The Preseason Matters...A Lot!
To most people, preseason games are annoying teasers to the regular season that only serve to make the league more money.
But I disagree. The preseason is a time for rookies to test their game at the professional level, and to work on creating a name and brand for themselves in their respective leagues. I understand that the games overall have no effect on a team’s regular season record or playoff seeding, but there have been several rookies that have used or are using their time in the preseason to become the best players they can be.
Trae Young was awful in NBA Summer League two years ago. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, and I’m sure Atlanta Hawks fans were dreading trading Luka Doncic for him on draft night. After Summer League concluded, Young spent all his time in the gym working out the kinks in his game.
He entered his rookie season as a sharp-shooting guard, and finished the season runner-up for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Young’s percentage from the field was 41.8% and he converted 32.4% from three (compared to the 23.1% and 12.5% he shot in those respective categories after his first three Summer League games), as well as 82.9% from the free throw line. Trae Young is a shining example of how figuring out your weaknesses before the pressure comes on can benefit your season when the games matter.
Daniel Jones isn’t so much working out his kinks, but proving to New York Giants fans that he has very few if any holes in his game. Jones was selected sixth overall by the Giants in this year’s draft, and put his hat on amid boos from the NYG faithful. However after his performance against the New York Jets last Thursday, fans are changing their opinions of the young quarterback. Rather than turn heads once the season begins, Jones is treating preseason as another NFL combine, proving his skills not to the professional scouts, but to the fans.
Preseason games help rookies become their best, and shine under the professional spotlight once regular season games begin. They allow rookies to smooth out their dents, and change the way fans think about them. They have no effect on a team’s overall success, but a huge input on who rises to the top, and who crumbles under the pressure.