I have finally come to the realization that most of these current Blazers will not be with this team, if it ever wins a championship. This is not because of this stretch of bad basketball, but just the conclusion of a season long evaulation of the talent that is currently on our roster. Sure I may be wrong, I am not an NBA scout by any means, however I do believe that any fan who really watches all the games can see from a basic understanding, which players are helping a team win, and which really don't.
Roy and most likely Oden are guarentees. I say most likely only because there is a small bit of doubt about Greg's game, as he has not even played a single NBA game I am not going to call him a legit NBA center just yet.
LMA - I think he will stay with us, but only if he continues to improve. In only his second year, he has done some great things, but he also shows us every game that he still have alot to learn. Boxing out for rebounds, consistant post moves, as well as consistant moves outside the post, besides the face up jumper are all areas for improvement, and without improvement he will be gone.
Outlaw - Great sparkplug type guy off the bench. I think he will stay with us as well, but he still needs to understand and consistantly do well at help defense as well as individual defense. His offense while wonderful, is still in need of major development. He has about 3 moves, all of which are very good, but once a team knows those moves, he is kinda screwed. Now he needs to develop counter moves, so that he can keep defenses guessing. He also needs to be able to play the small forward position, the Blazers can not win a championship with Travis outlaw as the back up power forward.
Martell: He will be traded. I am sad to say that but I believe it is the truth. I am sure the team will give him every opportunity to prove his worth, and I do see growth in him this year, but in the mental part of the game he is fighting a losing battle. He is horrible on defense, especially help defense, and for a "shooter" he can't seem to make a shot under pressure. If he is to stay with the Blazers for a championship run, he needs to develop into a very good defensive player, (the same can be said for all the players who will be on any championship team), because his offense is so limited, if he can't play defense, then he can't play at all.
Jack: He will be traded. I love Jack, I love his emotion, and leadership. But the guy just can't play well enough to keep around. Lucky for the Blazers he can play well enough to be of interest to other teams. His turnovers are killers, his shooting is below par, and he can't lead a break to save his life. What good would it do us to have a great shot blocking center like Oden, if we can't get out of the break after the block because our point guard can't run a break?
Blake: He will be traded/not resigned. I think the Blake signing was a good one, and I think he will play out his contract, but I don't think he will be resigned, unless maybe has a back up point, but really I don't even see that. He is just too limited in both defense and on offense.
Sergio: Hard to say, my gut says 50/50 to be traded or to stay. I don't believe he will ever be the starting point guard for the Blazers, or any NBA team. His defense is just that bad. In the end, I think he will be traded.
Frye: Traded/not-resigned. I believe Frye will be gone sooner rather than later, meaning this summer. His game is alot like LMA, but not as good. We need a rebounder/physical back up power forward, he is not it.
Joel: I think he will stay, but his role on the team will deminish over the years, and I think the main reason he will stay, is because he loves Portland, and is very loyal to KP. He will take less money to stay here for a championship run, vs a bigger paycheck to play elsewhere.
The rest of the team will be either traded/not resigned.
When I look at this list, it makes me realize how good the team was playing in December and January, because this team is just not that good. They are a 40-42 in team at the most, and it seems that is going to be close to what they finish at. The main pieces are there to build on, but all of the surrounding pieces need to be adjusted, which is why cap space is so important to this team. Freedom in 09 to bring in quality starting players in positions of need is a huge advantage.
But like I said at the beginning, it is sad for me to realize that when looking at this blazers roster, I only see 4 or 5 possible hold overs to any championship team that may come to it. Roy, Oden, LMA, Outlaw, and Joel. If we were not all die hard Blazer fans, would we really be that impressed with anyone else on this team? Sure James Jones is a quality player, but I don't see him playing at his peak or even close to it by the time this team would be ready to compete for a championship. But we will need players to fill the roll he is filling on this team. We can all see how important one quality roll player can make.
I am not saying that KP is going to BLOW UP the blazers, but I am saying that over the next few years, I believe these players are going to move on to other teams, and as much as I like them as both men and players, I feel that the team will be better for it. So I will continue to watch each game this year, and go to a few more as well. I will cheer for my team and its players, and then wish them well as they move on.
So those are my views, I am courious to know who you think will stay, and who will move on? And ofcourse why you think so.