Earlier today we talked about the importance of young players to the Portland Trail Blazers success this year. Now we asked our staff to pick the player (young or not) they feel is poised on the brink of a breakout season. Here are their replies.
Which Blazer will have a breakout season in 2014-15?
Timmay! | @BedgeTimmay
CJ McCollum is my choice here, even though I feel that Joel Freeland is the most likely player to surprise. However, Joel will probably stay with limited minutes behind Aldridge, Lopez, and Kaman, while McCollum has a chance to leapfrog into bigger minutes if he proves himself during the season. This is McCollum's first actual summer of practice, and first training camp, but he has the mental experience of a year in the NBA. He's healthy and will have a chance to prove himself. And he already earned a rotation spot in preseason. So he has the best chance to surpass expectations.
Sam Tongue | @SamTongue
Robin Lopez. It's a contract year for a 26-year-old in a league that pays a premium for big men. Like, Derrick Favors just re-upped for $13 million a year. Need I say more?
Evans Clinchy | @evansclinchy
Thomas Robinson. On a per-36-minute basis last season, Robinson's averages were 14.0 points and 12.7 rebounds, and he should only get better in his third season (especially if he can finally find some continuity instead of being jerked around from team to team). I think by midseason, Terry Stotts realizes that the ceiling is only so high for Chris Kaman, and T-Rob is the real best player on the Blazer bench. A year from now, we might be talking about a hefty contract for the young power forward, here or elsewhere.
Scott Horlbeck | @scott_horlbeck
CJ McCollum. McCollum will get more minutes this year, and I just think he's a good basketball player. He's smart, skilled, and should surprise some people.
Can you have a breakout player who is entering his 12th year? I hope so because I think Chris Kaman finally plays for a relevant team and thrives as the fulcrum of the second unit. Don't be surprised when he's putting up 10 and six every night and reminding everyone why he was once an All-Star.
Dorell Wright. A lot have written him off, but he used to be a tremendous asset for the Golden State Warriors, and he can get to that level again, especially with Barton competing for his minutes.
Chris Lucia | @ChrisLucia_BE
I wanted so badly to say it'd be the People's Champ, Will Barton, but he appears to be starting the season at the end of Stotts' rotation. Meyers Leonard could really thrive as a power forward but we'll need to see more evidence than a solid preseason game or two. I'll go with CJ McCollum as the Blazers' breakout player this season, because he'll get the minutes and someone needs to replicate the bench production Mo Williams brought last year. He's a crafty scorer and has shown an improvement since last season in setting teammates up with the ball in his hands.
Sagar Trika | @BlazersBySagar
I think CJ McCollum will finally get a chance to show why Neil Olshey drafted him with a lottery pick just over a year ago. Now that McCollum has a year of experience and has seemingly earned a spot in the Blazers' rotation, he will get a chance to prove that he is the lights-out shooter he was advertised as during the days leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, marks the end of our Blazer's Edge Season Preview that started at 8:00 this morning and ran throughout the day. We hope you've enjoyed it.
Also, do you know what this mean? The next post you see will be the official preview for the first game of the 2014-15 Trail Blazers season. Welcome to the new year! It's here!