Ten Reasons The Portland Trail Blazers Will Be Much Better in 2010-2011
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  1. dunkonyerhed
    dunkonyerhed
    Posts: 4

    Posted 09/26/2010 11:14 PM

    Forget the negative news. Forget that a couple of good games against the Lakers have turned the Oklahoma City Thunder into the media darlings of the NBA, while the Blazers seem to have been forgotten or overlooked. That doesn't matter a bit. Here are 10, rock solid reasons why your Portland Trail Blazers will be a much better team in 2010-2011 than they were last season, and why I believe they have a legitimate chance to challenge in the West.

    1. I'm going to start with Wesley Matthews. This signing has the potential to be a much bigger deal than most of the media or fans recognize. Here's why. What was Portland's biggest liability last year? If you said "perimeter defense", I'd agree with you. Not only did we allow far too many open shots, we also allowed too much penetration. As a result, our bigs were in foul trouble far too often. Not only does Wesley Matthews address this weakness head on - and not only does his defense compliment Batum's perfectly - but his offensive game is far more efficient (more on this later) than any other Blazer not named Brandon Roy. By the end of the year, we will have a clear picture of how valuable he is going to be on this team.

    2. Lamarcus Aldridge. 20 pounds of muscle indicates that he knows where he's going this season. Already a very good player, watch for Lamarcus to be much more physical this year.

    3. We will be much improved at the center position. The tandem of Marcus Camby and Greg Oden will be as intimidating as any duo in the league at that spot. When Joel returns, our weakest position last season will become one of our strongest. Even if the unimaginable happens and we lose a center for part or most of the season this year, it's highly unlikely that we lose 2 - again.

    4. Nicolas Batum has made clear strides in the offseason. Portland doesn't need him to be what France needed him to be. As he continues to allow the game to come to him, he is going to shine. With the departure of Outlaw and Webster, expect Nicolas Batum to end up with some decent minutes and much better production than he had last year.

    5. Youth and experience...With most of our players still on the young side of their prime, and because their track record indicates a continued level of progression, we can expect our youthful players to make good progress from experience alone.

    6. A more efficient offense. As much as I loved Travis and Martell, they just didn't get it done last season. Those shots and the time they spent with the ball in their hands will now go to guys like Brandon, Greg, Lamarcus, Nic, Wesley and Andre. That spells a clear gain in offensive efficiency over last season.

    7. Injuries...or more specifically...the lack of them. While it's impossible to know exactly how many injuries will occur this season, it would be highly improbable - to the degree of lightning striking twice in the same spot improbable - that Portland's injuries will be anywhere close to what they were last season.

    8. Coaching changes. In particular, Buck Williams and Bernie Bickerstaff have me excited for what they bring to the team. This coaching staff has experience and is very well rounded. I can't wait to see what Buck can do with Greg and Lamarcus for example.

    9. Depth - Is it possible that the Blazers are even deeper than they were last season? Yes, they lost Blake, Outlaw, Webster and Howard but those losses open doors for guys like Matthews, Cunningham, Pendergraph and the 3 new rookies. Think about it this way. Our 14th or 15th guy has a 48" vertical and, raw as he is, has the potential to star in this league. Babbit on the other hand, was selected as the probable "Best Shooter" candidate by his fellow rookie class. Armon Johnson is already a capable defender as well as a solid distributor. None of these three are likely to see much time unless Portland is up by 20 late in the game. Even guys like Cunningham and Pendergraph, who proved themselves last season, are unlikely to get off the bench much. How good is Portland's 1-10?

    10. This is the year when Bayless will either shine or be traded. Either way, our long term needs at point guard position will very probably be resolved this year...but I expect Jerryd to address his liabilities and use his incredible athleticism to Portland's advantage this year.
    I am a fan of
  1. Hg
    Hg
    Posts: 60

    Posted 09/27/2010 7:09 AM

    All your points are well taken.
    Added to Batum's improvement and time is the fact that he was out half of last season and never fully recovered. This year if his shoulder doesn't bother him, that alone will make him much better at fighting though picks shooting and ball handling.

    I hope you are right about shots taken, but with Nate's offense outside shooting is very important and my theory is if you live by the three you die by it. Therefore if Nate doesn't change the offense we will suffer at times with the three. The difference might be that we shouldn't have to depend on the three so much. As much trouble that Rudy is causing, he could shoot threes from anywhere on the court opposed to many just being spot up shooters. That is why we were so streaky at the threes. The opponents could beat the spot up shooters to their spots.

    those things are not disputing you, just adding my opinions to your already great article

    hg
    I am a fan of
  1. ClydeFrog
    ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 09/27/2010 2:22 PM

    Good points, but Aldridge even admitted himself during media day that it was maybe 5-10 pounds of muscle.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. TJ31
    TJ31
    Posts: 190

    Posted 09/27/2010 4:33 PM

    1. Being healthy - without injuries we would've been a contender last year

    2. Player roles are defined - Last year we never knew who was going to step up each game, or who we should play in the 4th... This year we know who we have

    3.  Experience - We made it through the worst last season, which was a good learning experience

    4.  Wesley Matthews - Having Matthews comming off the bench is a huge upgrade offensively and defensively

    5.  Roy weight loss - Roy has slimmed down and has more "lean" muscle now.  Hopefully he will be quicker and more athletic than he could ever be

    6.  Aldridge weight gain - Aldridge has gained around 10-20 pounds of muscle.  If he can keep his finesse style and still bang the boards, he'll be a top PF in the west.

