Home > Musings > My #Blazers 2010 season recap, an admittedly inexpert view

My #Blazers 2010 season recap, an admittedly inexpert view

April 30th, 2010

So, this is the year I attempted to understand basketball, when I started watching more than who had the ball. So these observations may be way off the mark. I invite correction from more experienced fans. That’s “correction”, not “lol ur dum”.

1. The Point

I tweeted several times anyone who thought Blake should have started over Miller is nuts, although more on that later. At times Miller looked like the only guy who could get to the rim and his court vision is supernatural. He made passes that caused a rank amateur like me to goggle, I can only imagine what a truly knowledgeable fan saw.

Bayless showed streaks of amazing as the third string PG for most of the season and was the better player at the one AND the two in the Suns series on occasion. He definitely needs to develop, but he needs playing time for that. So let’s give it to him and let’s give it to him in Portland.

2. Shooting Star, er, Guard.

It seemed to me this was the year BRoy felt his responsibility as a leader, too much. He was putting the team on his back and trying to carry it, probably most clearly illustrated by his support of Blake (the guy he felt comfortable with) in the point guard controversy. He also lost his way splitting the court with Oden and a near-max contract LMA. He needs to relax and realize that even Jordan needed Pippen.

Unfortunately he didn’t do that in Game 6. Brandon was pretty much useless out there, possibly even a liability, although that wasn’t entirely his fault. The Pippen analogue failed to come through.

3. Small Forward

Nicholas Batum is the only good thing about France. Except for certain frog hotties. But that’s beside the point. He had the shoulder thing, but he toughed through that for most of the series. Unfortunately (don’t bother counting how many times I type that word) he faded at the end, one reason BRoy’s neutralization hurt us so badly in game 6.

Batum also needs to toughen up. It warmed my heart to no end to see him shoving you-know-who during a dead ball. Give it back, Nic, give it back plus!

4. Power Forward

Hopefully this series is the impetus to turn LMA into a bad ass. He showed some promise at times but he also got worked by Amar’e “whiny punk” Stoudamire. Maybe he comes back next reason ready to kick some ass and throw some elbows of his own. But really? I doubt it. I look at the headshot of him sportscasts use and I kinda think “What a douchebag.” He just doesn’t seem to have the hunger, or drive, or whatever. I’d love to be proven wrong about that.

5. Center

We got Camby. That’s something. Although I dunno why he kinda disappeared, figuratively and literally in this series. Nate went small at times for some reason. But he definitely salvaged our post-season and I’m happy to have him back.

6. The Bench

B-Rex I’ve covered, now Martell & Rudy. First Rudy.

Look, I remember last season, er, season before last. I remember 5 points in, what, 2 game seconds? Once I stood up in a bar and adapted Inigo Montoya’s famous speech (I think it was “…you came into my house, prepare to die”, but I’d been drinking). I want that Rudy to come back, because this Rudy sucked ASS. He DID have back surgery and for a less effective excuse he was adjusting to being the only Spaniard on the team. I say give Rudy one more chance, if he doesn’t show his stuff early next season, deal him. If anyone wants him.

Martell I know less about. In fact when I decided to go position by position on this I had to look up who our backup SG is. He seemed streaky, actually that’s charitable, he was inconsistent. If we need him to round out a trade, so be it.

Who should not, under ANY circumstances, be traded are Cunningham and Pendergraph. They stepped up in a huge way in the Season of Owies and they deserve consideration for that. Also, how many young players have the Blazers dealt from an overcrowded roster that blew up elsewhere? Jermaine O’Neal is probably the poster child, but I’d like to point you all to a certain three point shooter playing for the Phoenix Suns. They have the size to play the three or the four, or the five at times. They’re young, they’re tough, they’re smart. Play them, play the hell out of them. Do this here, with them wearing Blazers jerseys, not with them smoking us in someone else’s uniform. Believe.

That leaves Juwan Howard. We recruited him to be a veteran presence, a demi-coach. Ooops, now you’re our starting center. Go to it. But Howard’s kinda the odd man out. We don’t theoretically need a designated veteran presence with Dre and Camby. The roster’s kinda crowded with bigs at the moment. I dunno.

