It’s here, the October 2019 Edition of Blazersland Mailbag!
Was the first preseason game a rope a dope scheme basically to hide our opening play against them from them…let them play down to us thinking we’re an easy early win? What 3 guys upped their value from that game one loss?
I was hoping so, but alas no. It was a little bit of 5 new guys getting acquainted with the 7 remaining guys from last year, taking a look at four exhibit 10 players, a two way player, and a rookie, mixed in with lots of experimentation. A blender.
As for who upped their value that game…
Moses Brown: Brown, the big man out of UCLA finished with 8 points in 7 minutes of play. He brought speed and versatility to the game. Brown ran the court, block shots, fought defenders inside and made contested shots. He is still very young, a project with a high ceiling. He was playing on an unguaranteed contract which was converted to a two way shortly after the last preseason game.
Zach Collins: Everyone has been wondering how Big Z would transition from the bench to the starting lineup. He showed from the get go he is ready for it. It could just be the extra 30 pounds of muscle he put on, but he looks more formidable on the defensive end. He showed his smooth jumper and reminded us of his grit around the basket. He will be solid alongside Whiteside in the front court as we saw in the season opener.
Kent Bazemore: Bazemore is a master pickpocket. The basketball must be magnetized. He may well be the steals leader for this NBA season. His defense is so tight he’s like a vacuum. He will replace some of the energy that Harkless used to bring.
How many times has the name Simons been spelled incorrectly? – tlongII
Too many. I have lost count. For the sake of serenity it’s Simons, as in Simon says, not Simmons, as in that other guy that plays for the 76ers. Get it right!
How can we get Stotts to wear a leisure suit every home game? – Mediocre Man
Bet him that he can’t call a timeout when the opponent has less than a 10 point lead? If(when) he loses he will have to wear a leisure suit every home game the rest of the season. Or just flirt with him about his chest hair.
Preseason or not we all watched a number of issues with this team.
Whiteside looked lazy. Tolliver looked old. Simons looks young and lost.
Give us your thoughts on these issues. These are things I see.
Don’t even worry if you don’t agree. I expect most will not because of the hype to this point. -Kjironman
The Blazers do have issues. Mostly perimeter defense and turnovers, which comes from all the change this offseason. There is going to be a growing period. We saw evidence of this last night in the season opener.
We also saw that Whiteside is not lazy, even if Miami fans list faith in him. He destroyed with 16 points and 19 rebounds. In the preseason, he didn’t play a lot of minutes, and was still nursing his foot. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I am glad he didn’t disappoint. Turns out all he needed was a change of scenery and some time to get used to Stotts offensive schemes. Hopefully, he can keep it up.
Tolliver concerns me. Not sure why Portland signed him. I guess because he was allegedly supposed to be a good three point shooter. Since he returned to Portland he has made 1 3 pointer so farand missed all the rest. He is slow on defensive assignments and not much of a rebounder so far. I thought he had the reputation of a hard worker. I am just not seeing it yet. Skal Labissiere should be getting minutes ahead of him, the way he has been playing.
Simons is young. Very young. He is going to take time to develop and reach his potential. Probably longer with Vanterpool gone. He has much to learn, especially on defense. He has a lot of lapses, often losing his guy and getting lost in the shuffle. He will get better. He will have god nights and nights where his inexperience is very evident. Growing pains.
How will our defense compare to last year? – Bryan B
The Blazers interior defense will be far better. The Blazers front court of Collins and Whiteside shutdown the paint in the home opener. The Nuggets only scored 22 points in the paint, and most of those came with Collins and Whiteside on the bench.
The Blazers perimeter defense is another story. Yikes! They allowed the Nuggets to shoot 56% from afar. They got destroyed from the arc in the preseason. This is partly because the team is learning to play together and partly because Stotts offensive schemes have players lagging off shooters at the arc in favor of closing down the lane. How much will the Blazers miss the length and work ethic of Harkless and Aminu on perimeter defense? Collins and Hood are both solid defenders in the starting lineup, so maybe not much.
With time the team will gel and the Blazers will lock down the perimeter too. Overall their defense is better. Bazemore averaged about 3 steals a game in the offseason and had 5 in the opener. Skal is a very capable defender off the bench as well. When the Blazers get Nurkic back watch out league.
With the road heavy schedule coming up and a whole rotation of players, what record are you expecting in the first 20 games – Eric M
The Blazers loss to Denver in the opener was tough. They have two big road trips in the first 20 games, a 4 game road trip between October 25th and 30th as well as a 6 game road trip from November 16th – 25th. The second one will be far harder than the 1st.
