Rip City, WA

dannyrand

Apr 05

Looking Forward to the Off-Season

By dannyrand Posted in: ElliotWilliams, LaMarcusAldridge, LukeBabbitt, NicolasBatum, RaymondFelton
As the off-season approaches, there's a lot for the Blazers to take care of. The laundry list of items sounds like what a brand new team would have: securing a coach and GM, making a splash in the free agent market, and re-signing key players.

Starting with the coaching situation, I feel it's too early to tell if coach Canales is the one for the team. A single digit game sample size isn't really indicative of what he could potentially achieve. One thing is for certain though, the Blazers are playing with a lot of heart and guts. He is clearly a player's coach. The boys want to play for him and are putting forth more effort in late game situations than we have seen all season long.

Canales does a great job of mixing in young players and veteran players, giving guys like Luke Babbit a chance to shine when Nate (God bless him) would've likely sent him back to the D-League. He has possibly found an emerging perimeter threat for the team, something the Blazers have been lacking since Rudy Fernandez left the team.

If there is a knock I would have on the Canales-led team, it's that their defense has been leaky at times. Canales has a great grasp on the zone defense, but when it comes to man-to-man sets, the team ends up getting sliced and diced by competent guards, lighting up the defenses for triple-digit points at times.

If Paul Allen doesn't like what he see's from Canales, perhaps we could take a look at the likely-to-be-fired Stan Van Gundy. He has found a bit of success leading a team with an All-Star big man and a few solid guards. Sound familiar?

In the great search for a GM, Paul Allen needs to look no further, because we already have him. Interim GM Chad Buchanan has done a great job positioning the Blazers with ample cap space and getting players to rekindle the fire back into the team. His trade for sending Gerald Wallace to the Nets for a top three protected, likely top ten pick was an absolute steal. We ripped them off, plain and simple. Just for that, give the man the job.

Regarding the players, first and foremost the biggest priority for the team should be working out a deal to secure Nicolas Batum for the future. He is a key to this team and is another player that we should build around. He has stated that he'd love to stay in Portland, and the fans would love to keep him. Get it going.

Another key to the team is securing a point guard. Raymond Felton has played very well since Nate McMillan's firing, but I do not know if he is the point guard of the future. I was one of the chief Felton haters during the first half of the season and was pining for a trade, but since Canales has been coaching, he has played consistently well each game.

I would love to see the Blazers go after a player like Jeremy Lin or Deron Williams. Both are guards who are comfortable distributing the ball, but have a trait that has been needed desperately by the team; no fear of driving into the lane. Ever since Brandon Roy suddenly retired, they have not had a guard who was not afraid of taking it to the hole. Guys like Lin and Williams aren't afraid of doing this play after play. Bringing a little Linsanity to Portland would increase the Blazers chances of making it past the first round of the playoffs.

The Blazers could use a little spark and some high flying energy off the bench. Guess what? They already have that too! Keeping Elliot Williams on the squad would be great for the team. He was just about have a breakout season before his season ending shoulder surgery. Williams is the type of player that can come off the bench, throw a huge dunk and get the crowd back in the game. He'll be a great change of pace subbing in for Wesley Matthews.

The Blazers have a lot of work to do this off-season, but they have all the tools to do it. They have an All-Star power forward to build around with a group of solid players around him. They just need to lock a few positions before we can do it.

4 Comments

  1. Jeremy Lin will not leave New York, considering the max contract offer he can receive is equal to the Mid-Level Exception meaning no matter how bad the Knicks cap issues become they can match any offer for him.

    by cmeese47 on 4/6/2012 12:00 PM
  2. Yeah, I realize it would be highly unlikely he would leave NY or that they would let him go. It's more of my desire to see a guard with a floor general mind like him that would space the floor and attack at will when needed.

    But thanks for the insight and comment! It's much appreciated.

    by dannyrand on 4/6/2012 12:07 PM
  3. Agree with signing Nico and letting Ray walk. Like the idea of SVG, but wonder about how he'd fit in with our guys (though he might like the change of pace). TOTALLY agree on Chad, he has so earned it. Personally, I want Rondo, or version of Nash from 10 years ago who doesn't exist, for PG, but agree that Williams would be quite a land. I fully expect the Blazers to make a big play for him. The slightly scaring part will be what happens when they can't land him.

    I noticed that although you brought up Elliot, who I agree is a keeper, you didn't mention JJ. Thoughts on him?

    by SisillaRiann on 4/8/2012 4:23 PM
  4. I would love love love to have Rondo, but I'm hesitant at the cost... earlier this season, it would've been trading Batum and a few away for Rondo, and I just love Batum and wouldn't want to see him go. Would we be better with Rondo? Probably.

    JJ... what can I say. I love the guy. He brings a ton hustle and energy to the team. On top of that, he's a guy who loves banging in the paint and isn't afraid to crash the boards. We keep getting outrebounded game after game and the addition of JJ has been keeping the playing field level. However, I'm kind of wary of the Felton, Matthews, Batum, Hickson, LA lineup... I'm always nervous when they shoehorn LA into the center position.

    That said, we could also use a great big man. Not that I don't love the Vanilla Gorilla, but him and Kurt Thomas are getting up there in years, so we could use some youth there. Thabeet isn't the answer, but we should give him a shot.

    by dannyrand on 4/8/2012 9:46 PM
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