Saturday, January 20, 2007

In defense of mediocrity

I should be doing homework right now, but three things have me riled up enough to be writing this instead: 1) on the Kay House wall people have complained about Randolph's lack of blocks 2) J-Lew's comment about Rodriguez getting away with three travels 3) the game against Phoenix last night.
  1. I already said this on the Kay House wall, but it's important to say here: Zach Randolph is not a good defender. I wish that he were. Instead, he's a great scorer who can control the boards when he's really into it. Lately he's shown that he can even help on defense if he's playing with a lot of energy. In addition to being a bad individual defender, he's also short. Plus, he couldn't jump very well before the micro fracture surgery. Scottie Pippen once said that he had played with no harder worker. The coaches have all talked about the effort he put in this summer to get into better shape and expand his offensive arsenal. I don't think it's beyond reason that he could put that sort of effort into his defense over the next few seasons. The kid's my age, for goodness sake, and has already had to fight through a career-threatening surgery, immaturity, poor decision-making, and the absence of family. I know, for that much money he should be able to block a few shots, but I think he can develop that aspect still.

  2. YES Sergio got away with at least three travels in that video. I also know that Zach travels most of the times he touches the ball. But I also know that many other NBA players get away with the same. Is that how it should be? Probably not. But since the Blazers get the shaft in so many other areas, I think we should get some leeway when it comes to a play maker like Sergio and an inside monster like Zach.

  3. I watched the fourth quarter last night of the Portland-Phoenix game. Here are some impressions:

    • Brandon R-O-Y is a man. There was one moment when he got the ball, drove to the hoop on the left side and drew Stoudamire and Marion. He did a jump stop, then juked both of them into the air, slipped between them and made the shot. At another point he was man-to-man against Marion, backed him down, did a little shoulder bump to create space and made the fade-away over Marion's outstretched hand. (My mind keeps shouting MJ, even though it's completely unfair.)

    • When the Blazers are working hard, they can do anything. They held the Suns to two shot-clock violations, and a third possession in which the air-ball was collected by the Blazers as the buzzer went off. The Suns like to shoot early in the clock, and the Blazers got three turnovers off of keeping that from happening. That's impressive.

    • Zach is really amazing when he's on.

    • Zach and Sergio love playing together. I could see it in their body language.

    • Sergio and LaMarcus also love playing together.

    • JJ looks like the concussion and subsequent challenge by Sergio might have helped his game, which is sort of odd. Hopefully he comes back strong and makes the fight for PG of the future a good one. It was also cool to see him and Rodriguez in at the same time. I salute that.

    • Lastly, the Blazers get no respect. Despite what I mentioned about Sergio and Zach being allowed to travel, the refs bone us over on most nights. From Blazer's Edge:
      The league really should look at the last couple of games though. Somebody needs to ask how a team that outscored its opponents 195-182 managed to face a 28-68 free throw attempt disparity.
Oh, and the title to this post is a reference to Portland's mediocrity. I know we're not there yet, and I'm still hoping for Oden, but--and this is too bad--I still feel the need to defend my team against minuscule attacks. Onward and upward (to the number one pick and a championship in the 2009 season).

*Photo stolen from Casey Holdahl's blog.


Lew said...

I was just trying to help you contain your excitement about Sergio. I know that almost every player in the NBA travels on every possession. Just having a good time with it all. He seems like he is going to be a great player in a few years, so that is very exciting. I was actually VERY impressed with the highlight clip. It seems like he really excels off of the pick and roll, so hopefully McMillan keeps running that set for him.

Nice work with all of the articles by the way. You make weekends like this one (where I am studying for a big Med School test on Monday) much more exciting. Thanks.

josh said...

I know. I think I was frustrated by the way the announcers said it in the clip, as though this rookie point guard was getting away with murder.