As I have been attempting to make sense of the draft, I came upon this one question: How many All-Stars will this team have in five years? We all know Roy is guaranteed a spot on the team for at least the next seven or eight years, but what about our other players? In this post, I'm going go through our top 6 or 7 players or so, and analyze the All-Star Possibilities.
"Guys, wouldn't it be cool if we could travel back in time and see the dinosaurs?"
"Dude, you know there are some dinosaurs that are still alive, right?
"No, I never knew that."
"Yeah, there's alligators, and that one thing that took over the Blazers practice facility the other day, BRex."
"Uh-oh. Better get rid of that thing."
"Nah, he's friendly, except to other teams that is."
For getting such limited minutes last year, this kid sure did trigger a whole lot of controversy here on Blazersedge. There are those who are absolutely enamored with him, and there are others who think he has no place on our team. Last season, he did, without a doubt, show us that he has the potential to be great with awesome speed and quickness, and a winner's mentality. However, his weaknesses were also evident; he often just took it to the rack with no awareness of the players around him, or when he did pass, it looked just a little forced and unnecessary. Regardless of this, the things we have seen and heard about Bayless lead me to believe that he has a decent chance if he can do a couple things. First and foremost, he needs to gain confidence in his jumper to the point where he can take pressure of off Brandon Roy. His jumper was great in college, and heralded by many scouts, "His pull up jumper is magnificent; with the elevation, balance, and quick release, he is virtually able to shoot whenever, and over whomever he desires." If he can get his jumper back to form, I believe this kid has a chance.
What the Critics have to Say:
"A must see to believe type of talent Possesses incredible open floor speed, which combined with a devastating first step make him a nightmare to defend Tremendous leaping ability and superb body control allow him to finish in the lane over much taller players Gets great lift on his jump-shot, with range well out to the NBA three His pull up jumper is magnificent; with the elevation, balance, and quick release, he is virtually able to shoot whenever, and over whomever he desires He has great intelligence and confidence plus a swagger that makes him an assassin on the floor in heightened situations Is able to get open shots by making good reads and using screens effectively Aggressive attacking the hoop, and extremely adept at getting to the foul line Great hesitation and change of pace dibbles Flash and flamboyance are nicely contrasted with a high basketball IQ and craftiness Has all the tools to become a special player on the NBA level." -Strengths, NBADraft.net
"Jerryd has a sweet shooting stroke. It is evident with his percentages. He is shooting 48.4 percent from the floor, including 45.7 percent from behind the arch. He also shoots well from the line at 82.3 percent. Other strengths of his game include; strength, high I.Q., and his team first attitude.
Jerryd has two very strong weaknesses. One is, at 6'3", and 193 he may not be able to be a shooting guard at the next level, and his point guard tools need some work. I believe that his defense needs to be sharper, and more consistent.." -MyNBADraft
"He is really one of our hardest workers we have on the team right now. He's always in the gym early, working hard, and you can see he's really starting to pick up the NBA game." - Steve Blake
All-Star Chance: 35%
"Brandon Roy is the best player I've ever played against" - Ron Artest
All-Star Chance: 100%
"Guys, Rudy Fernandez is up!"
"Wait..what? Who is the Martin guy? Aww, whatever."
"AHHHHH that dunk was amazing!!!...........WHAT!?!?!?!?!? WHAT KIND OF CRAP WAS THAT? THESE JUDGES SUCK!!"
Ahh, our sharpshooting, dunk-contesting Spaniard. From the beginning, I have to say that Rudy is the hardest of any of our players to predict. Looking just at last-season, Rudy showed us that he can shoot 3's like no other, get out in the open court, make clever passes, drive to the hoop, play active defense, and move-off-the-ball with extreme skill. This is a guy who has a very, very high Basketball IQ, and it shows in the way he plays. So, if he can do all that, than what's the problem, shouldn't he be a shoe-in for the All-Star Game? Well, not quite. To begin, he did little more than act as a spot-up shooter for us last year. He showed that he could do much more, but that hardly ever happened. Whether or not this is his fault or not is not really clear as it seems this is what Nate wants him to do, which is really a shame because we know he is capable of more. Another obvious problem with Rudy is that he is a natural SG Guard, and I think Brandon Roy has us set there for the next, well, forever. So, what? I think the thing with Rudy is that he is already capable of a lot, has much room to grow, and is stuck in one of the worst places for a guy who wants to be an All-Star. My verdict is this: If he stays here, he will never suit-up for the West and show off his Spaniard Skills for the World. However, if he is traded to another team where he will be able to actually get those 35 minutes he deserves, watch out. However, the chances of us trading him are slim, so his chances are going to have to follow suit.
