective than Bonzi Wells or Kenny Thomas getting the rebound and looking for a ball-handler, which is what happened last year.
The rebounding concern - the biggest the team has - isn't solved yet. And the Kings won't lead the league in any rebounding measure this season. But the new dedication to the glass will be worth keeping an eye on. It doesn't appear as dire as it would seem.
Other miscellaneous thoughts:
- Quincy Douby is getting decent shots. He's getting some separation, he's getting by people - those runners and jumpers will probably start falling at some point. I'm not panicked.
- Ronnie Price is again becoming a favorite of mine. Fearless. Absolutely fearless.
- Jordan Farmar is fast. I think he can make a meaningful contribution to Mordor this season.
- Francisco Garcia has been above-average on defense so far. He hasn't exactly been guarding All-Stars, though.
- I doubt Louis Amundson is going to make the team.
- I pray Justin Williams makes the team.
- Could Maurice Evans be a bigger addition to the Lakers than Vlad Radmanovic? We won't know for a while, but it's worth watching.
- Jason Hart might be done. If he's not getting into a preseason game when Mike Bibby plays only 23 minutes and there's only one other true point guard (Ronnie Price) on the roster...
- Maurice Taylor does not have a fork sticking out of his back.
- John Salmons is much better than the critics (hi Carl!) say he is. Yes, it's two games into preseason. But he's showing us something.