As The Pistons get ready to put their seven game winning streak on the line in Portland, I had a chance to do Q&A with Sean Meager of Oregon Live’s Blazers Blog.
Pistons fans got a great look at what LaMarcus Aldridge can do after he put up 27 at the Palace in the Blazers win over the Pistons. He’s averaging 17 a game and he’s been called “little Sheed.” Has he hit his plateau, or is this just the beginning for Aldridge?
Blazers Blog – LaMarcus Aldridge can’t even see his plateau from here. As good as Aldridge is right now, as you mentioned 17 ppg and 7 rebounds per game, he’s just 36 games into his third season. Sure, his numbers are similar to last year’s, but this Blazers team is better than that of last season. Aldridge, only 23-years-old, has the skill set to be one of the best power forwards in the game for a while. Critics will point to his affinity to face up more often than back down his defender, or that he needs to get more boards. Reasonable suggestions, but what makes LA so good is his versatility. He has the ability to face up his defender and go glass from 10, a la Tim Duncan, or he can catch and shoot from 17, hit the 3 or knock down the sweeping hook across the lane. What most (outside of Portland) may not realize at this point is: as Greg Oden gets better, LaMarcus Aldridge reaps the benefits.
The Blazers are packed with so much young talent, who has surprised you most with their play this season?
Blazers Blog – I respond to this Q the same every time. You may not know his name (yet) but rookie Nicolas Batum has quickly showed Portland fans why Kevin Pritchard and Co. did so much wheeling and dealing on draft day to acquire the forward out of France. Watching Batum in the Las Vegas Summer League, I wasn’t sure he was ready for the WNBA let alone the NBA. Maybe not that harsh, but the kid really opened some eyes during training camp and in the preseason. Starter Marell Webster goes down a few games prior to the season tip and Batum immediately steps in and provides an insurance policy with his fearless (yet smart) play, instincts and length (at 6’9″ kid has a 7’4″ wingspan). It’s not that Batum does any one thing exceptionally well, he’s just pretty solid all around. The fair comparison would be to your own Tayshaun Prince. He’s similar to Prince at Kentucky, with maybe a little less offensive propensity.
Portland is 20-14 and have lost their last 2 with All Star Brandon Roy sitting. We know what they did last season without Oden, but can they win without Roy?
Blazers Blog – The Blazers also beat Boston without Brandon Roy. Regardless, it’s much harder for this team to win consistently right now with Roy on the bench. Roy is so vital to the flow of the offense. He’s a facilitator. When he’s on the court, he puts all four teammates in a better position to succeed. There’s only a handful of players in this league I would feel as confident about with the ball in their hands and the game on the line.
Brandon Roy or Rodney Stuckey? If you can have only one, which do you pick?
Blazers Blog – Roy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rodney Stuckey (have since his days at EWU) and would probably give up anyone else on the roster not named Aldridge or Oden for Stuckey. But Roy is one of the top 10 or 15 players in the league right now. So … Steve Blake and Sergio Rodriguez for Stuckey?
It must have been hard to watch Oden sit his rookie season, are you impress with what he’s done this season or did you have higher expectations? Given his play as of late, do you agree with the push by some folks in the blogosphere and your own paper for Przybilla to start and bring Oden the bench?
Blazers Blog – I think Oden is about where he should be at this point. Only playing one year in college; a year removed from the game; battling back from a significant surgery. Expecting him to come right out of the gate and post 20/10 a night is like hoping for college football to scrap the BCS and move to a playoff system. Not happening. Most rookies come into this league having played basketball non-stop leading into that rookie year. Oden spent his “rookie” season rehabbing a knee, getting healthy . So not only is he just learning the NBA game, and he’s only 28 games into his rookie season, but he’s getting back into playing shape. Prior to the season, general manager Kevin Pritchard said we probably wouldn’t start seeing the real Greg Oden until the All-Star break (and that was before the minor setback at the start of the season that kept him out 6 games). But we probably won’t start seeing the true Greg Oden until the start of next season. This season is all about the young man learning to play in the NBA, learning to play with his teammates, with NBA talent, against NBA talent, a full 82+ games, and most importantly, staying healthy.
