FanPost

Two unexpected boons of the season

As with most, I have been over the moon about the way Robin Lopez has fit in so far this season. Some games he doesn't create a lot of noise in the box score, and early in the season we did see him get torched one one one a little, but for the most part his impact has been tremendous. One area that has really surprised me is his stellar free throw shooting. Over 80% from a rough and tumble big man not known for offense? Yes, please! It is even more impressive if you consider that...

After going 1-4 on the first game of the season, He has hit 41 of 48 for 85%

He has hit 17 in a row

For a guy that doesn't really use a ton of possessions, 2.5 attempts per game is decent too.

The second thing that I have been loving this year is Batum's growth as a playmaker. Granted, about once a game he gets a little too fancy and turns it over, but I don't actually mind that. Batum's passes give the Blazers offense a dynamic and unpredictable wrinkle that keeps opponents scrambling.

Given that you would expect a player with his level of offensive output to commit around 1.5-2 turnovers anyway, he isn't creating all that many extra turnovers from playmaker mode.

Stats aside, the best thing for me has been the wow factor. Besides Trob put backs, we don't have a lot of highlight material on this team. Efficient mid-post moves, ball movement, good rebounding position, and consistent shooting do not exactly fill a highlight reel. Batum will oblige every game or two with a true jaw dropper that leaves me thinking "forget other Blazers, is there more than a half dozen guys in the league that make that pass?"

Wish I was a video guy and could cue up some better examples

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4Qqe8lhbZU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaZCb36noy0

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