Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Big Gamble

The 800 lb gorilla in the room is the way the Blazers played without Zach Randolph while he was on his "leave". Obviously they looked great, Aldridge played a dominant power forward. The All Star looked solid at the center position simply by rebounding, playing D, and staying out of the way of Aldridge, Roy, Jack, and Sergio when they were doing their thing. Yes, Zach has been great this year, and yes he's been vital to this team's success, but it's certainly possible that they're past needing him to shoulder the offensive responsibilities. Once that's no longer needed, his value goes way down. We've talked at great length about the Blazers either drafting a small forward or trading for one, and suddenly the trade route looks very appetizing given the following:

  • Rashard Lewis wants out of Seattle and wants a big contract.
  • You have to make contracts match up and Zach's is notoriously huge.
  • Joakim Noah's draft stock is falling slightly.

If the Blazers don't win the lottery and end up with Greg Oden, it seems as if they could take an enormous gamble and draft Noah, then trade Zach to Seattle for Rashard Lewis (along with some minor pieces going either way obviously). You're left with a starting 5 of Jack/Sergio, Roy, Lewis, Aldridge, and Noah. Noah's a known commodity, a great shot blocker, tough defender and rebounder, and an amazing energy guy. You throw him in the front court with Aldridge and you've got two guys who are more athletic than any one's front court could match.

It's the Blazers potential big gamble. I don't know if they'd have the guts to do it, but they'd suddenly be the most dangerous team in the NW Division heading into the 07/08 season.

Update: They just lost to the Griz at home, again, and I'd just like to say that regardless of the outcome I think it's a bad thing if Zach takes 26 shots and Aldridge and Roy take 22 combined.

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