7. The Coach

When I first saw the fire Nate hashtag on Twitter I was outraged. Now, I’m not. There’s always naysayers, I know that. But at times it was pretty clear the team wasn’t really listening to him, and he seems pretty inflexible about a lot of stuff, like pulling Oden every time he got two fouls. Let the kid learn! Let him foul out early in the season.

I also have to bring up the Miller/Blake thing again. I understand why initially Nate wanted Dre to come off the bench. Really, I do. Last season our depth was our greatest strength in a way that didn’t mean injury replacement and Dre would have been incredible leading that unit. But this year our bench seemed to be a liability, when we had anything like a “bench”. Once that became clear, Dre should have started. He clearly should have started, but it took a widely reported shouting match to get Nate to bend on that.

Then there’s assertions of being outcoached by the Suns. Well, Gentry sure likes to butter up the refs, and Nate likes to scowl. I honestly don’t know enough about basketball to make a judgment on this. But there’s definitely something not playoff ready about the Blazers. Maybe it’s experience, maybe it’s time, maybe it’s Nate. He was our guy to follow Cheeks, but is he our guy for the future? It’s a worthy question.

8. The Company

Paul Allen needs to quit fucking with the people who work for him. This is the guy who kept Whitsitt in position when everyone else on the planet was calling for his blood. I don’t trust his hoops judgement a tick. If he fires KP, I hope his chemo treatments go south.

9. The Future

The point is solid and the center position is packed, if problematic. The big question at center, does Pryz come back? Associated, do we want him to? Maybe Pryz retires, maybe we becomes trade bait because of his contract. Considering the I word, I don’t think we can have too many centers. Speaking of the I word I’m not ready to give up on Oden and I’m about ready to deck the next person that says “worst draft pick ever”. Go take your bullshit elsewhere, preferably to a recording of what Oden did early this season. He bends reality just by moving. The health question will sort itself out over time, but I firmly believe most GMs would have taken the gamble on our wrinkly behemoth. There’s a quote on Oregon Live from the coach who just beat us (and needs to stop with the collagen already) calling him the mainstay of the franchise for the future. Yes, if he stays healthy, get over it already. Time will tell.

The Blazers need good backups at the 2 and the 3.

Without question our weak spot is the 4. LaMarcus and Juwan aren’t gonna get it done. I say deal LMA. Deal him tomorrow with one or both of Rudy and Martell in a package with draft picks and cash. Pick up a good, tough power forward (someone last night had the gall to suggest Amar’e. A pox on you, sir!) . I don’t know who that is (other than not Amar’e), but it’s gotta be someone. Alternatively, just open cap and roster space then platoon of Dante, Jeff and Juwan at the four. I don’t know if that’s workable, maybe we bring in a free agent and shift our young cornermen to the three and four backups.

That just leaves the 2 backup, which we can probably buy or trade draft picks for. Or, y’know, Rudy can stop sucking.

Okay, there’s my take. What did I miss? What did I blow?

  1. April 30th, 2010 at 14:15 | #1

    From one mostly uninformed basketball fan to another, I actually agree with a lot of your observations here.

    1. We were in the Make Miller Start camp early on. Blake’s a good guy, and he seems to be doing well on the Clippers, but he was ineffective for most of the season with the Blazers.

    2 – 3. Yup.

    4. I just don’t know. I feel like, if LMA inspired the same kind of gut reaction fandom that someone like Roy or Fernandez does, he’d become a superstar. He’s operated mostly in the shadows of this team to everyone besides the true Blazers fans. But on the other hand, a player shouldn’t need constant, vocal support from a fanbase to perform well. I’d miss him a lot if he left, but not as much if we got someone like free agent Dirk Nowitski in his place.

    5. I heard this morning that Camby fell on his shoulder and it smarted enough to keep him out of the game for the rest of the time. I can’t remember when this happened, exactly.

    6. Pretty much agree.

    7. Man, Mike and Mike were having a grand ole’ time discussing the lengths to which Gentry would try to manipulate the refs. They brought up his good game to one ref enough to make it kind of infuriating.

    8. While I’d never hope for someone’s chemo to go badly (that’s what we have you for), I agree with everything else.

    9. If we can go without someone in surgery every week, I’m already optimistic about our chances to do this again in a year, but with better results.

    I miss basketball already.

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