Jan 7, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts speaks with shooting guard Will Barton (5) as a call is reviewed during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Fan Poll: Terry Stotts and the Trail Blazers Bench


 

Last night the Portland Trail Blazers bench collectively scored 68 points against the Brooklyn Nets en route to the Trail Bazers’ biggest blowout of the season (124-80). These figures represent a jaw-dropping outlier in production, but then again, so did the amount of time the 2nd unit spent on the floor. With a healthy lineup, Head Coach Terry Stotts has a strong tendency to avoid exercising Portland’s depth, thereby limiting development and overall progress of the team as a whole. But without LaMarcus Aldridge (groin), Thomas Robinson (knee), Joel Freeland (knee), and Meyers Leonard (ankle), Stotts was forced to dig more deeply into his bag of tricks.

The unexpected results beg the question: Does Stotts distrust the bench because they are generally sub-par, or is the bench sub-par because Stotts distrusts them? There is absolutely a talent drop from starter to bench that one big game does not erase, but could it be that the crag is steepened by a sheer lack of opportunities to polish it down? We saw what Thomas Robinson is capable of against Minnesota, and we saw what Will Barton and, to a lesser extent, Victor Claver are capable of last night. Yet in previously limited minutes, none of them had truly impressed. Keeping the bench in for longer stretches would boost their growth and provide the starters with much needed rest.

If possible, this needs to happen even after Aldridge and others return to action. However; that “if possible” qualifier is of utmost importance. For the most part, I trust Stotts to make the right call on who to play and when to play them (though I’ve had qualms here and there). If he prefers to stay the course with heavy doses of the starting five, there is a good reason. It’s uncommon for the Portland bench to build or even hold a lead, but they will learn best from experience. Stotts is left with an unenviable dichotomy; win now (favor starters) or risk the present for the future (favor bench). There is no guarantee that a little more trust will go the long way we want it to.

 

Would it be worth some growing pains to see what we have in Robinson, Barton, Claver, etc? Does pain indeed equal gain?

 

What do you think?

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Tags: Portland Trail Blazers Terry Stotts Thomas Robinson Victor Claver Will Barton

  • blazerfan808

    Shocked at the production of the bench. Its really is something when these guys get into their rhythm. Barton excells because he knows how to back cut and play off the ball. That is something that I would say 90% of rookies don’t know how to do. That’s how you get buckets. You see how McCollum’s ugly ISOs have been coming up flat for the most part. When Barton is not forcing things he is a threat. Being relegated to the bench has made these kids hungry. They are all unselfish and its a blast to watch their growing pains live before our very eyes. Aldridge sitting out is a blessing in disguise. I think the Blazers have had a lull due to over dependence on Aldridge’s ISO. I don’t wanna live and die by that. I love Dorrell stretching the floor and letting Mo, Dame, Wes, and Nic penetrate, and penetrate and kick. Aldridge is not always a high% or a mismatch, its our best option, but we should be swinging the ball and playing in rhythm more. Its gonna keep the defense guessing. Fun game last night. Love watching Barton play.

    Claver might be suited going the ‘passing/up and down version of Joel Freeland’ route. With all these min I am starting to see his strengths as a role guy. CJ needs to learn to work off the ball or calling for picks. He abused guys in the Patriot League, but this ain’t the Patriot league and he is just not that quick in terms of NBA standards. If he can hit that 10′ floater on a consistent basis, spot up (which he has proven), and work off the dribble only when necessary, he’ll be nice.

  • roger lawson

    I love my Blazers and have for last 40 years. I see a lot promise from this team. Truth is they won’t get past 2nd round this year. Don’t stunt the growth of this team with the win at all cost now attitude. This team is a few developed players away from a finals trip.