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Matthews in the Hierarchy

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Like many of you I was shut out by the non-coverage of last night's pre-season opener against the Clippers.  As far as game analysis I'm leaving you in Ben's more-than-capable hands, as his perch from the media seats provides the best access to these games you're going to get...certainly better than me trying to decipher a boxscore and a few reports from people in attendance or surrounding the team.  One thing most everybody--inside, outside, and upside-down--agrees upon is that Wesley Matthews looks like he's going to pay great dividends.  Even though the caveat about pre-season and earliest impressions applies here, there's no harm in engaging in a little speculative banter, right?  So...

Here is Portland's assumed starting lineup:

  • Brandon Roy
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Nicolas Batum
  • Andre Miller
  • Marcus Camby or Greg Oden

You may rank your five starters any way you wish.  After you've done so stick Wesley Matthews' name somewhere in that list.  Absolute top and below all of them are acceptable answers, as is anywhere between, obviously.  The ranking is in terms of overall impact and importance to this year's team, defined however you wish (stats, contributions to wins, leadership, or whatever other criteria you think apply).  How much of a difference is Matthews going to make compared to the five starters?

Note that this is not a referendum on whether Matthews should start, though you can take that up as well if your list puts him well above a guy you think he should replace.  Even if he comes off the bench, will he be more central to the success of this club than one or more of the guys penciled in to start?

Weigh in below.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)