Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Offseason Overview: Portland Trail Blazers

Ah, rebuilding. Sometimes it just has to be done, and the time is now in Portland. They posted their worst winning percentage in over 30 seasons last year, and Blazers management responded by letting two of their top three scorers leave (Damon Stoudamire and Shareef Abdur-Rahim) with nothing in return. The leading returning scorers are Zach Randolph, Darius Miles and Ruben Patterson – a motley crew to be sure. That said, the biggest plus in rebuilding teams is that there are minutes to be had, and you can be sure there will be a sleeper coming out of Portland this year. Who will it be? If only we knew:

The stud: Zach Randolph, PF
Points and boards. Boards and points. And now, injuries. Randolph might be a nice plus in a few areas, but his total lack of defensive numbers, assists and threes make him far less valuable than you would think. It’s very tough to pass up a 20-10 guy in the third round, but that might not be a bad idea with Randolph. His shaky knee (he had surgery on it last year) is just more cause for concern.

The support: Joel Przybilla, C
This could be one of the most interesting picks in the draft. Przybilla has been haunted by injuries and a lack of consistent playing time his whole career, but remember, he was a lottery pick only 5 years ago. You can’t ignore the numbers he put up at the end of last year, averaging over 3.5 blocks per game over the last 30 games, as well as nearly a double-double. That kind of potential means he will be drafted, and he’s a great risk if you can grab him late.

The supporting support: Sebastian Telfair, PG
All in all, it was a pretty nice rookie campaign for Telfair. He showed steady improvement, gained the trust of the coaching staff, and watched his assists numbers increase while his turnovers decreased. He should be a nice utility player this year, and maybe even a decent 2nd point guard.

The sleeper: Travis Outlaw, F
Admittedly, the last two guys we discussed can be seen as sleepers, so we’re digging a little deep here. But Outlaw is a nice guy to keep an eye on. A high school pick 2 years ago, he’s been quietly improving and as he’s seeing more minutes he’s putting up nice numbers from a fantasy perspective. He won’t be a real contributor this year unless there are some injuries on the team or unless he takes great leaps, but those things could both happen. He’s definitely a name that we think could be drafted in next year’s draft.

The slacker: Darius Miles, F
There is undoubtedly going to be a guy in your league who thinks that with Shareef Abdur-Rahim out of the picture, Miles is going to blow up this year. As evidence, they’ll use his breakout, 47-point performance in the second-to-last game of the year last year. They will then draft him way too early, and be really disappointed with the results. Miles will certainly be worth something to your fantasy team this year, but if you take him before the 9th round or so, you’re going to be the guy I just described.


Blogger Earl Jenkin™ said...

Sometimes, when I am bored... I like to day dream about Brett Favre in a sauna with me and Koby Bryant and a bottle of thousand island dressing.

5:57 PM  

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