Last season, the Blazers were done in by two things in the post-season; first, they were not physical enough and second, when they absolutely had to score, they could not.
So as this preseason gets rolling, Portland
has several questions to answer. Will LaMarcus Aldridge turn into the dominating defender that showed up in flashes last season?
Will Travis Outlaw find a home as a back-up power forward?
Will the Greg Oden Portland drafted return or will we still see more of the walking wounded coming back from micro-fracture surgery?
Obviously there are more questions, but there is a mantra that you hear over and over from good teams.
"There is only so much you can learn from preseason."
There are things you can learn, however. Here are some examples.
Oden spins on Spencer Hawes, leaves him searching for his jock strap, and throws down a thunderous jam. Now, deep in the regular season, you will be excited.
But in the preseason you learn to suppress the "YYYeeeessss!" scream accompanied by a double fist pump.
(It can be quite awkward at work trying to explain to your boss why you truly are actually thrilled by the opportunity to step up and do more than your share in the workplace. That's why your yelling. No, of course your not listening to the Blazers game, you try to explain. Then you try to conjure up a good reason for why there's a radio headphone discreetly tucked into your ear...)
So preseason is a good time to get your surreptitious listening skills fine-tuned.