Overall the preseason games are just that: the preseason games - i.e. they don't matter. But there are some bad tendencies that have appeared that we seem to have not corrected at all.
One of the main things is REBOUNDING. It seems to have gotten even worse from last year, what with Smith playing the center and Pierce the the PF for the second team with no Cole Aldrich to be seen. Once the second team gets on the floor, we get pounded on the boards, every time. In all games we lost, we got out-rebounded by a large margin. We had meager 6 offensive boards while shooting 36% from the field and 17% from the three point line in our last preseason game...
Another thing is DEFENSE. I haven't seen anything that would confirm that once the season starts, we'll suddenly become an elite defensive team while letting Hornets to shoot 50+% from the three and completely annihilate us in two games. It really seemed to me that they really tried to win the second Hornets game game, what with CP3 playing and the game being broadcasted to Worldwide audiences. But once they got behind 10+ points in the 3rd quarter, it was over. For me it really seemed that they were embarrassed and angry for losing by more than 40 points. This is like US vs Angola territory loss and should be embarrassing as the whole world was watching (here in France it was broadcasted by the main sports canal, the same in other big European countries) as, except in US, it was a day time game in Europe or in Asia.
The third theme is our FORMER PLAYERS looking much better with their new teams than with us. The most recent example is Hawes. He really looked better than what he was playing with us. He seemed to play freely and without pressure with Hornets, i.e. like he used to do before joining us. With us he was always playing very tense and after each mistake , which were many, he got even more tense. He had BY FAR the worst season with us, what with his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) plummeting from 15+ to less than 10. As he is only 27 years old like DJ, I think he will rebound nicely from this career worst year with us, but I'm not so sure about Lance. If Hawes was playing for us like he used to play before joining us, he would have been immensely useful as a big who stretches the floor with his 3 point ability and also rebounds and blocks the shots as a big.
It's starting to be a common theme that the guys have a career worst year with us i.e. Dudley; Hawes, but once they are quickly traded by Doc in very one sided trades (i.e. in other team's favor), they become the player they had always been before joining us. You can't tell me that we could not have used Dudley's shooting from the bench last year, and especially in playoffs. Or that Hawes is not worlds better than Aldrich who does not even get to the floor and who is even slower than Hawes and very one dimensional (no floor stretcher). Hawes would have been an ideal big to play with Smith as he struggled to be the main rim protector while playing with Blake or Big Baby last season. But once Blake got injured, he was inserted in the starting lineup with DJ and played very well. Now with Smith he would have had another rim protector beside him. And we wouldn't get pounded on the boards or scored on so easily once the second unit gets on the floor.
If Stephenson will not pan out and Hawes and Matt Barnes will go on to have great seasons and if we again flame out in the playoffs, it will be on Doc and not on the team as it will be the second big mess he has created, the first being giving Dudley away for nothing and even adding a first round pick as an insult.