The Blazers had a great year and I can’t wait for summer league. That said, there are some issues to address this off-season. They’ve successfully built a good young team that has the potential to be special. With such a solid core, KP&CO will surely be looking to fill in every last roster gap.
As far as most can tell, the SG, SF and C positions are set for awhile. We need to start looking for Joel’s replacement in a couple years, but other than that, there aren’t any holes in those three positions.
At PG, the Blazers started Steve Blake and allowed Sergio and Bayless to earn back-up minutes. Blake is gradually aging and has some well-documented faults. Sergio has been molded by the organization, but he seems to be on his way out. Whether or not Bayless is developing into the PG of the future is the big question.
At PF we have LaMarcus Aldridge. His back-ups this year have been some combination of Travis Outlaw and Channing Frye. The series against Houston did a great job of showing why some feel the need to beef up behind Lamarcus, be it Outlaw’s untimely and off-target jumpers or his inability to guard Houston bigs. Frylaw’s inability to get crucial rebounds was devastating. Over summer, the question of back-up PF needs to be addressed, even if what’s desired is inaction.
This off-season, the Blazers as an organization will have two big questions to answer:
1. What’s the deal at PG?
2. Who is our Backup PF?
Question 1 has many answers:
- Steve Blake is the starter. Bayless will be the backup and eventual starter. Sergio is as good as gone.
- Steve Blake is the starter. Sergio is the backup. Bayless is gone.
- Bayless is the future and the future starts now.
- Steve Blake, then the rookie PG we’re getting in the draft.
- We will trade for a starting PG and the back-up role will go to Bayless.
- Ricky Rubio.
This is the only part of the roster that doesn’t allow me to make an educated guess regarding what’s going to happen. I do think though, that management has a plan and knows what they’re going to do. It’s very possible that we’re content with Blake for the next couple seasons before handing the reigns over to B-rex. What happens to Sergio is anybody’s best guess
Don’t sleep on KP trading for a starting-caliber PG. He has plenty of young, valued assets, which include both players and draft picks. I won’t be surprised if he swings a deal to land a guy who could take us to the next level, but the safe bet is that no big changes are coming
I also wouldn’t blink twice if KP did some draft day maneuvering to land a PG he covets; someone like Lawson or even, god-forbid, Ricky Rubio. Whatever they decide to do, we as fans have every reason to believe they’ll make the right decision.
Question 2 has 6 possible answers:
- Travis Outlaw.
- Outlaw. However, we will also draft a PF to develop.
- We will draft DeJuan Blair to come in and give us 15 minutes a night.
- We will pick up a PF like Chris Wilcox through free agency.
- We will trade for a PF before next season’s deadline.
- Three words: Joel “G-Funk” Freeland
Doesn’t it feel good that one of the two major concerns going into the off-season is finding the “back-up PF of the future”? Things were very different not too long ago. Thank you Blazer management
I don’t really mind which of these options comes into play. If we keep Travis, we have a guy who we know packs a scoring punch off the bench, creates match-up problems at the 4, and is a valued member of this team. It’s hard to see us turning our backs on TO. It doesn’t make enough sense. Sure, he’s not the banger a lot of people want backing up the L-Train, but are Maxiel or Bass really viable back-up options
I think besides keeping Travis, it would be wise to look at developing a banger by picking up DeJaun Blair in the draft. Don’t overlook the possibility of trading up to get Jordan Hill. It’s a weak draft, a bad economy, and KP is our gm. How sick would a frontcourt of Aldridge/Hill/Oden be? I would love watching that for the next 10 years. Unlike other teams.
Conclusion: I really believe that this team will be completely built by next season’s trade deadline. That means KP having a group of guys who he believes can compete for a championship each of the next 4+ years. Thus, I expect Bayless to take over the PG spot unless we trade/draft someone better (brilliant, I know). I don’t think Blake is the long-term answer. I also hope Travis sticks around. He’s part of the team, and isn’t going to be seeing too many minutes anyway. But damn, I would love to see us draft DeJaun Blair.
*Quick Draft Note
The Blazers are poised to, once again, make noise in this year’s draft. Between the perception of a “weak” draft class and the number of valuable trade assets that KP&CO hold, it is very possible they will target a player and go after him hard. I don’t see why they couldn’t lock in on Rubio or Hill if they decide that’s who they want.
Look at the possibility of trading with the Wizards. They’re facing some serious financial issues and are going to have to make some tough decisions. It’s not clear whether they could even pay a top-5 pick. They’re realizing the core they’ve put together cannot compete for a title. Arenas just can’t stay healthy. Jamison and/or Butler could be on the way out. The rebuilding is underway. Now, they may be perfectly content to draft their favorite guy. Or, maybe they’ll be looking for some value. If they don’t get the first pick and end up #2, how are they gonna convince Rubio to come over or even pay his buyout?
If we decide Ricky Rubio is the truth, as I believe him to be, then I think we’ll get him. I can’t see the Wiz turning down an offer of Bayless/Outlaw/Sergio/09 1st and a Future 1st for their pick. I’d even take back a bad contract. There wouldn’t be much use for cap space with a line-up of Rubio/Roy/Batum/Aldridge/Oden. How you could pay all those guys is a different story. (And if reading that line-up doesn’t make you salivate, you aren’t a fan)
My point is, there is absolutely nothing stopping the Blazer management from targeting a guy and getting him. We have the disposable assets to do so. They might decide to target someone in the draft or maybe they’ll latch on to an active player and swing a trade. Either way, I think this team stands to get substantially better this off-season.
Personally, I would do everything possible to get Rubio. If not, look at Hill. I’d also be happy with Lawson and/or Blair. I’d mention others, but I can’t see anyone else in the draft who could really help this team or be anything more than a project. Regardless, the excitement I have for this team is continuing to build.
** In case you didn’t notice, I have no idea what’s going to happen this off-season. All my opinions are based on educated-speculation and my relentless, undying fantasy of becoming an NBA GM.
***I will have some upcoming fanposts that will look into the effects Rubio and Hill could have on our team, both short and long term.
****If you want to win now and not even think about wasting assets to draft another project, please erase everything you’ve just read from your memory and go back to convincing yourself Andre Miller is the only thing keeping us from a title.