Defense or Offense? -- You Decide!

Some say our defense has been lagging. I certainly cant argue with that. I also say our our offense has been lagging. Most of our key offensive producers are shooting way below their normal average. Below is a quick look at our current stats for the first 3 games we played.


Lets start with the glaring issue we have right now with cold shooters. Our field goal percentage actually stinks right now, of course with the exception of LMA, Rudy and Roy. Heres the numbers thus far:

Name                    FG%     FGA - FGM      3A - 3M        3FG%

Roy    -                   .426%    23 - 54             7 -15          .467%

LMA   -                   .537%    22 - 41               -  -

Web  -                   .474%    9 - 19                3 - 6            .500%

Oden -                   .455%    5 - 11                -  -

Blake-                    231%     3 - 13                 2 -9            .222%

Andre-                    323%    10 - 31              1 - 5             .200%

Joel-                       .375%    3 - 8                   -  - 

Travis-                   .367%    11 - 30              3 - 9            .333%

Rudy                      .522%     12 - 23             5 - 14          .357% 


Where its glaring is easy to spot. Blake, Miller, and Outlaw all are performing way under par. Look at their line for the first 3 games. Sure each of them has had one decent game apiece so far this season, but one decent game added together with two totally crappy games equals...well those numbers up above! First Blake, hes so cold right now he needs a eskimo parka under that jersey! on 2pt's and 3pt's he shooting terribly. Making under 30% of your shots when you are one of our counted on 3point scorers is hurtings us big time. But .231% is almost unforgivable. Blakes gameline vs Denver was something like 0 - 3 on 2pt's and 0 - 2 for 3pt's, he had just 3 assist and 1 steal(same game Miller went 3 - 11 on 2pt's and 0 - 3 on 3pt's and ended with 8pts total and 5 assists). Not good production from our PG's so far. Another glaring dark spot(oxy moron) has been the disappearance of Travis. He came out in the first game and blew everyone away like a true Outlaw!  Since then he's been riding the dusty trail off to lala land. His overall fg% isnt too bad, but its only decent because he had such a great first game. Versus Denver Trav went 0 - 8 on 2pt's and  0 - 1 on 3 pts. Another thing pops out at me, Martell is actually hot right now. Hes shooting great, and making good decisions. Right now his play is great--the only problem-- his teammates arent getting him the ball enough or he isnt shooting it enough when he gets it. Hes only takin 19 shots and 6  3pt attempts. This is terrible for us if you consider the fact that some of our cold shooters are shooting more than Web who is hot right now. Right now, Roy, LMA, Rudy, Web and Oden are playing great. Odens 5 - 11 is fine with me for now. He has been a defensive beast  and the offense hasnt been needed from him. Even so he's hit almost %50 of his shots. And speaking of defense, lets now look at some defensive stats.

First we are #1 in blocks thanks to Greg Oden but also Joel has been getting his as well. We also have the highest rebound % in the NBA. Oden is ranked 16 in rebounding but he also played the least amount of minutes (23min)for any of the top 16 players. Odens 23 min compared to Bosh's 39min or Howards 33min is why Greg is #16 instead of  top 5. Only Tim Duncan is close to Gregs minutes at 26mins per game but Big Tim the vet is ranked #4. My point is, give Greg 35 minutes a game and he will probably be a 12 - 15 rebound a night guy. Anyways, overall as a team, weve outrebounded everyone weve played. So far weve got 132 reb compared to 101 for opponents and weve got 38 offensive rebs to just 27 for opponents. Thats huge! Blocks are also our strong suit. So far we have 25 blocks compared to 6 for our opponents! Steals is any area we need to pick it up in. So far we have 18 steals compared to 24 for our opponents. Turnovers are certainly killing us. We average 16 per game! Thats horrible! We had 15 to's last night alone! 7 to's  vs Denver and 26 in the first game vs Houston! Our teams ast/to is just a paltry 1.21. Fastbreak points are killing us as well. We have only 13 fastbreak points compared to 36 for our opponent!

So whats all this mean to me? Well first of all it means the Blazers are working twice as hard as most of their opponents and still have lost a couple they should have won. I think our cold shooters like Blake, Miller and Outlaw need to get it going. I think as a team we need to protect the damn ball and stop turning it over. As much as I dont like Charles Barkley, I have to agree with his assessment on TNT the other night, WE NEED TO ESTABLISH A POST PRESENCE AND NOT TRY TO SURVIVE AS A JUMP SHOOTING TEAM! LMA needs to Take it to the rack!! LMA and ODEN have what it takes to dominate the post for years to come, they just need to do it. We have all the parts to contend, they just need to fill their roles. I mean seriously think about it, we have a slow methodical unit, we also have a quick run n gun unit. We can out rebound any team!  We have a defensive post presence now  and are already outblocking our opponents by miles!! So many pieces of our puzzle are in place, now its down to the hard parts, the pieces that look like all the rest and you cant quite find their spot. Soon those pieces will begin to fall into place.

What all this means to me is we have a team that is quite like a muscle car. At times it sits there absolutely quiet, making not a sound. But inside, waiting for a key to be turned is a beast, ready to tear up anything in its path. All it needs is a little gas, and that key to be turned and suddenly you have an unstoppable force bearing down upon you. Its coming. Dont you worry folks, its coming. Nate is an excellent driver! And soon the trail will be blazing with the scream of all that pent up fury like burning rubber in a black n white James Dean flick. All our opponents will see is our grills and by then they will be asking if anyone got the plate number--but by then we will be long gone--hit n run--off to the next Big Game. Until there is only one "Big Game" left. Then and only then does that muscle car get a break, when the last race is won!

The Blazers are my favorite team and the only team in any sport I care to watch. Whether they are good, great, bad or worse, they will always be my favorite team. Its still really early in the season. Its not time to get worried. Everyone needs to have faith in our squad--because together, the ants, can conquer the elephants!




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