Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blazers Improvement '10: Marcus Camby

Immediately after being traded to Portland near the trade deadline, Marcus Camby made his impression felt. The 6'11", 220 lb. 14 year veteran helped shore up a depleted Trail Blazers front line, ailing from the injured departures of Oden and Przybilla. Down the stretch run of the season, whatever the Trail Blazers needed from Marcus on any given night, he provided it. Whether it was his memorable 30 point, 13 rebound performance in victory against the Thunder, inspiring the crowd to serenade him with chants of "Mar-cus Cam-bee" all throughout the Rose Garden arena or his uncanny veteran leadership. With the health status of the other big men still in question, Camby will definitely be called upon again this season to shoulder the load. What can he do this summer to ensure his impact is prolonged on the Trail Blazers?
  1. Free Throw Shooting
  2. There's no doubt the big men of the NBA take the most punishment under the boards and with all the gouged eyes, elbows thrown, and rakes across the arm come free throw opportunities. Although Camby doesn't make a living at the charity stripe as implicated by his career-high 4.19 attempts per game, which took place during his rookie year and 1.35 attempts during his 23 game stint with Portland, the worth of a big who can hold their own at the foul line is invaluable. How much more dominant would players such as Shaquille O'Neal (.527 career free throw percentage) or Wilt Chamerlain (.511) be had they been able to knock them down at a reasonable clip? Now, no one is comparing Marcus to two of the greatest centers in NBA history, but refining his 58.1% free throw percentage should be a priority this summer. If he can hover around 70% for the upcoming season, Portland's 21st best scoring offense (98.1 ppg) could eclipse the century mark for the first time under Nate McMillan's tenure and overall since 1995.
  3. Jump Shot
  4. Even with an unorthodox form on his shot, Marcus possesses great touch for a man of his size and stature. Throughout his career, one of Camby's offensive essentials was his patented top of the key jumper which aided his .471 career field-goal percentage. Camby's versatility on offense allows him to play along side Oden as a power forward or Aldridge as a center and allows for optimal spacing in Coach McMillan's offense. At age 36, the question becomes how many more miles does he have left in the tank? Defense and rebounding will always be staples of his game until the day he retires, but to ensure that he will still be able to keep the defense honest with his mid-range shot, a lot of repetition over the summer shooting jump shots should do the trick for the upcoming season.

By becoming more consistent at the charity stripe and maintaining his jump shot, Camby can stake his claim as a top 10 center in this league. With the center position evolving into a dying breed of today's NBA, the Trail Blazers are fortunate to have a player of Marcus' size and caliber holding down the fort in the middle.

No comments:

Post a Comment