Portland was down as much as 14 in the first half. Rookie JR Smith had a great game, as did PJ Brown and Dan Dickau. Question for you Blazer fans: how do Smith and Brown dominate inside when we've got arguably one of the deepest front lines in the NBA? Somebody please explain this. Anyhow, Damon Stoudamire attempted another 19 shots, going 3-for-9 from three-point land and dropping in 30 points. Maybe this will increase his trade value. Nick Van Exel on the other hand went 1-for-13. And apparently Maurice Cheeks fell asleep on the bench, because Van Exel still received 40 minutes of playing time.
Yes, that's right, 40 minutes. Apparently the one shot he made (a three-pointer in the second quarter) was enough for Mo. Telfair on the other hand -- the team's leader in +/- -- played 17 minutes.
Personally -- and I posted this on basketballboards.net's Blazer Forum today -- I do not believe that having a PG that is shoot-first or leads your team in scoring is the way to build a basketball team. Look at guys like Stephon Marbury or Steve Francis and show me -- have they ever had any kind of legitimate team success in the NBA? You could even lump Baron Davis into that mix. One might point out that he was the starting PG on a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals one year; but he wasn't the team's first option ... Jamal Mashburn was. That was also, coincidently, the year that Baron had his highest assist-to-turnover ratio.
Anyhow, back to Portland's situation. Their PG leads the team in scoring, the starting backcourt jacks up 32 of the team's 75 shots, and the Blazers ends up doing their best Charlotte Bobcats impression -- ending up with a whopping 80 points on the night. Against the worst team in basketball. To put things in perspective, PJ Brown, Rodney Rogers and George Lynch outrebounded Theo Ratliff, Ruben Patterson, and Joel Pryzbilla 32-16.
We'll close today's column with a quick run-down of Portland's +/- rankings amongst its regulars. I think you won't be too surprised who's at the top.
- Telfair, +4.4
- Pryzbilla, +4.3
- Van Exel, +2.1
- Miles, +1.5
- Randolph, +1.3
- Patterson, +1.2
- Abdur-Rahim, -0.1
- Ratliff, -0.5
- Stoudamire, -1.2
- Anderson, -2.9
I think the numbers speak for themselves. If you're a moneyball-type person, this means we should be going with a starting lineup of Telfair, Van Exel, Miles, Randolph and Pryzbilla.What do you think?
Second item of business: Trade Rumors!
Chad Ford of ESPN is reporting that Portland and Houston have agreed, in principle, to a trade involving Derek Anderson and Mo Taylor. However, the deal is contingent upon Portland receiving a shooting guard in exchange for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
I've said this before and I'll say it again -- I don't buy it. It makes a little more sense if it's after a Shareef deal -- but not enough sense. First of all, I highly doubt that NBA teams run around promising trades to each other contingent upon something as vague as "if we get a shooting guard in exchange for a current player on our roster". Seconldy, Houston needs a point guard, not a shooting guard. DA is a bad basketball player. He can't shoot, he's not explosive anymore, he's bad on defense.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him dealt -- I just don't think it will happen in this manner.
Update: The Portland Trail Blazers have pulled all of their advertising from The Oregonian. Clearly, this is the team's response to John Canzano's article from yesterday's paper, claiming to have posession of a document in which Portland was proposing to Darius Miles that they re-pay him for the two games he was suspended following the spat with coach Cheeks.
The Blazers already get roasted by The Oregonian (and it's mediocre-at-best sports page) on a daily basis. Pulling all of its advertising really ought to repair that damage. This also ought to help the team out with its 28th-in-the-NBA attendance average. *sigh*.