Oct 19, 2010, 10:24 AM EDT
Preseason games are not irrelevant. A team’s record in them can have some correlation to the regular season.
Not so much with the elite teams — nobody thinks Boston is any better at 6-1 in the preseason, nobody is reading much into the Lakers being 2-3. Come deep in the playoffs those teams will still be around.
But there is correlation with lesser teams. In the last five years, teams with a .500 record or better made the playoffs 65 percent of the time, as John Schuhmann pointed out at NBA.com.
So watch out for Minnesota (5-1) and Memphis (7-0).
The Grizzlies almost made the playoffs but most pundits — PBT included — expect the team to take a small step back this season. But maybe they are ready for another step forward. Minnesota is a team that has added some depth over the last couple years, even if they lack the star power most think they need. But maybe that depth and some scoring from Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Martell Webster will be enough.
Other teams with a hot start are Utah (6-0, but we expect them to be good every season), Houston (4-2 and showing with Yao they may be back) and Cleveland (4-2, trying to prove that LeBron’s supporting cast was better than we thought, and a playoff trip would do just that).
Also, Orlando is 6-0, they are now 19-0 in their last preseason games, but that goes back to us not really learning about elite teams in preseason.
The others are just a few teams to watch when the games really matter starting next week. A few will not live up to expectations, but a couple of those teams may surprise.
- LeBron makes emotional return to Cleveland tonight, new Nike ad shows city standing together (VIDEO) 29
- Dominant Pau Gasol shows he may be a perfect fit for Bulls 12
- Old tweets: Kevin Durant uses gay slurs (including at Russell Westbrook), Damian Lillard rips LeBron James 26
- Wednesday night’s NBA winners, losers: Chris Bosh wants you to know he is a No. 1 option 23
- Rajon Rondo leads Celtics to rout of Nets. How much does it mean? 9
- Bulls cruise to 24-point opening night win over Knicks 17
- Lakers’ rookie Julius Randle has surgery to repair fractured tibia, out for season 16
- Anthony Davis has zero chance of winning MVP this season 39