First reactions to the Trail Blazers' exhibition-game loss to Phoenix Tuesday night:
- The biggest takeaway for me was just how much talent there is on this roster. There is depth -- good players up and down the bench. Terry Stotts is going to have a difficult time finding playing time for all these players. And keep in mind, part of his mission this season will be to continue the development of the young players. Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins are part of the future of this team and every minute they get on the court is going to aid their development. But then there is the culture of earning minutes and trying to get every win possible. And don't forget that combinations matter -- they lead to balance. You don't always have your five best on the floor at all times because of issues of balance between offense and defense, rebounding and shooting -- and all things in between.
- I wouldn't want to have to set up a rotation here because there are going to be a lot of players who may deserve more playing time than they are going to get.
- The Blazers are going to be able to put a very big team on the floor -- but will they? In an era when just about everyone else is going with small lineups, I like the idea of going big. Be different. Make the other teams adjust to you, rather than always trying to match up with them.
- Swanigan is already Portland's best offensive player at power forward. He may have some problems at the defensive end but it's too early to tell. Starting him wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
- Jusuf Nurkic is improved and it's going to be fun to see just how good he can be. He's also a free spirit and I hope he can keep all that under control. Right now, he is charming, funny and different -- and I hope he stays that way. Sometimes, though, that can get on people's nerves over time.
- Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are improving with each season and nobody seems to notice that they play off each other better each year, too. They are a great foundation for the growth of this team.