Blazers are who we thought they were
With a quarter of the NBA season behind us, we’re looking back and recapping the biggest contributors—and disappointments—for the 10-12 Trail Blazers so far.
MVP: LaMarcus Aldridge
Despite a lack of consistent play and physicality, it’s impossible to deny Aldridge’s contributions to this team.
L.A. is averaging 21.0 points per game (first amongst Blazers), 8.2 rebounds (second), 1.3 blocks (first) and 1.0 steals (fourth). His 46.4 percent shooting is third on the team, and his 80.2 free throw percentage fourth.
Already this season, Aldridge has eight double-doubles. He’s eclipsed 30 points twice and has 10 multi-block games.
There’s been some concern about Aldridge’s physicality, as Portland has been pushed around a bit in the paint. But the L-Train continues to be Portland’s marquee player with the beginning to another big season.
ROY: Damian Lillard
There cannot be any doubt about this.
Lillard could bring the ROY back to Portland this season. (Photo: Associated Press)
Lillard is exceeding all expectations, as he’s not only Portland’s ROY so far, but the NBA’s as well. The young point guard from Weber State is averaging 18.9 points per game (second amongst Blazers, 6.4 assists (first) and 1.1 steals (third).
He’s shooting 42.6 percent on the season, including 36.6 percent from three-point range.
Rookies just aren’t supposed to be this good.
Sixth Man: Meyers Leonard
This is a tough call to make, only because everyone on Portland’s bench has played so badly.
But someone has to get the nod, and that someone is Leonard. Portland’s other rookie leads all bench players with 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. His 0.9 blocks per game ranks third on the team.
It’s better than nothing.
Disappointing player: Nicolas Batum
After a torrid start to the NBA season—that had many thinking he was worthy of his mega-contract signed in the offseason—Batum’s production has taken a turn.
The small forward is still posting career highs in all major stat categories, but those continue to slip as the season goes on. The reason for that is a career worst 41.6 shooting percentage, and a near career worst 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.
At 24 years old, this has to be a make-or-break season for Batum. Either he grows into the budding star he thinks he can be, or he continues to be a good—but not great—contributor. Currently, he’s receding into the latter.
Surprise player: Damian Lillard
This was a toss up between Lillard and Wesley Matthews.
But in the end Lillard is still just a rookie, and playing sensationally. The basketball world expected him to have a big impact, but this kind of production is ridiculous.
It’s unknown if Lillard can keep it up for the whole season. He’s certainly hit some cold patches, but has worked out of them fairly well. He’s emerging as a young star, and while many expected it, no one though it’d be this soon.
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