    7.  Staffing Changes - The turmoil that was the front office is over now, and the team has more stability

    8.  Weakening West - With Amare and Boozer leaving, the West got a lot weaker.  And with the possibility of a 'Melo trade, another top team could fall.

    9. Depth - Our bench is one of the best in the league with bayless, matthews, camby and others.

    10.  Greg Oden - This is the number one key to our sucess this season.  His 11 and 8 should improve this season and I can't wait to see him back in a Blazer jersey
    I am a fan of
  1. blazerfan2
    blazerfan2
    Posts: 4

    Posted 09/28/2010 10:06 AM

    Points well taken. It all depends on Oden's health. every other piece of the puzzle is in place. sadly the
    management is not being truthful on the status of Oden. 9 months should be long enough to heal a relatively
    minor knee injury, look how fast Roy came back.

    2ndly, We got Mathews because of our weakness at small forward. Batum is way over rated. If he was any good
    he would have dominated fiba. He is a ok defender with a lousy offensive game. I would like to see Babit or
    williams get a shot there.

    Cunningham needs to play he showed flashes of greatness last year.
    Rudy is done let him go back to spain. Ask for him to pay the team back and sign a release that prevents him from playing for any other NBA team for 2 years and then waive him.



    I am a fan of Everything blazers. I grew up following the team. I also like all Northwest teams.
  1. dunkonyerhed
    dunkonyerhed
    Posts: 4

    Posted 09/28/2010 11:18 PM

    I'd have to disagree with you about Batum...and probably Cunningham too.

    Cunningham has flashes of being a solid role player - I have yet to see "flashes of greatness".

    Batum overrated? Not in my opinion. We learned this Summer that Minnesota thinks pretty highly of him too...willing to give up the 4th pick in the draft for him. You know what the 4th pick gets you? If you select wisely, it often can get you a franchise guy. But Portland said no. Why? Over valuing their players? Or do they and many other NBA GMs and scouts see something in Batum?

    Think of it this way. Here's a 21 year old kid who, when you compare his offensive stats with Scottie Pippen, compares very favorably. Scottie Pippen is the player most project Batum to become. It could be argued that Batum is actually better than Pippen at this point in his career vs Scottie at the same age. He's longer too.

    So if you're wondering why Batum doesn't average 25 ppg, 10 rpg and 3 bpg just yet...be patient. His game is going to get better and better and better. And - man he's going to be good.
    I am a fan of
  1. TayC
    TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 09/29/2010 6:57 PM

    lol @ number 7.
    doesnt hit twice eh?
    greg odens knee begs to differ
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
  1. commontongue
    commontongue
    Posts: 1864

    Posted 09/29/2010 7:53 PM

    Batum is solid as they come, especially at his age. To say he's overated, i would disagree. He certainly couldnt do it all. You cant ask the youngster to guard the best perimeter player and/or  the opposing teams best point guard. What we will see is times when both he and Matthews are on the floor at the same time. Wade & Lebron, for instance, Parker & Ginobli, yup. Carmelo & Billups, etc.. We're alright.
    I am a fan of our new roster playing with and for eachother.
  1. I''m OUT!
    I''m OUT!
    Posts: 1059

    Posted 09/30/2010 12:18 AM

    Posted By blazerfan2 on 09/28/2010 10:06 AM
    Points well taken. It all depends on Oden's health. every other piece of the puzzle is in place. sadly the
    management is not being truthful on the status of Oden. 9 months should be long enough to heal a relatively
    minor knee injury, look how fast Roy came back.

    2ndly, We got Mathews because of our weakness at small forward. Batum is way over rated. If he was any good
    he would have dominated fiba. He is a ok defender with a lousy offensive game. I would like to see Babit or
    williams get a shot there.

    Cunningham needs to play he showed flashes of greatness last year.
    Rudy is done let him go back to spain. Ask for him to pay the team back and sign a release that prevents him from playing for any other NBA team for 2 years and then waive him.



    Wes is 6'5", not really a great small forward size, and we did not bring him here because of Batum's weakness.

    Also Blake Griffin had the same exact injury as Oden and he just started playing pickup games about a month ago, and he hurt his knee in preseason last year, 2 months before Oden!

    And I hope Rudy is gone soon too.
    I am a fan of comcast and the blazers making deals that keep screwing us over!! woot!
  1. TayC
    TayC
    Posts: 1804

    Posted 09/30/2010 3:31 PM

    Posted By TomL on 09/30/2010 12:18 AM
    Posted By blazerfan2 on 09/28/2010 10:06 AM
    Points well taken. It all depends on Oden's health. every other piece of the puzzle is in place. sadly the
    management is not being truthful on the status of Oden. 9 months should be long enough to heal a relatively
    minor knee injury, look how fast Roy came back.

    2ndly, We got Mathews because of our weakness at small forward. Batum is way over rated. If he was any good
    he would have dominated fiba. He is a ok defender with a lousy offensive game. I would like to see Babit or
    williams get a shot there.

    Cunningham needs to play he showed flashes of greatness last year.
    Rudy is done let him go back to spain. Ask for him to pay the team back and sign a release that prevents him from playing for any other NBA team for 2 years and then waive him.





    Also Blake Griffin had the same exact injury as Oden and he just started playing pickup games about a month ago, and he hurt his knee in preseason last year, 2 months before Oden!


    Yeah except that Oden's  had that leg in and out of the hospital for the past 2 years.
    and he's also 50 pounds lighter and 2 inches shorter.
    I am a fan of The Blazers ♂, the £-Train, and of course, The ¤ King. ™
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