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Portland Trail Blazers: Rebounding, Transition Defense, and Trade Questions

Could the Blazers give up a little offensive rebounding to get better at transition defense? Why isn't Dorell Wright playing more? And could they ever trade for You-Know-Who? The Blazer's Edge Mailbag is up next!

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Time to dip into the Mailbag again.

Hey Dave,

Quick question regarding Rebounding versus transition Defense. i really appreciated the article showing what that looked like with more players above the foul line and fewer at the basket.

My question. If we are really good at rebounding and maybe mediocre at transition defense, Do we give up those rebounds or play to our strength (Rebounding)?

Your thoughts?


Back in the old days we used to claim these two factors were linked closely. Now we understand they don't have to be. Some of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league are also the worst transition defenders but that's not always true. The old concept that "if you concentrate on one end of the court you can't focus on the other" doesn't hold up.

Unless your lineup includes Russell Westbrook, the players doing the offensive rebounding (center and forwards) aren't tasked with being the first line of defense in transition (guards). Robin Lopez hitting the glass hard doesn't prevent Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard from getting back on defense.

Great offensive rebounding teams sometimes prevent other teams from getting out on the break by threat of the rebound alone. Opponents have to keep extra men back to claim the ball before they can outlet it. If the offensive-rebounding team tips the ball or makes the opponent spend an extra second or two securing possession, they've prevented the fast break even though they didn't come up with the rebound itself. Every time they actually corral an offensive board they reinforce in the opponent's mind that you have to play defense until you see the rebound in your own hands. That's often enough to slow down run-outs.

If the Blazers are poor in transition defense it either means they're not expending the energy to get back or they're not intimidating anyone when they do get back. Ceding back offensive rebounds that they otherwise would have benefited from won't change either of those things.

Mostly because it's only been 4 games. Also Dorell's shooting percentage has been somewhat south of unmentionable since joining the team. To climb into the rotation he needs to show he can goose the lineup more than other guys on the roster. Also the Blazers understand that their younger wings (read: Will Barton) will have a greater impact on the franchise over a longer period of time than Wright so they want to give those guys first crack at minutes.

Wright's time will come at some point during the season, though. Hang on and you'll probably see him get more court time.

Down here in LA, with the Lakers 0-5 and not looking to get better anytime soon, talk radio is all about whether the Lakers should trade Kobe. Thought being to spare him the ignominy of going out a loser, as well letting him go to a contender where he can try to get another ring or two.

So my question is, would the Blazers hypothetically entertain a trade for Kobe for the last two seasons of his career? What would they have to give up? Would he fit into the style of play and culture of the Blazers? And finally would Kobe realistically get Portland closer to competing for a championship?


Not at this point. Maybe you could overlook his 40% shooting from the field, 30% shooting from the arc, and the fact that he uses almost 40% of his team's possessions in the process. Perhaps you could chalk it up to the company he's keeping, speculating he'd be more efficient with better players around him. Even so, the Blazers would never get past his playing style and salary.

Kobe is one of the best players to ever stand on NBA hardwood. Kobe knows this well. Believing he's the most talented guy on the floor, Kobe's going to put himself first...all the time. That's the antithesis of Portland's offensive system. The Blazers hate bad shots. Kobe's whole career has been built on proving there's no such thing. Now that he's older and not able to compensate for shot selection with athleticism and skill, he'd be breaking Portland's system without bringing enough goodness back into it.

Plus the guy's making $30 flippin' million dollars this year. That's so much more than Portland's entire bench combined that the Blazers couldn't match salaries under cap rules by trading all of them together for Bryant. Unless you want to lose Lamarcus Aldridge in the deal, there's no way to formulate a Bryant trade that would pass the common sense test.


I wanna know what's the coolest thing that ever happened to you cuz of Blazersedge?


That's hard to answer, at least in the way I suspect you're looking for. I can give you memorable moments like meeting Kevin Pritchard for the first time and he already knew my name, TV and radio appearances, or getting the Channing Frye "buffet of goodness" quote. But honestly you've got to understand what the site is about to understand what makes the experience cool.

I've never been that big on being well-known or living out some NBA dream by proxy. I've had chances to do some of that and found that other things were more important to me. Besides, I get what I need right here nearly every day. This community is shaped around the idea that people matter, that Blazer fans have something peculiarly wonderful about them, and that conversation between them can be great, educational, fun, inspiring, and make your day better.

Timmay and I were talking about this a while ago. He recalled that when he started modding on game days, we were the only ones around with an actual Game Day Thread. Conventional wisdom at the time said that fans were to be seen (reading articles crafted by elite experts) but not heard. Smart money said to shove comments in a corner somewhere, to get fan voices off your page quickly lest some reader come by and mistake your site as "common" or  "non-expert".

You also have to remember that at the time we were being fed liberal doses of 25-point pledges and sales pitches from a team trying to make things seem like they weren't. Or make things seem like they weren't what they were. Whichever.

All these approaches stem from a common conviction: fans are relatively uneducated, relatively gullible, and will follow whatever you tell them.. Though necessary to pay the bills, common fans were a necessary evil in the "real" experience that only a few, privileged folks got to enjoy.

This did not mesh at all with my experience of Blazer fandom. I remembered when we were considered the best, smartest fans in the world. But now everybody in our orbit was saying the opposite...not with words but with actions.

That's where this site came from. We stuck conventional wisdom up a pig's snout and dared to give you space, even to put you front and center. We banked on you being smart, passionate, determined, and interesting. That bet has been rewarded hundreds of thousands of times over. We became the self-educating community I talked about a couple weeks ago...teaching each other arcane cap rules, play schematics, and nuances about the game, raising the bar for discussion as we did so.

My "coolest" Blazer's Edge experience still happens every time I read a smart, interesting response to a post, every time I learn something new, every time somebody tells me that the conversation here made them feel connected to the team or their childhood or the city they've left behind, every time those GameDay Threads roll by and we see thousands of comments. There is no substitute. It's a joy that folks who see readers as traffic or market share will never know. I think it's pretty special.

I still don't write here to get famous or fulfill some NBA dream by proxy. I do it because I love hearing your responses and because I feel like I owe a debt to everyone who's taken the time to read or comment here over the past 8 years.

Speaking of conversation...keep those Mailbag questions coming to!

--Dave / @DaveDeckard@Blazersedge