Welcome to the first installment of the Blazers Blog 2006/2007 Season Preview. I'm back in action after spending some time in Bandon playing golf. This preview will be coming to you in 5 parts, the guards, forwards/centers, coaching, front office, and finally the overall outlook. Yes, it's going to be a long year, Hollinger on ESPN called last year's team one of the worst NBA teams of the last decade, so that's fun. Get ready for a healthy dose of silver linings over the next week, and I'll try to keep the doomsday scenarios to a minimum. Without further delay, let's take a look at the guards for your 06/07 Portland Trailblazers as they stand right now:
Jarrett Jack. Now the starting point guard, strangely I'm fine with this. I had grown tired of Telfair's turnovers, injuries, and his almost Damon-like pounding it into the court until there were 5 seconds left on the shot clock. Jack, while not healthy all year, was still very solid for a rookie point guard, even more when you consider they were forced to play him at the 2 because he's the only guy who could guard anyone. Fortunately, he's one of the guys we have stats on. He played in 79 games, started 4, but shot 44% from the floor, 26% from beyond the arc (silver lining warning) but he was hampered by a ripped up ankle that prevented him from getting any lift. I expect this to go up at least past Derek Anderson levels, up around 37-39% this year. I think he could be a solid building block for the future, at worst he's a quality backup point guard long term.
Sergio Rodriguez. If you ask some, the future of the position. Spanish Chocolate, Spanish Fly, whatever you want to call him, he is a flashy distributor that will be fun to watch. My concern would be his size, listed at 6'3", 165, and the fact that he's a turnover machine. I expect to see a lot of oohs and aahs when he's in the game, but a lot of seat seeking missiles as well.
Dan Dickau. Not sure what he provides, injured and not so good in the first place. Maybe Subterfuge Stevie thought "everyone likes that one Gonzaga guy, maybe they won't be so pissed off that we passed on him in favor of Theo Ratliff v2.0 if we bring in another Zag".
Juan Dixon. Surprisingly good last year. He's still a mad gunner but at least he's serviceable. I don't have much to say about him, he's a known commodity. He'll get you 12 points on average but that's masked by 20 point games and 4 point ones just as often, as a bonus they'll be on the same amount of shots.
Martell Webster. I'm including him here because there's a lot to talk about with the front court and I see him more as a two than a three. I still can't believe Chris Paul isn't a Blazer because of him, but I'll get past it in about 15 years. Anyway, he did show promise late last year once he was allowed to play in garbage time. In April he averaged 29 minutes a night and had 14 points on 46% shooting from the floor, 32% from beyond the arc. Looks like a good shooter, intriguing, we'll see. Should get more minutes this year, jury is obviously still out.
Brandon Roy. Ahhhh the future. He's supposed to be the franchise savior, the Rookie of The Year, the guy who gives them some respectability again and is their first truly impact perimeter player since Clyde. I'm not quite that high on him, and not just because he's a Husky. I see him as a very solid player, and I'd suppose the ceiling would be like Manu without the flopping and the horrible BO. He cuts to the basket, passes well, hits jumpers, and plays solid D. If he turns into Manu, then we've really got something. Now we just need Tim Duncan to go with him, and looking at the team going into the season it looks like they're going to have a pretty good shot at getting the next Duncan, currently playing at The Ohio State University, Greg Oden.
Tomorrow, the Forwards/Centers.