Your Pregame Moment of Zen
Jerryd Bayless' mouthpiece attacks the Blazer bench.
The Blazer Outlook
It's a tough time to be a Blazer fan. I mean that in relative terms, of course. The Blazers are still one of the top teams in the conference. With the return of Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden, they'll still likely be one of the Lakers' top challengers by season's end. There are plenty of games to go and plenty of room to rise.
But the recent news about the health of Brandon Roy's knee is more than a little sobering. As Hornets fans, we cringed when news of Chris Paul's partial meniscus removal emerged. Brandon Roy? Try no meniscus in either knee. Roy is performing at a borderline All-Star level this year. But healthy, he's potentially one of the five best players in the league today. It's a tough drop-off to weather. The current plan is for Roy to take anti-inflammatory medication and play reduced minutes through December. It's unclear how his long term health will be impacted.
For a fan-base that has had to deal with the never-ending Greg Oden saga, the reports of Brandon Roy's health almost seem... unfair. The team has pulled off smart trades for draft picks over the years, drafted well, and put its players and coaches in position for deep playoff success. Due to health, it's never materialized. It's dumb to write them off, but there's a real chance that success could never come with their current group of guys. And that's a terrible thing to see, regardless of what team you support.
Of course, none of this means the Blazers are throwing in the towel. It's all relative. Portland might not be where it could be, but that doesn't trivialize where they're at.
They play solid offense. Andre Miller has been creating shots for teammates at a higher clip than last season. Nicolas Batum can stroke it from deep and continues to evolve offensively. LaMarcus Aldridge is done developing at this point, but he fits into the David West mold of efficiency and production. The team force turnovers constantly, and the defense looks much improved from a year ago. And, of course, the Blazers still pound the offensive glass. I still believe this is a top-5 Western Conference team.
The gold standard for NBA blogging, Blazers Edge. In case this is news to anyone, Ben and Dave are Chris Paul good.
- The Batum-Ariza matchup should be intriguing. I like Batum more on both ends of the floor. He's basically the rich man's version of Ariza, if said rich man had fantastic bargaining skills.
- Ditto West-Aldridge. Ditto Okafor-Camby, too. Actually, ditto everyone. Except Roy-Belinelli, I guess. Make sure you keep that one un-dittoed.
- Sean Marks returns to his old stomping grounds. He currently has an ORtg of 203 but averages 9.6 fouls per 36 minutes, which makes this the subplot of the day. Will Sean Marks break Wilt Chamberlain's scoring record (100.. duh) and Cal Bowdler's fouling record (7.. wait what?) in the same game? Stomp those grounds, Sean.
- Jerryd Bayless reunites with his former coach, Monty Williams. (He used to be his coach; he still is, but he used to too).
- The league's final undefeated team has made the NBA Finals for the last three years. You know what they say: fourth time's the cha-... wait. OK. I'm being told that's not what they say. Crap.
- Go Hornets.