Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After Signing Miller, Blazers are Overcrowded

With the addition of point guard Andre Miller and the imminent signing of Portland's two 2nd round draft pick, Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph, the roster stands at 13 players.
LaMarcus AldridgeNicolas BatumJerryd Bayless
Steve Blake Dante CunninghamRudy Fernandez
Andre MillerGreg OdenTravis Outlaw
Jeff PendergraphJoel PrzybillaBrandon Roy
Martell Webster
Portland has up to two more roster spots to fill if they so choose and one possibility could be adding 55th overall selection Patrick Mills or they could look to sign a veteran journeyman for insurance purposes. Whether they add or don't add to the current roster is not the question. The question becomes, "Is the roster overcrowded?" Normally, I wouldn't worry about having too much depth during the last week of July, but recent reports make it seem like no more trades will be made before training camp. (Notes) Point guard is the most glaring log jam where Portland has three capable players vying for only 48 minutes of action and none of them can split any time at the off guard. Baring injury, Miller and Blake will split the entire time with Bayless being relegated to 3rd string cheerleader once more. Jerryd is very driven and ultra-competitive, so would he be fine waiting yet another year to get on the court? He was the consummate professional last year but that was only one year. In regards to being a team cancer over a lack of playing time, Bayless was quoted as saying, "I will never be like that. I know how it can affect a team." Also, if there is any consolation, it should be much easier watching two better players get run ahead of him, in Miller and Blake, instead of witnessing Sergio Rodriguez take playing time away from you. Another minutes battle ensues if Martell Webster returns from his stress fracture injury 100%. Webster can play either the 2 or 3 position and could take away time from Batum, Outlaw, and Fernandez. Rudy was already worried about Hedo coming to town and with the addition of Andre, there goes any minutes Rudy could have had at point guard. Also, if, and it is still a big if, Webster is fully recovered, Roy's time at the small forward probably drops, which means no more of those additional minutes for Rudy at the 2. Of any player on the team, Rudy strikes me most to become a problem in the locker room. Although McMillan views Travis as a power forward first, he still can and does play small forward, which allowed him to average 27 mpg the previous two seasons. By all reports, Travis is the most likable guy in the locker room, but this is a contract year for Mr. 4th Quarter, and if he only gets scraps behind Aldridge, it'll mean less money on the market for him. Batum's defense is too valuable to Portland for him not to continue to get his minutes, 16, whether starting or not. Finally, what about Martell if he finds himself buried on the depth chart and only getting garbage minutes? Personally, I don't think he would cause a ruckus, because he knows he is a year behind due to the foot injury and he is still reaping the benefits of that $20 million contract. As much as I would love to say that we, the fans, or talent were the #1 reasons why the Trail Blazers won 54 games last year, it's simply not the case. Both helped out mightily, but it was team chemistry that got us a share of the NorthWest Division crown and home court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2000. A lot of people would say winning breeds chemistry and I don't disagree with that at all, but what if the wins don't come as plentiful this season or the team hits rough patch in the season? Do we hear trade demands and players pointing fingers in the locker room? I don't think it would get that extreme, mainly due to the personalities on the roster but little things could start showing up on the court. The extra pass may not be made in order for a player to "get theirs" or the bench might not cheer for their teammates. Little things compiled together add up. Ideally, KP would swing a 2 or 3 for 1 consolidation trade which would trim down the playing rotation down from 10 to 8 or 9. Historically, championship caliber teams that play for long tenures have short rotations. The early 90's Blazers had a 7 or 8 man rotation, as did Jordan's Bulls, and more recently, the Spurs of the current decade. There is such a thing as "too deep" and right now, Portland is there.


  1. Yeah, Bayless is fucked. He won't see the court this season unless half the team contracts swine flu.

  2. Bayless is my 2nd fv Blazer, so I am biased towards him, but I would be very upset if we traded him without even giving him a chance to prove himself, on the court, in meaningful time.

  3. To me Blake is holding this team back a bit. Average shooter and a so-so defensive player. Get Bayless in there and reap the benefits.

  4. I couldn't agree more. I appreciate what he has given us - steady player, sharp shooting, veteran presence, but he is not a championship level point and, if we didn't have a budding lottery pick playing him him, I would be 100% in favor of him being the backup to Andre.