Friday, June 30, 2006

Joel

With tomorrow marking the beginning of the free-agent negotiation season, I'd like to pick up a little bit on what both the O-Live Blog and the Behind the Blazer Beat Blog are saying about Joel Przybilla. At this point we need him. We need him badly.

It's not only a matter of big bodies, though Quick and Tokito made that point quite well concerning next year's roster and its lack of true centers. It's also what Joel brings to the table.

--He's a decent defensive rebounder, and we don't have a single other proven one on the team. Hopefully Aldridge will pick up on this and Skinner can certainly fill in, but neither are guaranteed minutes, especially if Zach remains. And I don't have confidence in Aldridge tearing up the league on the boards with that body if you play him primarily at center this first year. (He might make strides and maybe he'll surprise me, but I doubt it'll be enough to carry the team.) The thing is, Joel amassed his rebounding numbers only playing 24 minutes a game and being put out of rebounding position half the time by having to cover for the leaky defense of the guards. I'm hoping that at some point during this season Jack, Webster, and Roy will start to pick up a little more defensively. I'd like to see what Joel could do with more minutes and without having to play goalie.

--Joel is also the most unselfish of our current frontcourt players on both ends of the court. He plays help defense consistently, which Miles does sometimes but Zach almost never does. He doesn't need to touch the ball to be effective on the offensive end either. He seldom gets a shot but he makes 54% of the ones he takes. Those qualities are in short supply among our frontline starters and quite necessary given the makeup of the team.

--Joel is the best, and maybe the only, pick-setter on the team. In fact he's one of the better pick-setters in the league. He stands in there, he takes the hit, he rolls efficiently...he's near textbook. As I've said before, Martell really needs a pick or two to get good looks. Getting them adds 4-6 points to his average easy. If Joel himself doesn't give them, he can set the example for others who will. Again I hope Aldridge will develop into this kind of player, but it's too early yet to depend on him.

--Joel brings a little bit of toughness to a team that almost completely lacks it. We have skill guys, leapers, and streaky shooters to spare, but we don't have a single really hard-nosed player outside of Joel and maybe Skinner. It's hard to win in this league without a little tough in you. And it's hard to be tough if you don't feel your teammates are beside you and have a little tough in them too. Joel doesn't back down. He's feisty. We need that.

--On a more general note, while the league may be shifting towards the guards again, big men are still at a premium. We saw how coveted they were in the draft. The ones that come available on the open market cost a lot of money...maybe more than they're worth. If Joel were to re-sign at the mid-level exception, it would be a complete no-brainer for us. We couldn't even begin to replace him at that level even if we could find a decent center to come in.

The beat writers thought that the chances that he'd stay were slim, and I can see why. If we were able to offer even three million more a year I think we'd have a shot, but even with steady raises, 5.5 million to start isn't much compared to what a center gets nowadays. Doubly so when your agent is in your ear talking about rare opportunities and possible disasters. But I'm still hoping that somehow there's an 11th hour conversion. It might not be the best thing for Joel, but it'd be the best thing for us.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

16 Comments:

Anonymous TP43 said...

This is my "Pooh cloud" of the moment. I'm hoping against hope that there's something, anything, we can do to retain Joel but I'm working hard to get comfortable with the fact we're going to lose him. I think you nailed it with your analysis of Joel's contributions and I'd just like to reinforce what you said but emphasizing the rebounding. The last Blazer to approach a 20 rebound night is Zbo but he appears to have lost some of that focus for whatever reason. Joel had some amazing nights in rebound totals that in some ways are probably more valuable than even his shot blocking exploits that were prodigious. With what I believe is going to be improved perimeter defense with Bassy gone resulting in Jack - Blake manning the point full time, Webster improving, and the addition of Roy; Joel would have had some monster rebounding nights due to being in better position. If we eventually move to a more uptempo system, those rebounds are critical to ever getting a running game going.

I've still got my fingers crossed but 3-4 million per year difference will carry the day.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

dave tp43 all you vanilla gorilla
fans let him go, the plan is
may 22,2007 the day the most
important lottery in team history
is set,because if we get picks
3,2,or 1 we have the pick of
the latter oden,noah,or the
new wild card t.hansborough of
n.carolina are you kidding me
and i also hear l.harris is
laughing at us because he
thinks he's getting fatbo*miles
for nothing we'll see who has
the last laugh, i'll charter
fatbo*miles a jet to milwaukee
for magloire last year of his
contract and j.smith no problem
it'll get done you'll see !!!!
later dave !!!!

12:44 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

You're probably right Fatty, but forgive us for holding out hope. Even if we do get a high draft pick next year it'll take a while to see if that guy pans out. Joel is so much help right now. He's not an ideal center in the classic sense, but he's so good for this team at this time. And I'd love to have him as an eventual backup in 3-4 years if we got Oden or somebody comparable next season.

