There is angst in Blazerland! Free Bayless the masses scream! I enjoyed Ben's great post about Jerryd's improved play and agree that he has earned more minutes. Where does he get them? The obvious answer is he'll get some run at the backup 2 position until Rudy gets healthy, but in the long run we need to learn if Bayless is a PG. I certainly don't want to see any more of Miller and/or Blake playing the "2". Bad idea that is now a proven failure! People are up in arms about coaching decisions and how the PG minutes are distributed, but there is no way that a 3rd string PG is going to get consistent minutes. If Bayless is going to get minutes it's because Blake or Miller have been demoted to the #3 PG. There are certain facts that make this an extremely difficult decision for the coach. Who is the odd man out as the #3 PG?
1). If and when this team is healthy, there should be no available minutes at the 2 for any of our 3 PGs. Roy should play at his natural position as much as possible and Rudy should get the backup minutes. While the team is short-handed, Bayless needs those minutes. How is it possible that Bayless got zero opportunity in the 2nd half of last night's game backing up the 2? Ridiculous!!
2). Blake led this team to 54 wins last year as the starting PG. I think the coaches are more comfortable with Blake on defense than Miller or Bayless currently. Is that like winning the beauty contest at a uni-brow convention? Bottom line is I don't find it surprising that the coach is hesitant to relegate Blake to 3rd string at this point. Many feel like this is Nate's biggest failure. I think there are very few coaches who would be comfortable making Blake a 3rd stringer right now. As a talent, there are likely few GMs looking for a player who can do what Blake does. As an expiring contract he does have some trade value.
3.) Miller was signed for $7M+ a year to be our 3rd stringer? Let's be honest! KP signed him to be our starter and the whole NBA world is shocked that it hasn't played out that way. Is he the ideal complement for Roy? It doesn't appear that he is. Can we or should we demote him to 3rd string? Again, I don't think there are any NBA coaches that would put their big $$ off-season free agent aquisition at the end of the bench. Is this a failure by Nate? Hard to see it that way.
4.) I don't know if Bayless is our PG of the future, but in my opinion the decisions we made this past off-season were made with the intention that he is our PG of the future. Does anybody believe that KP sees Blake or Miller as the long-term solution at PG? There were younger options at PG if KP wasn't looking for a short-term solution while Bayless grew into the starting PG role. If that is the plan, there has to be a plan to help him develop. That plan has to include opportunity this year on the floor as a PG. Doesn't it? If he stays the #3 PG there will not be minutes!
So what is the solution?
We should move Miller to the starting unit and let him know he has until the trade deadline to show that he can mesh with Brandon in that role. He should also be on the floor to finish games.
I would go to Bayless right now and tell him that he's getting all the backup minutes behind Brandon until Rudy is healthy. Try to pair him mostly with Miller and have Miller guard the opposing teams "2" on defense. That would mean that Blake would be my first sub off the bench so that when Roy is ready for a breather, Miller is ready or near ready to come back in. I would also tell him that if he can show the ability to play defense on the oppposing PG at this level, he will be the backup PG after the trading deadline.
Let Blake know that he's the backup PG now and that he better find his shooting touch or he's going to lose that spot. By the trading deadline, make a decision as to which of the veteran PGs blends best with the rest of the team. Move the other guy (there has been a lot of talk of moving Miller, but he didn't generate much interest as a FA last summer and I think there would be a bigger market for the SBEC than for Miller) or be prepared to put one of the vets as your 3rd string guy who won't see the floor unless there is foul trouble or an injury to the guys ahead of him on the depth chart. By the end of the season you'll have seen enough of Jerryd to know what you have and how to plan for the future.
Oh, and by the way, you don't fire the coach over this. All 30 GMs would have taken GO means KP made the only decision he could at that time. All 30 coaches in the league would have been in an impossible situation with 3 PGs who all deserve floor time. I'm sure not everybody agrees with that, but I think it has been an impossible situation for Nate to keep everyone happy. Our veteran PGs have not played to their potential. Some of that may be Nate's fault, but Blake missing wide open 3's isn't Nate's fault. Miller not being a perfect fit for what this team needed is not Nate's fault. He does, however, need to make the right decision on how to move forward. This is what I think he needs to do!