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NBA Preseason 2013: Biggest Takeaways from Early Action

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Jodie Meeks #20 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2013 Global Games on October 15, 2013 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Steven CookContributor IIIOctober 15, 2013

It is just the preseason, but there are plenty of conclusions to draw from the NBA's first few games that cannot be overlooked heading into 2013-14.

While some of the Association's biggest stars are having their minutes monitored closely and the final scores in games aren't quite indicative of how the regular season will play out, a closer look allows us to see some of the writing on the wall for how the upcoming season will unfold.

Let's take a look at the biggest takeaways thus far in the 2013 NBA preseason action.

 

Pelicans Forward Anthony Davis Has Found Offensive Identity

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 7:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans posts up against Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks on October 7, 2013 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
Danny Bollinger/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans may very well have stolen the offseason from the Houston Rockets by piecing together a suddenly dangerous roster, but no player is more crucial than last year's No. 1 overall pick.

Through four games, Anthony Davis is giving the new-look franchise plenty of reasons to believe he'll enjoy an incredible climb up the hierarchy of elite post players. His point totals of 21, 25, 29 and 23 so far are nothing short of spectacular.

Keep in mind, those totals are in 27.8 minutes per game.

Davis came into the NBA as a dominant defensive presence with a lot of work to do offensively. At 13.5 points per game last season, he matured in that aspect but never showed nearly the amount of range and complete arsenal of capabilities as he has thus far in the preseason slate. 

Of course, his defense hasn't suffered: He racked up two steals and four blocks against the Magic. 

Nobody will expect Davis to keep hanging up 25 points a game when the season begins, but knowing that possibility exists will only make the Pelicans more dangerous as their roster matures. 

 

Warriors' Crowded Starting 5 Won't Be Problematic

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 7: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors in a game against the Sacramento Kings on October 7, 2013 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usin
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Adding one of the best swingmen in the game in Andre Iguodala couldn't possibly be seen as a bad thing, right?

In Golden State, it had the potential to be. With a starting backcourt of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes—all of whom played incredibly well last season—questions surfaced as to whether Mark Jackson could keep all of his talented players happy. 

That doesn't seem to be a problem anymore. According to Warriors beat writer Marcus Thompson, sharpshooter Thompson doesn't mind emerging in a bench role:

Jackson has brought Thompson off the bench in three of four preseason games, and he logged 30-plus minutes in each of those while impressing offensively. In one performance, a win over Sacramento, he posted a gaudy plus-29 rating. 

Just as well, Barnes, a more likely candidate to lose his starting spot during the offseason, expressed that him coming off the bench will not to stunt his play or the team's chances of winning, per Thompson:

"I can imagine much worse problems," Barnes told Thompson. "I feel confident about this team and where we can go. Regardless if I'm starting or coming off the bench, I think we have a chance to make a serious playoff push."

 

Year 2 of Jeremy Lin Project Looks More Promising Than Year 1

In his first year as the Houston Rockets' prized starting point guard, Jeremy Lin didn't seem to bring his "Linsanity" with him from the Big Apple—as if you could expect that amount of dominance for an entire career.

But in an exhibition performance in Taiwan against the Indiana Pacers (which you can see above), Lin dazzled. In 35 minutes of play, he notched 17 points on 3-of-4 from three-point range and a 6-of-8 shooting performance overall.

He also made his impact felt on the defensive end, with a LeBron James-esque chase-down block, courtesy of CJ Fogler:

Despite keeping his starting role last year and averaging 13.1 points to go along with 6.1 assists, the Rockets have experimented with bringing Lin off the bench while still making sure he gets his 24 to 36 minutes, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen

In one outing off the bench in the preseason, Lin logged a solid 14 points in 23 minutes. But his best performance came as the featured floor general, and that should marinate in Kevin McHale's head moving forward. 

 

Follow Steven Cook on Twitter for more NBA news, analysis and musings

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