What's going on with the Blazers
Injuries continue to dominate the headlines for the Blazers. It was announced that Greg Oden could miss the entire season as he suffered a setback in his rehab. It was expected that he would be able to join the team for this season and signed a one-year deal to remain with the Blazers.
Of course, as you may know, Brandon Roy announced that he would retire from the NBA due to his chronic knee problems that were never going to get better. It may be hard to have sympathy for the Blazers given their recent history with the Jazz and free agents, but this is really a big loss. Roy was a unique and transcendent talent. It was never fun to see him pick apart the Jazz defense but if you can put aside the fandom for a bit, he was an amazing player to watch.
Without those two, the Blazers still had a very good year last season behind the MVP-type efforts of LaMarcus Aldridge and with contributions from Wesley Matthews, a mid-season trade for Gerald Wallace, and point guard play from Andre Miller. In addition to Odom and Roy, the Blazers have some other roster changes. They trade Miller to Denver for Raymond Felton in addition to sending Rudy Fernandez to Dallas. That means Nicolas Batum will be their primary option of their bench which appears to be pretty thin this season.
What's going on with the Jazz
As was mentioned in the Downbeat, the Jazz right now are very much the cliché student backpacking through Europe trying to find themselves. After just trying to get through the end of the season last year, the lockout didn't help this team at all. Coach Corbin announced that all of the starting spots were up for grabs. He will need every last minute of both of these pre-season games against the Blazers to evaluate talent, rotations, and starters. Don't be surprised to see one set of starts tonight and another on Wednesday.
As we've seen around the league so far, games have been very sloppy as teams work to shake off the lockout rust. That's where the structure of the Jazz offense may help. There was limited time for the team and new players to learn things but there was at least a foundation built that could be built upon this season. Corbin will be adding a few wrinkles to the offense, but expect a lot of the same sets. We're still bound to see some early mistakes though. Just remember, this is the very first pre-season game after a pinch of a training camp. So don't get too high or too low with what you see tonight.
Blazers - (0-0)
Starters: LaMarcus Aldridge, Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby
Jazz - (0-0)
Starters (guessing): Devin Harris, Raja Bell, CJ Miles, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson
What to look for
Both teams are eager to get the season going and play against real opponents. This game will end up being a little more than a scrimmage in terms of execution and rotations. What you see tonight will not be what you see even two weeks from now, let alone for the season.
- The biggest things to look for tonight are the rotations and five-man units that Corbin uses tonight. He's going to need to get a feel how certain players play with others.
- We'll see just how far along Derrick Favors is against a quality big man in Aldridge.
- Who gets the minutes tonight?
- How do Jamaal Tinsley, Keith McLeod, and Scottie Reynolds look?
- Who's the first man off the bench?
First meeting of the season
Game time - 8:00 p.m. MST on ROOT sports (no NBA TV)