Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Blazers bolstered by Batum. + NBA notes
Nicolas Batum is having a positive impact on the Portland Trailblazers since returning from injury. Batum is shooting 56% FG and 90% FT as a vital piece of the Blazers - who have won four of their last five games. Portland continues to hold on to the final Western Conference playoff position and I think they WILL maintain that spot—if not move up. Portland now has Andre Miller as the clear cut Point Guard with Steve Blake exiled to Clipper-land. Meanwhile - Marcus Camby helps to fill the hole left by Greg Oden who is out for the year. ...The Pacers continue to stink in part because Brandon Rush plays way too many minutes for as inefficient as he is. Beyond that, the lack of foot speed up front (Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert) is also a huge factor in Indiana’s 20-39 record. ...Drew Gooden who is on his eighth team in eight NBA seasons, looks as fit and trim right now as I’ve ever seen him be. Gooden is now a Clipper. ...Before any team spends “max money” on Amar’e Stoudemire - they better make sure they have watched him closely as a defender. He is not very good at all on that end of the floor. I would also argue that offensively he will not be as good if he does not have Steve Nash dropping him gifts at the rim. In short, I would NOT spend huge dollars on Amar’e. ...Stoudemire’s Suns teammate Robin Lopez has played very well since his return from injury. Lopez and the improved play of Goran Dragic are two under the radar reasons why Phoenix has been more than just a nuisance in the West. ...Very quietly - Luke Ridnour has been the best Point Guard off the bench in the NBA this season. Ridnour’s efficiency rating (.515) is actually higher than the EFR of Bucks rookie starter Brandon Jennings (.429).