Bru # 1:
While I think the Blazers are over achieving right now and doing a great job amidst a tough schedule, I see one glaring issue. . .
We've got a log-jam on our team. . . and these players are predominantly found at two positions.
PG and SF
PGs: Blake, Sergio, and Bayless in that order
SFs: Webster, Outlaw, and Batum in that order
Mike and Mike this morning reported that Bayless is frustrated and potentially would like a trade because of his limited playing time.
Earlier this season, Outlaw verbalized his frustration with getting his starting spot taken from a rookie.
Same thing with Sergio. . . he was frustrated earlier this season.
We're a quarter way into the season and while we're one of the deepest teams in the league, do you really think the Blazers front office/coaching staff are going to be able to keep all 15 over-inflated NBA egos in check? Doubtful. . . Players want the playing time to get paid more when their contracts are up. That's how the NBA works. You can't keep potentially great players on the bench and expect them to not complain. If I was Bayless, I would be complaining to. I just tore up summer league, I'm a savage on the court, and I'm getting 6 minutes a game.
When was the last time a lottery-pick rookie averaged 6 minutes a game? Especially one with as much potential as Bayless.
As much as Blake is a good person, loves Portland, he's an extremely average NBA player. He's got poor lateral quickness, no strength, and limited driving ability (I know Roy does, but it would be helpful to have two starting backcourt players with that ability).
Bayless also has something that both Blake and Rodriguez lack. . .that edge, that ability to not back down to anyone (e.g. see elbow to Kobe in game one, and walking through Garnett's antics last game against Celtics). He's a better defender, has better driving ability, and is considered by the squad to be one of the best, if not thee best shooter on the team.
Everyone is always saying, "Let's just let this young team grow together."
We can have a great young nucleus that grows together, but realistically, our most valued assets are Roy, Oden, Aldridge, Fernandez, Martell, and Bayless (I think he's going to be great). We can let these guys grow together, and throw in a star vet and be in the NBA elite now and later, instead of just later.
I would like to see a package of Outlaw, Frye, and Rodriguez and/or Blake for a veteran PG and bruiser PF (a Brandon Bass type player comes to mind) as a backup for LaMarcus.
I would really like to see Bayless become the second string PG. . .as mentioned before, we need a better defender that will stop opposing PGs from getting down the lane and someone to take a little pressure off B Roy. The more experience we give Bayless now, the faster he can progress into becoming that great combo guard the Blazers could really utilize.
My thoughts on the situation I guess. . . regardless, I'm excited to be a fan of such a promising young franchise built around great character and talent. I'd be happy playing with what we have. . .I just worry about playing with almost too much depth, and having to deal with the frustration of deserving players getting snubbed and becoming problematic.
First Reply (Bru#2):
In regards to Bayless;
There have been plenty of lottery picks that haven't seen playing time from the get go. Jermaine O'Neal, Darko Milicic, Andrew Bynum, Martell Webster, Luke Jackson, Fred Jones, the list goes on. While I would prefer Bayless on the court to Sergio or Blake even, I don't think he is ready. I also don't believe he asked for a trade. Are guys unhappy when they don't play, always. I want my guys on the bench to want to play, that is competitive nature.
I want Bayless to be the starter in 2-3 years. I do see a need to get him more playing time for development purposes and I think after this season, Sergio will be gone.
One thing that isn't talked about is the development of Fernandez's game. His all around game is average. While he is a good passer and shooter, he can't drive and is mostly dependent upon a playmaker to get him the ball, that is partly the reason Sergio is sticking around. He and Rudy play well together. Rudy needs to figure out how to create is own shot that isn't a step back 3. This will allow him to fit better with Bayless, Blake or Roy.
I love Channing but I agree he will be gone next year if not this. This will open up minutes with Travis at the 4 in the second unit. While he may not be strong he will be helped by the length of Przybilla and Batum with Rudy and Bayless/Blake. Diogu can also fill in.
All this said, I don't think anything needs to be changed this year. Martell still hasn't been integrated into the team and that could change our makeup. I say let it ride into the offseason when some of the money comes off or our books so we have flexability and we can decide then.
Second reply (Bru # 3):
think we already have the bruiser in Ike Diogu (who I have always thought was better then brandon effing bass). I'd like to see a GOOD point guard, not a VETERAN point guard. Whether or not they have been in the league awhile doesn't really mean s*** to me. I don't want a Jason Kidd type or a Mike Bibby type or anything like that. Somebody who is good and still has something left... and honestly there aren't a whole lot of candidates out there. I think finding a good 3 might be a whole lot easier, but then you cut into a lot of guys' minutes. I'm still for standing pat, unless you can get something for Frye.
Graham, I agree almost completely with the slight correction that J O'Neal wasn't a lottery pick. Anyways, Lottery picks frequently don't get to play, especially when they are 19 year old college freshmen. I actually like sergio's game, and see him as a longer term solution then Blake. You can always teach someone to shoot, and thats what he's missing on the offensive end.
Third Reply (Bru #2 again):
Sergio needs to improve shooting and defense, and that is the most important thing Bayless brings. We give up so much penetration, which can be attributed to so many things like bigs not sliding over, but mostly it is Sergio and Blake's lateral quickness, or lack thereof. Neither is athletic which is Bayless' advantage.
Good catch on "What about Jermaine?" I'll substitute it with Marcus Haislip of Bucks infamy.