Blogtable: Exceeding expectations

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Let’s go the other way: Which player has most wildly outpaced your preseason expectations of him?

David Aldridge: Cousin LaMarcus, of course! I knew he could score from the perimeter, but he’s become a terrific post-up player as well. And he’s miles better at the defensive end this year. Really improved his game and put that team on his back.

Steve Aschburner: I could say Grant Hill, based on my bad assumption that he invariably would tail off at age 38 – and certainly not become an All-Defensive Team candidate. I could say Amar’e Stoudemire, because I didn’t expect him to embrace the spotlight, pressure and leadership chores in New York so adeptly. But the only acceptable answer here is New Jersey’s Kris Humphries. In his seventh NBA season, at age 26, with his fourth team, Humphries has more than doubled his career scoring (4.7 ppg) and rebounding (3.5 rpg) numbers, up to 10.0 ppg and 10.3 rpg now. He has 28 double-doubles vs. a total of eight in his first six seasons. And in the grandest overachievement of all, he’s squiring around Kim Kardashian. Now that’s “wildly outpacing” expectations.

Fran Blinebury: After his first two seasons in the league, everybody figured that Kevin Love was going to be a solid player with a successful career.  But I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t expecting him to take a Bob Beamon-like leap into the Moses Malone stratosphere with 53 consecutive double-doubles and to surpass Dwight Howard as the NBA’s top rebounder.

Scott Howard-Cooper: I don’t know about wildly outpacing expectations. But there was no way to imagine that Raymond Felton would become an All-Star candidate with the Knicks and then an important part of the package that went to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. While it’s difficult to extend the praise to a reduced role with the Nuggets, the New York days boosted Felton’s stock to where, if nothing else, Denver has a trade chip to turn into improvement at another position.

Shaun Powell: Given the crippling injuries that robbed the Blazers of two major players, Wesley Matthews, who came from Utah with a light resume, saved their season. When he signed for the big bucks last summer, half the league laughed and accused the Blazers of wildly overpaying. And now? Maybe they got him cheap. Honorable mention to Kevin Love, but I’d like to see him gobble double-doubles on a good team.

John Schuhmann: Having closely watched his first half season in New Jersey, after which the Nets were hoping he’d decline his player option, I agree wholeheartedly with Asch regarding Kris Humphries. He’s a completely transformed player who’s earned himself a big pay raise when he does hit free agency this summer. I also think that Chuck Hayes recording a triple-double is the definition of exceeding expectations. Finally, I’ll add Jodie Meeks to the list. This undersized two-guard was the 41st pick in 2009 and a minor piece of a minor trade a year ago, but Doug Collins has made him an integral component to the Sixers’ improvement.

Sekou Smith: The language is a bit more than I’m willing to use, if you’re in the league it’s pretty tough for anyone to “wildly outpace expectations.” I can’t say enough about the job LaMarcus Aldridge has done this season. He’s always been good. But I honestly didn‘t realize how much better he has gotten until the weeks leading up to and since the All-Star break (his snub this season goes down as one of the toughest to stomach in recent memory). When a guy averages 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds for his career turns up with career numbers (21.9, 8.6, 2.1 assists and 1.2 blocks) in his fifth year in the league, it‘s bound to get your attention. And it‘s not the just the numbers, it‘s the circumstances (with all the other key members of the Trail Blazers that have either been out with injuries or remain out with injuries) under which Aldridge gas come into his own. I always viewed him as Brandon Roy‘s No. 2. Not anymore.


  1. SMOOVE says:

    D Rose, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Lamarcus Aldridge are the ones who more than exceeded what’s expected of them.

  2. Lee says:

    i’d say LaMarcus Aldridge is the obvious choice, he should have been an all-star this season along with Scola or Z-bo.

  3. JV says:

    Top 3 candidates for most improved player…

    Dorrel Wright
    Kyle Lowry
    Derrick Rose

    However, the blog is titled “Exceeding Expectations”. I dont think anyone was ever expecting anything like what Kris Humphries has brougth to the Nets. I didnt even know who he was! Can’t wait to see if they can improve next season and start stirring things up in the East.

  4. EL PRESIDENTE says:

    Sekou Roy’s still the number 1 option if he stays healthy he is as good or better than any of this all stars. PROPS to LaMarcus Aldrige, Dorrell Wright, D Rose, K Love, Beasely, Humphries, Mathews, etc. u know who u are.

  5. Jer says:

    It would be nice to see LA get something. By the way Scott, LA was not displaying those post uo moves, tip in dunks, blocks and running hooks last year like he is this year.

    Kevin Love deserves honorable mention- number wise, Blake Griffin is amazing. Derrick Rose is right there, but not sure it’s enough to put Chicago over the top, but I wouldn’t count them out either.

