Looking at our backup unit on Sunday, I will admit some apprehension started creeping up. I've been trying to page Steve Blake for weeks now to no avail and now Martell's friendly face wasn't out there.
However, another writer assured me that, of all the Blazers' key pieces, Martell Webster was the best to get injured because it freed up as many minutes as Rudy can handle, without any ugly alpha-male disagreement over the pecking order. If Rudy is going to be Rudy, he argued, no Martell is better than Martell. Given Rudy's preseason performances, it's hard to argue with that. Rudy doesn't seem to need the kid gloves when he's whipping behind the back passes and converting reality-defying layups.
But, this is a provocative stand. Just yesterday, Dave explained to us how absolutely important consistency is to becoming a successful player in the NBA. And Martell, although he's not consistently amazing, is a known, proven commodity. Of course, we'd like to see MORE from him but he does all of the things asked of our starting 3. One might argue that Martell is a vital piece to our team chemistry and losing him will have dire consequences over the next two or three months, given our difficult early-season schedule. After all, we already have one new starter in Oden and now we will have another in Rudy/Outlaw/Batum. 40 percent turnover in the starting lineup isn't uncommon from year to year -- but it's not ideal.
So I put this one to you: Taking into account ALL of the side effects (Rudy's increased playing time, team chemistry, Martell's production) will Martell's injury turn out to be a positive or a negative by the end of the season? If there is any part of this debate I've overlooked please enlighten everyone in the comments.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)