Last season, as everyone know, shooting guard was a real strength for the Blazers. In fact, 82games ranks the Blazers 4th in the league on the basis of net PER last season:
Rank Team PER Players
1 L*kers +8.5 bryant-vujacic
2 San Antonio +6.5 ginobli-finley-barry
3 Boston +4.4 allen-allen-house
4 Portland +4.3 roy-jack
Detroit and Denver tied for a very distant 5th with a net PER of +3.7 at SG, so the race for 4th place was not even close. This got me wondering...
We believe our team made a major upgrade by replacing Jack with Fernandez, so we expect the Blazers to improve at the 2.
Boston has the same cast of characters at shooting guard, so, given that ours and theirs played neck-and-neck in the stats sheet last year, it would not be very surprising if our improvement propels the Blazers to overtake the Celts in this category. If this happens, then the Blazers would have at least the third best SG tandem in the league next season.
But I think it gets better. The Spurs lost Brent Barry to the Rockets, but replaced him with Roger Mason from the Wizards; the jury is still out on whether Finley re-signs with the Spurs. Barry was a +4 on/off court player, while Mason was a -3 for a lessor team. This suggests the Spurs might lose a bit at SG next season. Also, Ginobli will be coming off the Olympics and that ankle injury he had at the end of last season, so will he run out of gas sometime during the year, or even start slow? Even though the statistics say the Spurs were dramatically better at SG than the Blazers last year, all of these things makes me wonder whether we might surpass even the Spurs at this position, especially if Rudy does well or the Spurs fail to retain Finley. The Roy-and-Rudy show would then be at least second best.
So leads to the inevitable question: will our guys begin their reign as the very best SGs in the league next season? Or is that still a bit too much of a leap?