This was the most unbelievable preseason game I have had the pleasure of enjoying. First lets get to what everyone is wondering.
Greg is a freakin beast. He drew 9 fouls and completely changed the way the Kings played offense and defense. They tried to bring him out on pick and rolls to keep him away from the key but he was quick and kept with the ball handler multiple times even forcing a travel once. Obviously if he is allowed to stay in the key he shuts it down as does Joel. On offense he forces the team to double team due to his unbelievable strength. Down low he can get whatever he wants in single coverage, with help he is excellent at passing out and finding the his teammates. Greg gave LA and Brandon many open looks and they returned the favor by praising Oden after the game. He will average at least 15 and 10, but more importantly he is going to affect the way every opponent to adjust their game for us. He is very very similar to Shaq with the Magic, before he developed the array of post moves he had later in his career. Greg is going to be in the H.O.F one day.
Brandon was Brandon, he played nearly perfect basketball. I would say he looks better than he did last year at this point. He had a few crossovers that broke ankles.
Martell was stellar tonight. He won't get a lot of praise from the media but he was perfect tonight. He played great defense, both individually and with the team. He did not force anything tonight, he shot in rhythm and had a few electrifying dunks. Most importantly he was on the glass consistently which is huge for us. He was either blocking out his man or going up for the rebound every time the ball went up. Martell is the perfect complementary player for this team and he seems to have accepted his role. He should get a big kudos forf joining Joel, Brandon and Rudy as our veteran unit.
Speaking of Rudy he was spectacular tonight. He made the Kings defense look silly time and time again with fantastic passing ability. Aldridge and Martell seemed to be enjoying their new found buddy. He played with energy on both ends of the floor but he was under control. With his pro and international experience he enters the league as a veteran, he will play a similar role to JJ33, except he is much, much better.
Bayless was not amazing but he was solid. First off I am not impressed by vegas MVP's, so I am still waiting to see what he can really do. He made an open three and he creates well for himself. His defense is an improvement from JJ. However he didn't do to well at finding the open man, he forced a few shots that should have been dumped off for a dunk.
Sergio is improved from last year. He is confident like his rookie season but he has improved his shooting considerably. You also can tell he is more comfortable now playing with his U.S. teammates. I think his understanding of both the English language and the American game is much improved now. McMillan is showing confidence and that seems to help.
Travis jacked up quite a few shots and got quite a few rebounds. No major changes here.
Ike had an excellent game. He had more post moves than I remembered seeing from him in the past. He even made a few drives to the basket. I would have liked a little more effort on the glass but overall good game for big Ike.
Batum had a stellar dunk that looked to be more athletic than anything I have seen from Outlaw even. He looked lost on defense.
LaMarcus did not have his best game. He looked tight in the first half. Once he loosened up in the second half he became more comfortable. It kind of seemed like he spent his summer finding ways to get to the rim as he was instructed to all of last season. The only problem with this is now they want him to shoot open jumpers, which he looked like he hadn't done since oh...2007. Not really his stroke looked good but it seemed he was a little tight. He did show he can drive and score on the move. His defense was on, he did a great job helping Greg shut down the middle and LA played great individual defense. He looked good overall but his shot was not on. Once he finds his stroke he is gonna score a ton. I love LA. Overall great chemistry and hard work are paying off. The Blazers looked like a cohesive unit all night long. This is the most talented team in the NBA. Congratulations KP you did it!! Congratulations to all you long time Blazer fans, we made it. The Blazers are back.