The PG Dilemma

Oh, the great PG Dilemma. If I had an STD for everytime someone talked about Portland’s need for a PG I’d probably be dead by now. With Steve Blake’s underwhelming play during Portland’s first-round exit, the spotlight has been pointed directly at the PG position. Despite all of the differing opinions I’ve read over the past few days about the Blazers and their PG issues, I think there are two points that nearly all agree on:

  1. To make the next step into the contender-dome, Portland’s going to have to upgrade the PG.
  2. Sergio Rodriguez isn’t the answer. At all.

Those seem pretty consistent with everything I have read. The first point is no shot at Steve Blake, just the truth of the situation. And this isn’t judging Blake for his performance in the post-season because that wouldn’t be fair. On the surface if you just look at his stats, the numbers don’t look so bad. 9.8 points, 6.2 assists, 1.5 turnovers 48% from the field and 41% from behind the arc…not too shabby? Not good enough. Steve Blake is the definition of solid. Just a solid point guard and would be a home run and a half as a backup. He fits well on this team with his ability to shoot and (deleting the playoffs from my mind) his ability to not take anything off the table. The only problem is…he doesn’t really put much on there. Ben from Blazer’s Edge made what I felt was a really good point about how Blake not being a playmaker hurts this team. It makes this team overrely on Brandon Roy. Before the season and during the season, I defended Blake by stating that this team doesn’t need an elite PG because that would overlap onto B-Roy’s area. And now after seeing what happened in the playoffs (The Roy and LMA show featuring no one), it’s clear that Portland needs someone else on the court who can make plays. To make the next step from just making the playoffs to making noise in the playoffs, something has to change. We can make the playoffs all day with Blake at the helm, I’m not worried about that. But to win a series…there’s got to be more. And this is where my criticism of Blake comes in. Do you want solid for 31-38 minutes a game or 20-25 minutes a game?

Over the past few days, the talk has been running rampant. Everyone’s been wondering who would be a good fit for this team. Kirk Hinrich? Andre Miller? Jason Kidd? Truth be told, I’m not feeling any of them. As well as Hinrich played in the Boston series, I don’t think he’s the answer. Especially not at his current price tag with him set to make $26.5 million over the next three years. I’d wholeheartedly take Hinrich as a backup for cheap but to say he’s the answer to take this team to the next level makes me wonder what alcohol is in the Kool-Aid everyone has been drinking. Yes he’s scrappy, yes he can defend three positions, yes he can shoot…but everything else about him screams slightly above average. Andre Miller? I’ll pass. He fits some of Portland’s needs, he can penetrate and create for himself. That’s cool. Not so cool? He’s also turning 34 soon and shoots the ball a ton, which is even more un-cool because he can’t shoot. He averaged 12 FGA’s a game this year which is three less than LaMarcus Aldridge averaged this year. That unsettles me for some reason. And it’s not a recent thing, for his career Andre Miller has averaged 11.7 FGA’s a game. Lastly, it’s not like he’s a proven winner or anything that’s going to take this team over the top. Fun fact: an Andre Miller led team has never advanced past the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Again…I’ll pass. Jason Kidd? Intriguing and I think that’s the best way to put it. I’m not going to say I want him but I’m not going to say I don’t want him either. For a year or two at a cheap rate…I’d have to think about it. Mentor Bayless for a year or two, throw lobs to Rudy/Oden/LMA/anyone who wants one, flash that ‘aw, shucks’ smile of his a couple times. I’m still thinking about it. The idea is being entertained in my head.

But that leaves me to this….assuming Sergio is dunzo… What about Jerryd Bayless? Wouldn’t you rather see what he has in his second season than any of the guys I listed above? I know I sure would. A lot of question marks surrounding him…but remember all the question marks we had about LaMarcus when it was finally his time? Exactly. And I’ll talk about this later, but that’s kind of the luxury the Blazers have going into next year. I’m sure they’d love to make moves…but they don’t have to right now. Keyword is have. I don’t know if Bayless is the answer but he deserves the shot before we make some sort of serious move. I’d like to keep Blake if at all possible and adding a new PG would push Bayless to the #3 spot which is just no bueno with a young talent like him.

