The next part of Jason Quick's Rip City Revi..."/>
The next part of Jason Quick's Rip City Revi..."/>
The next part of Jason Quick's Rip City Revi..."/>

Travis Outlaw: I Want Shots

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The next part of Jason Quick’s Rip City Revival series focused on the sixth man, Travis Outlaw. Must-read stuff here, I would most definitely check it out. It’s a strange back and forth as sometimes Outlaw springs into this cockiness, but then sprints back into humble mode. Not easy to get a read on where his mind is at…but who knows if it’s even anywhere. Sometimes he expresses doubt, others he wants to be like Kobe, others he wants to be a team player. This one really had me thinking though as Outlaw said some pretty intriguing stuff. Here are some bits and pieces of quotables I found to be interesting. They don’t flow I mixed and matched them:

“…he wonders if he will get enough attempts this season with the arrival of Jerryd Bayless, a shoot-first, pass-second guard, and Rudy Fernandez, a free-wheeling, long-range bomber. Both are expected to play with Outlaw on the second unit”

“I saw Bayless have a great Summer League,” Outlaw says. “And Rudy, he’s having a great Olympics, you know? Shots are going to go down somewhere, and I feel I’m the lowest guy on the totem pole, so it may be me.”

“We have a really good team,” Outlaw says. “But I don’t know if they are going to be able to keep us together.”

“Outlaw averaged 11.8 shots per game last season — third highest on the Blazers behind Roy and Aldridge — and he was given free rein to create his own shot, particularly in the fourth quarter. But he says he would like to average 15 shots this season — the amount Roy and Aldridge averaged last season…”

“So he emphatically declares that Portland fans will see a different Outlaw this season. One who is confident. One who will hit the corner three-pointer. One who can create his own shot. And one who will rebound. In fact, his personal goal this season is to average 16 points and eight rebounds, marked increases from his career-high averages last season of 13.3 points and 4.6 rebounds.”

“Now, Carmelo, he’s doing 360 (degree) fades, and George Karl is over there (he claps his hands) ‘That’s all right,'” Outlaw says. “Let me get a light like that. I be trying some stuff.”

That last quote I think I was just some of that basketball brovado. If you read the piece you’ll see that Travis has a much improved confidence in his jumper. He even went as far to say he “shoots jumpers like layups”. Not sure I’m willing to go that far. As I said it’s good for Travis to have confidence in his jumper. It’s good from him to strive to not want to be a sixth man. It’s good for him to not be comfortable in his role and want to be better. But just reading this piece makes me wonder…can the Blazers win with Travis Outlaw? Is Travis Outlaw needed to win a championship? Is he more expendable than we think? Every Blazer fan knows the score with Travis and this just reinforces it. He can score, score, score. This is a fact. He will shoot, shoot, shoot. This is also a fact. The thing is…there isn’t much more after that. The majority of us would admit it. I’m not much of a stat geek (don’t believe in them) but I’m sure if you asked Hollinger he’d laugh in your face and give you a calculator. Coup brought this up early last week and now I’m seeing it. Travis could very well be expendable, and maybe it’s time to trade him while he’s hot. On one hand you need guys who can score and you can never have too many of them. I’ve defended Travis because of his sixth man role and his ability to be clutch and create his own shot. His ability to jump and fade means if he wants to he can get it off. Think about it though…if Rudy has shown anything it’s that he can get his shot off. And score. If Bayless has shown anything it’s that he can get his shot off. And score. That means that what Travis brought to the table last year won’t be quite as impressive (or necessary) this year. Look at the core of that second unit…Bayless, Rudy and Outlaw. Tremendous offensive talent right there. On one hand they could be a devastating trio of scoring, giving unbelievable depth to the Blazers. Almost like a mini-starting lineup coming off the bench. This could lead to more rest for Roy and less pressure on Martell. On the other hand it could be disastrous. Rudy is a gunner…he can and will pass but he guns. Bayless is also a gunner. Outlaw is also a gunner. If you’ve ever played pickup basketball, you put three gunners on a team and more times than not they will lose due to a lack of chemistry.

I look at Outlaw and I wonder…would the Blazers even be wise to put him in there during the 4th this year? Not because of his talent but if you look at that lineup….Roy, Outlaw, LMA, Oden…who spreads the floor? Just a thought.

With that being said, Outlaw said it himself. How can the Blazers keep all these guys together? M y personal opinion? I don’t think a trade would happen anytime soon just because Nate and KP haven’t been able to truly see what they have. But I think the lights are shining brightly on both Outlaw and Martell. The acquisitions of Bayless and Rudy, as of right now have made them more expendable than ever. Nate’s going to have a tough time finding minutes for all of the talent he has on the perimeter. That will be his greatest challenge this year and I personnaly think eventually someone is going to have to go. Too many people, not enough minutes and not enough shots. If Travis wants to average 15 shots a game–as much as Roy and LMA…than where are Rudy and Bayless getting their shots from?