The Blazers did something that I'm pretty sure no other team in the NBA will do this year. They completed The Grand Slam, losing at home to the Raptors, 76ers, Celtics, and Knicks in the span of two weeks. I'm not completely ready to call for a vote of no confidence in Nate, but when you've been thoroughly outcoached twice in one week by Doc and Zeke, well, you're starting to look more and more like Mo Mo The Clown with each passing game. Botched 2 for 1's at the end of quarters, horrific substitution patterns, failure to either adjust to what the other team is doing or making them adjust to your personnel, and the crime of all crimes so far this year, The Aldridge Situation.
The Blazers have lost 6 out of their last 7 to the worst teams in the league and their best center has played a grand total of 28 minutes in those 7 games, 18 of those minutes coming in two blow out losses. Last night he actually got in for 9 minutes in the fourth quarter and quickly put up a 3 for 5 night, 6 points and a blocked shot. On the road trip that I had thought turned the season around, he played 15-20 minutes in every game, notched his first double double in a win at the Pistons, and just generally looked like the stud they thought they were drafting. Then, regrettably, Joel got healthy and Aldridge was sent to the pine and the center position was left to Joel and The All Star.
Aldridge is very good young center, he looks a lot like Sheed actually with that high release on the jumper that doesn't even draw iron as it goes through. He also has a great turnaround post shot, passes well from the high post, and is already just as good a help defender as Joel is, much better than The All Star. Aldridge is also the future of the team in the post, and of course he's getting no experience watching the Blazers fumble around and screw up another game down low.
The problem lies in the acquisition of The All Star in the first place. It's like Subterfuge Stevie is sitting up on his Ivory Tower and forcing Nate to play his All Star Center that he acquired in the off season. There is a theory that he's being "showcased" for a trade, but if it were me I'd bury him on the end of the bench and not let anyone see him play and realize that he's dogshit. In those same 6 losses in 7 games to the arm pit of the league, he's played 147 minutes (21 a game). He's one of the key reasons they stink right now. Unlike Aldridge he does nothing for you on the offensive end of the floor, isn't the greatest help defender, and the only thing he does reasonably well is rebound, something this team doesn't have a problem with in the first place.
If I told you there were two players, one a rookie that was the second overall pick in the draft and the other a washed up backup big man making 8 mil a year, and they were both averaging 6 points, 5 boards, and a block per game, which one would you play more? Nate would play the old shitty guy. Thanks for that.
This isn't all that different in the grand scheme of things for me, I've been watching a number of my teams do stupid things like this. I'm used to rooting for injuries, so the next time there's a scramble on the floor and Joel or The All Star go diving after it, if you find yourself secretly hoping someone comes barreling into an ankle or a knee and you feel like a bad person, don't sweat it. In the end, you just want what's best for your team. If the coach won't play the best center on the team because he's got two crappier guys he likes, something desperate has to happen. Maybe Ron Artest will freak out and put The All Star in a Figure 4 Leg Lock or something on Saturday night and all will be right again.