Thursday, May 04, 2006


A few questions have come in by e-mail, so I thought I'd do the courteous thing and answer. A couple of them are from the same people. (I'm not trying to pretend we're Mr. Popularity around here or anything.) Thanks for asking though.

1. "It's pretty easy to sit back and analyze what each player does. Make a hard decision. Who would you keep and who goes?"

Hmmmm...well, judging by the varied opinions different people have of the same players, I might disagree that it's so "easy", but point taken. I promise I'll put myself on the line after I finish the position-by-position thing. Probably early next week.

2. "Who do you think we should pick up in the draft/free agency/trade?"

It really depends on who we keep or move. If you're keeping Zach, for instance, the criteria change. I guess at this point I'd simply pick the best player available in the draft (likely a shooting guard or big guy...I doubt we need another point guard) and wait to see what roster moves we make before picking up free agents. It's not like we have cap room to do much anyway, especially if we use our MLE on Joel. (Which I hope we do because it would be a reasonable player at a reasonable price.) In general, though, I think we are weak in all of these areas:

--too short and slow overall
--stangant offense...not a lot of guys who move without the ball or who can score without holding it for five seconds first
--sporadic commitment to defense, often in transition
--poor defensive rebounding
--not enough players with passing skills
--overall lack of basketball IQ
--not enough toughness/meanness
--lack of future cap space to make any significant changes

I also think we have too many players who are one-dimensional and need to be covered for. In general I would support acquiring folks who address these needs and trading away folks who make them worse.

Notice in this I did not mention the one thing that many people have talked about over the last couple of years...outside shooting. I actually think that our guards and small forwards are developing in that direction and that with consistent commitment to get them open shots, you will see that blossom, even with our current personnel.

3. "Do you really think we'd be better without Zach?"

Next year? I don't think so. If we don't have him next year some of that attention he's drawing is going to shift to our younger scorers, so you're going to see life get tougher for Webster, Jack, Telfair, etc. And dealing with that is something they'll have to work through. Let's just say I have more faith in the possibility of them learning to work through it than I have in Zach at this point. He's had five years in the league and still hasn't picked up a lot of stuff...or at least doesn't execute it if he has picked it up. But if we're just talking about next year, how good are we going to be with him anyway?

If you look at the list of weaknesses above, Zach is a contributor in almost every category. That's part of why in the long run I do see us as better if we go in another direction.

4. On a more personal note..."How do you write so much?"

Fortunately, all three of the notes in which I got this question were positive, but I know some might be critiquing for length, so I'll address both.

On the positive side, I write so much because I think about the Blazers a lot. Every day. Does this make me a sicko? Probably. Trust me, though, I have a well-balanced life. I keep my obsession mostly closeted except for here. But that's basically it...I think, I write, I listen to folks and then think some more.

As far as the inevitable critiques, I understand. A couple things:

1. I figured this place should be intentionally different. All the world is a "sound bite" nowadays. And there are dozens of blogs and forums where you can get the 15-second, two sentence answer-and-response thing. Why duplicate their efforts (which are fantastic)? But there might still be folks out there who want to read or write a paragraph or two instead of a sentence or two. Where's their niche? Frankly I love that we've gotten some detailed (and lengthy) thoughts and comments here. I love it when people put that much passion into something. And I read every word and try to respond. So please feel free!

2. Alas, this is just a hobby, and in "real" life I'm in a position where I'm responsible for delivering a lot of complex ideas in a fairly tight format on a regular basis. Since I don't have an editor at my side, I spend a lot of time and energy dissecting my words to make them shorter and tighter. Forgive me if I enjoy the freedom of being able to relax a little bit here and just write off the top of my head. I still try hard not to waste words, or your time, but I don't want to make this too much like work...

Thank you for your patience! Maybe between us we can make this off-season go quicker!



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