All in all, what do you think? Keep Blake? Give Bayless the ball and see what he’s got? Go after Kidd, Hinrich or Miller? Anyone else in mind? Drop a note.

Tags: Andre Miller Blazers Free Agency Blazers Need Blazers Need Point Guard Blazers PG Blazers Point Guard Jason Kidd Jerryd Bayless Kirk Hinrich Portland Point Guard Portland Trail Blazers Steve Blake

  • marc

    What about using 1 of our draft picks on a PG and let him and Bay-less fight out for the #2 spot behind Mr. Solid.

    This is a win-win. If Bayless is ready, then great!. If the other guy (Jrue Holiday) turns out to be more ready then Bayless, then that’s awesome too!

    Many people say they dont want to draft another PG because we dont need another young PG. But at this point Bayless barely has any NBA experience so its not like he’s THAT much different from a new draft pick. It’s not like we’ve invested a bunch of time or several years in him.

    What ya think?

  • Joseph

    I really want to see what Bayless has. Why else did you we get him? I think if Nate lets him play through his mistakes next year that by the playoffs he could be a darn good PG.

  • Harry

    1. You don’t want a fourth point guard on the roster.

    2. We have an acute need for a tough power forward to back up LMA.

    3. The 24th pick won’t get you a point guard with a realistic chance of competing with Bayless for the back up spot. It’s a weak draft, and Bayless went 13 spots earlier than that in a strong draft.

  • here i am, rocked you like a hurricane

    Thanks for objective and constructive criticisms of Blake’s game, unlike the hatchet job Ben Golliver gave to Blake at O-live.

    This is why I find the PG dilemma so interesting. The typical fan wants a PG who can: penetrate and break down the defense, who’s a legitimate scoring threat, shoots well from the outside, knocks down 3′s, play lock down defense on the best PG’s in the game, pass the ball like Nash. This player doesn’t exist.

    I agree with your assessments about the PG’s on The List. Andre has never led a team to anything in his long career and can’t shoot very well from the outside meaning the defense can sag on Roy and the post guys. Kidd is getting very old and has never been able to break down the defense or get his own shot (has he?), one of your requests. Kirk Hinrich seems the most intriguing to me because he is basically Blake with slightly better defensive capabilities. Not sure he can shoot as well or consistently as Blake did this year though.

    Your right that Bayless needs to be the backup next year if we are ever to get any sort of bearing of what he’ll be. And lets not pretend that he didn’t get minutes this year. For a 8-10 game stretch he was averaging like 22min/game with Blake injured. He didn’t play terrible but he didn’t lead me to believe he will be our future PG either. He can’t shoot right now and I take a player’s ability to shoot and stretch the defense very seriously.

    So what do the Blazer’s need from their PG in the future? The ability to drive and create his own shot like Andre Miller? Or the ability to shoot and distribute the ball, which is basically Blake. Or a PG like Steve Nash and Sergio, which basically just dribble around and collect assist. I can’t think of any player in which you get all three. If you get a driver then the defense can sag on the post. If you get a shooter then the play making is left to Roy, which was a problem in the playoffs.

    As far as defense is considered, Blake played solid(average) defense this year. Look at the games with tough PG match ups and they didn’t really hurt us this year. There are going to be games in which Parker, Paul, and Williams get theirs.

    Personally, I like the Blake/Hinrich version the best. A shooter, who can run the show, doesn’t F up much and distribute the ball where it needs to be. I do get tired of watching Roy one-on-one at the end of games but that has a lot to do with the way he operates. I’d like to see Nate implement more movement in the offense but creating some different plays for next season.

    As much as it would be nice to have a play maker next to Roy, what good would this player be on the floor with out the ball if he can’t shoot?

  • Jerry

    I would like to see Blake start but have his minutes cut back to about 24. Bayless is the first guard off of the bench getting about 24 minutes a game for his second year. And then the third guard would be Petteri Koponen (Remember Him) as Sergios replacement.

