Thursday, July 28, 2005

Blazers Sign Juan Dixon

The Washington Post is reporting that the Blazers have agreed to a three-year, $8 million contract with former Washington Bullet Juan Dixon.

It's a nice little signing for Portland. And I do mean "little", in that he's not the biggest guy. Dixon is 6-3, 160 lb shooting guard, and that 160 is generous. His rep is that he can shoot it when he's hot; although his percentages (41.6% FG, 32.7% 3pt) aren't pretty, so I question that a bit. His PPS (points-per-shot) was a very pedestrian 1.13, and assist-to-turnover ration of about 2-1. He's not necessarily a great defender or ballhandler, but he is a smart player and a great character guy. Smooth but unspectacular. He is the University of Maryland's all-time leading scorer and led them to a national championship in 2002. Plus, he's got a nice little 'stache, which is always a positive. While there is a part of me that says "why?" when reading about this signing, there are two reasons why I like it:

  1. 1. He's a guy who CAN start at the 2, but he doesn't HAVE to start at the 2. Meaning he functions both as a stop-gap to play some minutes until Martell Webster is ready and as a player who can do a little scoring off the bench once Martell turns into Ray Allen.
  2. This means that DA is likely the amnesty casualty. Anything that gets DA farther away from this team is OK by me.

I don't see Dixon starting; that will likely be Outlaw at the "2", but I do see him playing 15 minutes per game off the bench at the shooting guard spot and taking some serious pressure off of Webster. I do have some concerns about Dixon and Telfair playing at the same time in the backcourt; that would be an awfully tiny set of guards who's defense would bring back awful nighmares of last year's Stoudamire/Van Exel tiny tandem, and we certainly don't need that again. I'll be curious to see how Nate uses him; I could envision Dixon playing a both a big of SG (especially alongside Jack if he gets much PT) and even putting in some backup PG minutes.

You'll probably remember his pro career best from game four of the first round of the playoffs this year, when he scored 35 points against the Bulls. As the story goes, he had a terrible night in game 3 and begged his coach for another shot, which he received, and promptly went out and dropped the hammer. Speaking of Dixon's scoring, his career averages are just over 8 points and just under 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 16 minutes per game. Decent enough for a bench player I suppose.

Nonetheless, he'll do for now. It's a good time in his career to pick up Dixon, and it's a very low-risk signing.

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