In the past week the Blazers have seen their name attached to a who’s-who of awful/mediocre at best/money-stealing veteran big me. Jason Quick reported about Stromile Swift and Juwan Howard, Jarron Collins and Greg Ostertag. It all begs the question: does Portland need another big man? Brian T. Smith of the Columbian asked, Kevin Pritchard answered. Kind of.
(sidenote: If we sign any of these guys my face will definitely initially have a look like Taylor Swift’s at the VMAs, and then I’ll go all Serena Williams on KP. I mean really?!?!? When has Stromile Swift not been underwhelming? How is Juwan Howard not like your friend’s car that somehow can run on the yellow light for a whole week? Don’t get me started on the last two. They look more out of place on a basketball court than Lil Mama did last night. YAY POP CULTURE!!!!!!)
Back to what KP said:
“We want to look for the best player, but specifically somebody who fits with us. So that’s No. 1. No. 2, if you look at our depth chart, (forward) LaMarcus Aldridge can move over to the 4, Dante Cunningham can move over to the 4. We can go big with (center) Greg (Oden) and (Joel) Pryzbilla. So, yeah, I feel like we need another big, but you know, quite frankly, (coach) Nate McMillan does such a great job of going small at times. And we played (small forward) Travis (Outlaw) at lot at the 4, and he causes some issues with other teams, and when we do that, it’s shown to be very successful. So, another big would be great. But I want two guys to make our team that are great people that put the team first, and that have a chance to help our team whether they play a minute or are starters. “
Nothing entirely groundshaking from KP there. If anything all that last sentence did was make sure those who were sitting in front of a computer with a battle of Jack and Tylenol PM that “We’re not really looking to depend on any of these guys like for serious”. So glad I can put that stuff away now (buh-dum-CHING). There are three primary bigs that are going to play the lion’s share of the minutes. Oden, LMA and Big Joel. After that is a bit of a mystery. Currently signed bigs are the rookies Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph. With Pendergraph being out for at least the next three months, it’s going to be tougher for him to assert himself…but he’s always there. With Cunningham there’s the potential but he’s very site unseen against the big boys. We all know Summer League and the big show are very different things. For all we know, he could pull a reverse Batum. However, if he proves he can bang with the big boys and hit that midrange jumper, you can’t help but think he’s right in the mix. The other option? at the 4 or Travis Outlaw. I think a lot of Blazer fans have penciled in Outlaw to play backup 4 minutes…because…um…well he can play the 4 which would allow for both Martell and Batum to play at the 3. You know, instead of a ginormous poop show at the 3. If anything maybe we should have just kept Shavlik Randolph around. I’d rather have him to bang around than have to cheer/depend on any of the names listed initially.
Now if you’re asking ‘Why don’t the Blazers sign someone younger?’ well in my opinio that would just be kind of silly. This organization has stacked up a nice-sized arsenal of young big men. Cunningham, Pendergraph with Freeland and Claver stashed overseas. Not to mention Oden and LMA tag-teaming (hopefully) for a while and Big Joel who should have the chance to fight until he can’t fight anymore. I’d say we’re good on bigs for a little bit. As much as some of these names make me want to gag-o-vomit all over myself, I understand the thinking behind it. There is nothing wrong with having another veteran presence in the locker room. I would hesitate to put Stromile Swift and veteran presence in the same sentence…but then again I just did and the world did not end. For all the stealing he’s done over the past few years he’s been in the league enough to have some knowledge just off of osmosis. Although, in 15 years he’s only played in the playoffs four years. Hmm.
Do I think the Blazers need another big man? No. I like our current options at the backup 4. With LMA playing 35+ a game and Oden set to move up from 21 minutes a game (knock on wood) I think we’re fine. As KP stated in the Columbian, going big with Oden/Joel, maybe going smaller with LMA/Cunningham or just going with Cunningham or Outlaw. There are a lot of ways that Nate can go with it, and if you ask this guy all of them are better than signing any of those guys listed above.
Tags: Dante Cunningham Greg Ostertag Jarron Collins Jeff Pendergraph Joel Freeland Juwan Howard Kevin Pritchard LaMarcus Aldridge Lil Mama Nate McMillan Serena Williams Shavlik Randolph Stromile Swift Taylor Swift Travis Outlaw Victor Claver