  • here i am, rocked you like a hurricane

    How many games do you give Bayless to prove he is any good at PG on this team? How many games are you willing to lose if we are letting him make rookie mistakes? We will be competing for the best in the West next year.

  • Shams

    Think Raymond Felton!

  • here i am, rocked you like a hurricane

    Hopefully you don’t get tired of me but just one more thing:

    In response to “To make the next step from just making the playoffs to making noise in the playoffs, something has to change. We can make the playoffs all day with Blake at the helm, I’m not worried about that. But to win a series…there’s got to be more. And this is where my criticism of Blake comes in. Do you want solid for 31-38 minutes a game or 20-25 minutes a game?”

    I think the Blazers would have beaten any other team (probably not the Lakers) who they could have faced in the first round. Unfortunately, the Rockets are loaded with veterans who have never been out of the 1st round and played with a determination that the Blazers couldn’t match. They wanted it more which isn’t anything against the Blazers but a team of veterans is naturally going to want it more, especially against a team of playoff rookies. They took us out of everything we wanted to do, closed out on our shooters better than anyone has this year, and made shots down the stretch of games 3 and 4 to prevent any upset (Scola was their MVP). Two teams played that series and I think the way Houston played had more to do with the outcome than the Blazer’s personnel or that the Blazers playing terribly.

    Had Travis been even remotely the player he was at the end of the season, I think we would have, at least, stolen one of those games in Houston. And I think experience will be enough for the change you desire next year. But saying the change we need is at PG, says to me that you are mostly putting the blame for the loss on Blake, or just not having another scorer out there. The missing scorer was Travis in this series. If he is around next year, hopefully he’ll be more of a factor. Or maybe it will be Martell. All that being said, I’m still open to a change at PG, just don’t think it is as necessary as some.

  • krondogg

    I whole heartedly agree. None of the pgs listed will get us to championship caliber. I like Steve Blake as a backup, I like giving J-Bay a shot at starting or getting consistent minutes.

    Personally, I think Nate Robinson of the Knicks has to be considered. He probably aint gonna get us to the top either but he has some note worthy upside. He was BROYs teammate at Washington University and he knows BROYs style of play, they played 4 years together. He was also like Bayless a summer league MVP and a slam dunk champion. He might not be “the one” but I would consider him.

    A.Miller, Jkidd, Most of those guys are to old in my opinion and they are starting their decline. I fell like we should do everything to get Chris Paul away from New Oreleans, but it aint gonna happen. We could pick up someone like Ricky Rubio of Spain or Ty Lawson of North Carolina in the Draft, but thats a gamble.

    Sheesh, I dont know. It seems like their just aint a good pg available, one that fits US yet gets us over the top. Like I said in another blog, I sure dont envy Kevin Pritchard a bit but I sure am glad hes the 1 making decisions on our team!

  • j.e.

    I live in Chicago and am a big Bulls fan. Kirk Hinrich is definately what you need. No one remembers, but two years ago he was on track to be an allstar. Then, last year, they changed coaches and kirk had an off year, and this year, the bulls got D rose. I am 200 percent sure he is better than Steve Blake. Also, Hinrich has led the Bulls to two playoffs and would be the franchise pg if we dcidn’t get the number 1 pick. Trust me on this, if you get Hinrich he will put up more than 15 a game and mo0re than 6 assists agame. Not to mention his defense. He guarded Paul pierce in the playoffs who is 6’7 and did a good job on him. If you guys get him, your going to be really good next year.

  • blazin7

    Why not get Ty Lawson? With the NBA rules now, you can’t touch a speed quick point guard. He is a proven winner, has improved his game every year and would probably be successful in the NBA.
    I just don;t see and think Bayless will be a successful creater for the point position. He has energy on defense, but fouls too much with those T-Rex arms of his. I’m such the Blazer’s coaches has seen what he can and can’t do. If he was able to help the team this year he would have been playing over Sergio. Dude can’t even beat out Sergio. Don’t say he didn’t have much of a chance to showcase his skills…he did, and it wasn’t working for the Blazer’s to win.
    Would rather have a proven winner in Lawson to groom for the future than Bayless. His Arizona team was better without himm this year….that should say something.

