It seems like recently a lot of focus from the media and our community here on Blazer's Edge has gone toward asking if our 3 point percentage is sustainable, what to do during cold stretches, and even if jump shooting teams can win a title...
Sorry, my throat sometimes gets irritated when exposed to dumb questions. While I think it's always important to consider how many teams might attempt to stop your offense, and subsequently have a prepared response, it's clear to me that the greatest roadblock to our future success has nothing to do with offense.
IT'S ALL ABOUT DEFENSE!!
I know.. it's shocking.
The reality is that the games where we win at the end or come from behind show that we have the heart and ability to get stops when we need to. But the reality is that in 80% of the minutes that these Blazers play, the defense is atrocious. We are relying on other teams to stop scoring, rather than forcing stops. We are neglecting to defend the rim or transition baskets for LOOONG stretches in most games. I thought the whole idea behind our defense was force mid-range jumpers, not layups.
We need a stronger commitment to team defense. L.A. needs to learn when to be aggressive on guards and when to stay home, his basketball I.Q. on defense is less than stellar. We need to have a strategic split of minutes for Freeland, Lopez, and even Leonard, based on matchup strengths and weaknesses. And/or we need to trade for another big. Shooting big can work, or defensive big, we just need another good sized body that can produce something.
Most of all though, we should not worry about shooting too many open threes. Quite frankly, since it seems to be a foregone conclusion that we will make the playoffs, our best bet for winning a championship right now is to get hot right at the end of the season. You can't really "take away" the 3 point shot in the same way as other offensive schemes. Over-committing to perimeter pressure against the Blazers leaves gaping lanes for Batum to cut through or space to isolate Aldridge in.
And for those who were offended by my inference that we should be trying to contend for a title. Understand that I am of the mindset that if we have even a chance, it's worth taking our best shot. I've rooted for Blazer teams worse than this one in the playoffs, and I'm certainly not going to stop now.