Trail Mix: Unique Video Look Inside Blazers Locker Room
Tonight the Portland Trail Blazers are in Boulder, Colorado to play one of the first of their final three preseason games against the Denver Nuggets.
We more or less covered what’s important for the rest of the exhibition season yesterday.
As we are in the midst of NBA preview season, there were many places that have takes on the Blazers watchability and their overall success. But, we’ll start with probably the most interesting Blazers thing you’ll consume all day in this 22-minute documentary produced by NiceKicks.com.
Among things I learned in the piece were the specific sneaker preferences of every player. For instance, in the video I learned Nicolas Batum wears his until he literally cannot play in them and Wesley Matthews’ shoes don’t last more than a few games without needing to be replaced.
Hat-tip to Casey Holdahl for the find.
Blazers players LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Batum participated in a PSA for TackleEbola, produced by owner Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Allen has donated over $15 million to fight the disease in West Africa.
Also, this just in via Casey Holdahl: Damian Lillard is going to be on Thursday’s episode of the TBS late-night show “Conan” with Conan O’Brien.
Back to the basketball stuff.
Grantland boss Bill Simmons has returned from suspension with a watchability rankings column with NBA writer Zach Lowe.
The duo ranked the Blazers watchability 18th out of 30, posing the Blazers did not improve enough in the offseason.
Simmons: I’d like to see them package $7 million to $13 million of expirings with C.J. McCollum and a first-rounder and get one more impact player. But we’re nitpicking. (By the way, they DID offer the max to Hibbert once … and Indiana might blow up its 2014 team, as we discussed earlier. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)
Lowe: Robin Lopez is one of those expiring contracts, and one way or the other, Portland is going hard after a center in the 2015 offseason.
Simmons: News flash: A “Hibbert, George Hill and Donald Sloan for McCollum, Lopez and the Wright–Freeland–Robinson expirings” deal works on the Trade Machine.
Ben Golliver of SI.com ranks the Blazers 10 spots higher than Simmons and Lowe in his rankings.
8. Trail Blazers: Terry Stotts’ creative offense and Damian Lillard’s clutch shooting will get you out of your seat, but keep a blindfold handy for whenever the impotent second unit checks in.
Ball Don’t Lie’s Eric Freeman wrote that the Blazers contributor with the most to prove is center Robin Lopez, whom we featured in today’s Columbian, in his Blazers season preview.
The Blazers did so well last season that it’s hard to say anyone enters 2014-15 needing to prove themselves in order to stave off serious criticism. Rather, the issue will be sustaining the performances of last season. Of the Blazers’ main players, Lopez would seem to have the toughest time repeating his strong play. Lopez joined Portland having started 82 games for the New Orleans Hornets the year before, but he improved considerably last season with a big bump in rebounding (from 5.6 to 8.5 per game) while playing major minutes for a playoff team. Lopez is somewhat rare for a defense-first center in this area in that he is better on the ball than in help, but his presence allows Aldridge to focus on what he does best. It’s not entirely clear if he can be as effective this season as last, but, like many Blazers, there’s also a decent chance he’ll get better.
- The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman wrote about CJ McCollum’s potential as a 6th man for this season’s Blazers.
- This Oregonian story on Blazers practice facility custodian Alex Willson’s story that inspired him dropping 70 pounds.
- *Shameless self-promotion alert,* I wrote the latest TruePortland feature on ESPN.com about Blazers and where they go after their playoff win last season.