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Player-by-Player: Travis Outlaw

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Today's subject for discussion is Travis Outlaw.  We didn't get people to come and debate per se but I did overhear a conversation the other day by two guys who probably merit more collective respect than anybody we've ever interviewed, quoted, or talked about here.  They really need no introduction, so here we go...

        

                                                             

Master Yoda, I have come to speak of Travis Outlaw.  He is a young Padawan, very strong in natural ability.  He would benefit from our training.

Hmmmph!  The judge of that I will be.

But Master, we cannot ignore his precocious skills!  He has already mastered the Jedi Force Leap without any guidance at all.  His slashing motion is raw, but developing.  If finely honed it could make him a formidable weapon.

A Jedi must be skilled in the arts of defense.  Attack when necessary, but defend always.

His defense is lagging behind.  He seems to have a block that keeps him from channeling his ability that way.  He does occasionally save the day when all else seems lost, though.  That is something.

Wild he is, and reckless.

Yes, his shooting is random and clumsy, like a blaster.  But he is improving!  His concentration from the free throw line is superb.  Is that not an indication that further discipline may follow?

Discipline?  Discipline must be learned.  Discipline must be practiced!  Long have I watched this one.  Always on the stars his eyes are, never on what he is supposed to be doing.

But master, was I any different when I was his age?

No regard for others has he!  A true Jedi uses his power to give.  Always with this one it is take, take, take.  Pass he will not!  Set picks he will not!  Always shooting he is!  Down that path lies the dark side.

This is why he needs our training!

(sigh)  No, too old is he to begin.  Many years ago should he have started.  See you young Padawan Brandon Roy?  Proper training he has been given!  At an early age he started!  Stay with it he did.  No short-cuts did he take.  A fine Jedi he will be.

Indeed, the Council nearly unanimously voted him as the most promising young Padawan in the galaxy.  Were it not for Darth Swirsky...

Yes, a traitor on the Council have we.  But on the matter at hand we must focus!  The young Outlaw is beginning his training too late.  Cut our losses should we.

Master, I can't believe there's no hope.  He is such a promising young talent.

Promising does not a Jedi make.  We have known other promising young talents.  Failures all.

Not all of them, Master!

Of Jermaine O'Neal you speak.

Yes.  I still remember the day he was traded.  I have never felt such a disturbance in the force.  It was like hundreds of thousands of people cried out in agony at once and then were suddenly still.  I can still feel the headache.

This is what you fear.  This is why you would train him.

Yes!  I fear this.  I fear facing years of being plunged into darkness for a mistake we make now.  We are desperately in need of the gifts that young Travis brings.  If he fails we are lost.  He is our only hope.

No.  Not our only hope is he.

Master?

There is...another.

Well!  That was interesting!  And such a cliffhanger too.  Which side of the argument do you fall on and why?  If Travis does stay what position does he play and what does that mean for the rest of our team?  If he is traded, what do you think he'd be worth and what kind of player do you see coming back in return?  Is Obi-Wan right?  Do we need Travis to fill those forward positions?  If not, who might be that "other" that Master Yoda spoke of?  Besides the draft this is perhaps the most fascinating question of the off-season.  Here are his stats if you'd like to use them to gauge his progress. I look forward to your comments.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)