The importance of the NBA preseason—or any sport's preseason—can certainly be debated, but at the end of the day, basketball is back and that's all that matters.
Although the games don't count for anything, getting an early look at rookies, players in new places and just the overall makeup of teams can give us a good idea of how the regular season might play out.
So, with the preseason in full swing, don't automatically dismiss it. Tuesday's full slate, in fact, is especially compelling. Let's take a look.
|Road Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||National TV|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Philadelphia 76ers||3 p.m.||NBA TV|
|Brooklyn Nets||Washington Wizards||7 p.m.||NBA TV|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Cleveland Cavaliers||7 p.m.|
|Atlanta Hawks||Charlotte Bobcats||7:30 p.m.|
|Maccabi Haifa||Detroit Pistons||7:30 p.m.|
|Golden State Warriors||Utah Jazz||9 p.m.|
|Denver Nuggets||Los Angeles Lakers||10 p.m.||NBA TV|
Team to Watch: Cleveland Cavaliers
In my personal opinion, there is no team more intriguing this season than the Cleveland Cavaliers. They could just as easily be a playoff team as they could land another top-five pick.
Kyrie Irving has the talent to be one of the top three offensive point guards in the league, Dion Waiters can score in a hurry and the amalgam of potential frontcourt stars—Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum, Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller—is incredibly tantalizing.
The success of this team hinges on health.
Bynum missed all of last season and is still not 100 percent. Varejao played just 25 games last season and is still trying to get back to full strength. The rookie Bennett had offseason surgery and was reportedly "exhausted" four minutes into a scrimmage this week.
Even Irving missed 23 games last season.
A team dripping with talent in all facets of the game, it will be enticing to see how healthy Cleveland looks on the court.
Game to Watch: Warriors vs. Jazz
Unless you were living under a rock for all of last season, you know the kind of show this Warriors team can put on.
If Steph Curry gets going, he's unstoppable. Klay Thompson, who dropped 26 off the bench in Golden State's preseason opener, is a similar microwave-type scorer. Harrison Barnes only got better as last season went on, and after a marvelous postseason performance, the sky is the ceiling in his second year.
Oh, and he does stuff like this:
But don't overlook the Jazz in that department, either.
Wins may be hard to come by in Utah this season, but with dynamic rookie Trey Burke at point guard and one of the best young frontcourt duos in the NBA in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter finally entering the starting lineup, this team is going to be fun to watch.
With all of the amazing young talent on both of these rosters, Tuesday's preseason matchup is going to be scintillating.
Player to Watch: Bradley Beal
As a rookie last season, Beal averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 0.9 steals per contest.
How many points will Bradley Beal average this season?
Certainly nothing to get overly enthralled about, sure, but he was getting better as the season progressed. He averaged 17.5 points in February and shot a scorching 53.6 percent from the three-point line in March.
However, ankle and fibula injuries forced him to miss a bunch of time near the end of the season, and his upward trajectory was put on pause.
The potential for a monster breakout season is evident, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that I'm downright giddy about seeing his continued improvement into one of the East's best shooting guards.