I’ts been an awful stretch for the Trail Blazers the last couple weeks, dropping 5-in-a-row at one point. I haven’t been able to watch much of any game–which was probably good for my stress levels–but I can say that on paper this defense looks very mediocre. Especially for having one of the best defensive centers in the game. My conclusion? Marcus Camby plays 29 minutes a game, which means that somebody else plays 19 minutes at center. During times when Aldridge is at center, the Blazers still do well overall, but they suck when anybody else fills in. When the Vanilla Gorilla fully returns (he has logged 30 minutes in two games thus far), then that fills a big defensive hole for 19 minutes a game.
Offensively, Joel won’t help, but taking defensive pressure off Aldridge might help bring his shooting percentage back up to his career average (43.4% season vs. 48.5% career). Missing a healthy Roy obviously hurts, but additionally the Blazers relied heavily last year on holding onto the ball. This year they’re 17th in the league in turnovers per possession. We could use Aldridge not turning it over 2.1 times per game. That’s acceptable for a point guard, not for a power forward. I really hope the presence of Przybilla can help both Camby on defense, and Aldridge on offense.
In other news, some things that jumped out at me. Miami has won 5 in a row, and has the second best margin of victory in the East. Expect that trend to continue as those guys get more and more used to each other.
The Timberwolves are running like it’s Pamplona. They’re getting nearly 6 more possessions per game than the league average. That may not sound like much, but it’s 2 more possessions than any other team, and it equates to more than 2.5 standard deviations above average, putting them in their own pace category. Obviously it’s not helping.
For the first time in a long time, there are two Western Conference playoff teams (Suns, Thunder) with negative margins of victory. It may be too early to say, but there may finally be some balance between the two conferences…top to bottom. (more to come one this one after another 10 games or so).
More than two years removed from any form of Isiah Thomas control, the Knicks are winning ball games (12-9). Great players don’t generally make the best coaches/GMs. While current GM, Donnie Walsh, did play in college at UNC, he’s also a Lawyer and understands how money and contracts work. You mean taking on Zach Randolph’s contract was a bad idea? Who knew?
The West is scoring (and allowing) 2 more points per game as a whole than the East, in 1.5 more possessions. The west coast run n’ gun thrives on this side of the Mississippi!
That’s all for this week. Blazers – Suns at 7pm tomorrow (well, today).