As you all know, I will occasionally pull in other writers to contribute to the site. Fellow Blazer fan, NBA critic and e-mail site contributor The Loch is makes his full-article debut for your Blazer enjoyment.
The Backcourt Problem
by The Loch
It’s no secret that the front line for the Blazers is certainly above average by NBA standards with Miles, Z-bo, and Joel, although the depth is pretty much non-existent with Reuben out of position at the backup 4 and Theo somehow contracting Dale Davis Disease this past off season. Bottom line, you can win with the front court players they are going with right now. Unfortunately, the backcourt has a whole host of issues and the team will win and lose depending on how they play from night to night. Their first 3 games they’ve got this from their backcourt:
PG (Telfair & Jack, 48 minutes) – 5 for 13, 12 points, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 rebounds
SG (The Chaz, Dixon, 48 min) – 7 for 19, 16 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 6 rebounds
PG (Telfair, Jack & Blake) – 4 for 18, 9 points, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, somehow 13 rebounds
SG (The Chaz & Dixon) – 8 for 17, 20 points, 5 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 rebound
PG (Telfair & Jack) – 11 for 21, 28 points, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 8 boards
SG (Monia & Dixon) – 4 for 13, 12 points, 7 assists, 0 turnovers, 6 boards
Obviously the big game from Telfair and Jack against the Hawks stands out as a solid performance. When you have a young point guard tandem like this, you’re going to get some streaky nights. I accept this. What I don’t accept is The Chaz and Dixon, they are awful. The Chaz basically does nothing at all out there, love the line against the Wolves where he was just out for an evening jog, 0 assists, 0 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 1 steal in 21 minutes. Thanks for that. Dixon on the other hand has got to stop shooting. His mad gunning has become ridiculous and every time he jacks one up with 19 seconds left on the shot clock it’s one more possession where Miles & Z-bo don’t touch the ball.
So where does this leave the backcourt for the future, the rest of this season and beyond? I think you take your lumps with Telfair and Jack, both bring stuff to the table, both take some things off at times. There’s obviously a contingent forming already in the “Jack for starting point guard” camp, but it’s way too early to pull the plug on Sebastian. I know Jack played in the ACC, took a team to the NCAA title game, and certainly looks like he’s got that prototypical NBA point guard game, but Telfair’s your guy for the time being. You have to give him at least 30 games to see what he can do, then make the change if it’s clear Jack is the better option. My suggestion: Telfair 28 minutes, Jack 20.
At shooting guard, the Monia insertion in to the starting lineup and 30 minutes in the home opener was a shocker to just about everyone, probably including Monia. That being said, I think he’s the starting shooting guard indefinitely. As we’ve covered previously, The Chaz does nothing and Dixon is a streaky shooter that obviously thinks he’s a lot better than he is. Monia showed us the other night that he’s not overmatched out there, although the quicker 2 guards in the league will certainly tear him up off the dribble. He also seems to grasp the concept of get the ball to Miles and Z-bo, only shoot when you’re open and the ball’s been kicked out to you, and more importantly make the shots under these circumstances. Webster is the guy they want to develop into this role, but Monia is the guy that’s NBA ready right now, he’s your guy. My suggestion: Monia 30, the other 18 depending on if Dixon is hot in those first 5 shots he takes (should only take about 2 minutes of game time to see those 5 shots) or The Chaz if Monia’s getting ripped up by the opposing 2 guard.