The NBA StatsCube is back and burgeoning with previews for all 30 teams in the league. The most important, naturally, is the Trail Blazers, so off we go!
Overall this piece has solid points supported by the numbers put up by Portland players last season. Shockingly my favorite points made by John Schuhmann aren’t regarding stats at all. More the reunion of two former defensively-minded Charlotte Bobcats in Gerald Wallace
and Raymond Felton
First off, I’m a sucker for Gerald Wallace. His bang-up, put your body on the line style of play takes me back to the early 90s when I fell in love with the game. He’s enthralling to watch and there’s never a doubt he’ll give 100 percent every second he’s on the court. But I’m not going to turn this into a Crash love-fest—though I easily could—instead I’ll focus on his rock-solid defense and how it shores up the Portland line. For the offensive tidbits, and there are plenty, check out the full article
Gerald Wallace has a (deserved) reputation as a great defender, but after the Blazers acquired him at the trade deadline from Charlotte, they scored a ridiculously efficient 112 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor.
That was easily the highest on-court offensive rating for any rotation Blazer last season. Second on the list was point guard Andre Miller, who the Blazers traded to Denver for Raymond Felton on Draft day.
The Draft-day deal for the ex-Bobcat Felton reunites him with Wallace, who he played with for five seasons. The last time the two were teammates, they were anchoring the No. 1 defense in the league and leading Charlotte to the lone playoff berth in franchise history.
I’m loving Schuhmann’s point here. Pairing up Crash and Felton should be pretty seamless with the two having history together. And the defense, oh the defense!
Casey Holdahl, Dustin Hawes and I we were talking about the potential for a defensive powerhouse just the other day. Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby, Wallace and Felton will put a kink in many an opponent’s offensive plan.
Postulating on the flip side of offensive development I continually fall back on an old adage instilled into me as a youngster. Defense creates offense. Period.
If our guys pack as much defensive punch as they’ve demonstrated in past exploits and Felton pushes the offensive pace, we could see an exciting brand of basketball develop over the next few months.
Many thoughts brought up by this preview can be narrowed into a few simple questions. As camp opens tomorrow what will the major focus of the Trail Blazers be? Perfect a defense that will inherently lead to offense? Or target an offense that will likely have a different and more-uptempo feel in the hands of Felton? If I was a betting kind of girl, I’d say Nate McMillan and company will attempt to cram as much of both into the abbreviated training schedule as physically possible.
Based on the read over at StatsCube, or your own personal research, what do you think? Defense? Offense?