First, a creative look at SLAMOnline.com naming LaMarcus Aldridge the No. 39 best player in the L, slotting him above such guys as Josh Smith, Ron Artest, Baron Davis and Rudy Gay. I thought last season would be his big coming out party in terms of publicity, but that never fully happened. You can just feel that one of these years the Blazers will get off to a hot start and LMA will be putting up 24 and 12 and we’ll suddenly get headlines calling him the most underrated player in the league — similar to what happened to David West a couple seasons ago. For it to happen this year makes just as much sense as anything, especially if the Blazers don’t sign him to an extension before games start (it’ll probably happen by December regardless). You don’t think he’d make sure he got noticed with a contract on the line?
Our other little tidbit is that most of the Blazers are already back and practicing, just as they’ve done the last two years. And who does Mike Barrett say looks really good (via Dwight Jaynes)? Well Greg Oden and Martell Webster of course. Look, I like Oden and Webster just as much as the next guy (and probably more) but put yourself in Barrett’s shoes. You’re a Blazers broadcaster, you know the two guys coming into the season with the most to prove are Oden (coming off a semi-disappointing season) and Webster (coming off a season-long injury), if those two guys look good at all, or anything close to how you think they should look, of course you’re going to single those guys out as looking great when asked about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure both of them are moving and playing well, but I’m not getting on the hype bandwagon again until I see these two with my own two eyes. There’s just too much at stake for Portland for these guys to play well that they’d have to play significantly awful for anyone to go on record this time of year saying they’re struggling.