Baines surprised by Hall...
Raptors go west, Kawhi b...
Oregon's No. 3 ranking t...
Cowboys Defense Did A Gr...
Real Madrid far behind t...
Cowboys All Alone On Top...
Sarri uses Napoli formul...
Column: Across USA, chee...
NFL ICYMI: Good as Belic...
LA native Brian Ortega d...
Blazers Tried to Hide Darius M...
NBA Essentials: The Pritchard ...
Your Weekend NBA Guide: What t...
The Grizzlies Sign Darius Mile...
Blazers Threaten to Sue Team T...
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
July 2014
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
 
 
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live
News » Blazers finally have foundation for success


Blazers finally have foundation for success


Blazers finally have foundation for success
The last time the Trail Blazers made the playoffs, Rasheed Wallace, Scottie Pippen, Dale Davis and Damon Stoudamire were on the roster.

A multi-year makeover later, things are once again looking rosy in Portland.

Bleacher Report

Bayless follows a never-ending line of great guards from Arizona, including Gilbert Arenas, Mike Bibby, Damon Stoudamire and Steve Kerr. That pedigree alone demands playing time.

If the summer league is any indication, Bayless should address a glaring need for Portland: free throws. The Blazers were 26th in the league last year in freebies attempted per game, thanks in large part to being mostly a jump-shooting team. Bayless' fearlessness in attacking the basket should bump that stat up significantly, raising point production along with it.

Fernandez could, if given playing time, become the annoying foreign guy that almost every team needs to win (see: Ginobili, Parker, Vujacic, Kukoc, etc.).

McMillan got an up-close encounter with Fernandez's game in Beijing, watching helplessly from the bench as the Spaniard shredded Team USA's defense for 22 points — 15 from 3-point range — in the gold-medal game. With sharp-shooter James Jones moving to Miami via free agency, 3-point shooting will be at a premium for Portland this season.

Blake is the reliable backup point guard that McMillan will need when his team starts getting impatient or inconsistent. His assist-to-turnover ratio last season (3.65, good for seventh in the league) was even higher than Roy's.

The best thing about the Blazers' stable of young guards? All four of them are good enough that they feel they deserve playing time. Their motivation, and subsequently their performance, should skyrocket thanks to the competition.

Oden provides anchor on defense

In a March 19 game against Phoenix, Portland's interior was blasted apart by Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal, who combined for 41 points and 22 rebounds.

At one point in the game, Blazers center Joel Przybilla attempted to get into it with Shaq, staring him down and jawing with him. While he averaged over eight rebounds a game, Przybilla is by no means an intimidator to the big men in the Western Conference.

Replace him with Greg Oden. Despite the fact he hasn't played in over a year, and despite the fact he had only one decent year at Ohio State, he gives the Blazers something they didn't have: a defensive big man with a reputation.

That rep alone will deter guards from penetrating with little-to-no regard for the consequences. The paint will no longer be a personal playground for the likes of Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Deron Williams. And Oden will give opposing centers and forwards second thoughts before attempting to bull their way inside.

On offense, Portland should be able to give Oden a smooth transition to the NBA thanks to forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge already provides the bulk of the Blazers' scoring on the front line, allowing Oden to maximize his defensive talents without rushing his offensive development. The majority of Aldridge's scoring comes from a mid-range face-up game, which will give Oden the space he needs to operate underneath.

Other West teams take a step back

Portland's improvement couldn't come at a more opportune time. Last year's No. 8 seed, Denver, traded away its only line of defense (Marcus Camby) to the Clippers for nothing more than fiscal breathing room.

Golden State lost its two best guards in the offseason, one to free agency (Baron Davis' own escape to L.A.), and the other to injury (Monta Ellis' moped accident).

Sacramento gave up on Ron Artest for nostalgia (Bobby Jackson's heralded return), and Phoenix and Dallas got even older.

At least one, if not two or three playoff seeds will be up for grabs come April. The young Blazers should be able to snatch one of them from another team's failing clutches this season.

For more from this Bleacher Report writer, click here.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 27, 2008

 

 
Copyright © Blazersdaily.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.