Five Takeaways from the Trail Blazers’ Lackadaisical Preseason Debut
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Five takeaways from the preseason opener:
1. Portland lacked urgency. The Blazers' starters, who played just 20-minutes apiece, seemed to decide early on that they were simply better than the Jazz, whom they swept last season. It was as if Portland's starting five felt little to prove in an exhibition whose outcome is essentially meaningless. Instead of pressing, LaMarcus Aldridge (nine points, five rebounds), Damian Lillard (nine points, no assists) and company approached Tuesday's preseason opener as more of a warm-up--an opportunity get out there, get a sweat going, take a few (predictable) shots then hit the showers.
2. They couldn't buy a bucket. As a team, the Blazers shot a miserable 34.6% from the field and made just three of their 19 attempts from beyond the arc.
3. Will Barton continues to be Will Barton. The so-called "People's Champ" finished with a team-high 12 points, but it took him 11 shots to get there (of which he made four). Indeed, Barton was as he is wont to be: a talented scorer sometimes flying off the hinges, dancing with the ill-advised. In other words: at times Barton put his head down, dribbled too much and played one-on-five.
4. Chris Kaman got going. Steve Blake did not. The Blazers' newly acquired veterans were up and down. In 17 minutes Kaman piled up 10 points and seven boards. Blake missed all four of his shots while giving away two turnovers.
5. Meyers Leonard remains a lightning rod--and a laughingstock--on social media. While other Blazers were responsible for some regrettable plays, Leonard's getting swatted by Rudy Gobert (himself displaying some of the agility and speed for a big man many hope for out of Leonard) a storm of GIFs and LOLs rained down.