One of the staples of the pre-regular season NBA previews is asking an unnamed scout to give his expert opinion on Team X. NBA TV has a video version with a scout
taking about the Trail Blazers, complete with voice modulation to protect the identity said scout, which is worth a few minutes of your time. But SI.com went a step further, having a scout of an opposing team break down the good and the bad on various Trail Blazers
. Some of the more interesting thoughts ...
Regarding LaMarcus Aldridge:
Put it this way: I'd take him over Chris Bosh. Aldridge has improved a lot. He keeps getting better and better, and he has improved his consistency. He's fine in the post, but what he does best is shoot the crap out of it.
I really hope "Aldridge can shoot the crap out of the ball" made it into an actual scouting report. By the way, this is the exact terminology I would use if I were a scout.
As for Aldridge's toughness, or perceived lack thereof, the unknown scout says that's no longer a concern
... he's tougher than I thought he was. I thought he was going to be soft
coming into the league and he's proved me wrong. There are certain guys
you can be physical against -- you hit them one time, and they're done.
That's not the case with Aldridge.
This might be the most impressive thing anyone who actually knows basketball has ever said about Aldridge. Truly high praise.
What about the rest of the team, you say? Here's a bit from the scout on Nicolas Batum:
I love Batum, but he is so overpaid [four years, $46.1 million] that I think it's going to come back to hurt him and them. They absolutely should have let him go [to Minnesota, which signed him to an offer sheet] for that much money. He can't carry your team. He's better than Bruce Bowen or Thabo Sefolosha, but his role is basically the same as their roles. You can't pay that kind of money for that many years to a player like that.
First off, I'm not sure why a scout would concern himself with what someone is being paid, but I suppose that's neither here nor there. More than anything, I wish we could let the guy play a few games before everyone rushes to call Batum overpaid.
As for Wesley Matthews:
Everybody in the league would love to have him in their second unit. He comes in and plays with a lot of energy and he can get streaky and put up some points. He's the kind of guy who can have a phenomenal game one time, and then the next time you're asking how can they be paying him so much money [$6.5 million this season].
Again, since when do scouts concern themselves with contracts? Matthews is comparable to players making similar money, especially when you consider players whom he is similar to
through his three-year career.
And then there's Luke Babbitt:
Luke Babbitt is a specialist who can make a shot. Sometimes those guys fill a role and sometimes they don't. You can see the same thing with a guy like Jason Kapono. With some teams, he plays a lot of minutes, and with other teams, he never gets on the floor. It depends on how the coach sees it. Babbitt can shoot, but I don't know if he can do anything else.
There are also some less detailed opinion of Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard, along with some praise for Jared Jeffries (even if it isn't particularly applicable). Go read the whole thing.