Am I the only person who thinks that the Blazer lineup is just fine the way it is? The Blazers arguably have one of the deepest rotations in the league, but that does not seem to be enough for a large portion of the fans who post on blazers edge.
The main players who are ripped apart by the masses that is Blazers edge seems to be Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, and Jerryd Bayless. Why is it that we (I’m generalizing) think that we need to trade to be successful?
Steve Blake is now the second string point guard, regardless of whether he starts or not. He is more than capable to play this role. He was the main point guard on our beloved 54 win team. Having him as the backup to Andre Miller is going to be amazing (again regardless of who starts, Blake will receive backup minutes). This is a monstrous upgrade! Andre is more than likely the better point guard than Blake, so there is a plus; Blazers upgraded the primary point guard position. Now, Blake will be replacing Sergio for the second string point guard position; this is an extremely good upgrade! Now, at all times, there will be a competent and extremely capable point guard on the floor at all times. Both Andre and Blake have their strong points and working with both of them in different situations will bring stability in both the first and second unit. I felt that with Sergio coming off the bench, the Blazers did not have the stability and focus that they will surely have now.
Jerryd Bayless is extremely under-developed, and is sometimes questioned at whether or not he has what it takes to become a “true” point guard. The thing is, Bayless is very young, and has a lot to work on, but his potential is great. It is not hurting the blazers at all having him on the roster. The blazers are simply waiting it out see whether or not he will be able to develop in the player that the Blazers need him to be. He is extremely talented for what he is (a third string point guard). Many will argue that without playing time he will most likely never develop, and I agree that it is going to be hard for him to develop without seeing adequate playing time. If I was Bayless, I’m not, but if I were, I would use this time study and dissect games (kind of like Webster reportedly did according to the article posted earlier). With two other solid point guards in Andre and Blake, Bayless should be able to learn, or at least see, what it is he is going to have to do, or what it is he is going to be expected to do, just by watching what the other players accomplish. I definitely think that miller should be able to have a pretty good impact on Bayless as long as Bayless is willing to put in the time learn. Another thing, a lot of the basis on Bayless’ short comings was based on summer league. That is ridiculous. Summer league is completely different. I’m not trying to make excuses for Bayless; I agree that he played like crap during the summer league, although I do not believe he was out played by Pooh Jetter like some may have you believe.
Travis Outlaw is one of the more widely agreed upon players that we as the fans feel the need to get rid of. Outlaws’ minutes will more than likely see a bit of a ding this season; however i doubt it will as much as everyone (generalizing again) predicts. Outlaw is going to have a very important role this season, and that is backing Aldridge at the four. His main reason for people wanting to see him go (besides rebounding, which is not as important with Greg and Joel, and his defense) is everyone’s assumption that he can’t handle that position. I strongly disagree; I feel he plays this position better than he does at the three. Outlaw could probably be outplayed by a good portion of the starting power forwards in the league, but so do most reseverves (besides teams like Utah who are fortunate enough to have Boozer/Millsap). Besides, the newly acquired DC will be able to fill this role in the future. Also, Outlaw is going to be very important picking up the slack at the three position behind Batum. There is no guarantee that Webster is going to be brilliant the way many think he will be. Until Webster can prove what he can do, an appropriate assumption would be that Outlaw will need to play some minutes at the three, at least at first.
My main point, question, and reasoning for writing this is: Can the Blazers succeed with the lineup they have? Or is it completely necessary to acquire some other piece to make this team legitimate contenders. I for one, feel that with the lineup as is, we are serious contenders in the west, and one of the few teams that can and will challenge the Lakers this coming season. The Blazers have greatly improved over the off-season by ridding a few unnecessary players and adding a veteran point guard, but also, they are another year older (in this case, unlike the spurs, it is a good thing).