    Wesley Mathews and LaMarcus Aldridge—probably my two favorite players in the game right now…so please one of those guys

  6. Scott says:

    Aldridge for MIP is a joke. His numbers are up because Roy is injured, not because he improved his play. He was good last year and is good trhis year. The MIP is not givin out to guys who marginally improve their numbers. It is givin to players who move up a level like Rose who went from very good to MVP. Conley of Memphis is the MIP. Rookie point guards like Lawson and Collison had their game of the year against him. Now he’s competing against the best in the league.

  7. big blazer fan says:

    LA also got robbed of his all-star spot.

    he was putting up huge numbers and david stern chooses the piece of crap k love who is garbage

  8. big blazer fan says:

    wesley matthews and L.A. have definetely been the best

  9. BlazeUpDemNuggets says:

    Not even we Blazers fans thought Aldridge was capable of stepping up his game in the paint the way he has. I think he takes it. Case in point: Playing in San Antonio, backs down Splitter, turns and elbows Splitter in the face while drawing the foul. Splitter was licking his chops for several plays afterwards – you could tell it hurt. I’m not saying this is hard to do (beating Splitter) but it’s the fact that Splitter obviously didn’t foul him, took a brutal shot to the face and Aldridge got the Superstar call. He’s never got that call before, and he got it by working low and earning the refs respect.

  10. pablo says:

    i can’t believe there isn’t a single mention of dorell wright in this article, he’s definitely top 3 most improved imo

  11. Natalie says:

    haha is that really Martell Webster up above?
    Anyway, since I don’t really pay attention to the Nets because they suck, I can’t say anything about Kris Humphries not deserving some kind of improved player award – I’m sure he’s improved a bunch, but has his team improved along with him? You’re always gonna have a better season after the Nets had last year, so maybe Kris Humphries has done better personally, but not so much affected his team’s outcome.
    I believe LaMarcus Aldridge doing what he has done is incredible, especially since he’s not going from crappy play to good play, but from good play to AMAZING play. The Blazers would be nowhere without him this season, yet they are still the sixth seed in the uber-competitive West, which is why he’s also #8 on’s MVP ladder. I may be a little bias because I’m a Blazers fan, but nobody has done what LMA has this season, so he stands alone for MIP.
    NBA: Where LaMazing Happens 🙂

  12. Follower says:

    LeMarcus – Phenomenal season, like most writers were fuming why isn’t he included in the All-star game….

    Kyle Lowry – Triple-doubled for a little known… a superb force since departure of Brooks.

    Kevin Love – the numbers do not lie, incredible… too bad his team Ws werent as high though….

    Nick Young – i agreeeeee, he scores more easily now… kind of a “JR Smith” player…

    Definitely NOT Gortat – he did not improved… just played much more mins compared to Magic days behind Howard…

  13. Bailey says:

    I am a Trail Blazer’s fan and all I have to say is I have no idea where the Blazers would would be without that man. He always backed off because there was Brandon Roy. When he went out injured he took his chance, and not only did he take that chance, but he ripped it clear out of the hands of Ali. I remember the feeling I got when LA made his career high against the Bulls. He tied his career high from the past, and was standing on the free throw line and all he needed was one free throw to build it and before he dribbeled the ball or even thought about shooting it, the Rose Garden blew up in emotion. Portland’s knowledgable fans knew that he could break his career high and LaMarcus just got this hugh grin on his face. That was one of my favorite games I’de ever watched. What killed me is the he didn’t get into the All Star’s. Some people don’t know, his mom has cancer and he wanted his mom to watch him playing the All Star’s when she got done with kemo. Although Aldridge just shrugged and said it was no big deal that he didn’t make it, it had to really hurt. Afterall, his mom was what he did all of this for. Thanks for your time on reading this and I hope you grow to love this man as a player and person as much as me and the rest of Portland.

  14. teezey says:

    LaMarcus or Love

  15. awesomeman says:

    Marcin Gortat – Playing like a top 5 center as of late. (Thanks, Steve)

    Kyle Lowry – Playing like a serious leader, unbelievable ball handling and some extra scoring

    Marcus Thornton – Really giving the Kings a boost, coming off where he started last season in New Orleans.

    LaMarcus Aldridge – An MVP like season, to be honest. Kept the TBlazers alive, while Roy was rehabbing his bad knees.

    Wes Matthews – Really filled in well for Roy, improved every stat.

    Dorrell Wright – An already great defender added in some godly range (expanded on it) and added in that extra scoring for GS.

    Nick Young – Turned into a scoring dynamo, and has some new competition with Crawford right there.

    Kevin Love – Look at Top Scoring and Top Rebounding. Amazing stats, and playing with flair.

    Kris Humphries – Doubled scoring, 3rd in Rebound output/pm, need we say more?

