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What Is Happening

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I was having a conversation with an astute friend tonight and something he mentioned triggered something I was going to talk about but haven't yet.  He said:

...teams have scouted the hell out of us, and the stuff that was working easily, has just been taken away.  It's always tough for young teams to adjust, and I guess that's the biggest thing.

This is a fantastic point that we haven't talked about enough.

As soon as we traded Randolph every team in the league came into the season with Brandon Roy dead in their sights.  He is the guy who makes this team go.  Everybody is doing everything they can to take away his game:  ball denial, double-teams, stripping the ball, collapsing defense, you name it.  He doesn't put the ball on the floor in the first quarter without finding two people waiting for him.  We have talked about Brandon being a slow starter, preferring to get others involved and work his way into the game.  The truth is that attitude is being helped by the defense.  They will let anybody else try to beat them.

This is where the other scorers become crucial.  The obvious guys are Martell and Jarrett.  When one or both are on in the first half it draws a ton of pressure away from Brandon in the second.  At that point it's a 20+ point game for him.

The other guy we have to talk about, though, is Lamarcus.  He's doing well...very well.  But he's still missing some of the aggression that could make him great.  Whether he has that in him is anybody's guess at this point.  Some guys just don't have that killer personality.  But it would sure help us if he developed some.  He's scoring 20 a game but some nights he could score 20 in a half if he just got a little more mean (and slightly selfish).  That too would make the game much easier on Brandon.  I bet that even if Lamarcus took over the game by demanding more shots we wouldn't see Brandon be any less aggressive himself.  It would simply allow him more room to operate.  Both of these guys could be averaging 22 a game without really detracting from other guys' shots.  Spreading the defensive attention would create easier shots sooner for everybody, resulting in more total possessions.

Whatever we do we need to find a new avenue of attack because the one we started with is becoming less effective as time goes by.  We're being forced to shoot later, deeper, and often with the wrong people.  Fixing that starts with giving Brandon more room to operate and set things up.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)