It is the God-given right of fans to be idealistic when it comes to the future of their own teams' players. We all do it, especially when things are going well like this. It's easy to bow down before the holy tenets guiding our fandom:
- All of our players will develop to their fullest potential.
- All of our players will remain Blazers.
- All of our players will remain happy.
So while things are going well and before this question appears to become easy (I say appears because things fluctuate so much it's never really easy) let's ask.
If you had to pick six, and only six, Blazers that you knew would remain with the team, take the lion's share of the minutes, and thus remain happy which six would those be?
I'm going to assume that Brandon Roy, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden will be locks to make everyone's roster. If those three names don't start your list the burden of proof on you is going to be astronomically high. For most of us it boils down to which other three players you think will stick, help, flourish, and prosper.
Keep in mind that picking multiple people at the same positions lessens the likelihood of fulfilling the holy tenets. Even picking two players with similar strengths like James Jones and Martell Webster may cause problems. We're assuming everyone you keep is reaching their peak potential. (Why would you keep them otherwise?) If that's so, how are James and Martell going to co-exist while maximizing their scoring, shooting, and minutes? So, too, if your favorites are Blake, Jack, and Sergio. Even worse if you think Roy is a point guard or Taurean Green or Petteri Koponen will make an impact.
When you think about it there are some tough, maybe even harsh, decisions to be made here. The question is, based on what you know (or suspect) how would you make them?
The candidates are listed here. Keep in mind that this is the max-potential version of each. Their weaknesses will all be there, but for now we're concentrating on their strengths.
Steve Blake--A tough minded true point who may be the only guy on the team who can consistently set the offense. A good shooter also.
Channing Frye--A tall forward with good vertical speed who can hit from distance.
Jarrett Jack--A strong-bodied combo guard who can score major points in short minutes. Our most consistent driver.
James Jones--A sweet-shooting assassin who's smart enough to put himself in good position.
Darius Miles--The returning veteran with phenomenal athleticism and instant scoring potential to match anyone on the team.
Travis Outlaw--The Dynamite Kid who can score in droves, out-leap anyone, and is the master of the jaw-dropping play.
Joel Przybilla--A defensive center...a rebounding machine...a tough guy who is willing to do anything it takes to help the team win.
Sergio Rodriguez--The point with the most potential...a prescient passer with great speed and the ability to get his shot.
Martell Webster--A shooter with the potential to become an offensive dynamo. If he reaches his full potential he's the most likely outside of the Big Three to become a consistent 20ppg man.
And then there's the prospects...
Taurean Green--A defensive-minded hustler who can also run the team and hit clutch shots.
Josh McRoberts--A hard-nosed forward who can also pass and score.
Rudy Fernandez--A potential offensive missile with crafty drives and a shot.
Petteri Koponen--A tall, rangy point guard who is developing a shot and appears to play an all-around game.
Joel Freeland--A quick power forward with several offensive options.
So which three of those guys would you keep alongside the Big Three as big-minute Blazers and why?