So based on portland's late season performance leading up to brandon roy's injury, with the addition of marcus camby, it seems as though portland has a bright future right? I feel otherwise and here's why:
Next to emeka okafor, i think lamarcus aldridge is the most inconsistent #2 pick in an NBA Draft in recent memory. I feel their success is predicated off of how well he does, and with the way he plays, he could be a 20-10 guy one night, and a 9-5 guy the next. His jump shot is by far his best weapon and he is extremely streaky in this department. His defense is legitimate as he is long and mobile (which is why portland is always near the top in defense every year)
Nate McMillan. He's a great guy, and a good coach. But is he championship caliber? Portland has jerryd bayless, rudy fernandez, brandon roy, aldridge, all guys that can run up and down the floor exceptionally well and finish on a consistent basis. But for whatever reason, mcmillan wants to walk the ball up the court and be this 'traditional' team on both sides of the ball. There's no problem with that but why not push the ball when you have those players who would excel in transition?
Andre Miller. He's a steady guy who can man a team very well and has done so for the entirety of his career. But to me he's only temporary relief. He can't shoot, and with brandon roy penentrating and getting attention like he does, it's essential you have a pg with a reliable jump shot. The shooting guard can shoot as well as he wants but if teams know miller can't shoot, they'll leave him open to close out on everyone else and he'll only hurt them in that department. Not to mention the contract they signed him to. I don't remember the numbers exactly but i know it was a pretty penny. Jerry bayless is more of a scoring combo guard and honestly championship teams have more traditional style point guards that can be effective playmakers as well as shoot, which he can do but he's not the playmaker they need. He'd be a great pace-changing, instant offense guy off the bench but i don't think he's their future point guard.
Their role players: Martell webster has to be one of the most streaky shooters in the league. I can remember many games where he went 0fer of 1fer. Rudy fernandez is also extremely streaky, batum is a good defender but doesn't contribute a whole lot on offense, greg oden is... greg oden. He'll be able to alter shots at the rim but he's definitely not what they expected him to be when they drafted him. All in all their bench is very streaky as well as their role players
Something i do see working for them is their abundance in long, defensive-minded bigs. Pryzbilla probably has some value, as does oden and maybe they could trade one or both for some help at the wing to provide some scoring. Oden probably has the most value. I'd take him because of what he can potentially bring, but i'd have to consider his ability to become injured for long periods of time, as this is something gms would think about when considering him. I know the argument for portland has been that they get injured and you never know what they are like in full swing but honestly, they're ALWAYS injured. At least 2 or 3 guys go down with injury during the season for prolonged so i dont think theyre a team that can be counted on to be durable enough to make a long playoff run. What's your opinion?
although i agree that portland should run more, they dont because brandon roy is their primary ball handler... he ESPECIALLY excels in the halfcourt set... i think they should develop bayless more, let him handle the ball, and run more...
and when greg oden DOES have an injury free season they will be lots better...
In his last 10 games before his injury Oden was averaging 20 and 10 in about 24 mpg.
Just so we are clear, greg oden never averaged 20 and 10 for any period of time. I checked. He scored 20 points like 3 times in the 21 games he played in. And with oden yes they will be better, but are they championship caliber? I feel like they are built to win a championship but the players they have (besides brandon roy) arent good enough to get it done if that makes any sense. They have a bunch of guys that if they contributed more consistenly that they could be but my whole thing is that i dont think they are good enough to actually win a championship.
For the most part i agree with your assessment sacphil_08.
lamarcus aldridge is a streaky shooter. He has a wonderful game about 8-15 feet away from the basket. He appears to resent being asked to go into the low block and avoids contact. I would love to see him be more agressive because it would open up his midrange more and it would result in him shooting fewer contested shots (which he still frequently makes). Agressively getting to the rim with a 1 or 2 step dribble and initiating contact is really where he needs to start developing his game...especially since he is an excellant free throw shooter for a big man. He runs the floor really well and has a fairly decent basketball IQ. He also has a beautiful looking and consistant stroke on his shot. To say Aldridge is like Okafor is comparing apples to oranges as far as their playing styles are concerned but I agree as a #2 pick he has been a bit of a disappointment.
rudy fernandez's confidence was shot as the season went on. He looked completely lost. I watched him in the playoffs and he had zero agressiveness. I would agrue that a lack of a defined role in the offense, poor communication from the coaching staff and sporatic playing time brought him to where he was at the end of the season. He was a better player his 2nd year in the NBA then he was this season. If he gets traded to a new team you will see a completely different player.
batum seemed to evolve beyond being a good defender in the second half of the season. He started hitting his open three's and I saw him take the ball to the hole a few times a game with some success. He also began to show off a nice pull up jumper in his midrange and his ball handling skills look modestly improved. Since he is so young I think continued improvement in all area's is still extremely likely. He seems to have the makings of an excellant SF in the future in my opinion.
Oden, if you think about it, has played very little basketball over the last 4 years of his career. He was in his best physical shape at ohio (out a bunch of games with thumb injury) and in summer league of his rookie? season. He missed all of the next season and became the lumbering big man we have witnessed since. Even so, if he can get his athleticism back I firmly believe he will start moving his feet again, be less frequently fatigued and this will keep him out of foul trouble. If you look at Shaq the last few years he couldn't play more then 25 minutes most nights because he keeps picking up dumb fouls. Usually these fouls were a result of reaching or being very slow to react...not to mention is complete lack of conditioning If Oden gets his wind back and runs all summer we will see the real deal. It will also help his basketball skills/development/IQ if he could go an entire season being healthy and take that health into a productive offseason. He's still 21(22?) and with a little luck he will be more dominant then any other center in the NBA today. There has always been something holding him back and when he manages to finally get some luck he will be amazingly good.
Darko is more inconsistent than Aldridge
The Their Problem is they have a young core but they have a whole at PG and SF
Roy, Aldridge and Oden? is a solid big 3
Batum, Camby, Pryzbillia, Bayless and Fernandez is a good second unit
They should go after Collison and Salmons
If the Blazers brought in Salmons they would be my favorite to win it all next year IF they are healthy. (Big if)