Haven't done one of these in awhile. here we go:
- PG: Raymond Felton(11.67PER on 33mpg)/Nolan Smith(2.6PER on 6.2mpg) - With how our season has played out, its hard not to be mad at Felton with his play this year. Considering the greatness witnessed under Brandon Roy leading the team... In addition to Andre Miller after he took the reigns & kept us competitive in a dark time. The sad part is Nate McMillan actually let loose, showed some flexibility & gave Felton the chance to play uptempo, we failed miserably. Its obvious we have key players who could thrive in that style of offense in Aldridge & Wallace. As for the reserve 1 spot, Nolan Smith has looked really uncomfortable in his rookie season & is now losing minutes to Elliot Williams.
- SG: Wesley Matthews(13.7PER on 32.7mpg)/Jamal Crawford(16PER on 24mpg)/Elliot Williams(14.9PER on 5.5mpg) - We lost what was our franchise player in Brandon Roy. We have done as good as anyone could have recovering from something like that. Wesley Matthews is not fitting in as well with Felton like he was with Dre, but he still brings the same energy as always. The signing of Jamal Crawford brought some much needed ability for a guard to create his own shot, in addition to someone who we can rely on to get hot when we need points. Elliot Williams has looked absolutely dynamite in his very limited role this year, everyone would love to see him have a chance to prove himself.
- SF: Gerald Wallace(15.9PER on 34.4mpg)/Nicolas Batum(17.36PER on 25mpg)/Luke Babbitt(5.67PER on 3.8mpg..) - Still one of the best SF duo's in the NBA. Though we see clearly now that playing them together is like a square peg in a round hole. Wallace is dominant at home, but I think we need a elite point guard to get him going full time & on the road. Batum looked like Reggie Miller against the Nuggets, a true NBA scoring option. Lets hope he continues to play that way. If not he is still upping his trade value. The SF spot is as confusing as any for us, just be happy we have an overflow of talent after years of Outlaw/Webster.
- PF: LaMarcus Aldridge(24PER on 36mpg)/Craig "The Rhino" Smith(17PER on 12mpg) - Aldridge is doing his best to show us he is a true #1 option in the NBA, especially after losing two great lead guards in Roy, then Miller & now moving to Felton... A team without much practice, he is still dominant. The Rhino has become a fan favorite & a damn good scoring option off the bench against the right matchups.
- C: Marcus Camby(14PER on 24mpg)/Kurt Thomas(11.7PER on 16.8mpg )- Marcus Camby is absolutely earning his dollars once again this year. The ageless one is joined by another NBA ancient, Kurt Thomas. These two have been the Blazers glue this year. When they are in need of a defensive stop, rebound & jump shot, these guys answer the call.
- Coach: Nate McMillan(Career totals 471 Wins - 439 Losses. 14 Wins - 20 Losses in the playoffs) - He has overcame more obstacles the past few years in terms of injury, then any other coach I can remember. He absolutely gets the most out of his talent. While his defense is risky & unsuccessful without the perfect personel, if Portland could land a center to defend the paint things would look a whole lot better. His willingness to change from an isolation offense(Roy era), to now allowing a first year point guard in Raymond Felton to play in a fast break uptempo offense has impressed me. As for assistants I think next season will be the time to replace Bickerstaff & Ociepka- If the Kings fire Keith Smart, I would love if he would replace Bob. Larry Greer & Buck Wiilams seem to have done a good job for what they were hired for.
Where do we go from here? There are so many routes. I am going to attempt to lay out a couple, with some suggestions that might go best with that path.
Make A Run: Aside from LaMarcus Aldridge/Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby & Kurt Thomas have been the most reliable players on our team. Their play is inspiring & their magic makes me think we could make a run with just the right mid season trade. From what I see with the current team is we are missing two key pieces: a lead guard & a quality center to defend the paint. It makes you wonder how this team would look with Steve Nash &/or Samuel Dalembert.
Blow It Up & Rebuild: This plan essentially gives up on Aldridge/Wallace/Batum/Matthews. Everyone is up for trade for the right amount of draft picks. Seems a little too cut & dry to simply just jump into. Cho was fired for thinking like this, so I don't think that is where Portland wants to go. A trade of Aldridge would consist of landing a quality haul of multiple high draft picks/young prospects, from a team who is desperate for a proven NBA talent.
DEFENSE: Your not satisfied with Felton, Crawford? Neither am I. Get a consistent tenacious defender with a 3 point shot in Kirk Hinrich. Continue to gravitate towards dominant players on the defensive side of the ball like Wallace.. Makes this team one step closer to being a 04 Pistons wanna be. Continue to draft quality defenders(Jared Cunningham, Oregon State. Aaron Craft, Ohio State), build a pedigree of D!
La Meilleure Stratégie: All about Nicolas Batum, what seems to be our most promising young player. You think he is capable of being a #2 option on an NBA team? This is the plan for you. Give him a big contract, make him feel comfortable in Portland. Trade for what has obviously been a big overflow of quality NBA french talent(Parker, Beaubois, Pietrus, Seraphin, Diaw, Turiaf, Mahinmi). Build a classy french restaurant !
2012 Free Agency : Focus all the teams effort on clearing all the cap space possible to make a run at free agents this coming summer(please comment on who you would try to sign). Even dreams of Dwight Howard & Deron Williams have been thought of.
Please vote in the poll & leave a comment on how you would progress from this point with the Trail Blazers.