Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blazers Roster Redux

There are obviously two of us here at the Blazers Blog and the Z-bo issue is one that I think we firmly disagree on. I'm convinced that the Blazers will trade Zach Randolph this off season, I think it's as close to a lock as anything in the off season.

First, this team has turned the corner on the court. My biggest complaint of the last few years is they've never had an identity on either end of the floor. They've looked like a jumbled mess, just trying to figure out what kind of team they are. This season they found it in Brandon Roy and the Jarrett Jack/Sergio combination at point guard. They're going to be a high screen and roll, motion offense team. This doesn't fit at all for Zach, who's a dump it into the post and let him do his thing type of guy. This team will put the ball in the hands of Roy, Jack, and Sergio in the half court and let them create, Zach's counterproductive, he gets in the way of driving guards and he also is a hideous passer.

Second, they're in a perfect position in the draft to take a big man. Yes, Hibbert and Noah would be projects, but coming off the bench behind Aldridge and Joel is a good way to work in either of those two guys. We won't even discuss Oden, that's obvious, if they win the lottery Zach's clearly gone.

Aldridge and Joel are a perfect tandem in the front court. Aldridge is the scoring guy that sets good screens and pops out on that pick and roll, Joel's the banging rebounder that doesn't need the ball on offense. On D, Joel's a very good post defender and Aldridge is athletic enough to guard any 4 and also help off the ball. Zach and Aldridge doesn't work very well, Aldridge isn't a great defender if he's playing the 5, and Zach's defense is average at best.

Finally, and most importantly I feel, is that if you want to get a top shelf SF to make a run to the playoffs next season, which I think they are in a great position to do, they'll need Zach's contract to move in a sign and trade. Nobody is taking Raef's deal, too many years left on it, and they don't have any more large contracts to move. Zach's contract would be easily moved to Seattle for Rashard Lewis, or to New Jersey for Vince Carter, or some sort of 3-way trade with Phoenix for The Matrix. I'm not really going to get into pros or cons of those 3, the point is to get one you need to move a big contract and Zach's is the one to move.

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