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2009-10 Season Review: Przybilla and Pendergraph

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Since our two back-up centers got in 30 and 39 games respectively I'm going to combine their season reviews into one post.

The analysis on Joel Przybilla is easy.  He did pretty much everything you've come to expect.  He averaged 7.9 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game for a healthy 12.6 rebound-per-36 average.  His offensive rebounding percentage was 13.0%.  His defensive rebounding percentage was 30.4%, which is huge.  He averaged 1.4 blocks per game with a 5.1% block percentage.  He shot 52.3% from the floor by taking only safety shots.  All of these numbers were down from last season, one of Przybilla's best years, but they were in line with his overall Blazer career.  The most disturbing Przybilla weakness was a 26.5 turnovers per 100 possessions rate.  But then again he barely touches the ball on offense.  (For good reason!)  As might be expected Portland's offensive production went way down but their defensive integrity rose when Joel took the floor.  Part of this might be attributable to him playing with the second unit.  Plus trends tend to be more extreme when measured through 30 games instead of 82.  Overall, though, Przybilla is the guy you've come to know and love, strengths and weaknesses and all.

The more interesting discussion for Joel is where he goes from here.  His injury timetable is indefinite.  The addition of Camby to Portland's frontcourt seriously encroaches on Joel's traditional territory.  Is Przybilla in his last year with the team?  With an expiring contract is he in his last months with the team?  Or would Joel be a good guy to keep around no matter what?  It's hard to avoid the impression that Joel is being put out to pasture.  Does he have any surprises left?

Moving on to Portland's other back-up center, Jeff Pendergraph had an abbreviated-yet-interesting run during his rookie year.  He averaged 10.4 minutes per game for 39 games which, combined with the utter lack of NBA history, really isn't enough of a sample on which to base a decent statistical analysis.  The 66.2% field goal percentage is a promising start.  Unlike other Blazer big men he didn't pad that percentage with offensive rebound put-backs either, as those rebounds were pretty rare for him.  When he caught the ball anywhere near scoring position he was aggressive and able to convert.  And since we used the word...his play can be typified as aggressive overall.  It's one of his assets.  That asset tended towards liability defensively as he often over-reacted, over-played, and just plain over-fouled.  His effect on Portland's defense tended towards the counter-productive.  Perhaps more disturbing his aggressive nature didn't translate into heaps of rebounds.  That probably has to do with technique and timing, both of which can be learned.   Like Przybilla, Pendergraph had trouble securing the ball.    But again you have to remember the small sample size and the situations in which he found minutes.  You also have to remember that as a 6'9" rookie he was called upon to man the center position for 80% of his shifts.  A few more minutes at power forward may showcase his abilities better.

Despite the holes in his game I actually liked most of what I saw from Pendergraph this year.  His weaknesses, for the most part, are correctable.  His scoring instincts and aggressiveness are not teachable.  He's raw but he has the potential for impact.  At this point I have a hard time imagining him as a starter but I could see him as a disruptive regular bench player of the sort that makes the other team wish the silky-smooth starter would come back in.  If Pendergraph does develop enough to make the regular rotation Portland may well have a frontcourt that makes other teams curse the unfairness.

Joel Przybilla

Season Performance: B+

Trend:  Static

Biggest Question Marks:  Physical status, room in the rotation 


Future with the Team:  Up in the air because of his injury and contract status.  He could easily become cap ballast in a trade involving Portland's younger, cheaper players.


Jeff Pendergraph

Season Performance: B  (rookies get slack)

Trend:  ?  Too many variables and not enough history to know.

Biggest Question Marks:   Defense, staying out of foul trouble

Future with the Team:  Could go any way imaginable.

--Dave (