pre-season player analysis capsules
As we approach the 2010-11 season, let's take a look at a quick analysis of the individual blazer players. please note that these capsules are as of september 25, two days before the start of training camp.
Brandon Roy: this could very well be his year. he’s working out, getting stronger and will be at his prime to start the season. The unquestioned team leader is respected by teammates, coaches front office and fans. ideally, if he averages 23.0 ppg he’ll have the team on the right track. needs to keep teammates involved and be vocal in the locker room. provided emotional lift to the team by coming back to play in game four of the first-round playoff series against the suns – just eight days after having surgery to remove torn cartilage from his knee.
LaMarcus Aldridge: is not given credit for all he did last season, fighting through the team’s injuries. led the team despite his teammates missing 317 games due to said injuries. biggest knock is his settling for outside jumpers, but can go inside as well. worked well with Greg before the latter went down to injury. the two complimented each other very well on the inside-outside game. has added 20 pounds of muscle and added a personal trainer over the summer so he has the potential to grow as an inside threat. should benefit from the experience of new coach Buck Williams. runs the floor very well for a player his size.
Nicolas Batum: the sky is the limit here. he made great strides from his rookie to second years. defense is his specialty, but he has the ability to average 15 points, along with seven rebounds, per game. according to reports, will likely play consistently 30-33 minutes per game. effective 3-point shooter who should only get better from behind the arc. looked impressive this summer playing for france in FBLA tournament. is the team’s best defender. is a fan favorite and the designated starter at sf.
Andre Miller: some question his ability due to age, but he has no major injuries (aka ‘career-shortening’ injuries) in his career and was healthy enough to play in 82 games in 2009-10 (starting 66). should have about three more very productive seasons before career may begin to decline. unlike last year, will begin the season as the starting pg. seemed rejuvenated in a veteran leadership role last year. scored career high 52 points last season. improved 3-point shot would even boost his game further.
Marcus Camby: wonderful acquisition at last year’s trade deadline. is a menacing defender and extraordinary rebounder. possesses an effective 18-foot shot which appears to come about in slow-motion form. was asked to do a lot at the injury depleted center position right away last year. This year is different, as he will play some center, as well as back up LaMarcus at pf. brings maturity and veteran leadership to an otherwise young team.
Greg Oden: this could be the make or break year for the former number one pick. improved his scoring average by 2.2 and rebounding 1.5 per game from his first to second seasons. with the presences of Marcus and Joel, will not be expected to carry the entire load at center this year. averaged 24 minutes per game last year, and will likely play about the same. came back very nicely from injury once; if he can duplicate that and play in 60-65 games this year with similar numbers, his season should be deemed as successful.
Jerryd Bayless: aggressive, promising pg who can also play sg if needed. not a true pg, but he fits there better on this roster than anywhere else. is a bit of an insurance policy at guard in case of injury; without him, there would be no experienced depth at either guard spot. had perhaps his most success against the suns, both during the season and the playoffs. is a tireless hustler who needs to work on consistency and control, but can have break-out games at times.
Dante Cunningham: intelligent, exciting player should see some time this year at both forward positions. shot 60 percent from the field and 83 from the charity stripe last year. has a nice, reliable mid-range jumper. has length and is an effective defender. can run the floor very well and is willing to make the extra pass when needed. does a nice job of limiting mistakes; not hurting the team while he's on the floor. huge upside here, and has a chance to become a major rotation player in his second season.
Wesley Matthews: the team's only free agent acquisition can play sg and sf. will see minutes as Brandon's backup and split relief duties with Dante at sf. An effective defender who played well for utah last year as a rookie, though the jury is still out on whether he'll duplicate that or improve on it in his second season. can be a positive replacement should the team move Rudy (as is expected). has a good attitude and could endear himself to fans as the season progresses.
Jeff Pendergraph: pretty much the enforcer on the roster. showed some nice things during limited time in his rookie season. needs to stay out of foul trouble. a promising rebounder, he can play some center in emergency situations. great work ethic and attitude. he should also benefit from the presence of Buck Williams. likely will be 11th or 12th man, but may have the chance to get some minutes behind LaMarcus and Marcus, especially until Joel and Greg come back from their injuries.
Joel Pryzbilla: is the team's elder statesman. tough defender and rebounder. appears that his role will be lightened with Greg and Marcus, but could give significant minutes when needed. amazing work ethic and positive attitude. priorities are in the right place. can serve as a veteran leader. needs to come back from injury in good shape. possibly will be ready to play the first week of the season, or soon thereafter.
Armon Johnson: strong defender and quick. will likely be the third pg on the depth chart. barring an injury, he’s unlikely to get huge minutes, but really should get an opportunity to do some special things on the court when he gets there. he must be willing to be patient and learn. he could endear himself to the team and fans as a future man in the rotation.
Luke Babbitt: very good shooter who can hit the three. technically is probably the fourth sf in the rotation behind Nicolas, Dante and Wesley, so he is unlikely to see much time immediately. may be able to slide over to pf in the event of foul trouble or injury. could see some spot time at the end of games and quarters if the team needs a 3-pointer. must improve his defense.
Elliot Williams: seems a similar style to Jerryd, but will likely get his minutes at sg. unlikely to play a lot during his rookie season (barring trade or injuries to teammates). quick guard possesses an adequate outside jumper. unproven, but filled with potential. extremely athletic, possessing a 42-plus inch vertical leap. will be best served to listen and learn from Brandon until he gets his chance. needs to be patient and make the most of the few minutes he'll see.
Rudy Fernandez: if all rumors are true, probably won't be a blazer by season's end, and certainly unlikely to remain on the team past the trade deadline. from the reports, that wouldn't bother him a bit. wants to be a star player, but lacks consistency and the drive to reach that. has soured on his role as a backup, but that's not going to change as long as Brandon is around and healthy. will battle Wesley for backup role to Brandon, and with Wesley and Dante to back up Nicolas. good hustler with a sweet three-point shot.
Patrick Mills: though still unsigned at the time of this writing, he could find himself on the roster depending on the trade compensation for Rudy. quick, offensive minded guard who possesses a nice outside shot and a keen ability to distribute the ball. adequate defender. won't see too many minutes if signed, but is familiar with the team and system. was a leader on his australian national team. can be an exciting player to watch. showed great signs of his ability while playing in the developmental league last season.