The Basketballs were lined up neatly on tables along with jerseys, shoes, and lunch boxes. All crisp and brand spanking new. The players, coach, and gm had yet to arrive. Just the Blazers memorabilia ready to be autographed. One could only hope the team it represented was just as fresh, ready for a new season.
Media day is about showcasing progress. The players come out looking reinvigorated for the cameras, talk about their summers, how they hit the gym, worked on this or that. The day is about excitement. Getting the fans attention before preseason.
Well, the Blazers media day wasn’t very exciting. In fact it felt like much of the same. While there were moments that felt like the Blazers were ready to build on last season, there seemed to be more complacency than anything. Lillard said the Blazers aren’t complacent, can’t afford to be. He called it being comfortable. The Blazers can’t afford that either.
Newcomer Seth Curry who missed last season due to a broken tibia is still trying to get his shot back. He has played a lot of pick up games during the summer, but it is not nearly the same as 5 on 5 NBA level basketball. It may take time for him to get in a groove. A lot of people expect him to come out of the door shooting lights out to start the season. That may not happen.
Maurice Harkless is still not cleared for 5 on 5. His knee is still not mended from a late season surgery to remove a loose body. Not a good sign. It should have been healed by now. Blazers and knees don’t seem to get along well at all. But, if the Blazers are concerned, they aren’t showing it.
With Harkless probably out for the start of the season, Turner will likely take his place in the starting lineup. Aminu could play some 3. The rookie Trent Jr. will get some time. Another likely choice, a name that Neil seems to be excited about: Jake Layman. Most everyone else, are not so excited.
Neil touted Layman during his interview. Talked about how he stayed in Portland this summer and worked his tail off, went to vegas to help the Blazers win the summer league championship, before coming back to work some more. He claims that Layman has made a jump and he’s glad that he didn’t decide to let Layman go back in June.
Stotts lauded the guards the Blazers added this summer and suggested that CJ will be used less to run the 2nd unit. He spoke about the number of ball handlers on the bench in Curry, Baldwin, Turner, and….Stauskas? Stauskas a ball handler? I’ll believe that when I see it.
Speaking of believing when seeing, during Damian Lillard’s interview, he sang Meyers Leonard’s praises. Apparently, Meyers has been working hard this summer around the rim. Apparently, he is looking good. Could it be, that Meyers is finally ready to show up. He played pretty decent in very limited minutes last season. No Ed Davis means the training wheels need to come off. Question is, can he ride without squinting.
Maybe, though not much has changed. Most of the roster is the same. There was a lot of, look at last year. Look at that 3rd seed. Look at those 5 years in a row of playoffs. I wanted to see more of, look at this year. I wanted to feel excited. I did, perhaps fleetingly, but mostly that nagging theme of sameness. I wanted the euphoria that comes with every new season as a fan. It didn’t come. Not yet. I’ll be waiting.