With B-Roy Ailing, did we give up on Bayless too early?

As Blazers fans everywhere know by now, the health of Brandon Roy's knees has an issue since getting injured about a week before the Blazers entered the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. Since the injury, Brandon has shown flashes of his former self, including his ridiculous 18 point fourth quarter to spark the Blazers comeback from 23 down in the second half to knot the series at two wins apiece.

That being said, one of the main arguments against Jerryd Bayless in his time with us is that he would be unable to pair alongside B-Roy, citing that he is largely at his best when creating off of the dribble and is an inconsistent jump shooter. With Roy potentially never regaining his All-Star level game, did Portland brass give up on Jerryd Bayless (currently just 22 years old)  too soon?

Some of Bayless' biggest strengths (attacking off the dribble and getting to the free throw line), were things our backcourt seemed to lack once Brandon went down again this season, especially against the Mavericks this postseason (21.5 FT attempts/game). He will never be an above average defender, due in part to his lack of elite wingspan (6'3.5 wingspan at 6'3). For comparison, John Wall has a 6'9.25 reach at 6'4. Also, due to his somewhat lengthy shot release, he is somewhat prone to having his shot blocked, despite a very high release.

I followed Bayless after he left the Blazers, and struggled some with New Orleans as well. It wasn't until he got to Toronto, and into a more freely flowing offense under then-head coach Jay Triano, that you were really able to see what he could do.

60 games: 22.4 minutes, 10.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.8 turnovers, 43.0% FG, 34.9% 3PT, 81.0% FT

Pretty average for a combo guard off the bench. Once Toronto essentially shut down Jose Calderon for the season at the end of March and played Jerryd, his averages jumped significantly.

8 games: 37.7 minutes, 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.8 turnovers, 48.4% FG, 41.2% 3PT, 82.8% FT (on 7.3 attempts/game)

By looking at the numbers, its definitely a somewhat small sample size, and there are probably a fair amount of PGs that, if given free reign, could probably put up pretty solid numbers with those kinds of minutes. What impressed me the most is that Bayless put up 5.6 assists despite not having Andrea Bargnani playing in those games either.

While trading Jerryd was disappointing, the pick we received from New Orleans helped us net Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline, and few Blazers fans would say that Bayless is a better player than "Crash". I guess what it all boils down to is, "As currently assembled, would Jerryd Bayless have been an important piece to help us advance in the playoffs"? I feel as though his talents, under Nate McMillan, would probably never be maximized due to style clashes in the way Jerryd plays versus the way Nate coaches...however, he definitely couldn't have hurt either!

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