Here are the first 20 games along with my predictions:
Denver- L (we already know this one)
@Sacramento – W
@San Antonio – L
@Oklahoma City – W
Golden State- W
LA Clippers- L
Toronto – W
San Antonio- W
Houston – L
New Orleans – W
Milwaukee – L
Oklahoma City- W
So 13-7 give or take a game or two
I heard a rumor that Lillard is not one-hundred percent healthy this year. Is it true? -Jay
As far as I know it isn’t true. Not sure where you heard this from. Maybe because he withdrew his name earlier this summer from team USA? That was more so to prevent injury. His separated ribs from the postseason are long healed. His plantar fasciitis could flare up, but let’s hope not. Lillard has already stated he won’t be taking part in load management. If he is healthy he will play. He is playing so he must be healthy. Though, is anyone truly ever 100%?
With all the new faces, where will the most heated battle be for minutes? The SG position with Cj, Trent Jr, Simons, or the PF position with Collins, Hezonja, Tolliver and Little all biding to get minutes or more minutes? – Orion Bailey
I don’t really think there will be a heated battle for minutes. As for SG position, Trent won’t play much if at all. He will get a lot of DNP’s. Simons will come off the bench behind Dame with Bazemore at the 2 more than not, with Hezonja running the ball from the 3.
Little won’t play much if any minutes either, but Skal and Tolliver will be battling for minutes at PF once Gasol gets back. From what I have seen so far, Skal is winning that battle handily. Collins and CJ will get their minutes.
Stotts likes to use thin rotations and players will have set minutes (you can time it exactly by terry’s index card), so it will be few battles, with guys trying to prove themselves with the minutes they get.
What player will we miss the most that we lost over the summer? And who fills the void. -Kyle
Maurice Harkless. He brought a special brand of energy to the game and was a swiss army knife capable of top level play on both ends. He often disappeared for games at a time, but when he was on, he made the team better. You could see a proverbial switch flip.
Kent Bazemore will fill the void. Some of it. He brings a similar kind of energy to the court and is a cold hearted thief. I think he will set a steals record this season. Like Harkless he injects momentum into the game and can start a fast break off a steal in any given moment and turn up the arena. He’s got the magic.
We will miss Layman too. He is going to show how much potential he has in Minnesota. Miss his beautiful cuts already. He wanted to go and it’s a shame.
Why do you think OT doesn’t count as part of the 2nd half? LMAO, JK. – Hoopsjock
To provide a bit of backstory here, I also run a forum game on the RipCityTwo Blazers forum, called the caption contest, and the final caption contest provided some controversy.
Usually, I will post a picture for each game in a thread and members will post captions for it. The caption with the most likes wins. In certain games I do a bonus game or bonus question, usually involving players in the given picture.
For the final game of the postseason, game 4 against the Warriors, I decided to make it a bonus game. I posed the question, Will the Blazers score over/under or exactly 42 points in the second half?
Hoopsjock guessed over. In the second half (3rd and 4th quarter), the Blazers scored exactly 42 points. But, there was an overtime period in which they scored 6 points. I ultimately ruled that the second half included only the 3rd and 4th period and that the overtime was an “extra quarter” and not technically or exclusively part of the 2nd half. Meaning Hoopsjock lost when he would have won had I included the overtime.
He is still upset with me about this, which is understandable. In the spirit of the new coaches challenge, I wanted to look back and review my decision.
When I wrote the question, I had only the 3rd and 4th quarters in mind. When I went to look at the statline to tabulate the answer for the question, I counted only the 3rd and 4th quarters as I had intended. Then I realized there was an overtime. I considered whether I should include it has second half points. I added the results up both ways and saw one person would win one way and another would win the other.
If I stayed with how I intended, another poster would win, if I amended it to include overtime hoops would win. I had no bias here. I thought is it my fault that I just forgot about a possible overtime and it should be included? Is it fair that originally I didn’t. I also considered, would it be fair to the other poster, who would lose if I went against what I intended? Is fair to hoops if I didn’t?
I decided to go with my original intention. I do think overtime and the second half are not mutual. Overtime takes place after the second half. It is an extra period of the game. I have seen a lot of people disagree with the notion. I have heard, “It’s an extra quarter not an extra half, so it still occurs in the second half.” It’s a good argument. It can also be argued the other way.
What do you guys think? Is overtime part of the second half? Did I make the wrong decision? Or do you agree with me? Post your answers in the comments.
Oh and Lanny, tread carefully sir!
That is the October 2019 edition of Blazersland Mailbag. If you want to see your questions answered in the next edition, submit them via the mailbag form at Blazersland.com/submit-questions/ -OR- by emailing them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
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