Here is my assessment of the season with some questions about the 10-11 season.
Injury plagued year. I think this can be attributed to a group of guys committed to being the best they can be and trying to win it all on every single play. Admirable but probably not advisable. It's like trying to help somebody without trying to understand what the exact conditions are: you're likely to do more harm than good. I'm not suggesting guys take plays off but does Oden have to block every shot? Does Brandon have to break down the other team every play? Does LA have to play the most minutes every game? This season demonstrates that it wasn't possible even those these players tried (Do Webster and Rudy have take and make only three's? etc, etc).
Game planning. The blazer's had difficulty handling double teams of Roy and Aldridge. For most of the season the double teams, when they came could be dealt with, but as the end of the season neared, and during the playoffs, teams were more committed to double teaming our two most consistent scorers causing what seemed like an insoluble situation. What can be done to counteract double teaming? Now that the Suns beat the blazers by consistently doubling Roy or Aldridge, I suspect the Blazers can expect a steady diet of this next season.
Improvisation. It seemed this season that players were disciplined to a fault. By the end of the season it was clear to me that teams were consistently beating the blazer players to their spots. This level of predictability hurt the offensive flow and it showed at the end of games and in games against good defenses. Can Rudy, Batum, and Webster hit a mid range jumper? It seemed that the role players were never able to improvise when the defenses accounted for their presence in the lineup.
Speed. This year the Blazers played with greater speed than in the season before. Aldridge, Batum, Rudy, Bayless, and Webster can play fast break if the opportunity arises. Are Diener and Mills fast? Weren't they capable of playing a few minutes just to change the pace of the game or to take advantage of some adjustment the opponent made?
Next season (2010-11)
I think the coaching staff is going to have to show if can come up with an offensive system that can be executed no matter what player is injured--purely trying to get the best shot while rebounding and avoiding turnovers won't work consistently enough to do anything but get into the playoffs. Some way of understanding what teams are doing and how the team can improvise to meet new challenges will be as important as following a game plan.
The players have shown they are willing to work on their games. I hope it continues. The blazers are a good enough 3-point shooting team that teams will try to defense the 3pt line. More players need to develop good mid range jump shots. With this in mind:
Roy --better read of defenses, keep developing three point shooting
Aldridge--learn to use the backboard on his shot, improve his across the lane jump hook, pass better out of double teams
Batum-- mid range jump shooting, develop post game
Oden--be more selective about what shots to block, keep hands up when handling the ball in the post, learn to use the backboard on his jump hook
Bayless--learn to take a shot off the dribble, mid range shooting, reading the defense
Webster--mid range shooting, use speed and hops to take it to the basket, improve passing
Fernandez--learn to shoot off the dribble, mid range shooting
MIller and Camby just need to stay healthy.
Cunningham--film study of players to enhance defense, keep up shooting the midrange, develop three point shot
Pendergarph--learn to use body to make room to get off shot (Boozer and Milsap are good examples), develop elbow jumper
Mills needs more playing time--his speed is his best weapon.
Let's all hope for a healthy and successful 2010-11 season!!