Much was made this past summer about Dame perhaps getting with GP to work on his defensive game. I'm not certain if that did or did not happen. I want to say I heard, it was something they tried to do, but schedules didn't work out. Well, I'm here today to pick up that bugle and starting tooting the horn again.
There was an article earlier this week with Payton talking about not liking much of today's game because you can't really defend anyone like you used to. That it's all run and gun. There is a lot of truth to that, and the Blazers have been a shining example of how to maximize success with that current en vogue style: flowing ball and player movement, a plethora of terrific selfless shooters, an offensively versatile Big, and pretty poor overall defense.
An SI article was also just released talking about the lineage of Oakland PGs, with Lillard being the focal point. In the article, GP says Dame will call him from time to time to ask what he's doing wrong defensively and claims " DL is not where he needs to be as a player defensively."
So I sense a perfect storm here. GP doesn't like the current state of the softness of the game. Well, I see an opportunity for you to enhance your legacy by putting a stamp on it post career. If there was mutual interest from the Blazers and GP to come in and dissect the team's defense (similar to what Nick Saban did with Lane Kiffin for his offense before he hired him), then I say get GP up here, not as a coach, but as a consultant. Evaluate, break down some film, spend some time with Lillard, Wes, and Nic specifically, but also the other young guards. The game as its called today, will not work for the way GP defended in his era. However, I have to believe there are principles and a philosophy (not to mention a defensive swagger) that GP could really have some impact here.
I'm not sure if this is even a role he's interested in or has even thought about getting into coaching. But if he has, I think this could be a great way for him to explore that option. If our individual guard defense (mainly PG) can improve with some intensive work with one of the all time defensive greats at the position, that will make this team's long term ceiling higher than bench bolstering trades. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to jettison Meyers Leonard, Victor Claver, and Will Barton tomorrow for one big that could be ideal to back up Rolo. But we're not getting much for those guys.
It's about instilling a nastiness on the defensive end from our core 6-7 players that will be the difference of making the playoffs, and winning in them. I'm not saying you have to be a top 3 D in the league. But with GP's involvement, if we can take this 26th ranked unit, and get it to 11th or 12th...well...now we're talking about playing into June.