Player-by-Player: Travis Outlaw

Minutes--  Last Year: 22.9  This Year: 26.7  Change:  +3.8

Points-- Last Year:  9.6  This Year: 13.3  Change:  +3.7

Field Goals Attempted--  Last Year:  8.5  This Year: 11.7  Change:  +3.2

Field Goal Percentage--  Last Year: 43.4%  This Year: 43.3%  Change:  -.1%

Three-Pointers Attempted--  Last Year: 0.6  This Year: 1.2 Change:  +0.6

Three-Point Percentage--  Last Year: 27.0%  This Year: 39.6%  Change:  +12.6%

Free Throws Attempted--  Last Year: 2.7  This Year:  3.6 Change:  +0.9

Free Throw Percentage-- Last Year: 79.0%  This Year:  74.1% Change:  -4.9%

Effective Field Goal Percentage-- Last Year:  44.3% This Year: 45.4%  Change:  +1.2%

Offensive Rebounds-- Last Year: 1.0  This Year:  1.2 Change:  +0.2

Defensive Rebounds-- Last Year:  2.3  This Year: 3.4 Change:  +1.1

Overall Rebounds-- Last Year: 3.2 This Year:  4.6 Change:  +1.4

Assists-- Last Year:  0.8 This Year:  1.3 Change:  +0.5

Steals--  Last Year: 0.9  This Year: 0.7  Change:  -0.2

Blocks-- Last Year: 1.1  This Year:  0.8  Change:  -0.3

Turnovers-- Last Year: 1.0  This Year: 1.3  Change:  +0.3

Salary Status:  One year at $4.0 million and then a team option for one year at $4.0 million

 

The easiest way to understand Travis Outlaw’s season is to point out some of the milestones he reached:

 

--This was his first season playing in all 82 games.

--This was the first time his scoring average cracked double figures.

--This was by far his highest per-minute scoring production of his career.

--This was the fifth consecutive season (every one of his in the league) that his scoring and rebounding averages both rose.  (Though take this with a small grain of salt as his per-minute production has been up and down through those years.)

--This was the highest rebounding season of his career.

--This was the highest per-minute rebounding season of his career if you don’t count his 8-game rookie year.

--He got and made more free throw attempts this year than at any time in his career.

--He got and made more three point attempts this year than at any time in his career.

--He had a career high in assists and assists per minute (the latter again discounting his truncated rookie year).

--He fouled less than any time outside of his rookie season.

--He came within 0.4% of his career high three point percentage.

--He shot 74% from the foul line, second only to his 79% clip of the year previous.

--He played more minutes this year than in any other season.

--He played more fourth-quarter minutes this year than in any other season.

Overall that’s a pretty good body of work for a guy who heretofore had caused people to waffle more than a breakfast shack.  Travis showed why the Blazers were willing to have patience with him all these years.  (He is the longest-tenured Blazer on the team, or on the coaching staff or in the high-profile front office positions for that matter.)   He finally started getting predictable shots from consistent positions.  He found that his extraordinary leaping ability got him clear looks just as much when he was under control as it did when he was playing randomly.  He found more of a place in the team structure as well.  At times we fell prone to getting him the ball, clearing out, and watching but seldom were those his best performances.  This season was as distinct for him fitting in as it was for him standing out…neither of which he had been able to achieve with any consistency up until now.  The game-winners and fourth-quarter spurts were bonuses.

This is not to say all was sunshine and light for Travis.  For all we’ve mentioned, he’s still only half of a player.  His defense has improved but still needs work.  His rebounding is marginal.  His production is still inconsistent compared to mature players.  While he cut down his extreme bonehead plays by a factor of 10 this year his recognition is hardly airtight.   He has serious flaws as either a power forward or a small forward.  Overall he still falls into the category of player you hope for rather than player you trust.  That’s the next step in his maturation.

That said, Travis is a truly unstoppable force on offense when he gets cranking.  Those don’t come along very often.  At $4 million per year Travis is well worth developing for the next couple of seasons unless someone makes us a crazy trade offer.  If his averages keep rising he’ll be quite the asset.  If not, little harm.

Verdict:

Travis_medium

                                   Don't tease us, Baby! 

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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