  • Larry

    I have said all year that the Blazers need a solid PG. That said… I don’t believe Bayless is or ever will be an NBA PG. He is a PG sized 2 guard. What about Ray Felton? Restricted FA this summer, has incredible upside still can distribute and nearly averages the same amount of steals per game than Roy and Blake COMBINED.

    With the Bobcat’s money issues and DJ Augustin there already my guess is they can pry Felton away. At 25 years old next season he would fit right in with the current group we have age wise and has something still to prove at the PG spot being drafted in the same class but behind Williams and Paul. If the Blazers went that direction what would they have to give to entice Charlotte to give up Wallace as well? Outlaw, Blake Serg and the trade exception for Diogu plus a a pick or two? Just a thought…

  • blazin7

    Bobcats was rumored to be very interested in Webster before. Frye would fit in with them too. Sign and trade Frye, Webster, Bayless and/or Sergio for Wallace and Felton. Then draft TY LAWSON!

  • Jerome Embree

    I’ve got two words: Shannon Brown

  • Rick

    What about swing a trade w/ the Suns for Stevie Nash?? Solid starter, can penetrate and/or dish to anyone, seems like a good character guy, and obvious proven leader. Can coach some of the younger Blazers since hes been around the block. The Blazers seem to have plenty of picks and trade bait, and Phoenix missed the playoffs and obviously will need to rebuild some of their aging stars. Seems like an interesting option to me if K-Pritch could swing it.

  • Mike B

    Despite Andre Miller’s lack of 3-point range, I think he is the best option for what we need. He can penetrate and dish, get to the line, rebound well for a guard, and play good defense. He demands a lot of attention and distributes the ball well. He also likes to push the tempo, which we need. He also isn’t afraid to shoot in the playoffs and be the third scorer we need. He would step into a leadership role and take some pressure off Brandon and Lamarcus too. I would sign Andre Miller, move Blake to backup, and trade Bayless and Rodriquez.

    I think Hinrich is also a good option, perhaps the next best. He seems to do everything more than just a little better than Blake, except shoot threes. The thought of Hinrich with Blake as backup seems a little odd though. Doesn’t scream championship. Maybe trade Blake to New York for Nate Robinson.

    Third option. Get Steve Nash to run the show and get a good backup PG defender/passer. Chris Duhon comes to mind as someone who could play big minutes alongside Nash to provide rest and defensive support. Both guys shoot the 3-ball well.

  • SJ

    Holy comments. Way to be people, loving the discussion, a lot of good stuff. Probably enough to get another blog post out of this so I’ll try and address everything there.

  • pdxpat

    Outlaw/Bayless/Picks/Cash/Salary relief to the Grizz for Conley.

  • krondogg

    I think Nash goes into the Jkidd, Andre Miller zone because of age. Nash is starting to decline in #’s as he gets older just like jkidd. Remember, both of these 2 (nash,kidd) had great rosters to work with this year and neither are going to the championship game. Personally, I wouldnt be burnt to have jkidd or Nash because they would help, but anyone who thinks we should trade Bayless is crazy. If we trade him I think we will regret it, unless we get something HUGE in return. This is why this is a dilemma, because its tough to determine who we should go after.

  • krondogg

    Looking over Kurt Hinrichs stats, im pretty sure he aint our guy either. Basically, he is another Steve Blake. We need a Chris Paul or Chauncey Billups type- someone that can come in and have immediate impact. Someone like Rajon Rondo- hes averaging a triple double in the playoffs and had like 30 assissts without a turnover in the playoffs. We obviously cant get those 3, but its that type of player we need. I guess if we go young we might as we’ll try Bayless, if we go with a vet- get 1.Steve Nash or 2.Jason Kidd or 3.Andre Miller in that order.