What the Critics have to Say:
"This Copa del Rey has just confirmed that Rudy Fernandez is head and shoulders above any other player in the ACB League, and one of the very top performers across Europe. He has blossomed this season into a massive scorer and a nightmare for opposing defenses, particularly relying on a fantastic shooting touch that allows him to put the ball in the net from anywhere on the court. He always had showed a nice stroke whenever he was left open, but this season he’s especially standing out by his ability to create his own shot (a la Belinelli, but the Spaniard actually makes them), being able to connect on some pretty wild jumpers." - Draftexpress
"Great basketball IQ, who has the ability to play both guard positions, as he has excellent floor vision. Shows great athleticism, shooting touch with NBA 3-point range, ball handling skills and is very active on the defensive side of the ball. Shows good lateral quickness and vertical jump, possesses a long wingspan. Needs to work on adding bulk to his wiry frame, and improve his of the dribble jump shot.." MyNBADraft
"Has very good athletic skills, showing quick feet, active hands and a long wingspan that he uses effectively to alter shots defensively...Despite his lanky frame, he gets good leg drive and elevation driving through forwards and centers to finish at the rim...Has the court vision and ball-handling skills to play the point...Compensates for a lack of explosiveness with the ability to pull up, set his feet and fire...His lateral agility lets him stay in front of perimeter shooters in pressure-defense situations...Fluid and smooth when elevating and gliding in the air, drawing contact...He has a quick, high release and good success at the charity stripe...Has great basketball IQ and it is very rare to see him force his shot or pass the ball into traffic...Has very good balance in attempts to beat the press and is very good on the one-bounce pass to an open teammate...Gets most of his separation during drives with his good concept for using screens...Fills the lane quickly on the fast break and is the type that never tires...Because of his wingspan, he is capable of defending vs. some forwards and his ability to read the passing lanes and reach around his opponent gives him good success forcing turnovers...When slashing to the basket, he shows quick lateral moves, especially to his right...Has developed a nice reverse layup that he utilizes mostly on his drives and can fool the defender with his ability to switch hands on the ball in flight...Pumps the ball in quickly, thanks to his smooth release...Has the soft, natural hands you like in a guard...Still needs to work on improving his vertical leap, but his wingspan lets him contribute going for the rebound." CBSSports
All-Star Chances: 10%
Oh yeah, remember when I said Rudy Fernandez was going to be the hardest to predict? I lied. To put it simply, Nicolas Batum is like that guy from my dream that came out of nowhere to save the Blazers in the 2011-2012 NBA Championships. Batum played like trash in Summer League(sorry bud), than came out of nowwhere to claim the starting SF position. Then, he played his first Regular Season game, and it was love at first sight. The kid showed us his amazing defense, hard work, and highlight-reel potential on the offensive end. Throughout the season, he continued starting for the team, although he only received about 15-20 minutes a game. In this time, he was able to garner the stats to trigger similarity rankings straight down from heaven.
Are you kidding me? Joe Johnson? Rashard Lewis? Rudy Gay? Monta Ellis? Luol Deng(that guy you guys wanna trade for)? Dirk Nowitzki?!? These scores, combined with what we have seen him do this season, shows us that the kid is absolutely full of potential, and simply needs to work his butt off and achieve what we all know he should. Now, whether he does this or not, I'm not sure, but I think our great coaching staff will help him get there.
What the Critics have to Say:
"Batum is a like a young Pippen." - Michael Jordan, Super Paraphrased due to the fact that the quote was not made public, but talked about on TV
BATUM-SHAKALAKA! - Brian Wheeler
All-Star Chances: 30%
Eh, will do if somebody requests, don't think there's much of any chance. Ah, whatever I'll do it, haha. When Martell was drafted, we were told that he was perhaps the best shooter in the country, and many of us believed that. Then, the season comes along, and Martell shoots a spectacular....35.7% from three-point land. Not exactly that hot..or good at all for a guy who could do little less. He imrpoved over the next two-seasons to shoot about 38.8% during the 07-08 season, but he still had not developed other parts of his game. Then, before last season started, we heard murmurs that Martell had gone into Jerryd Bayless mode and began working his game like never before. Then..BOOM! Ahh, dang it, his foot got hurt. That's alright, he'll be back soon. Yay! Yay! Martell's coming back today mommy! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh..He hurt his foot again! Aww shucks, trade the kid, he's worthless!
