Crazy days here at B Edge. Half the inmates are on the verge of calling for KP's head. At least half seem to be upset at the prospect of Turkoglu in black and red.
Has KP suddenly lost his touch?
On one hand, the ambivalence, and even anger, seems understandable. Most of us went into the off-season believing that the teams top two priorities were an upgrade at the point and at back-up PF. A few were advocating for more scoring from the SF position, but most were willing to develop Nic and Martell. Furthermore, most of us were more concerned about improving the teams defense, rather than trying to improve its already efficient offense.
Given this context, it is not surprising that many have leaped to the conclusion that our once brilliant GM has suddenly lost his mind. Spending all our precious cap space on a slow, 30 year old SF, who is at best inconsistent on the defensive end, doesn't seem like a very good idea. I understand this reaction.
Maybe a bit more humility would be advised
On the other hand, it is pretty surprising that so many B Edgers have been so quick to abandon the good ship, HMS Pritchard. After all, KP has compiled a truly outstanding track record over the past three years. It flat out amazes me how many fans are quick to substitute their own judgement for KP's. Personally, I am happy to admit that KP knows a heck of a lot more than I do. He has access to far more information than any of us. He is the guy with the "golden gut" who has been so successful at identifying talent and figuring out how to get it to Portland.
I may not know what the plan is, but I am sure that KP has one. KP seems to be playing three dimensional chess when most GMs are playing checkers. I don't want to get too carried away in my praise, KP puts on his pants one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. It is possible that he can make a mistake, and it is even possible that he could make a very large mistake. However, given his track record, doesn't it make sense to give KP the benefit of the doubt? Rather than criticizing every move that we didn't anticipate, why don't we try to understand his strategy as the moves unfold? Criticizing KP seems like the height of hubris.
What is the deal with Hedo?
As I mentioned above, Hedo seems like the answer to the wrong question. We need defense and improved play at PG and PF. My guess is that KP concluded that he couldn't really improve our PG situation through Free Agency. The top three PGs are 36, 34, and 32 years old. Given the every increasing number of uber-quick, young PGs in the league, those guys are extremely likely to struggle on the defensive end.
After thinking about it for the past couple of days, I think Hedo is an excellent example of KP thinking outside of the box. If you can't find a traditional PG, then how about addressing a need for more play-making by acquiring a point forward? If you throw out the position labels and start thinking about team needs, Turkoglu starts making a lot of sense in a hurry. Team needs:
1) Playoff experience: more than the rest of the squad combined;
2) An additional scorer who can get his own shot and perform under pressure;
3) Reduce the teams over-reliance on Roy's isolation moves;
4) An additional play-maker who can get easy shots for his teammates;
5) A player who can run the pick and roll effectively:
Hedo is "Trout Plus." He can score like Trout. He can spread the floor like Trout. He can take big shots like Trout; but he can also do much more: he can bring the ball up court, he can drive to the hoop, above all, he can set-up his teammates. Turkoglu has an extremely high BBIQ. Unlike Travis who often stopped the movement of the ball, Hedo is a consummate set-up man.
KP: "Above all else, Hedo is a player who will make his teammates better"
This is the money quote. What does KP mean? I think it is likely that he means the following:
1) Hedo helps Roy: by providing another ball-handler and scorer Hedo takes weight off of Roy and makes it harder for teams to double. If Roy is handling PG responsibilities, Hedo can bring the ball up-court.
2) Hedo helps Greg: Hedo is going to get Greg easy scoring opportunities off of good passes and the side pick and roll. D Howard is not much better in the low post than Greg, and yet he is scoring nearly 20 pts a game. Much of the credit should go to Hedo.
3) Hedo helps LMA: opponents often sagged off Nic to double LMA. They won't be able to do that now.
4) Hedo helps Blake: Hedo will draw much more defensive attention and more spot up shots for Steve.
5) Hedo helps Bayless: Bayless will have an easier time getting on the floor for minutes with the starters with Hedo able to shoulder some of the distribution responsibilities.
6) Hedo may even help Batum: Hedo may help mentor Nic on the offensive end and help him learn how to become our next generation point forward.
7) Hedo will help Rudy: by shouldering some of the play-making duties, Hedo may make it possible for the Blazers to play with Roy and Rudy together in the back-court.
The only players who will not be helped are Trout and Martell who are likely to see their minutes substantially reduced. If Hedo is signed, Trout is almost certainly gone. Webster is a big question mark, and the team really can't count on him until he proves the foot is healed.
All in all, I think Hedo is a brilliant, if unconventional, solution to many of the teams needs. Yesterday on Wheels at Work, the Sacramento play by play guy said that he was certain that Turkoglu would put the team over the top. I think that sounds about right. If that is the future, we make look back at this as one of KP's best moves.