Over the last year or so, there seems to one Blazer who, despite his limited playing time, seems to strike up an enormous amount of conversation. Most people either love him or hate him. If you can't figure it out by now, I'm talking about Sergio.
I am a big fan of him. I love nothing more than a sweet pass that leads to a phenomenal dunk that brings the crowd to it's feet. The energy from there becomes contagious. I also think that a world of untapped innate ability is really much better to have in a player than strong commitment and just moderate (NBA level) talent. Yeah, they have to work at it, but there are a lot of mediocre talents trying to make it that just won't ever cut it. There are 30 other teams, and taking the safe bet will beat out half of them. The risks that pan out help you beat out the 29th. Sergio still has the potential to become awesome. But there is of course the risk that he won't.
To my surprise, many readers recently seem to think that this has been a dead issue. The drafting of Bayless is the organization proclaiming the end of the Sergio experiment. Uh, why? Before we went into the draft we knew the position we were going to draft for was the point. On top of that, we traded a point guard above El Mago on the depth chart to get Bayless. Furthermore, I still question his long term role on this team. Yeah, he was a great pick up where he was, and could be a fantastic scorer. It is difficult seeing him playing on the first team, where he would actually take shots away from Roy and not distribute to Oden or LMA that much. His defense seems like exactly what is needed there though. Yet, I have the feeling that he will remain a better fit on the white unit. That still leaves us with a hole in the point on the black unit. While Blake is a good fit right now, I'm not sure he is gonna be the guy who takes us to the promise land. That still leaves us us with the bigger problem, that we still have no ultimate answer to the question at the point.
The thing is, I'm fine with that. It would be nice to have it figured out now, but I am optimistic that we have enough firepower and potential to come up with an answer when we need it. We just need to have patience in this era of 'win now or trade someone and fire the coach too'. When Sergio was drafted, no one thought he would contribute right away. It was assumed that he would at least need 3 years at minimum to develop into an NBA caliber player. Personally, being that the point is such a tough position to fully grasp, I would like to give the guy 5 years. It seems like he may be able to get that now. With Koppenen playing in Italy and getting paid like royalty to develop, that means we are now down to 3 point guards for the next 4 years, unless it is decided that PK has developed enough to come overseas. However, I just don't think that will be a likely scenario in the next 2 or even 3 years unless he lights the Euroleague on fire.
One thing worth pointing out though is that the organization HAS NOT given up on Mag (yeah, I don't use Spanish chocolate. The point of a knickname is to make it easier to refer to that person. That one drags out and is just awkward. Even more so, he's not black, so it's just confusing). In fact, he is currently our longest tenured point guard. Do you really think there is no interest from the rest of the league in a point guard with great vision and the ability to bring the crowd to it's feet? Come on. The management has decided to keep him for a reason. The fans however seem to have a new point guard every month. In the last year, let's count the answers at the point that the fans have vigorously backed. Green, Roy, Bayless, Rudy, Koppenen and Jack (do you remeber last November?). Surprisingly, Blake doesn't seem to have a huge following, and he's our #1 guy! That's not even counting the trade theories involving Williams, CP3, and Harris. Despite his tenure, the overwhelming consensus is that Sergio's stock has gone down. Hmmm.
I think that ultimately Sergio will be the key in solving our point guard spot. Honestly. I think that either he will develop into the #1 point, or he will be part of a package to help the team who does give us our 1 spot to lead us through the championships a good deal of compensation or at least hope for the future for their loss.
But I, for one, want him to stay right here. In order for him to do that, there is no question that he needs work. He turns the ball over, not an absurd amount (2.66 to 1 assist to TO ratio), but enough to be worried. He backs away from taking the easy two. Those should be the easy fixes with a fair amount of work. The bigger problems are his shooting percentage (under 40%) and his defense. He has good size for a point at 6-3, has quick hands and can make a steal, and he is a quick as a humming bird, but he just doesn't have the fundamentals to be as effective as he needs to be. If he can put in the work and turn those two aspects of his game around to at least average while showing that he has made a commitment to improve on them, that will be the difference between him being trade bait and being our guy.
I also think this year he will need to take two steps forward after his 21 year old sophomore slump. I think this year will be a great chance to do it. Yes, Rudy is coming over and it seems to be the opinion that that should help (because that they both speak Spanish?). But really there will be a much wider array of scoring options, and that will be the complement to his game that could make the difference. I think the man he would have a fantastic mutually beneficial partnership with would be Oden. He has a long way to go before he proves he can play with that squad, but if he gets there, watch out.
So am I a ridiculous homer? Is there still some love out there for Sergio? What is it that you want to see from him this season? Was that really TominHawaii that left us the "I'll see you in the preseason" message?