We have to preface the analysis of Marcus Camby's contributions to the Blazers with the same caveat we used for Greg Oden: a couple dozen games does not a season make. For any number of reasons a guy can look like the best thing since sliced bread for part of a season and then turn into a total limp noodle the next. With that in mind, we can unabashedly say that Camby made amazing contributions to Portland's cause this year.
With younger players you look for improvement each year, measuring in the relative rather than the absolute sense until they reach their maturity. With veterans like Camby it's all about absolutes. And in his strong areas Camby was absolutely phenomenal. In a little over 31 minutes per game Marcus gave the Blazers 11.1 rebounds, 3.6 of them offensive. A lot of guys project out to 11 or 12 rebounds in their per-36-minute stats. There's a big difference between that and actually doing it. Camby actually does it.
Marcus' overall rebounding percentage was 22%, meaning he got more than 1 in 5 of the rebounds available to both teams when he was on the floor. His defensive rebounding percentage registered at nearly 30%. If the Blazers have that kind of reliable rebounding every game (and consider that they're banking on Oden's contributions as well) they can start thinking about the running game everyone has been craving.
Camby also gave the Blazers 2 blocks per game and 50% shooting...a great percentage considering his face-up, distance offensive tendencies. His offensive style opens up the possibility of high post sets, a huge potential boon to the (theoretically) drive-heavy Portland guard corps. Marcus owns a nice 113 points-per-100-possessions rating, eclipsed handily by his 99 points-per-100-possessions defensive rating, a number approached only by Greg Oden among the regular players.
And speaking of nice numbers, Camby's team-connected stats are out of this world. He carried a +6.8 plus-minus rating during his Blazer tenure, blowing away everyone else on the team. The Blazers scored 6.0 more points per 100 possessions when he played and allowed 4.5 fewer to their opponents for a sick +10.5 net gain in the category. Opponents' Effective Field Goal percentage went down when he was in. Portland's blocked shots percentage nearly doubled. Offensive rebounding went up substantially, though defensive rebounding actually slipped. In general, though, most everything ran better when Marcus was on the scene than when he was on the pines.
In addition to a different look and the statistical edge Camby gave the Blazers a much-needed dose of confidence. They had been managing without centers for the second half of the season but you could see them breathe a sigh of relief once their new acquisition got rolling. Teammates raved about his knowledge of the game and his ability to put it into practice. For the 22 games he played at the end of the regular season he was just what the team needed.
Camby's playoff performance was considerably more muted, particularly following his quite acceptable opening game. He did show ability to defend the perimeter as well as the lane but injuries caught up with him and his attention was stretched too thin by multiple defensive leaks for him to have a sustained impact. His production fell across the board just as his team did.
The wobbly finish doesn't obscure the fine beginning and middle to Camby's Blazer debut, however. He should be a powerful piece on Portland's chess board next season, swinging in for Oden and Aldridge under the best of circumstances, plugging the gap at center again under the worst. Camby is one of those guys you don't regret having no matter what he circumstances. Having a veteran who fits that description is a boon to the team.
Season Performance: A
Biggest Question Marks: Age, the usual fitting in jitters
Future with the Team: Solid, at least for the coming season.