Blazer Preview Part Ten: Juan Dixon

I am away from the blog until Sunday attending to family matters.  My main man Atma Brother One of Golden State of Mind fame is helping out by continuing to post the daily Blazer preview stuff for me.  He also said he would post himself if any significant Blazer events went down.  I didn't pay him extra to monitor the comments, so please keep them to their usual excellent standards.

Juan Dixon

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 164 lbs

Age: 28

Years Exp.: 4

Games Played: 76

Started: 42  

Minutes: 25.3

Points:  12.3

FG%:  .435

3PT%: .382

FT%:  .804

OffReb: 0.4

DefReb: 1.9

TotReb: 2.3

Stl: 0.76

Blk: 0.08

Ast: 2.0

TO: 1.5

Ast/TO:  1.32

Fouls:  2.1

Assets

--Dixon was one of the few guys in our backcourt last year who could get their shot off cleanly in pressure situations.  He's deceptively quick going left and right with the ball in his hands.  

--He also became a semi-dependable clutch scorer.

--He was far and away our best three-point shooter last year, even better than Martell.

--He has the kind of offensive game that allows him to draw fouls and he'll hit those charity shots.

--He's one of the only experienced guys in the backcourt.

--He doesn't embarrass the team in public.

Challenges

--Juan is small and not horribly athletic or strong.  He has to deceive you to score.

--He doesn't defend well.  His quickness on offense doesn't translate into staying in front of his man.  He doesn't bother anybody with his hands either.  Whether they drive or bomb from the perimeter, opponents rub their hands when they see him across from them.

--He's not horrible, but for a guy his size you wish he dribbled and passed a little better.  

--He tends to focus on his own scoring.

--He doesn't always get back in transition.

--His overall stats last year were superior to Martell's, but you wonder if Juan hasn't hit the apex of his development.  There doesn't seem to be anywhere else he can go except to 30 minutes a game with a couple more shot opportunities and all of the same shortcomings.

Notes

If I were playing against Juan I would simply accept that he's going to make some crazy shots, hope those disrupt the Blazers' offensive flow as much as they help, and then try to torch him back for every one of those points on the other end of the floor.  As soon as he drove deep and put up one of those circus shots, I'd have the guy guarding him leak out.  43.5% of the time I get burned.  56.5% of the time I've got a leg up on a layup while he's still down on the baseline admiring his shot.  Even if he's the only veteran presence in a young backcourt he's not the kind of presence that's going to help calm his mates.  If anything he'll encourage them to be wild themselves.

As I said a few weeks ago, nobody wants to see Juan, but we're going to at the beginning of the year.  We need the offensive outlet, the experience, and the dribbling ability.  The two scenarios are that Nate plays Juan big minutes in November to absorb the early-season losses so the kids don't have to or Nate plays the kids, they get slaughtered, and Juan gets more playing time two weeks in to provide a break, a change, or just to bide time.  For all that he's getting maligned, though, he wasn't all that bad last year.  He and Blake were clearly the best guards out there (by virtue of everyone else being young, if nothing else).  I would guess he keeps us close in a couple games, if not helping us to actually pull one out.  He's not the type of guy that will be a key player on a playoff squad, but he's serviceable for what we need right now.  (Basically live bodies, scoring, and some idea of how to play without getting completely lost or embarrassed.)

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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