The 2013 NBA regular season is set to begin in less than three weeks. In turn, head coaches are scrambling to set their rotations in the proper manner for an 82-game season that could mark the end of an era for numerous teams with superstar players.
Before the regular-season madness can transpire, however, here's where you can watch the latest edition of preseason basketball as the NBA goes international.
Player to Watch: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers
Experience: 6th Season
2012-13 Season Averages: 17.32 PER, 28.7 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 BPG
While Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez and Joakim Noah impressed during the 2013 NBA playoffs, Roy Hibbert was flat-out dominant. He finished the postseason with averages of 17.0 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, and he seemed to get better as the pressure mounted.
Now, Hibbert will get the chance to go toe-to-toe with D-12 in Manila, Philippines.
Hibbert averaged 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds with four double-doubles during the Eastern Conference Finals to emerge as one of the NBA's premier centers. Already a snub for Defensive Player of the Year, Hibbert anchored Indiana's offense on the grandest stage of his career.
It's now time for the former Georgetown Hoyas star to do it during the regular season.
Hibbert started slow during the 2012 preseason, and that carried over into his regular-season performances. Specifically, he had trouble developing a rhythm within a new-look Pacers rotation on offense.
If he can score on Howard on Thursday, Oct. 10, it's safe to be confident in Hibbert's status as a genuine star down low.
Rookie to Watch: Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
Position: Shooting Guard
2012-13 College Averages: 24.24 PER, 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 42.0% 3PT
During the 2013 NBA draft, no player saw a more shocking decline on draft boards than shooting guard Ben McLemore. In the end, McLemore was drafted No. 7 overall by the Sacramento Kings.
Now playing under head coach Mike Malone, it couldn't have worked out any better for the former Kansas Jayhawks star.
McLemore is a dynamic scorer, but his money will be made as a jump shooter, specifically from beyond the three-point line. This gives him similar upside to a sharpshooter Malone coached while he was an assistant for the Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson.
Malone has helped mold Thompson into a career 40.6 percent three-point shooter with a rapidly developing all-around game.
McLemore will go up against Nick Young, Xavier Henry and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Neither matchup is especially strong defensively, and that will enable him to flash his progressing slashing game.
McLemore had 13 points, three rebounds and two steals on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from three-point range in his preseason debut.
Game of the Day: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers
Date: Thursday, Oct. 10
Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
TV: NBA TV
The NBA's global expansion will continue on Thursday, Oct. 10 when the Houston Rockets play the Indiana Pacers in Manila, Philippines. It'll be an early game at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBA TV, but it's a clash worth watching.
Not only are Houston and Indiana NBA championship contenders, but this game will also display the international fan base the league has developed.
The Philippines is one of the most passionate countries in the world when it comes to professional basketball. Numerous American players have tried their luck in the local basketball association, and jersey sales have skyrocketed in recent years.
Now, two of the league's best will put on a show for what's certain to be a capacity crowd. Don't miss it.
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