ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com NBA & Trail Blazers Insider
!function(d,s,id)varjs,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)0;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="platform.twitter.comwidgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);(document,"script","twitter-wjs");I'llhave to admit, it was fun watching that game last night. Especially when you take intoconsideration that I sat through one of the most miserable seasons inTrail Blazers' franchise history last year, you should understand whyit was so refreshing to witness what I witnessed last night...animproved offense.
Hereis what I took away from the Trail Blazers preseason win over the Lakers.
TerryStotts gets an A for implementing an uptempo offense so fast. Itwas fun to watch the guys get up and down the court and the players loved it.
- During the pregame chat with Stotts, Lakers assistant Steve Clifford passed by and Stotts said, "Hey traitor" and the two had a laugh. Stotts offered Clifford the same position with the Trail Blazers.
Ihave to say it again, I think Damian Lillard is the truth. He was alittle hesitant to start the game off, but picked up his play tofinish with a solid stat-line of 14 points, 7 assist, 5 rebounds,and 2 turnovers in 24 minutes of play.
SteveNash thinks highly of Lillard and had this to say, I think helooks terrific. Great athlete, very skilled. For a young player, helooks very poised and ahead of his time. So, I expect him to have agreat career.
Nash on Lillard's strengths:
"Hispoise, his skill level, his athleticism. He's got he ability to getplaces and do things with the ball and at the same time, he wasn't ina rush and he had an understanding and I think he's probably ahead ofwhere I may (been) as a rookie.
Nash issuing advice to Lillard:
Justhave patience. It's a difficult position early on. I think sometimesyou're learning so much, and you're incorporated so much trying tofit in with your teammates and play your game, that it can be up anddown. So just be patient and just be positive about it.
MeyersLeonard showed off his athletic ability and shooting touch immediately after touching the floor. He played within himself and was anactive body throughout. His 4-of-4 from the field proved that.
NicolasBatum pulled a fade-a-way jumper at the elbow in the first half ofplay showing that he has more freedom on offense than year's past.Overall, he looked solid.
LaMarcusAldridge is a veteran. He's not going to pound the ball in the paintand risk injury in the preseason. He took steady doses of jumpers andhad some success. His wind didn't seem to be an issue so you canexpect LaMarcus to be his dominant old self once league play hits.
WesleyMatthews was solid. With this new offense, he'll have the ball in hishands often and will be forced to make decisions while dribbling. Theplay I like was him dribbling the ball up-court on a two-on-one breakand throwing the nice lob pass to Batum.
J.J.Hickson was very active, accumulating 5 rebounds in 17 minutes ofplay. A center rotation of him and Leonard should be fun to watch.
AdamMorrison did what he was suppose to do: Move without the ball,spot-up, and make shots. He was in a perfect rhythm the entire nightand if he keeps this up, I'll be writing about him past October. Hewas 4-for-6 from the filed and 1-for-2 from three-point range.
LukeBabbitt couldn't quite find his range from a year ago. He was 1-for-5from the field and 0-for-3 downtown. He definitely has to pick up hisplay.
NolanSmith had a night to forget, but he didn't lack confidence. He madesome nice aggressive plays out there but the ball just didn't fall forhim. He was 1-for-6 from the floor.
SashaPavlovic struggled out there last night and that's not good becausehe and Morrison are fighting for the last roster spot. Going 1-for-5isn't going to help your cause.
Iwant to see some more of Ronnie Price, Jared Jeffries, Joel Freeland,and Victor Claver. They did some solid things, but I want more of asample size before I make an assessment.
Whatare some of the things that stood out to you?