--Dave

1:25 PM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

I'm split on Joel. On the upside, he is a center that commands respect for his inside defensive presence and he sets a tru pick.

On the other hand, he isn't very athletic and his joint condition could easily become chronic and there we'll be- with yet another large salary for a player glued too much to the bench.

To be sure, I'd rather have him than not but losing him [like fatty states] will probably ensure us a good opportunity to nab Oden.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Lance Uppercut said...

The problem with that thesis Fatty is that none of those guys, especially Oden, is going to be read to be a starting center in the NBA for at least two seasons after they get in the league. And Hansbourgh is really more of a PF. While I don't think Pryz is the greatest, he a pretty decent center, and certainly worth the mid-level, which I beleive if the msot the Blazers can pay him.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

That's the best and worst thing about this situation. We can't overpay him and...well...we can't overpay him.

--Dave

1:47 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

for the record i'm a big
noah supporter the kid
grew up in my neighborhood
and he carried a underachieving
florida program to a national
title that said if there was
not a year coming up with this
potential at center i would
agree with you joel guys
but this team will be bad
for 1 more season then eveything
will began to change, trust me !!!
and for the record with no legit centers in the n.b.a. shaq is
playing out, all 3 of these kids
will make an immediate impact
next season especially noah !!!!

1:57 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I was intrigued by Noah too Fatty. Can you tell us any more about him?

--Dave

2:05 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

I don't think it's the end of the world if Joel leaves. Remember that his knees didn't hold up while only playing part-time.

I also have always had some reservations about his blocked shots. Too few of these resulted in an actual turnover (a la Bill Russell or Bill Walton). Steve Kerr once made a remark about him "padding his stats."

How many times did his man end up with a dunk when he went out of position to seek (and fail to get) a block? Over and over again.

Plus I don't think he got nearly as many defensive rebounds as he should have. How many times did he get double figures? Relatively few and far between.

Chris Dudley was much better.

Reggie Evans might fill in quite well.

Don't get me wrong. If Joel signs with us that's fine with me. He's not that bad. But he'll probably never be more than mediocre and injury-prone. Let's not romanticize or exaggerate just because he's a nice guy.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

The criticisms are fair, but as I pointed out the post, a lot of that was because he was playing nursemaid to the entire team on defense. That's why he got a lot of blocks but also why he missed a lot of rebounds. It's also part of why guys dunked on him.

--Dave

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Lance Uppercut said...

"Chris Dudley was much better."

I'm sorry man, but I can never take anything you write seriously again. I know Duds has a lot of love from the local community, but the guy was a stiff, pure and simple. I hope Joel doesn't read that comment, becuase if he does, he's out the door. So there you go Dave, if Pryz leaves, it's your fault.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

That's fine Lance, but I didn't write that. It was Iggy. So blame him.

--Dave

5:35 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

Dudley after his first couple years had rebounds/game of 8.1, 6.6, 8.4, 9.0, 7.2, 9.3, 9.0 -- often not starting.

one year in particular at new jersey he blocked a lot of shots, averaging 2.3/gm.

a lot of all-american centers from north carolina wish they could have rebounded as well as this "stiff."

5:49 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

This actually gives me an interesting idea for a series of poll questions. Blazer vs. Blazer, who do you like more (for whatever reason)? I'm actually going to pursue that. Thanks guys!!!

--Dave

6:08 PM  
Blogger jojack said...

fatty is right. i like joel too, and if we can get him at the midlevel, jump on it like a fat cop on a hot cruller, but if we can't... oh well. next year's draft is the time to address the center position. even if we end up with josh mccroberts instead of oden or noah, is that really so much worse than joel. by the time the rest of our kids start to hit their prime (o8-09 season) is joel really going to be the deciding factor in whether we regain championship level status? or is just going to help us win a few games for a couple of years and then be relegated to the bench by a young stud prospect? i say let aldridge log some big minutes at five, manning the low post d and the high post o, and pray for oden in 07. btw, greg oden will definately make a HUGE impact his rookie year. and noah might too. but mark my words, barring injury, the addition of oden in 07 would immediately make the blazers a playoff team.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous fatty said...

jojack you're the man as for
noah, dave he reminds me of
a croos of b.walton and t.duncan
walton for his free spirited
play and lifestyle, he's real
cool and approachable and duncan
for his quiet demeanor and eye
of the tiger i love noah for
portland very articulate and
basketball is not his life
i was praying he would stay in
school he's worth going 24-58
for trust me jojack knows the
plan, and would someone please
tell me was brittany spears
scouting did help engineer
the trades great scouting
brittany she deserves a raise
happy 4th of july dave and
fellow blazers fans !!!!

2:32 PM  

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