  • JMak

    What about Mike Bibby? We’ll have the cap room, he’s still got some years left, he has experience, he hits big shots….why isn’t he in the discussion?

    He is a FA as well. Sign him, let Blake walk, trade Sergio and Travis for a bruiser and let Bayless back up Bibby?

  • lk

    Make Brandon the PG – he’s already the PG in the 4th qtr anyway – he can drive & finish, dish off, pull up & shoot, and make decisions. Rudy at the 2. Blake & Bayless the backups respectively. Bayless is just like Jarett Jack – a true shooting guard that the Blazers tried unsuccessfully to turn into a PG.

    Outlaw must go – he can shoot but unfortunately he can’t actually play basketball; no defense (maybe 1 steal a month), no rebounding (maybe 2 per week). We only had 3 rebounders this year (Joel, Greg, & LA) – there needs to be a couple more.

  • Onglao

    Who is have the highest basketball IQ in the Blazer team?..RUDY RUDY RUDY If you watched the game and see how the way he see the whole floor way ahead of everybody his passing skill is so good and he is the only guy can play with GO IN – OUT game (remember ROD and SABONIC). If we are looking for a 3rd option scores Rudy is the guy. Nate should play him along side with ROY that will good put Blake at backup for both (three guard rotation ).We do not need a PG that we alread have three big PG. Bayless is not an answer. ONLYTHING WE NEED TO MAKE THIS TEAM BE A CHAMP IS A NEW COACH WITH BETTER OFFEND AND DEFEND SYSTEM THAN NATE….

  • Lo

    Why couldn’t we have gone Chauncey? Not a huge fan, but his play just fits perfectly into what we need: great defense, solid shooting, toughness, experience, can contribute without having to hold the ball all the time…

    This should have been our guy!

  • Matt

    The answer should be Ramon Sessions! Has anyone taken a look at what this kid can do when he gets minutes. He’s young, can guard any point in the NBA better than blake and sergio, and his numbers as a starting guard are 15 ppg, 7.5 apg, and 4 rpg. He’s a quick 6-3, 190 who can get in the lane and create for others. Also, he’s a restricted free agent this summer, and rumor is Milwaukee can’t afford both him and Villanueva (also a restricted free agent). One more little cherry on top, anyone remember how much KP liked this guy when he worked out for the Blazers? He specifically commented on how good his workout was.

  • Stajack

    Trade Steve Blake for an unknown quantity? Heck, no. If Steve Blake had his druthers, I bet all the guy would ask for is a chance to compete against all comers for the PG slot, without guarantees for him OR for anybody else. Then decide who gets the nod based on what happens ON THE COURT (not on a blog).

  • Cermet

    Only problem is that Bayless is not a good passer for a PG position. He could be a great scorer PG but the thing is WE NEED A good passer. So if Andre Miller is that bad how i hear and Hinrich is not enough for starting position. Then it leaves only Jason Kid. But we will not get him for sure. Mavs probably going to re-sign him. And we will be left without a starting PG. Just great and we wont be able to to any good trades because we don’t really have anything good to give. I mean Hedo is not coming so Trading outlaw and some other player would leave us without any good SF. One way or another we are a litle bit screwed..atleast this year..

  • Bump

    This is another reason why Hedo not coming stings a little. IF Hedo comes to Portland, he could run point forward AND we could have taken a PG by committee approach. Everybody benefits from a guy like Hedo. Off hand the names that come to mind immediately are Roy and Oden. But the biggest impact, IMO, would have been Bayless… Where his ability as a scorer first and less of a distributor at the 1 would have been a trivial issue. Bayless, once inserted, will be the highest energy player on the floor and letting him attack the rim and just pester the other teams PG is what he is best freed up to do… I’m sorry, but I absolutely REFUSE to believe that Bayless is not ready to play if Derrick Rose can step in from day 1. Blazers got away with a top 5 pick undoubtedly @ 13 and he should be playing. Maybe we really SHOULD look at Odom???

  • Bump

    Sorry.. Bayless @ 11