Nuggets at Blazers: There is going to be a rookie of the year candidate in Portland

Christian Petersen - Getty Images

The Nuggets will face the Blazers plenty of times this season, you better get accustomed to the new faces in Bridge City.

2012/2013 NBA Preseason
Portland Trail Blazers (2005 - Pres)
vs
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1-2

3-0
October 17th, 2012, 8:00 PM (MT)
Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
TV (None) / 950 AM/104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Nolan Smith PG Andre Miller?
Wesley Matthews SG Andre Iguodala
Nicolas Batum SF Danilo Gallinari
LaMarcus Aldridge PF Kenneth Faried
J.J. Hickson C Kosta Koufos?
Advanced Stats (2011/2012)
91.2 (15th of 30) Pace 94.2 (2nd of 30)
105.7 (11th of 30) ORtg 109.2 (3rd of 30)
106.4 (23th of 30) DRtg 106.2 (20th of 30)

There are a lot of new faces in one of America's best cities. Yes, Portland is a fine city with beautiful views, lots of bridges, and plenty of local breweries. Do I like their basketball team? No, but that's what division rivals are for!

Damian Lillard will get some buzz for Rookie of the Year. The talented point guard out of Weber State has been tearing it up in the preseason (and at Summer League) averaging 16.3 points per game, good for 17th in the NBA and he leads all rookies. I had no clue that Weber State was in Ogden, Utah - learn something new every day! Lillard, the 6th overall pick, doesn't just score the ball, he's also a very exciting floor general and gives the Blazers something they haven't had in years - stability at the point guard position. Lillard won't play tonight (thanks for the hat tip Kevin #3), and in his place will be Nolan Smith (whom some think the Nuggets conned the Blazers into drafting as part of the Ray Felton/Andre Miller and Jordan Hamilton trade ... conspiracy theories! ... so Denver could take Kenneth Faried).

Gone is Ray Felton, Jamal Crawford, and George Karl favorite/former head coach Nate McMillan. In is Lillard, and fellow rookies Meyers Leonard (a very talented big man) and Will Barton (whom the Nuggets worked out). A couple interesting names on the training camp roster: Adam Morrison and Karl's son Coby Karl. Running the Blazers is new head man Terry Stotts with a career head coaching record of 115-168.

Recent talk in the Denver Stiffs comment section has centered around people wanting the Nuggets to make a deal for LaMarcus Aldridge. Well, with the addition of Lillard, the Blazers brass is hopeful their "rebuild" won't take too long.

I'm excited to see this Portland team play ...

As for the Nuggets, Aaron Lopez of Nuggets.com had this to report about tonight's game:

Koufos could get the nod Wednesday night in Portland, but the Nuggets could be without Lawson, who is nursing a sore right elbow. Veteran point guard Andre Miller is expected to make his preseason debut, and Karl also hopes to have forward Wilson Chandler (hip) available for the first time.

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