Preseason Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Darius Soriano —  October 10, 2012

The Lakers’ preseason rolls on tonight with a visit from the Portland Trailblazers.

If this were the regular season I’d spout off about how the Lakers are looking to bounce back from their loss to the Warriors. That, after giving up a huge run in the second half, they’d be looking to make a point about the quality of their team and how they won’t just roll over. But this is the preseason and while I’m sure the coaches and the players themselves want to play better, those other things simply aren’t true.

What is true is that the coaches are trying to get a feel for how their roster works together and are trying to sort out roles for players that are sure to make the team. The coaches also want to get good looks at the bottom of the roster guys that are long-shots, but have a chance to earn a roster spot heading into the regular season.

In those pursuits, expect low minutes from the starters but for them to play together a fair amount when they are on the floor. Also expect to see some shuffling of the reserve groups and for Mike Brown to use the majority, if not all, of the available players in order to get looks at these guys in different situations.

With Jordan Hill out, this may mean we get to see Antawn Jamison play more PF than he did Sunday (which was zero). It may also mean Earl Clark or even Reeves Nelson sees some minutes at that spot for extended minutes. On the wing, we should see more Jodie Meeks (and we may even see him earlier in the game than Sunday), Chris Douglas-Roberts should get some good minutes, and we could also possibly see Ebanks play both SG and SF in different lineup combinations.

Overall though, from a Laker perspective, the point remains that the coaches are still in search mode with the bottom half of the roster and the preseason is when sorting those things out happens. Fans may not like the losing and huge runs from the opposition are never fun but it bears repeating: these results mean nothing. Especially not for a team that has the talent that the Lakers do.

From the Blazers’ side, this is a team in full rebuild mode. They jettisoned several veteran players that were on last season’s roster and are now building around a veteran core of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Batum, and Wes Matthews with youngsters Dame Lillard, Myers Leonard, Nolan Smith, and Victor Claver providing promise.

Lillard, especially, is a player who should be watched closely tonight and this season. He’s a quick point guard whose attack game is tailor made for the NBA. This past summer he darted up draft boards after dazzling in workouts and, in that way (and not necessarily in style of play), reminds some folks of Russ Westbrook. We’ll see if Lillard can develop the way that Russ has but the promise he’s shown in leading up to the draft and then in the Vegas Summer League has people excited.

Another player to watch tonight is our old friend Ammo. Adam Morrison has a make good contract with the Blazers and a shot to make their team if he shows enough in training camp. After having a solid season in Europe and flashing some of the scoring skills that made him a lottery pick in Summer League, Morrison is giving the NBA another shot and hopefully this time he can stick. Since his time as a Laker, I’ve rooted for his success and seeing him back in the league would be a good thing.

Back to tonight, try to remember that training camp and the preseason games are just building blocks that get the team to its next phase of doing more building. These games are meant to help whittle down a roster to a team the team that will start the campaign but one that we all hope is no where close to where it wants to be at the end of the season. An NBA season is a long journey and right now, the team is barely gathering their supplies and preparing to pack their bags. We’ve a long way to go yet.

 

Darius Soriano

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32 responses to Preseason Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Dame Lillard sounds delicious :)
    Jokes aside, I hope we take the time to filter out the chaff from amongst Goudelock, Morris, CDR, DJO and Duhon.
    I know Duhon has a guaranteed contract, but I do hope we keep our best 15 on the roster.

  2. Is it wrong that I teased a Blazers-fan friend on Facebook that he’s right to get excited about the preseason? I mean, after all, they’re not making the postseason.

  3. Talk about two franchises that veered in opposite directions! Some of this is bad luck for Portland – injuries to Roy and Oden – but plenty of credit is also due to Lakers management for always keeping an eye on the hardware. And to Kobe, of course, for being the league’s toughest superstar.

    Still, given the enormous deep pockets of Paul Allen, it’s a bit surprising to me that this franchise has struggled the way it has. He’s about 10x richer than Cuban, but keeps his wallet (relatively) closed, at least when it comes to his sports teams. when it comes to buying another mega-yacht and mansion, not so much.

    Paul Allen insider fact: a number of people who work for him refer to themselves as ‘SPAMmers': Spending Paul Allen’s Money.

