Bayless, Blake and the 2nd Unit


I’m antsy. Thinking about all the possibilities and potential of the season have got me going crazy. I want to see some games already.

Just brainstorming here, bear with me. If Jerryd Bayless can prove that he’s a consistent spot-up shooter, he will eventually replace Steve Blake as the starter. I really believe that. I almost feel like typing that is a ‘Captain Obvious’ type thing but it is. And I believe that would be a good move in the future. I actually think down the line that putting Bayless with that first unit and Blake with the second unit could work out better for everyone.

The Summer League proved one thing, that Bayless can play well off the ball. I think that’s an underrated fact that a lot of people are not thinking too much about. It’s an asset that’s being downplayed. Brandon Roy is going to have the ball the majority of the time anyways. In that starting lineup, he’s the primary playmaker. Even B-Roy knows it, he’s said that a true point guard would take away from what he does best. Bayless’ ability to play well off the ball could be paramount. Last year we saw Jarrett Jack and Steve Blake both struggle at times playing off the ball. Simply put, it took away from their games. Steve Blake turned into not much more than a spot-up shooter. Jarrett Jack…*cringe*. Bayless meanwhile can come off screens, he can move, he can still penetrate and kick. He can do a lot of things. He’s comfortable playing off the ball on offense, he did it the majority of the end of last year at Arizona when Nic Wise came back to the lineup. If you combine that ability to play off the ball with an ability to shoot the three-pointer than you’ve got major trouble for defenses. Think about it..Bayless’ penetration is a weapon and a half. He has the ability open up more gaps for everyone else or get to the free throw line. With Webster and Roy spaced out…who is going to stop a Bayless/Oden pick and roll? Or with the ball in Roy’s hands, who is going to stop a Roy/Oden pick and roll? If you look at Utah, they are deadly in that pick and roll. Why? Because defenses have to pick their poison. It’s either Deron getting to the basket, or Boozer getting the ball close. Or a kick out to Korver or Okur who just happened to be spotted up. Nowhere to help. The Blazers could potentially have the same thing if Bayless proves he can stick it. It’s obviously going to take time, he’s only a rookie. He’ll have his peaks and valleys and an adjustment period. But I believe once he does he should replace Blake. Immediately. It may not come this season, but if it does the move should be made. Blake’s still a great fit for this team but for some reason I have a sinking suspicion that teams would live with him taking a lot of shots. Team’s won’t want Bayless getting off.

I also would like the move because Blake could make that second unit a lot better. As much talent as Bayless, Rudy and Travis have…I worry about whether they’ll be able to play together. We know Outlaw is going to shoot. In the Olympics, Rudy proved that he can play with talented players…but for him to be at his best we need him to be aggressive. And we know he likes to shoot. And Bayless has never met a shot he doesn’t like. If you replace Bayless with Blake (again down the line this season) you’ve got a rock solid PG who knows how and when to get the ball to people. He can also space the floor for Travis and Rudy. And he’ll be at his most comfortable because he’ll the be 1-man on that team.

But Blake as a starter and Bayless off the bench would still work. It’s weird debating these kind of issues…almost like a win-win situation.