Kassandra

Jul 07

Dorell Wright and Earl Watson
   
The upcoming season's Blazers will certainly have a new look, and I'm not talking about newly acquired center Robin Lopez's hairstyle.

Of course, trading for Lopez gives the Blazers a legitimate starting center. He can play down low, he can defend and he has five years of experience under his belt. Personally, I like the move for Lopez. In all, he was probably the best quality guy we would get for the price and contract we needed to pay.

I'm going to say it right now: Robin Lopez will become a Blazers fan favorite. Sure, there will be some who will criticize a play here and there, a game here and there, and his style of play here and there. On the other hand, many will embrace him for his style. I can only wonder if the organization will hold a Fropez Night where replica hair pieces are passed out in a similar fashion to the dreadlocks hairpieces which were handed out in honor of Brian Grant when he played for the Blazers.

One can only hope.

It's the bench which is going to give the Blazers a new look. We already know about CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe, acquired on draft day, who will provide some backup at the guard positions.

It's the four transactions over the past week about which we fans should be thrilled. Though none of these trades and signings will be official until the free agent moratorium ends on July 10, the team has filled some holes in the second unit.

Early on Saturday it was reported that the Blazers had reached an agreement with nine-year small forward Dorell Wright. The things which will make Blazers fans excited about obtaining Dorell is that he possesses a career three-point percentage of 36.7 percent and that he led the league in three pointers made in 2010-11. Also that season, Dorell came in third in the voting (behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love) for most improved player. he was a first-round pick by the Heat, out of high school, and was a member of their 2005-06 championship team. This is the type of addition the Blazers really needed. They now have a proven player who has a career point average of 9.3 points per game (with a career high of 16.4 wile starting all 82 games of the 2010-11 campaign with the Warriors.

Later on Saturday, the Blazers agreed to terms with veteran point guard Earl Watson. The 12-year veteran has played for seven teams (including two stints with the Sonics) and has career averages of 6.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. He's 6'1" and was drafted out of UCLA. In Portland he'll be called upon to help mentor Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and as another option to back up Damian at the point. 

Robin Lopez and Thomas Robinson

Thomas Robinson was brought over in a trade from the Rockets in exchange for a couple future second-round draft picks. He'll be expected to hold serve on the court and give LaMarcus some much-deserved rest. LaMarcus has been near the top of the league in minutes played per game for the past couple of seasons. Keeping our all-star fresh will primarily fall upon Thomas, the second-year forward from Kansas. By allowing LaMarcus to play just a couple fewer minutes per game, we will be better able to make a run to the playoffs and, hopefully, past the opening round.

The trade for Robin serves a couple purposes. First, it gives the Blazers an experienced seven footer who can play off of LaMarcus from the center position. Second, he'll be able to provide some direction to second-year center Meyers Leonard and won't demand 36 minutes a game, which will give Meyers a better opportunity to continue developing his game. Third, his ability and mindset will give coach Terry Stotts more options when developing the rotation pattern for any particular game -- something which Stotts seemed to lack last season. If Robin can improve his consistency, this will turn out to be the trade steal on the court that it shows to be on paper.

In the trade for Lopez, the Blazers also will receive Terrel Harris, a 6'4" third-year guard out of Oklahoma St. Though no announcement has been made, it is anticipated that the Blazers will waive Harris during this off season.

Last year's Blazers bench was young. Bringing in two solid role players such as Dorell and Earl will change that, as well as solidify the second unit. The addition of Thomas provides a solid backup for the team's best player.

It's often remarked that players have earned or must earn their paycheck. I'd have to say, at this point, general manager Neil Olshey is definitely earning his paycheck.

The final piece of the puzzle will likely be a back-up center or power forward -- possibly a veteran or undrafted rookie.

Then again, with Olshey, we never know what this current roster may look like at the outset of training camp or even opening night. I, for one, don't think Olshey is completely done shaping this roster.

However, at this point, we can say something now that we couldn't say during last season: We have a bench.

~ KMM

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In Kassandra's Words features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. 
   

11 Comments

  1. Hey Miss Kassandra: just got your Blog, but on my way to work. I haven't read it yet so can't wait to get back.

    by Hg on 7/7/2013 7:07 PM
  2. Hey, Kassandra! I was just wondering-who'd we trade for Lopez?

    by dancegirl on 7/7/2013 7:14 PM
  3. It's funny how important a bench is, but last season was evidence that you have to do more than get a solid starting 5. I hear a lot of complaints about "what else could have been obtained with that cap space" but how many years have we had cap space...and done nothing (Raef LaFrenz contract, anyone?). As always, enjoyed your blog and twittering.

    by Bransblu on 7/7/2013 7:18 PM
  4. @Hg: check it out when you can; it'll be here!

    @dancgirl: in exchange for Lopez (and Harris), we sent the Pelicans Jeff Withey, a future second-round pick and cash.

    by Kassandra on 7/7/2013 7:18 PM
  5. Miss Kassandra; great blog. You about said it all.

    I have had mixed review about Lopez; I am glad you support him. I was wondering if we may trade him and change for Asik, since he wants out of Houston.

    Like you I think we have some great pieces for next year.

    I am hoping I get to watch the rookies and 2nd year players next week in summer league, NBA TV will televise many games, but don't know how many of ours they televise.

    by Hg on 7/7/2013 11:01 PM
  6. Awesome job Kass. Great Blog! I am so happy with Olshey's moves so far. Still looking for one more Center if you ask me. Sometimes im not sure with Lopez, but overall very pleased with our signings.

    by CamCripps3 on 7/8/2013 1:51 AM
  7. CamCripps3: I have read different reports about Lopez, but basically IDK; I do agree with Miss Kassandra though, it was a good move for the lack of assets that we had. With that, one teams displeasure becomes another teams delight. JJ Hickson comes to mind.

    @Kassandra: I read an article about EWill still having hopes to play with the Blazers, but he is not on the roster for the summer league, If no one picks him up, I have hope for training camp, but like with Greg, we may just have to move one and think what could have been.

    We have a full roster now, but some of them is not on a guaranteed contract, so there is still some mystrey out there, but I am also satisfied with Olsey's work.

    by Hg on 7/8/2013 4:54 AM
  8. I think the moves were the right moves and most of all, with a bench, we improved while keeping our best players from last year on the team. Improving without giving up our "marquis" players. Neil Olshey is a great GM! Great mix of rookies, sophmores and young vets. Guys who all want to be here! We're young, the better teams in the west are getting older...I like the possibilities. Basketball quantum physics, string theory! Bring it on!

    by riverman on 7/8/2013 7:23 PM
  9. Some of them I should stipulate, Lakers and Spurs are aging. Great blog Kass.

    by riverman on 7/8/2013 7:25 PM
  10. Great blig! Couldn't agree with you more. I also agree that Olshey is still trying to improve the roster. I wondered about Asik as well. Only question I have is whether he will steal minutes from Meyers. I know Meyers wants a mentor but Asik wants his just due. Would he be able to play second fiddle? That is ultimately the question for me. Now if we signed him to a short term deal, I could see it. How many years left on Asik's contract? Anybody know?

    by Just Tim on 7/9/2013 8:55 AM
  11. @Just Tim: Leonard is still about two years out, but he does needs PT to grow; I don't think Asik would take anymore time then Lopez from Meyers.

    Asik asked to be traded, but that does not mean Houston will honor his wishes.

    So as things are right now we are looking pretty good; I am hoping though that we drop one more non guaranteed contract and bring back E Will.

    by Hg on 7/9/2013 9:58 AM
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