Carrying a young and largely-untested bench into a high-expectation season, the Portland Trail Blazers will depend on veterans to provide stability and support their starting unit. Two of those veterans sat down with Blazer's Edge during the Trail Blazers 2014 Media Day.
Chris Kaman is an 11-year veteran coming in for his first season in Portland. Famous as a prankster, he has already built a relationship with fellow joker Robin Lopez.
Q: Robin Lopez said you two are both crazy, but on totally different ends of the spectrum. Can you eleborate?
CK: I agree with that, but I'm not sure which end I'm on and which he's on. He's definitely crazier than I am.
Q: What do you see as your role on this team?
CK: I definitely know I'm counted on for leadership, so to help out the younger players like Meyers and Joel, anywhere I can fit in there. If LA (LaMarcus Aldridge) goes out, I'll have to score a little more, if Robin is out I'll need to defend a little more, just try and keep going the great success they had last year.
Q: Coach Stotts said you guys were a championship contender.
CK: Absolutely. Think about it. The Spurs won it all, and the Blazers were there in every game. Just different outcomes in the last two minutes of the game. Two or three possessions in a game can change the outcome of an entire season.
Q: Do you see any similarities between this team and your Los Angeles Clippers team with Elton Brand and Sam Cassell that also made it to the second-round of the playoffs?
CK: I think we're a little slower paced than they were. We play more of the half-court game. We didn't shoot as many threes there as they do here. The 1-2 though with Sam and Elton compared to Dame and Aldridge is a very similar powerhouse matchup.
Dorell Wright has been a solid forward for the Blazers since his arrival last season, bringing depth and perspective to the wing positions.
Q: What did you learn from the San Antonio matchup in the playoffs last year?
DW: It was definitely a learning experience, we played them hard and took that with a lot of pride. As soon as we walked off the floor, we knew that they were a great team, a well-disciplined and coached team, and that's what we want to be.
Q: What will Steve Blake and Chris Kaman add to the bench depth in your opinion?
DW: More veteran players, coming off the bench with a lot of knowledge, that know how to play the game right. They're gonna give us an opportunity to win more games.
Also see our interview with C.J. McCollum covering the start of his first full NBA season.