10 Things We've Learned So Far...
Yes, I am officially ready for the regular season to begin. Yes, I think the exhibition season is too long. And, yes, I wish we were doing all of the preseason games on TV (those aren't among the 10 things, but I just wanted to get them out of the way).
By the way, not many teams do broadcast their exhibition games on TV, even though I wish it made financial sense for us to do it. Golden State only does half of their preseason games on the radio
. Saturday's game at the RG wasn't broadcast back to the Bay Area at all. No TV, no radio, no teletype re-creation. That's crazy. That probably doesn't satisfy you, if you're upset we're not televising, but hopefully it lends some perspective.
It has been an interesting preseason so far for the Trail Blazers. I should be able to think up a better word than "interesting" but I think that's about right. Rather than recap every single game, I've just tried to hit on some of the highlights. And, rather than just toss out a bunch of stuff in this blog, I figured we'd do a list. I always like articles that list a bunch of things. It's orderly, and there's a certain build up to the end, even if the #1 point is no more impressive than #10. And, I've always found it's easier to read.
So, here are the Top 10 things we've learned so far. Feel free to add things you feel I've missed, or disagree with any points.
The Trail Blazers had another solid draft. Even though another major story overshadowed the actual picks on draft night, coming out of the draft with Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams, was pretty good. Time will tell, of course, but Johnson could be considered "a steal" one of these days. He's getting better with each passing day, and is simply "a Nate guy." Patty Mills may end up being an NBA player before it's all said and done, but it probably won't be in Portland. Armon is the reason why.
With as crazy as this Rudy Fernandez situation has been, it's clear he's still very important to this team. Who in the world would have expected, after what we heard this summer, and what was said on media day, him to be playing like this in the preseason? Rudy is the second-leading scorer on this team so far, and is shooting 60 percent from behind the three-point line. It's amazing that he's actually rebuilt his trade value, through his play, this quickly, after destroying it on media day- not that you even want to trade him now. I have absolutely no idea how this is ultimately going to play out.
Andre Miller doesn't spend much time in the barber's chair over the summer. Personally, I like it. Last spring if you had bet that, come October, Babbitt would have longer hair than Miller, I would have guessed that to be easy money (click here
for a shot of "collegiate Luke," if you're not following this).
Jeff Pendergraph will make a fine TV personality some day. If you need further proof of this, wait until you see how many times we're going to use him on our Courtside show this season. He's the one guy we don't have to ask to be on the show- and that was before
LaMarcus Aldridge will be the major key to Portland's season this year. Roy and Miller's numbers are always steady. Batum is a rock. It'll be center by committee no matter who's healthy and who's not. It's Aldridge who has the highest ceiling, at least in terms of the immediate future, on this team. And, he tells me the beard is staying "all season." I think it makes him look more menacing.
My son, Jack, does not have a future as a soccer player. In the five-year-old Tualatin league, six games, one goal. Nuff' said. He actually walked off the field on Saturday, while the ball was in play, to get a better look at some low-flying geese. Actually, I just don't think he's been getting enough touches. I feel a trade demand coming on. I'm beginning a search for European representation tomorrow. I'm strongly considering becoming that
This team has got to find a way to get Nicolas Batum more looks at the offensive end. He had 19 points (on 14 shots), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and a block, on Saturday. I can't wait to see what he does when there's actually a play run for him.
Dante Cunningham (the steal of the draft last year) will save this team on a number of nights this season. He's going to have to play bigger than his size, but has shown he can handle it.
The Blazers didn't overpay for Wesley Matthews. He's the perfect fit for this team. He'll be worth the price for his leadership, ability to make those around him better, and what he brings to the chemistry of the team, alone. By the way, if Cunningham was the steal of the draft last year, what do you call a guy who slipped through every team's scouting radar and wasn't selected at all? What a story.
Joel Przybilla is a tough dude with an incredible work ethic. If he makes it back to play in a regular-season game before December (which he will), it'll be remarkable. What's better is that he's taken Greg Oden under his wing, and has practically become a mentor. Here's hoping that whatever Joel has, rubs off in a big way. There's every reason to believe it will.
Your thoughts please.