Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What Have We Learned So Far?

An extremely busy work schedule and a visit from a family member has kept me from posting ... apologies. However, a few quick thoughts.

What have we learned about the Blazers after three games? Here are my quick thoughts. Again, this has only been three games so these are preliminary thoughts:
  1. Darius Miles has stepped up his game. We all knew he had the talent, and he seems to now have a desire to take a leadership role. Granted, it's early November and we could be talking about what a jerk he's reverted to in a month, but he has clearly been the leader of the team. Without his 20, 8, and 4, Portland would be completely lost on offense.
  2. Sergei Monia looks much better (granted in limited action and granted against a very crummy Atlanta team) than I thought he would. As far as I can tell, he should be the defacto starter until proven otherwise. He's got a nice jumper, decent size, passes the ball, and runs the court well. Now about that defense...
  3. Stop Shooting Juan Dixon (I hear that's officially part of his name these days) looks awful. The man is a black hole. Once the ball gets passed his way, it's going up, and it's probably bouncing off the rim. So far I haven't found much that he's adding to the team, and for the record, he's got the second-worst +/- statistics of the club's regulars.
  4. Chaz Smith looks very blah, which is about what we expected. I can see him having the skills to be a 10-15 minute per game player off of the bench, but he doesn't appear to have the talent or court presence to be a starting 2-guard in the NBA.
  5. Jarrett Jack has been a nice surprise. His +/- numbers don't look good, but he's got a very nice presence with the ball and a decent looking jump shot. It appears that he'll be able to fill holes at both PG and SG this year as well.
  6. Travis Outlaw's playing time has been sporadic and much smaller than we anticipated. Given Outlaw's emergence last year, I expected him to get at least 25 mpg and fill up the bucket with plenty of points; he's only made it into one game for 10 minutes. What gives?
  7. Theo Ratliff looks terrible. He's clearly lost most of his skills and is starting to look like a terrible contract extension signing.

What do you think? Email me your thoughts and I'll post them here. And as for the Blazers-Knicks trade rumors floating around, I don't buy into them. Reason being, the Knicks will want Miles in any deal, and Darius Miles has clearly shown himself to be the key to Portland's offense this season, and I don't believe the club will trade him. At least not yet.

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