John Hollinger’s PER Diem focused on the Washington Wizards and Blazers today, singling them out as two disappointing teams relative to their season expectations. It’s Insider only, but here’s an excerpt:
Ancillary issues also haven’t helped. Steve Blake and Joel Przybilla both have declined after unexpectedly strong campaigns a season ago; injuries to Travis Outlaw and Nicolas Batum have robbed Portland of its wing depth and ability to play small; and the team has struggled to incorporate Andre Miller into the rotation.
That said, the intense focus on Miller may be overblown. He’s been better than Blake, for one. Plus, the combined production of those two isn’t much different from what Blake and Sergio Rodriguez gave the Blazers a season ago. About the only difference Miller’s addition has made is that Roy virtually never plays point guard anymore, but that would be the case anyway in light of the multiple injuries on the wings.
Thus, the Blazers rank only 10th in offensive efficiency after finishing second last season. Portland has defended decently, if not great — the Blazers are seventh in defensive efficiency, thanks in equal parts to Oden’s ascension and the fact that they’ve played Minnesota three times — but just like the Wizards, this team needs to be a top-five offense to win big.
If you have Insider, I highly recommend reading the whole thing as it also highlights Roy and Aldridge having lesser seasons than a year ago. If you don’t have Insider, it’s well worth the dough. Hollinger’s ESPN chat starts in a bit and we’ll pull anything Blazers related out of that for you.
John, what is wrong with the blazers? And what do you think of the improvement Oden has made this year?
That’s the real oddity in a nutshell — the thought had been, “if only Oden played like a star, then these guys would be unbeatable.” Well, Oden’s playing like a star, and they’re still struggling. Roy, Blake, Przybilla, Aldridge all have #s well below last year’s, and losing Outlaw and Batum really thinned out he wing rotation.