Last night on New Years Eve, an hour before midnight, I found myself playing two resolutions and a lie. I must confess that before that moment in time I hadn’t put much thought into what changes I might make in 2019 to better my life. I was a little busy enjoying my vacation.
But, then and there I had to start thinking seriously about it. I decided my most important resolution is to spend more time with my 6 year old son. He is growing fast. Santa brought him a new Blazers City Jersey, and the both of us a Blazers package of tickets to see several games in the new year. So, we will definitely spend some time together watching our favorite team in 2019.
Speaking of that team, the Blazers could use some resolutions why we are at. Don’t get me wrong they are 20-16 going into 2019 after one of the hardest stretches of the schedule. Still, there is always plenty of room to improve. Here is how.
CJ has been struggling with shooting and has been in a long slump. He is shooting about 34% from 3 and 46% total. He awoke the other night vs the 76ers. Most of the season it has been more miss than hit. Too much dribbling and clanking. All rain and no rainbow. CJ needs to resolve to keep shooting it. To dribble less, take more shots off the ball, and to be decisive when he is playing with the ball.
Leonard has played far better this season. In fact he is nearly a new man. He has even created a new persona, “The Hammer”. You can see him pregame walking into the arena with a silver sledge hammer on his shoulder, roaring, bearing his teeth. It’s good to see. Still, a little of the old Meyers remains. Leonard should resolve to hesitate less and trust himself more. His stats could and should be a bit more inflated. He is certainly capable of bigger numbers. He needs to play near the glass more on defense and hit the boards.
Sigh. I could write a long list of things I wish Turner would resolve to be better at. He is a misfit for Portland. No matter how you try to use him, he is a square peg. That said, as long as he is here, and Stotts plays him, Turner should resolve to turn the ball over less by cutting down the over dribbling and focusing more on his passing since he is standing in as Portland’s backup point guard. He can attack the rim and use his size on turn around jumpers against smaller defenders. Again, just dribble less. I am glad he isn’t taking 3s this year. Continue to stay away from those unless he can work on it in practice until he can shoot it sufficiently.
Zach has struggled this season and is starting to be overshadowed by Meyers Leonard. He is young and it is only his 2nd year. He should resolve to keep shooting the basketball, attack the rim, and hit the glass as much as possible, especially when he is playing alongside Meyers. Collins used to have an intensity on defense that has dimmed this season. He needs to find it again and keep working on his offense. It will come.
Al Farouq Aminu:
Chief brings an extra energy and effort to most games. He has gotten better dribbling the ball, though it is still scary at times to see him put it on the floor. He is at his best attacking the rim on offense. On Defense he is on key, and helps on the boards pulling down 8 rebounds a game. He can resolve to work on that 3 pointer so he can more proficient. He has to many off nights and it hurts the Blazers. He should keep attacking the basket and try to get those rebounds up to double digits.
You get good Moe or you get bad Moe. Good Moe is a swiss army knife. Energy on the offense, steals, rebounds, blocks and tight defense on the other end. Bad Moe is down on himself. He doesn’t bring the energy and effort. All those facets of that swiss army knife, those nifty scissors that make great cuts, that magnifying glass that sees the opponents moves before they happen on defense, the corkscrew agility on offense, they are all closed up tight. Harkless should resolve to be the good Moe. To leave the bad Moe behind. Let all of the what ifs go. Stop worrying about being traded and starting. What will be, will be. Put the energy into the game, and good will come.
Seth is getting back to his pre injured self. The Blazers haven’t even seen yet, the full amplitude of what he can provide. Curry should resolve to keep strengthening his legs. Use his speed to get around picks and explode to rim where he has been phenomenal. Get those corners off the ball for open 3s, and create shots for himself on isolation.
Nik has shown a capability of getting to the basket and creating a shot. He should resolve to do that more and also to find himself from the arc. His 3pt shot has been terrible. He sits at 34% which doesn’t look to bad, but he has shot up at 40% for his career. He needs to get back to that hot hand.
Nurkic has been playing a lot more consistent for the Blazers. His effort and energy have shot up as of late. The only two pickles I have are that Jusuf should resolve to stop shooting the 3 until he gets more sufficient. The other is to cut to the basket more after screens. Otherwise he is beasting.
The Bench needs to step things up. After a hot start to the season, the production of the 2nd unit has dissipated. Maybe it’s the lineup, but something needs to change there. As a team the Blazers should resolve for more movement both on and off the ball. The Blazers need to raise their assist numbers. When they move amd pass the ball more they open up the offense. They need to focus on that heavily.