Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/17/14
What have we learned so far? Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: Preseason basketball doesn’t matter. The Portland Trail Blazers could go 0-7 and it wouldn’t have any impact on their chances of making the playoffs during the 2013-14 season. That said, basketball has to start mattering at some point, and fans in Rip City have noticed a few things early that are both concerning and promising during exhibition play. Sloppy Play The Blazers must control the ball during the 2013-14 season (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images). The Blazers haven’t been the sharpest team thus far during the 2013 preseason. During their first two games, they’ve average 19 turnovers per contest, which would have put them in last place by a long shot during the 2012-13 campaign. Aside from the numbers, this team is making bad passes and giving its opponents too many opportunities. A loss to the Los Angeles Clippers is understandable; a loss to the Phoenix Suns is concerning. Fans know that what happens in preseason stays in preseason, but sloppy play is a trend that will be worrisome the closer we get to the regular season. Injuries, Injuries, Injuries When it comes to NBA veterans, there’s a sneaky trick that they like to play during preseason and training camp. When a vet has a nagging injury before the real play begins, it’s likely because he wants extra rest before the regular season. When it comes to Mo Williams, you’d better believe this is the case. When it comes to LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and CJ McCollum, the team isn’t as lucky. In the case of LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, the team is hopeful that they can be 100 percent—or close to it—by the time the season kicks off. The problem is that time off the floor means less time that the core can jell with the newcomers. And speaking of newcomers, CJ McCollum is out for the foreseeable future with a broken bone in his foot. This team has high hopes entering the new year, but it’s going to be important that it is at full strength sooner rather than later. For those believing CJ McCollum’s broken foot is a season-ending injury, I asked: “Absolutely not. The plan is to get back soon as possible” — Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 7, 2013 Depth We all know that the Blazers improved the bench during the offseason. GM Neil Olshey utilized the team’s cap space by adding to the depth, and as a result, the starting lineup finally received the help it needed. As it turned out, injuries and subpar play have adjusted fans’ hopes before the regular season has even begun. Victor Claver struggled to take advantage of Batum’s absence. Joel Freeland has still looked spotty, and Thomas Robinson showed a little too much aggression when he was ejected for throwing an elbow against the Suns. Thomas Robinson has been a beast on the boards thus far. (Photo: Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian) The good news is that despite the struggles, the bench has already been better than last year’s. When the team is healthy, this squad will have a group of reserves that can step in and be reliable on a nightly basis. Thomas Robinson is a Hustler Okay, getting ejected for throwing an elbow is bad. The Blazers have done everything in their power to escape the infamous Jail Blazer days, and as a result, they’ve avoided anybody willing to hurt even a fly. But while you don’t want to see your players getting tossed, you need someone with an attitude, and Robinson has shown he can be just that. So far, the newest power forward on the roster has dominated the glass. He’s even put up a solid effort defensively, which is exactly what this team needs in the low post. Robinson is a young player ready to break out of his shell, and as long as he can keep his cool in the regular season, he’ll be an integral part of the team’s rotation. There’s Plenty of Ball to Play Dear, Blazers fans, Portland is 0-2. Despite Damian Lillard scoring 19 points in Game 2, nobody has stood out as a consistent source of offense. Sloppy play has caused fans to cringe inside the newly named Moda Center. And yet, there’s no need to panic. The Blazers must improve before the regular season, but don’t worry—there’s plenty of time to improve. Portland still has potential, and two games into the preseason, it can only go up from here. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
1 Comment:
  • I love the Blazers but they aren't going to win more than 40 games this season. Their biggest weakness from last year is still present. The coaching sucks. Stotts is a proven loser. The sloppy play is due to coaching. Bring in someone like George Karl or Lionel Hollins and these guys would probably finish second in the division with 50+ wins.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Max Scherzer thanks Tigers with full page newspaper ad

Ray Lewis: Patriots should have asterisk for cheating

Report: Cavs players believed team lacked depth

Richard Sherman calls out Kraft, Goodell over their friendship

Brandon Jennings to miss 6-9 months with Achilles injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: Yankees reject A-Rod's request for apology meeting

Jim Harbaugh has landed three recruits in 24 hours

Report: NFL tried to catch Patriots in the act

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

Van Gundy rips Bulls management about Thibs

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Sherman, Peterson hug it out at Pro Bowl

WATCH: Chris Berman is not happy at the Pro Bowl

WATCH: Hassan Whiteside blocks five shots in 7 minutes

Duke unveils 'K' hats after Coach K's 1,000th victory

Irina Shayk dumped Ronaldo over cheating rumors?

Mike Napoli almost retired because of sleep apnea

WATCH: 'Saturday Night Live' takes on Deflategate

Should Tom Izzo be worried about his Spartans?

Five potentially fatal flaws for Seahawks in the Super Bowl

WATCH: Urban, OSU students send message to Mark May

The five best Super Bowl matchups ever

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Chris Berman isn't happy at the Pro Bowl

Brandon Jennings out 6-9 months

Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: A-Rod's apology meeting request gets rejected

Harbaugh rapidly landing recruits

WATCH: 'SNL' spoofs Deflategate

NFL tried to catch Pats in act?

Bill Nye: Belichick didn't make sense

Is it time for Tom Izzo to worry?

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.