In the past, I've posted and commented many times on BE about the Blazers' lack of physical bigs. My Fan Posts had titles like "Where's the Beef?", as I bemoaned the Blazers' front office's penchant for acquiring one stringbean after another. Finally, this off-season, that imbalance was addressed--at least to an extent--by the team's acquisition of Craig Smith and Kurt Thomas. But increasingly I'm noticing a different imbalance on the Blazers' roster: a shortage of guys with any talent for PASSING THE BALL!Just think about it--if you haven't already: who on the current Blazers' roster has any knack for passing the basketball? Marcus Camby--the team's starting center--is the only guy that comes to mind for me. Has it somehow escaped the Blazers' braintrust that passing ability is a crucial, fundamental basketball skill--just like shooting, dribbling, running, jumping, setting screens, and boxing out? (Not that the Blazers' roster is exactly over-stocked with guys with those skills either.)
LMA isn't a terrible passer for a power forward, but considering the frequency with which he attracts double-teams, you think he'd have gotten the knack for finding open guys by now. (Yes, part of the problem is the inability of LMA's teammates to make themselves available for passes, but that's certainly not the whole story.)
OK, let's skip over the other Blazer centers & power forwards. How about the wings? The point guards? Do ANY of those guys have any feel whatsoever for passing the rock? I sure haven't seen any evidence of it.
Mea culpa: I drank the Kool-Aid early this season along with a lot of other Blazer fans. Wow, I thought: Roy is gone, but Crawford can fill that instant offense role pretty well, and he's able to run and defend. Felton is certainly an upgrade over Miller, and Wallace has a season under his belt with the team now, so watch out! Batum is a year older and ready to dominate, as is LMA. Camby is healthy, and the team finally has a couple of physical fours coming off the bench--a requirement for playoff ball. Mathews is solid at both ends and is just entering his third season. You've even got a couple of young, gifted guards in Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith ready to play some minutes. What's missing save a back-up center--and the front office will surely sign one of those within a few weeks. This team has all the talent it needs; if it stays healthy, the sky is the limit!
Ah, but what about some guys who can, er, pass the basketball? To me, that's the Achilles Heel of this Blazers team--and a flaw that virtually no one talks about, including the "experts" calling the games.