clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ten Observations from the Portland Trail Blazers Fan Fest Scrimmage

Instant reaction to the Portland Trail Blazers intra-squad Fan Fest scrimmage.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night marked the Portland Trail Blazers' annual intra-squad "Fan Fest" scrimmage, our first chance to get a look at the 2014-15 squad on the floor. Damian Lillard and Will Barton led the black team to a 64-43 victory over the white, seeming intent on the victory though results and stats are not terribly meaningful at such an event. Both teams executed well enough; few possessions ended up looking sloppy.

Blazer's Edge correspondent Ryan A Chase was on-site tonight. His review of the atmosphere and the game will be along shortly. In the meantime, here are some instant reactions.

1. Shooter's rust held the floor during the first half, with seemingly every shot ending up a layup or an airball. The guards and wings warmed up more in the second half, spearheaded by Lillard's unconscious distance shooting.

2. Point guards and wing ball-handlers looked more comfortable than we've seen them in previous years. Being defended in an exhibition game by teammates isn't a sturdy test of skill, but player and ball movement still looked natural. If nothing else we saw how some of these plays are supposed to be run.

3. Guard defense was another story. Steve Blake looked adequate. Others needed work.

4. Both veteran centers looked in stride already. Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman seem to enjoy their roles. You have to love Terry Stotts' game plan of giving those 7-footers clear and limited responsibilities. You get the feeling we're going to see the best of both guys this season.

5. The night really belonged to the young guys, headed by Barton. The People's Champ handled the ball, shot, finished on the break, rebounded, and dished. He kept active the whole time he was on the floor. Scrimmages were made for Barton's game but his posture was looser and his game tighter than we've seen so far. Cross fingers.

6. Meyers Leonard played power forward and looked nice facing up, running pick and pop, and coming in for supplemental rebounds instead of trying to seal off the paint by himself. These are the first really positive signs we've seen from Leonard in a while.

7. C.J. McCollum showed some nice offense but he's one of the guys who needs defensive help.

8. Thomas Robinson didn't have his Crazy T-Rob game. He barely touched the ball. But he had a couple nice defensive stands. He just didn't stand out as much as his peers.

9. James Southerland can dunk. Yes he can.

10. Neil Olshey backed these young players, particularly Barton and McCollum, during a sideline interview. He told his audience that last year C.J. and Will weren't ready, forcing Coach Stotts to play the starters bigger minutes. His declaration that they had hurdled the bar and were ready to fill meaningful minutes was fairly emphatic. The obligatory "if they do well, they'll play" seemed tacked on...closer to "if the sun rises tomorrow" that an indication of uncertainty. It'll be interesting to see whether Stotts agrees.

In summation: the night belonged to Barton, Leonard, and McCollum even though Lillard stole the show in the third period with 13 points. Blazer fans got what they wanted: some pretty play and continued hope that their team can improve through internal promotion. All in all, not a bad night.

Stay tuned for Ryan's report from the Moda Center! Meanwhile, add your own observations in the comments.

--Dave / @DaveDeckard@Blazersedge