There's Always Next Year


Jul 26

Should the Blazers Carry Four Point Guards?

By portjd Posted in: Blazers
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By Jonathan Ryan Davis

Armon Johnson and Patty Mills both plan on being back in Portland next year.  So do new acquisitions Raymond Felton and Nolan Smith.  This raises two important questions.  First, should the Blazers keep all four point guards on their 15 man roster?  Second, is it worth keeping all four point guards if they will likely only suit up 3 on any given night?

The practical way for the Blazers to resolve their point guard logjam is to determine which of the four players is least likely to contribute to the everyday rotation next year and moving forward.  Then, they should cut that player and use the roster spot for a veteran big man.  Unfortunately, with the lockout likely to reduce the season and eliminate the pre-season (where most evaluation takes place), the Blazers will need to gamble on the correct resolution.  Assuming Raymond Felton can be our anchor for 30-35 minutes a game, realistically the Blazers need one solid backup to play 20 minutes a game.  Assuming one backup PG breaks the rotation, like Mills did most of last season, carrying a third point guard is good insurance, but retaining a fourth guard is superfluous. 

Since the Blazers are extremely high on Smith, their first round pick, odds are Johnson and Mills will need to battle for the final spot on the roster.  Both players have upside, passion, and an amazing attitude.  Both players are ideal teammates and enviable community leaders.  Nonetheless, the Blazers need to decide.  All four Blazers PGs are too talented to be retained if they don’t suit up with the active roster; it’s not fair to them as ballplayers or people.  It will be sad to lose any of these players, but the Blazers need to choose.

Who do you think the Blazers should keep?  Share your thoughts.


  1. Patty was offered a non-guaranteed qualifying offer just for the sake of competing in training camp. The Blazer Brass is not going to match any offer to a contract. On the other hand Armon has one more year on his contract, therefore unless a trade is in the making Armon is for now on the team and Patty is not.

    There are two things I have thought about and that is either they trade Armon or if the contract keeps going, his may be expired before any one plays.

    Patty could be dropped and if another player doesn't pick him up and Armon doesn't improve then they can add Patty next year and drop Armon.

    I think a trade is in the making, but until then the choice has been made. Armon is on the roster and Patty isn't :(.

    by Hg on 7/26/2011 5:07 PM
  2. Hg,

    You make a valid point. Patty's contract is not guaranteed, though I feel like we are in a Groundhog's Day situation with him where every year he is given a chance to compete for a roster spot and every year he gets it. Therefore, I also think a trade is in the works, otherwise the drafting of Nolan Smith doesn't make much sense. We'll see what happens. I'd be sad to see either Johnson or Mills go.

    by portjd on 7/26/2011 5:17 PM
  3. @portjd :

    It was said on BE that Armon was thrilled with Smith being drafted. But he gave many the impression that he would beat out Smith for the back-up spot. It was also said that he is a work horse, he almost lives at the gym and either confidence or IMO conceit will make him much better. The two things he needs to work on is going to his right hand as he is tagged by other NBA players as being a left handed JBay with more elevation and of course longer arms :D; the other thing is setting up the offense and making outside shots. A totally one handed PG, that scores first, can't hit outside shots, and passes second is pretty predictable in the NBA and easily guarded Nevertheless, he is great on D and Nate loves that. Therefore it depends on how much he works on bringing more to the table.

    Patty is patty. speed, outside shooting and can set up other players better.

    We desperately need our PG to be able to be consistent with the 3 ball and can up-tempo and play half court offense. Whereas it has been reported that Smith has great credentials, can play the 1 or the 2, can uptempo and play half court, and although his range isn't yet to the NBA 3 pt stripe, he is great at mid range shots, and that is desperately needed with all our guards.

    Don't forget that Felton although is pegged as our PGOTF, has only one year on his contract, and with the lock-out, he like Armon may not get to play on their existing contract. Also we have Williams coming off injury, although he is primarily a 2GD, if he can play the 1, he too, will be added to the mix as well as BRoy, and even Wesley if he can improve his handles and his ankle heals completely.

    Long short, All our guards are in a precarious position, and it is still undetermined who will stay and who will go.

    by Hg on 7/27/2011 5:07 AM
  4. Hg,

    It is indeed a precarious position. I too read the BE article about Armon being pleased they drafted Smith. I was not surprised by these comments, because what else was he supposed to say? He gave the perfect politically correct answer for a player whose position is being threatened. Of course Johnson believes he will beat of Smith. He has a year of NBA experience on Smith and he is a confident young man who lives basketball. That does not, however, mean that Johnson's assessment of the situation is the same as the Blazers' assessment.

    You have very nicely evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of Johnson, Mills, and Smith. It will be an exciting competition, and a lot will depend on which of the three players is best able to improve their weaknesses before the start of the season (whenever that is).

    The addition of ball handling 2 guards (Roy, Matthews, and Williams) definitely complicate the situation and point even further to the need of the Blazers to make a trade to balance the roster more.

    There are so many uncertainties as a result of the lockout (like Felton's and Johnson's contracts). Hopefully, things resolve themselves and we can just assess the basketball things...though it is highly unlikely that will happen.

    by portjd on 7/27/2011 5:59 AM
  5. @portjd:
    Another uncertainty is the fact that the new CBA may bring an Amenity, and for us we don't know if that would include BRoy's contract. I don't believe it will, but then as fans we just don't know.

    by Hg on 7/27/2011 6:56 AM
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