Yeah, that's just about the story of Martell's life. If he continues to work his butt off, he can still become a great role player, but I have my doubts.
What the Critics have to ASay:
All-Star Chances: 1%
What the Critics have to Say:
I refuse again.
All-Star Chances: No
"Is.is..is that a bear?"
"No, it's a wolf!"
"Nah, it's a cougar!"
"No, no, it's a deer! Let's go say Hi."
"What's up Deer?"
"Not much guys, just workin' my game."
"Guys..Deer don't talk do they?"
"I.I.I dont think so.."
"Ahahahahha..You guys are silly. I just look like a deer runnin' up and down this court."
*Kids make a run for it*
So, I hope you got the point from that corny conversation up there. LaMarcus Aldridge is, in my opinion, a top three running big man in this league, and it shows when he gets out on the break. Furthermore, he has talents that other big man can only dream of having, and he seems to be finding a way to utilize them. From his rookie season to now, LaMarcus has made great improvements in his defense, shooting, post game, and being more active throughout the game. He is an absolute beast in the open-court, has cat-like quickness for a big-man, and has bulked up to the point where he doesn't get pushed around. Still, he still has tremendous talent that is yet to be exploited, and at 23, he still has plenty of time to develop. He has shown the ability to better his game over the summer over and over again, and I expect no different this summer and for many summers to come. This kid is an All-Star in the making, and anything less would be a slight disappointment.
What the Critics have to Say:
"Though he's 6-foot-11, Aldridge is an excellent shooter for his size and gets a lot of his points off jumpers. Nearly two-thirds of his shots came from outside the immediate basket area, and nearly a third of his tries were long twos. He made 40.3 percent of those, which is OK, but he was even better at short-range shots. He took nearly five short-range jumpers a game and made 45.4 percent of them, a strong mark at a distance where many players struggle." - John Hollinger
"Very long body allows him to block/alter shots and grab plenty of boards. Very high release on his jumper allows him to get off shots in the post over large players. Can also step out and hit the mid-range jumper. Very smart player who knows how to use his body to get great post position and offensive rebounding position." -Collegehoops.net
"It's a deer." - Random Made-Up Kids
All-Star Chances: 85%
"Mom, what is that old guy doing on the Blazers?"
"Oh you silly, he's only 21 years old."
"Mom, I'm 7 years old now, you can't keep telling me these fantasies!"
*runs away crying*
So, as you can see, Greg Oden makes little children cry. But, that's not really the focus of this post, so we can talk about that another day. The real object of this post is for me to prove to you guys that Greg Oden will one day be an All-Star..err.. I mean to analyze whether or not he will ever be an All-Star. So, to begin, let's recap what Greg Oden did this last year. When he was feeling good, Greg was active on the offensive end, dunking on people's heads, and playing stiffling defense. However, when he was a bit down, he was a foul machine, and it was a bit ugly to watch. Overall, he averaged a per of around 18.1, which was actually 2nd best for rookies. Furthermore, he was coming off a major surgery and was never really in shape, so that 18.1 PER is made even more impressive. I have spent a lot of time thinking about Greg's chances, and I can't help but think he has a great chance. Even with all the little things stacked against him this year, he still averaged a 18.1 PER, and showed several glimpses of domination. History tells us that big men who have a PER around this their rookie season eventually dominate, and that is bound to happen again with Oden(http://www.lolsports.com/nba/oden/). To further help his case, none of the people he is being compared to on the previous list had a major knee surgery before their rookie season, so it is fair to see their stats are a bit inflated in comparison to Greg.
I'm not going to go in-depth on Greg more than what I have already said because talking about Greg usually causes people to argue a bunch, so I'm just gonna avoid that all together.
What the Critics have to Say:
"Let’s not forget that Greg Oden is coming off of major knee surgery. According to his blog, he recently started squatting again after a two year layoff. Oden may foul at an incredible rate and “look” terrible while trying figure out the NBA game, but the numbers say he is light years from being a bust. In time he will likely develop into the dominant force we all thought he could be." Lolsports
"He will be an All-Star" - Me
All-Star Chances: 95%