  4. Did you know if you up Dwight’s shot attempts to 19 (like Shaq’s avg. his first 8 years) at the 57% clip DH shoots he’d avg. 21.8 pts. Then you add his 5.4 pts off his FTA from shooting 58% (Shaq shot 52% his first 8 years) he’d be at 27.2 pts per game. Shaq average his 1st 8 years is 27.3. So maybe if Dwight shoots 19 times like Shaq did instead of 11 shots like he does. People like Shaq and Skip can shut up.

    Mike Brown mentioned he’ll up the starters minutes and shorten the amount of players that play. I hope CDR plays some because he may be more use to the Lakers as the 3rd SF other than Goudelock as the 7th guard off the bench like he was Sunday.

  5. The interview I read that made me an Adam Morrison fan:

    –MT: Rumor has it you’re a great chef. Can you talk about some of your specialties?

    –Morrison: Toast.

    –MT: Right. What’s your plan of attack when, uh, cooking (?) a piece of bread?

    –Morrison: I usually stay between four and five on the knob you adjust for temperature. If I’m feeling really crafty, I’ll go six, but four and five is where I like. I go for a lighter toast. I prefer peanut butter as the main topping, but you have to add butter on there for the extra cholesterol. You know, butter the toast to get it nice and soft, then add the peanut butter on top to give it a nice texture. It’s unhealthy, but that’s why it tastes so good.

    –MT: A well-planned, advanced skill…

    –Morrison: Yeah, I mean I’ve been doing it since I was six when my parents first let me use a toaster. Nineteen years of experience isn’t bad.

    http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/091009_adam_morrison_toast.html

  6. Sorry for the double post, but just came across this: http://www.libertyballers.com/2012/10/10/3483558/andrew-bynum-knee-injury-serious-hurt-injured-sixers

    It’s purely conjecture right now so I wouldn’t read a lot into it just yet.

    However, I’m happier to have the habitually-healthy-guy-that-had-minor-surgery-six-months-ago than knee-injury-waiting-to-happen-guy. I swear, for the past three years every time Bynum went up I’d hold my breath he’d come down okay.

  7. @#3 JB:

    That can’t be true!

    We’ve been hearing for months from a certain poster that trading Bynum to get Howard was a terrible idea since Bynum was just coming into his own, getting ready for a decade of NBA dominance, and that Howard would never be the same player again because of his injury.

  8. That article was nonsense when it mentioned the Lakers selling damaged goods to the 76ers. Every team has their doctor’s do a physical before the trade becomes final (remember Tyson Chandler and the Thunder?).

    Just another case where it takes Andrew a month or two extra to return from an injury.

  9. I tend to think that people are making to many excuses for the 35-0 run the other night. These guys are professionals! I don’t care if its a game at Rucker, not team should be allowed to go on a 35-0 run. Our bench is improved, but I still think we are waaaay too top heavy. Jamison is alright, but Meeks and the rest of the bench need a play maker to get them shots. My worries are solely the result of a preseason game, I just think that we have become so enamored with big names that we are overlooking some issues.

    I believe that the Lakers will have a good season, and they are title contenders, which is all a fan can ask for, but we are a team that seriously lacks depth and athleticism and I think that will eventually come back to bite us. I pray that I’m wrong.

  10. Nobody has a perfect team. Rack em up and play ball!

  11. Ammo’s coming for blood tonight.

    The damaged goods thing can happen, even if rare. There must be some legitimate evidence that OKC’s doctors kept something from Boston’s on Jeff Green, or the league wouldn’t have had the standing to force OKC to forfeit a pick.

  12. Jim C: I know, my monocle just popped out.

  13. In all seriousness…

    I agree with the comments that it takes a lot of evidence to prove the “damaged goods” thing.

    Most teams insist on having their own doctors examine a player before trading for them.

    And it isn’t like Andrew’s history of knee injuries was a secret.

  14. Oh Jim C, you mean that fat dude on the Sixers? I showed a clip of him being interviewed to my wife and her jaw was on the floor.

    Bynum is a middle-class man’s Michael Olowakandi. (SP?) We dodged a serious bullet moving that man, and I’m not even the biggest Howard supporter… I’m just sayin’.