    Eric Gordon – Guys dont forget, he has increased his points by 8 points, that’s a lot, especially when raising it to the 24 range.

    No one is giving love to my man Kevin Martin. No, his scoring isn’t anything new (23 a game), however he has been an epic force getting to the line (#1 in made FT) and is near the top in 3pts made, also a high percentage on that. He has also stayed HEALTHY, providing the Rockets with some hope in there.

  16. Andrew says:

    what about the scalawag brian scalabrine lol

    • Andrew says:

      in all seriousness serge ibaka is having a good year. it may not be a breakout but its getting there. and blake griffin to who knew he would come off an injury and break the clippers curse

  17. BlackMamba24 says:

    Whattttttttt??????????????? What about Tony Allen for Memphis Grizzlies ever since Rudy Gay went out with an shoulder injury, you guys are crazy!!!

  18. Katie says:

    I agree with the guy who said Nick Young. That guy has become an offensive beast this season as opposed to being non-relevant in the last. He scores easily and regularly now. A big honorable mention to Lowry and Marcus Thornton after he arrived at Sac town.

  19. Alex says:

    Aldridge no doubt about it.

  20. Stern sucks says:

    Three years ago I knew Aldridge was a great player. but I NEVER expected him to be this BIG. what’s more disappointing is that, Tim Duncan over Lamarcus??? F.U Popovich

  21. nashrob28 says:

    D Rose wasn’t added because the blog is titled exceeding expectations we all knew D Rose was capable of having the season he is currently having.

  22. Martell W. says:

    I have really liked the play of Lamarcus Aldridge and I think he should win the award. My team (the timberwolves) played him four times and each time he was absolutely stellar. Also, I used to play with him in Portland and he wasn’t nearly as good as he is now.

  23. Biased Fan says:

    I would like to say that not even Blazers fans expected LaMarcus Aldridge to be this excellent offensively nor defensively. LaMarcus has had the perception of being a soft, perimeter big man; a stereotypical European player. This year in the absence of Brandon Roy, Aldridge has become ultra-aggressive with ridiculous minutes. In short, Aldridge has been putting the team on his back!! While the Most Improved Player awardee’s have a horrible reputation of never winning a championship, I would like to see Aldridge or Wesley Matthews receive serious consideration for the Most Improved award and break the trend of never winning a championship.

  24. We LUV G-DuB says:

    LaMarcus Aldridge should definitely get the MIP award this year! If he wasn’t playing like this, the Blazers wouldn’t be in a playoff position. He should have beaten out K-Love, and Tim Duncan!!! If Love played like this with a playoff team, he would get my vote hands down. D-Rose has always been good so you can’t give him it. Although he should get MVP (Dwight Howard is right behind him)!!! Lamar Odom, Jrue Holiday, Josh Smith, and Rajon Rondo don’t get my vote, but they should be considered above Lowry and Gortat.

  25. John says:

    How is Dorell Wright not included in this?

  26. Josh says:

    If Lamarcus Aldridge doesnt get the award then somethin is wack in the NBA. He has improved his game more than anyone in the NBA. The last couple seasons he wasnt even really a star for the Blazers. Now he is like the face of the Blazers and should have gotten into the All Star game above Griffin and Love. Even a veteran All Star Tim Duncan said so.

  27. SomeRandomGuy says:

    The Humphries Dance is your chance, vote for HUMP!

  28. Mark says:

    Nick young went from averaging under 10 points a game to around 20

  29. toaSTEEZ says:

    JOHNNY BLAZE DIDNT U KNOW ITS OBNOXIOUS TO TYPE IN CAPS!!! D Rose gets my MVP but definately not the MIP. most improved would be one of these guys: K Love, K Lowry, K Humphries, M Gortat, Marcus Thornton, Dorell Wright, Wilson Chandler, L Aldridge

  30. Mike says:

    I’d have to say Marcin Gortat ! He deserves the most improved player award.

  31. toaSTEEZ says:

    Players slept on this season: K Love, K Lowry, K Humphries, M Gortat, Marcus Thornton, Dorell Wright, Wilson Chandler.

  32. lakersfanphilippines says:

    Lowry, Gortat, M.Thorton.

  33. Alex Elstone says:

    Your missing Demar DeRozan, Derrick Rose and Kyle Lowry

  34. A15 says:

    Kris Humphries. He is the new big man in new jersey. I feel like he does better than Brook Lopez. He is a definite winner of the Most Improved PLyaer award

  35. johnny blaze says:


  36. Nathan P says:

    Hey what about Blake Griffin, I didn’t reallye xpect him to come off an injury into his rookie season and become an instant superstar, did you? I know everyone knew he’d be good but not this fast off an injury.

