The Portland Trail Blazers haven’t found a rhythm and it seems like their roster is getting thinner all the time. Erik Gundersen of Associated Press and the LeBron Wire joined Tara Bowen-Biggs on the podcast to try and make sense of how to watch this team. They are 11th in the league at rebounds per game but are they a good rebounding team? How long can they play undermanned? What kind of improvement should we be looking for with the young players?
Gundersen watched the Cavaliers for a full season while working for the LeBron Wire and he thinks that Kevin Love would be a good addition to the Trail Blazers. He is a willing and respected shooter and a smarter defender than people think. Gundersen is confident the Blazers can make the playoffs but time is of the essence. They can’t wait until the buyout market and Love is available (as he is letting it be known) now. With Dan out sick, it is up to Tara to push back.
All of this and more on the latest podcast.
1:00 If it makes anyone feel better, the Knicks have been playing pretty well under Mike Miller.
4:00 Covering the team is odd because Hassan Whiteside dominates the stat line so frequently but that doesn’t necessarily tell the story. We know that this team as currently constructed isn’t actually the team.
6:00 They are a better rebounding team when Whiteside is on the floor but is that what they need to win?
7:00 Can we retire the idea of the rebound as a top-line stat (via @Elgee35)?
10:00 A deeper dive into Whiteside’s rebounding. Whiteside is a good rebounder, but the team is not a good rebounding team. The team doesn’t really know where the best place is to position themselves when Whiteside gets blocks.
15:00 There are some rebounds that are better quality than other rebounds. And sometimes boxing out is more important because it allows your teammate to get an easier rebound.
18:00 Whiteside can’t be expected to cover all of the defensive deficiencies that have been caused by injuries.
20:30 How long do they hang on? When do they get more people in to help? Erik says he would have thought they would have found someone to fill in by now. Doesn’t seem they can wait until the buyout market.
25:00 There is always something new to talk about with this team. Some role player seems like he’s always having a career high. Carmelo Anthony seems like the only player who is not weighed down by expectations.
32:00 The Blazers have been incredibly fortunate for years and the fans have been incredibly lucky. They are holding the locker room together. Nurkic is coming back soon.
36:00 Melo has taken some of the pressure off of Damian Lillard without trying to take over.
37:30 Development. How do we know that Anfernee Simons is getting better and helping the team? He’s showing growing patience attacking the rim, getting better angles. It seems like the game is slowing down. For Gary Trent Jr., is he getting better at shooting when guys are closing out on him, is he finishing off the dribble? For Nassir Little, how is he moving off of the ball? His most useful asset is his energy.
40:00 Right now the Blazers need Simons to score. Assists will get easier.
43:30 Which was better, Simons’ dunk over Meyers Leonard or his alley-oops? In any case, we want to see Anfernee in the dunk contest.
46:25 Erik’s take on Kevin Love to Portland. You get a guy who is known to be productive in his role. Counterpoint: how do the Blazer’s afford it? Love gives them a chance to be a contender next year. Counterpoint: Do the Blazers ask Collins to come off the bench again when they are trying to build a team with him as a key piece?
56:05 LaMarcus Aldridge and Jusuf Nurkic would be trying to play in the same spots. Andre Drummond won’t want to be a backup.
1:02 Erik loves Cedi Osman from the Cavaliers, thinks he would be a great addition.
Subscribe to the podcast
Blazer’s Edge Night is coming in March. Buy tickets now to help kids see a Blazer game!