I'd like to see the Blazers become longer and more athletic across the roster. IMO LA’s game has suffered from not having that young athletic big at the 5 to absorb the 1st biggest guy on the other team. Once that happens LA will have more energy and space on the floor with which to attack the opponent with his exceptional offensive game.
I feel Batum at the 2 fits nicely with this idea of Portland becoming longer and more athletic as a team. Batum has the potential to be an elite player offensively and defensively at the 2. Yet, I keep reading about how Batum’s natural position is the 3. Conventionally sure Batum looks like T Prince. However, If you want to change the dynamic then length matters and really changes the game from a defensive standpoint. I believe Batum matches up better at the 2 than the 3. For example, Batum is not physically strong enough to deal with King James at the 3, while I cannot think of a single 2 that can post and abuse Batum.
I look at Batum and see a guy with the athleticism, length and lateral quickness to defend 2 guards on the perimeter. Batum has success guarding the 1 even as I have seen him stay with Parker. Batum could really create problems for 2 guards all around the league with his length and athleticism.
I like the challenge that Batum faces in being asked to play the 2. Go out and defend the top scorers on one end. Yet you need constant offense from the 2 so Batum would have the continuous green light. I like that because offensively he can break defenders down with that great 1st step, plus he can stroke it from behind the arc. Batum is an exceptional passer as well and I don’t see the downside here. Other than trading away a guy in Wallace that can play the 3 well.
Yet I do like the trade because that person to adequately play the 3 can be found. Players like Batum do not come along very often however, so why not use him in the most dynamic way? Besides, If you are trying to be longer and athletic in the NBA then your 3 is going to look more like 6’7’- 6’10 anyway right?
I can anticipate a critique in that if Batum were to play the 2 then what do you do with Mathews and Crawford. To that I say Mathews is taking up minutes and does not do anything truly dynamic for the team. I’d like to see Mathews dealt or released even. Wow, what a terrible contract.
Crawford I view as a keeper because he is canned heat. You can bring him in as instant offense. He can play the 1, not great admittedly but he makes the team longer and more athletic when at the 1. He can offensively lead a 2nd unit. Scoring matters and Crawford is a scorer with a ‘microwave’ like potential.
I also like the idea of asking Eliot Williams to play the 1. If I recall correctly Williams played the 1 at Memphis. He looks like he has the athleticism and lateral quickness to stay with 1’s. Defense matters and if you can cause some problems with your length and athleticism defensively then any game can be won.
Ultimately I want to see the Blazers become longer and more athletic at all positions. An athletic 5 to bang and run the court will really help LA. Potentially a longer and more athletic team will commit, really play defense and become a fast breaking team again. You know like back when Drexler and his gang got close.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to critique, this is just where I would like to see the Blazers headed. I believe Batum at the 2 is a good step in that direction.