  37. Petr says:

    LaMarcus and wesley! GO Blazers

  38. Zivko says:

    Defiitly one of the names has to be Felton. Who taught he would get to be such an important player? I’m also impressed by Ty Lawson, he was ok but I didn’t expect him to fill chauncy’s gap so good. But if we’re talking most improved player award, it HAS to go to LaMarcus Aldrige, just because of the way he has developed as a team leader. It’s more than just stats.

    Of course, if Rose for a weird reason doesn’t get the MVP-axard he should get this one.

  39. Brandon Roy!!! says:

    I think LaMarcus Aldridge has exceeded all expectation this season. Other people like Kevin Love – I’d like to seem him pull of his double-double streak on a good team. Then I might consider him. D-Rose has been awesome this season, but he was always good. Dorell Wright is on a bad team, and Kyle Lowry has been really good recently, but I wonder if he can consistently produce like he is now. I might consider Wesley Matthews, though. He saved the Blazers from missing the playoffs, and he has become a solid 2nd option scorer for a team that is 6th seed in the Western Conference.

  40. SYDALE says:

    Lamarcus Aldridge or Derrick Rose…

  41. Christian says:

    I have to say, Dorell Wright, Kevin Love or Marcin Gortat.

  42. mrs.aldridge says:

    Lamarcus Aldridge ❤

  43. thetruth says:

    ARE U SERIOUS?? no mention of DERRICK ROSE?! who at the start of the season expected d-rose to lead the bulls to the top seed in the east? and then having done it with a new coach, new system, new players, and for large parts of the season without noah and/or boozer…d-rose has definitely outpaced expectations beyond compare to any of the players mentioned here
    shout outs to kevin love tho, 30-30 defines outpacing expectations as well

    • KDEISEL says:

      we’re talkin ‘wildly outpacing expectations’. anyone whos seen drose play would have high expectations of him. and surely he played to his potential this season. this post is for sleepers blind-siding the competition. as impressive it was to see him play this season, to say that one didnt expect drose to play like that is almost offensive, especially to true drose fans who know how good he is already.

  44. stevieooo says:

    Why not Drose??even though hes already good but he got even better this year with his 3pts shooting,im pretty sure at the beginning of season not alot people picked him for MVP,everyone was going with Durant and Lebron.Drose has become the best PG in the nba,Bulls leader,and MVP this year!!i would say thats exceeding expectations

    • NAJ says:

      D Rose is nowhere near most improved. Deng has been amazing this year as have the rest of the team, not just D Rose.

  45. Beefbwpd says:

    Wow how could anyone miss big time most improved player canidate Dorell Wright, He added 10 points to his PPG and doubled almost every other stat across the board. big time miss by the experts.

  46. peter says:

    pretty solid sf for the “i’ll out shoot you” golden state warriors, which is exactly what he does by providing important perimeter 3s as well as fast breaks. although he is not the sf that does it all, he has especially shown out after his stints at miami where his highest scoring average is 7.9.
    with the integration of someone like kevin love, through the getting rid of lee , the warriors can be a serious title contenders for the next 5 years. the bench also need to be strengthened

  47. Rim reaper says:

    Kyle Lowry DEFINITELY

  48. peter says:


  49. SkinnyKidNW says:


  50. Lebron says:

    gotta go with my man HUMP….but only cuz he gets to hump Kim Kardashian….now that’s impressive

  51. Mark R says:

    Kris Humphries has had a great season; doubling his scoring from around 5ppg to 9.8ppg this season. He’s also sitting fifth in the league in rebounding in limited minutes – Pau Gasol, David Lee, Al Horford and Al Jefferson are all behind him. Plus, as his minutes have increased on the season, so have his numbers and he’s third in the league in rebounds per 48 minutues – only Dwight Howard and Kebin Love are better.

    He’s also having his best year shooting as a pro at 53% (his previous best is 48% in Toronto coming off the bench) and doubled his blocks from 0.5 to 1.1 per game. What’s more, he is a double-double machine and maybe doesnt get the attention he deserves playing on a team which isn’t going to make the playoffs.

  52. prix says:

    I would say Kyle Lowry and Gortat exceeds the expectations…Lowry play like Chris Paul in some of the games and the Rockets is fighting for the 8th spot…and Gortat the new Amare of Steve Nash…Its fun watching him running the pick and roll with Nash…He dont even exist in Orlando…and my favorite ofcourse….Grant Hill…age doesnt matter!!!

    • Clakers says:

      prix, are you drunk? or you purposely said things like that to get attention from ppl? Everything you said is like someone who had never watched the NBA for years.

      • LAfan says:

        stupid.. you’re a disgrace L.A fan…Lowry and Gortat plays best this year same as Lamarcus and Nick Young…they’re all above expectations

    • Andrew says:

      gortat has improved well bcuz he gets more minutes which is pretty gud