The big names in Trail Blazers basketball are up for debate in The Oregonian’s “You Be The GM” series. LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Raymond Felton and Elliot Williams are face the tally.
Which direction did you vote?
Pelton: As to the more complex question of how the Blazers build around Aldridge, I do think he's a No. 1 player, but not necessarily a traditional one. What makes Aldridge unique is his ability to impact the game at both ends. Look around the league's elite power forwards, and while there are better players than Aldridge, I'm not sure there's anyone who is better both offensively and defensively than Aldridge.
Freeman: I separate players into two categories: Someone I want on my team and someone I want on the other team. If I were a captain in a pickup game, I would pick Wesley Matthews and his fiery demeanor, win-above-all-else attitude and exceptional work ethic to be on my team. Now is he a starter on my team? That depends.
Freeman: Is Nicolas Batum Batman? Or is he Robin? I say he's Spider Man, just as Peter Parker started to hone his superpowers. His multi-faceted skill-set and potential are unique in the NBA. And although he hasn't yet learned to harness the consistency and all-the-time aggressiveness that are preventing him from becoming an elite player, he's on the cusp of breaking out. The only question is: How much will the Blazers have to pay to keep him in Portland?
Calkins: Felton's ineffectiveness was a major factor in the Blazers' shortcomings this year. But it seemed fans' most pleasurable form of catharsis came in verbally beating him like a pinata. The only remaining question regarding Raymond's return to Portland is how loud the boo birds will be next time he's in the Rose Garden.
Pelton: We're already confident, based on Williams' impressive performance in the brief minutes he did get last season, that he's a keeper. Whether he should enter training camp assured a spot in the rotation, or even with a chance to battle Wesley Matthews for the starting job at shooting guard, remains unclear and won't be known until October.