  15. Both Howard and Bynum are damaged goods, however there should be no exchange or return. Decision is final. OK, if they want to return Bynum, take Sacre, Clark and Somodji combined, that’s 3 for 1 exchange. lol!

    I think that is what we need in this blog, a little humor mixed with camaraderie on different pov’s and prisms, then move on.

  16. Andrew didn’t trust the Lakers’ doctors, he had his own private knee specialist in New York.

  17. The Lakers focus is not establishing a winning attitude, or fulfilling some other sports cliche. The key decision for the Lakers is to identify which 15 players–out of 20–make the team. If the Lakers restricted themselves to three PGs, more than the usual two, the rest would be easy.

    Since the Lakers are financially committed to three veterans, and have chosen three more in the draft, eliminating as many as three may take a while to happen–maybe another year.

    That makes it very interesting to see how the Lakers try to balance their team.

    My candidates to watch with interest will be Morris, Johnson-Odom, Clark, Meeks, and CDR.

  18. Isn’t Bynum ‘damaged goods’ almost by default?

  19. Any links for the game tonight?

  20. Kobe shoulder… wow, that’s like the second ‘injury’ in the preseason alone…

  21. Harold,

    Tell that to all the guys who keep glowing about Bynum’s injuries issues. I couldn’t care less about Andrew’s knees at this point. Not when our only quality back up big is having back issues before the season has even started. And no matter the progress, our number one big still isn’t fully clear to play. Not to mention we have the oldest (read: injury risk) back court in the league.

    But, whew! We sure got rid of that injury risk Andrew Bynum.

  22. 20. It’s a very minor injury, maybe from all that dunking the other day in practice. He was a late scratch, meaning, he could have played if this game were the reg season. Even Kobe said he wanted to play.

    1st quarter thoughts: Nash gets everyone easy looks. Timing, angles and foresight is uncanny. I can just imagine when Dwight and Kobe are in the same floor as him.

    Metta is VERY active and the new offense will get him looks in the post, dive cuts and curls and Nash is just learning his sweet spots. scary thought for the rest of the league if MWP can be a real offensive threat

  23. AMMO buries a three…. Of course. I just can’t get used to seeing Steve Nash in a Lakers jersey!

  24. Sacre making his case for a roster spot. He’s a vet-rookie and a big body with a lot of hustle in him. I say keep him, move him up and down d-league to give him minutes. got good hands and touch around the rim for a big strong guy.

    MWP looks good on both sides of the floor. I say now that this will be a rebound year for him!

    Ebanks also looks very good, under control and confident. It will be good competition between him and Meeks at the backup 2 spot.

  25. Nash just took Lillard to school with that and 1! “back to school young fellow!”

    STEVIE STEVIE STEVIE! You make everyone around you look like an all star! assists to Meeks MWP!

  26. Looking at those Nash’ passed made me bemused. LOL

    If only Pau made those shots.

  27. Gasol has missed 2 dunks, 1 layup, and 3 wide open 15 footers from Nash passes. that’s 6 assists already for Nash. C’mon Pau!

  28. Can I just say, another brilliantly called game from the Portland commentators. They’re calling it like its the WCF for their Blazers. ugh

  29. How did we lose another 20 pt game? how is this happening? fire mike brown! FO needsto make something happen! need to get rid of the terrible bench!

    Things that people say when they panic over meaningless pre season games.

  30. Radius,

    Mike Brown was smiling too much on the sidelines during a loss in an important game. Not championship material.

  31. @Kareem. thats why Phil Jackson was a champion, because he didnt smile. thats what lost the important game. smiling

  32. Which 5 players (at the minimum) will be cut from the current 20 on the roster?

    Based on substitution patterns in the past two games and my own impressions of the Laker needs for a balanced roster, I’m expecting two pgs to join Nelson and two of the three pg’s: Duhon and Goudelock.

    That means I expect Chris Douglas Roberts (CDR) to make the team and the Lakers to release Duhon with $3,750,000 owing on his contract for the next two years. The more reasonable view is that CDR will join the Defenders while the Lakers find a less costly way to part with Duhon.

    There are many other possibilities, but CDR in the mix is very intriguing.