You've critiqued the Blazers well. But what players excite or intrigue you most?
The initial (and obvious) answer is Damian Lillard. I'm interested to see how his second season runs. Defense, decision-making, durability...there's plenty to watch for. Plus he's got an exciting game.
But that answer is too obvious so I'm going to give you three other players I'm watching in 2013-14.
1. Nicolas Batum
The Batum Watch has been on for years but last year's passing and shooting plus Portland's need to make some kind of breakthrough puts Batum under extra scrutiny this season. If he's going to shine, now's the time. More consistent, more aggressive, and less-injured would be a good start. The Blazers need dependable excellence from a new spot. If that's going to happen, Batum is the best chance.
2. C.J. McCollum
I don't expect as much from McCollum as I do from Batum, but he is a lottery pick and he does have an ignition-based approach to the game. No doubt he'll score points...a welcome addition to the bench. The questions are, how efficiently and at whose expense? If he's relatively compact with his offense and teammates can produce around him, he should have a striking effect on the game. If it's ten dribbles and then a desperation move the results won't be so pretty. Likely we'll see some of both. Checking his temperature in November and March, you hope to see a positive difference.
3. Meyers Leonard
I don't expect Leonard to make quantum leaps over the summer but I am watching for two things. First, I hope the Blazers can find a way to use his offensive talents, justifying a few extra minutes on the floor. Second, I hope to see steps--even baby steps--that would convince me that Leonard is an eventual starting center. More commitment to rebounds, more effect on defense, a smarter game overall...I'd be happy seeing any of these things. Like McCollum, this is a matter of learning curve rather than outright production. He's not going to emerge fully-formed but he can't flat-line either.
Those are my intriguing/interesting Blazers to watch. Who are yours and why? Share below.