We experienced some technical difficulties last weekend. We lost this post, but were able to recover it.
Portland’s lack of depth was a much derided factor at the outset of the season and is still terrible. Every broadcast I watch ends up mentioning the fact the Blazers bench is terrible and it’s to the point I must invoke the proverbial dead horse, although I think the dead horse presents a much better defense per 100 possessions and somehow much better points per game than the actual bench players. It’s no secret that our own Sean Highkin despises Sasha Pavlovic. But Sasha can’t be blamed for everything because being the worst bench in the NBA is a team effort. Luckily, Terry Stotts realizes this and keeps a few starters all the time. This is our not-so-secret KFC recipe for success, a dash of bench and HEAVY minutes for the starters. The times when our bench appears serviceable are definitely there, but ultimately we have the 30th best bench in the league (that’s dead last if you thought that I was exaggerating when I said worst).
Our Euro friends
Rudy Fernandez Victor Claver and Joel Pryzbilla Freeland don’t appear lost in America so much as overwhelmed, and there is a difference. They move well enough, but their arms and hands don’t seem to do the things they did in the ACB League as they do in the NBA. The motions are proper but fail to have the same effect. Claver’s shooting a blazing 5-22 from the floor and 2-7 from deep and Freeland has not been the second coming of Joel Pryzbilla who averaged 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 points over all his seasons in the league. I’m going to let you in on a secret, Freeland isn’t close to the Vanilla Gorilla’s career averages. These guys are new to the league, but not to basketball, and unfortunately it shows. The Spanish league may have all the A’s, B’s, and C’s, but they could use some more time in the D’s, or NBA Development League for those not into weird slang no one uses.
The native shrubs and trees, a cute term for our non-foreign point guards and centers I just made up, have given us a whopping 11.4 points per game and 3.0 turn overs per game. I understand why Ronnie Price is here, friends with Damian Lillard, but unfortunately for Nolan Smith I imagine it is only a matter of time till he is not here. Jeffries is cool. Meyers Leonard has proven himself to be a fun lil’ guy with a very obvious upside but right now has been providing more amazing RAGE faces than real defense.
From beyond the arc, our 3-point snipers could use some more practice at the shooting range as Pavlovic and Babbitt are putting up .297 and .350 from behind the line that’s furthest away from the basket. I thought Luke’s attempts at going inside had been faring poorly, but he’s shooting better than from deep, .373. As much as I love him trying to improve his non-chalupa game, it looks like a mangle, burnt quesadilla I cooked in a pan without butter once (Tasted terrible and I couldn’t pick it up with my hands because it would disentigrate). At this point, I’d like to see if we could get away with switching Ben Golliver with Sasha Pavlovic, mainly because Ben’s legs are cramping in media row. It really couldn’t hurt to try right. I think Ben could bring a good presence and really body up guys.
I’m not going talk about Will Barton because he has not played in the last three games and I have a terrible memory. I will also avoid disparaging Elliot Williams because the pain of multiple season ending injuries is pain enough for three men. I hope this helps you catch up with the 30th ranked bench in the NBA. It’s obviously a work in progress; however, I have faith, a deep-rooted irrational faith but faith nonetheless. Terry Stotts is an offensive wizard (I heard he lives in a tower deep in the Hills of Boro), and has cast a spell of increase abilities on Nicolas Batum. So let’s all believe together and pray a few basketball rosaries for our Blazers bench.