2010-11 Portland Trail Blazers Roster Rundown: Marcus Camby

With the seemingly eternal absence of Greg Oden and the trade of Joel Przybilla mid-season, the Portland Trail Blazers theoretically deep and invincible center platoon boiled down to one man this year:  Marcus Camby.  Or perhaps we should say half a man with injury gobbling up a good portion of his season and half-masticating his return and subsequent playoff run.   Here are the stats:

 

10-11

09-10

Change

Games

59

74

-15

Minutes

1540

2314

-774

MPG

26.1

31.3

-5.2

FG%

39.8%

47.5%

-7.7%

FT%

61.4%

63.9%

-2.5%

FGA/36

6.9

7.8

-0.9

FTA/36

1.6

1.9

-0.3

DRB/36

9.9

9.7

+0.2

ORB/36

4.3

3.9

+0.4

TRB/36

14.2

13.6

+0.6

BLK/36

2.2

2.3

-0.1

AST/36

2.8

2.9

-0.1

STL/36

0.9

1.5

-0.6

USG%

11.7%

12.8%

-1.1%

ORTG

105

112

-7

DRTG

100

101

-1

PER

14.8

17.9

-3.1

TShooting%

42.6%

50.1%

-7.5%

NETPTS/100*

+0.5

+10.5

-10.0

PPG

4.7

7.5

-2.8

PPG/36

6.5

8.6

-2.1


*The 09-10 Net Points per 100 number reflects only his tenure with the Blazers, not the full year.

Click through for the highs and lows of the stats and some thoughts on Camby's season and future. 

Two areas screamed "trouble" for Marcus Camby this year.  Games played, minutes, and minutes per game all dropped (ironically just when the Blazers needed more).  Camby hasn't had the best health record so that's not entirely unexpected, but it hurt nonetheless as anyone who watched Portland struggling playing small lineups against better teams could tell you.  I try not to let anecdotal stuff get mixed in with my stats but observationally Camby also seemed slower this year, particularly on return from injury.  He got plenty of rebounds--one of the areas where the stat table is kind to him yet--but his dominating defensive performances were few and far between.  He maintained, but did not turn, many games.

The second jaw-dropping bottom-out for Camby came on offense.  His numbers were down across the board, some precipitously so.  His field goal percentage dropped from a low-end-for-your-center 47.5% to a low-end-for-most-humans 39.8%.  53% of his shots were jumpers this season as opposed to 48% last.  The longer-range work explains the low percentage somewhat, but taking 5% more jumpers shouldn't drop your field goal percentage that much.  His effective field goal percentage on those jumpers was an eye-clawing 28.7%.  The trebuchet turned into a pea shooter.  Camby's overall True Shooting Percentage of 42.6% is barely mentionable.  Unsurprisingly he lost 3 points off of his already-low 7.5 ppg average, dropped to a 105 offensive rating, and watched his PER shrink 3 points as well.  We can claim Camby as a defensive/rebounding center all we want, but the truth is that the Blazers can't afford to go 4-on-5 on offense, especially given Brandon Roy's reduced status.  For all Joel Przybilla was beloved in these parts he made scoring pretty difficult for his teammates which was part of the reason the team was willing to trade him.  Now Camby has become Przybilla Part 2.  That wasn't the plan when the team inked him to an eight-figure deal.

On the other hand Camby's rebounding is still great, his shot blocking is acceptable, and his overall defensive rating stacks up well, especially when compared to fellow Blazers.  Half a Camby might be a better defender than half of the players on the roster at full strength.  Plus Portland has no other (even half-) proven center options right now.  Until Greg Oden proves himself capable of playing 36 minutes a game--which is akin to saying "until Mila Kunis plops down on my lap, tickles a finger under my chin, and says, 'The way you write about the Blazers is so hot, blogger boy'"--Camby is the Blazers' best and only hope at center.  You're not likely to get a full year's production out of Chris Johnson and you won't find quality big men on the open market. 

Still, there's plenty of worry to go around when you consider that during 2009-10 Camby made Portland's offense 6 points better every 100 possessions and the defense 4.5 points better but in 2010-11 he registered just a half-point positive shift on offense and zero difference on defense.  The occasional 20-rebound game can't make up for that kind of non-impact. 

The big concern for the Blazers is that, turning 38 at the start of next season, Camby never recovers fully and never returns to even his 2009-10 form, let alone his earlier numbers, spending next year doing the "I'm on my last big contract" shuffle.  The Blazers are already paying $15 million for a shadow of Brandon Roy and will likely pay $9 million or more for an unknown amount of Greg Oden.  They can't afford to throw $13 million for a semi-functional Camby on top of that, particularly if the salary cap gets harder and the luxury tax more draconian.  They don't need Camby to play 40 minutes per game but they do need Camby to play well.

Personally, I wonder if Camby has another great season in him.  He's had a remarkable run even accounting for his injuries.  I fear it might be winding down.  The Blazers might have to settle for occasional good nights from their veteran center and some "at least we're not losing ground with him in" otherwise.  If they're to get even that, though, he'll need to recover his jumper enough to keep defenders honest when he's above the free throw line.  Otherwise the lane will close to everyone he tries to pass to and he'll eventually be phased out of the offense altogether.  At that point the Blazers might not be able to afford to give him even the minutes his reduced capacity would warrant.

Season Grade:  C

Stock Market Recommendation:  Sell

As always, share your reflections and speculation about Marcus Camby below.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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