Blazers fans have a love hate relationship with Rasheed, do you think it’s more hate than love? And do you resent the fact that he changed his attitude after coming to Detroit and helped the team win a Championship?
Blazers Blog -Sheed is a sensitive subject here. I personally have, and always will, love Sheed. He’s one of the most talented big men ever. Yes, he caused his own problems, but he was also vilified to a degree. Do I wish he had the drive to be the best player in the league? Eff yes. I don’t know that he necessarily changed his ‘tude when coming to Detroit, he was just in a better situation, put on a championship team needing a missing piece. As far as the love/hate ratio for Sheed in the Rose City? It’s probably 2 to 1, hate to love. Most people probably don’t care that much. I still have my red Blazers and Bullets Sheed jerseys.
Thanks to Sean for the Q&A, he asked me a few questions about Detroit and the matchup tonight, you can check out my thoughts over at Blazers Blog.
We should have Sheed back for this one, but it looks like Rip is still down for the count.
UPDATE: Sheed will not play.
I will say that I’m not too thrilled with the Pistons’ intro’s this season. I don’t know why they took a step back, but last year’s and the previous ones were so much better in my opinion.
Portland has some pretty darn good ones themselves. Senior Team Need4Sheed member Steve DiLullo caught a game at the Rose Garden last year and made sure he caught them for our enjoyment.
Tip off is at 10:00 P.M. and will be locally broadcast on FSN . If you can’t watch the broadcast, tune into 1130 AM The Fan. Can’t do either? Follow the game on NBA.com.
Lets see how the Pistons, Sheed, and Tay do with Portland, Oden, and Aldridge.
I would be happy if the Pistons win because Portland is actually ranked in the West. And I do not want a repeat of the last game.
I agree Natalie, these intros this year are lacking. I miss the Drumline Dramatic music! Also I’ve always liked when they would echo Mason’s voice after saying players names, and I havn’t heard much of that either…
The fire is always great.
Late game for me. Don’t know if I’ll stay up and watch it or not. :S
Who do they announce last in the starting lineups now, with Chauncey gone?
the last guy they announce is mike curry
Curry is always announced last as he’s the head coach. Flip was always announced the same way.
The last intro I saw had Rip being announced last.
I wonder if part of the apparent “lacking” in the intros this year is because the starters’ names aren’t quite as versatile. You don’t have “Miggity-mac-miggity-miggity-macDYESSS” and “Buh buh buh BILLUPS” punctuating the intros this season.
Same thing when Ben left … it wasn’t the same without the gong and “B-B-B-B-B-B-B-Buh-buh-buh-BEN”
But even without them, Mason and the Pistons still have the best intros in the league, period.
F*ck them refs.
prince should of had the ball
They should NOT have given AI the ball.
He was 6 for 19 on the night!!!
Tayshaun was tearing it up!
Blazers stole that game from us. I mean we had the game… Oh well, stuff like this happens. Still, we played good defense, but we lacked the offense that Sheed and Rip would provide.
During the 7 game win streak I thought that the complacency of blowing 14 point lead was behind us… I guess it is not. This game really killed me I really hope we get a win vs Denver so I could feel better before going into the Jazz game which no doubt will be a hard well fought game.
If we can beat the JAZZ it all will be good!
That albatross has been haning about this teams neck for a while.
Iverson was the goat of the game.. we woulda won if he made is freethrows.. we woulda won if he didnt step out of bounds.. we woulda won if he held onto the ball durign the long pass he intercepted and curry gives him the ball?.. another classic pistons melt down of the year..3 game losing streak here we come! we wont beat chauncy stern would never let that happen and beating utah is not likely look at our history..
umm steve… i dont think stern is in the lineup.. he doesnt play the game, so if the pistons want to play and win they will. Get over the fact of how the league wants to see certain things happen and certain teams win for ratings its how you play the game.
last night was a really good game, im very happy with how the pistons played, yea there were errors but there was a lot of good that i could take out of the game… remember they are playing without sheed and rip and they still only lost by 1! I’m proud of the last few weeks if you guys are or not, they are playing harder and better than they have this whole season now and then one loss comes and you guys are all going crazy, get real. we got next
trade rip for boozer already!
who would want to FUCK with that line up?
rip is irrelevent now.. the team gel’d without him