Jan 28, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz point guard Earl Watson (11) dribbles while defended by Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Blazers Sign Earl Watson, Waive Pavlovic


This is more for injury insurance and a locker room presence than anything else. Watson has played point guard for 12 seasons between six different teams (Sonics, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Thunder, Pacers, Jazz) and will sign on for 1 year with Portland for the veteran’s minimum ($1.4 million).

Watson has never been a particularly gifted shooter; especially for a guard. Over the course of his career he has averaged 6.5 points per game on 41.1% shooting, while shooting 32.4% and 70.2% from the arc and freethrow line respectively. On top of that, most of his points come at the rim, so he’ll be even less of a factor as he continues to age downhill in basketball years.

However; that is not why Portland picked him up. Between Lillard, Matthews, and hopefully McCollum, the guards have scoring accounted for. Look at the other point guards though. Lillard is days off of 23 and McCollum is only 21. As much as we like to think Lillard is infallible, having a veteran presence in his ear can only help. While Watson is not a great player, he has a great mind for the game (future coach).

Besides, if called upon, Watson is not entirely useless on the court. He is still a decent facilitator. This may come into play if the Blazers want to put McCollum at shooting guard while Lillard is resting, from time to time. McCollum leans toward scoring anyway, and sometimes the second unit needs someone who will create more shots than they take.

Overall, I like this move. I don’t love it, but it’s smart. After bringing in Gary Payton to train Lillard defensively, Nate Tibbetts to hone Lillard developmentally, and now Earl Watson to help out during games, it is clear that the Blazers have gone all-in on Lillard’s future. Not to mention they added another role player to their increasingly passable bench.

[1] – Pavlovic’s $1.4 million contract was non-guaranteed and will be struck from the books.


Tags: Earl Watson Featured Free Agency Popular Portland Trail Blazers Sasha Pavlovic