Friday, March 29, 2013
Aldridge's ankle, Lillard's weakness
By Tom Carpenter
It appears that the Portland Trail Blazers will have to face the Utah Jazz this evening without the services of LaMarcus Aldridge. The big man sprained his right ankle on Wednesday, missed Friday's shootaround and now is considered to be doubtful for this evening's game, according to the Oregonian's Joe Freeman.
If Aldridge ends up skipping Friday's game, rookie Meyers Leonard will start for the Blazers. He nearly double-doubled (11 points, 9 boards) against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday, so he could help out as a plug-in option for fantasy teams looking to fill a hole left by Aldridge.
If Aldridge ends up missing a series of games, the Blazers would need Damian Lillard to step up his game, especially in transition:
David ThorpeRookie of the year? Davis vs. Lillard
"It is alarming to watch Lillard -- a deft ball handler, an excellent shooter and a crafty driver -- still launch so many long 2s and open 3s (many off the dribble) in transition. It's a problem I mentioned earlier this season. It's not as if Portland is asking him to do so to create a fast tempo, as part of a strategy to overwhelm opponents with speed and depth. Nor is it something that is working well for him. As it stands today, Lillard is a poor decision-maker in transition because he is so ineffective. According to Synergy Sports, he ranks in the bottom 25 percent of the league in points per transition attempt. That is not a number to be taken as gospel, but it is apparent from watching Lillard a lot that he takes quick shots far too often. He is not alone in this transgression, of course, as it is common in young players. ... Playing with the green light is a tough responsibility for any player, more so for a young point guard who knows he needs to score to give his team a chance to win. The sooner Lillard learns that his early jump shots are not great shots for him, the quicker his team will improve offensively (the Blazers are already on the cusp of being a top-eight team in offensive efficiency) as he can find better shots for himself or teammates."