Josh Dhani is a weekly writer for NBATipoff.com
Although ESPN's John Hollinger does not like the deal of Andre Miller with the Portland Trailblazers, I totally have to disagree. Miller, who signed a reportedly three-year $21M contract which Hollinger called a bargain, helps the Blazers a lot.
That's where I come in. Let's break down how Andre Miller makes the Portland Trailblazers a much better team. And trust me, he improves them very much. So let's go ahead and break this down!
You all know what this is, it's the world-famous NBA Talk.
You know, it actually does make it a bit tough for Andre Miller with the Blazers. The point guard spot will truly be a competition between Steve Blake and Andre Miller. Jerryd Bayless will still be learning a bit, although he was quite impressive last year. Although it'll most likely seem that Miller will win, it does leave a whole for Blake and Bayless as both will have to receive playing time.
So that brings me to the depth chart:
PG: Andre Miller/Steve Blake/Jerryd Bayless
SG: Brandon Roy/Rudy Fernandez
SF: Martell Webster/Nicolas Batum
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw/Jeff Pendergraph
C: Joel Pryzbilla/Greg Oden
I think this depth chart is pretty reasonable. I used it from a man named Ryan who made a depth chart of his own in one of my Blazer articles. Thank you Ryan. And also, I think many of you could agree with this actually.
Many people have questioned Andre Miller's three-point shooting ability sometimes, but man can he take it up to the rim. I've seen countless times when Miller has done that and he is pretty good at it as well. Miler is probably the point guard the Blazers needed. It really creates a spark for them coming into next season.
And don't worry, Steve Blake and Jerryd Bayless will receive some playing time. Although the man who commented one of my Blazer articles who went by the name of Yeager_06, said that Bayless did have of what he called a "half-ass performance" at the summer league, which I saw a bit, I think Bayless with be a flashy scorer coming into this year.
Coach Nate McMillan will try to work something out with the three point guards so all of them can receive reasonable playing time coming into this year's 82-game season. And at shooting guard, there is no need to worry when Brandon Roy has it all covered. We also have Rudy Fernandez, who played a key role last year. He played pretty good last year, averaging 10.4 points per game as he showed who good of a guard he was.
We then move to small foward in which Martell Webster takes control. Despite him missing all of last year, the 2007-08 year was a spark of improvement from the 2006-07 season. He had a career-high of about eleven points per game in the 2007-08 season and also averaged two other career-highs in assists with 1.2 and rebounds with of about four.
Then there is Nicolas Batum, who played well last year, averaging about five points and about three rebounds. He truly looks to be sharp coming into this year as he and Webster look to create a show with their entertaining skills.
The Blazers then move on to the big men as power forward LaMarcus Aldridge takes control of starter there as he averaged a career-high of 18 points and about eight rebounds along with that. He hasn't let a frown on anyone's face so far this year as he hasn't averaged lower than nine points and and five rebounds in the 2006-07 rookie year. Watch out for Aldridge this year as he goes for 20 points per game, and possibly ten rebounds as he is entering into his prime.
Then there is Travis Outlaw, as his last two years have been nothing less than impressive. He averaged about 13 points per game last year, along with about four rebounds. His stellar performance came in the 2007-08 season, but the 2008-09 was a little of a downgrade. But with he and Aldridge, boards will be grabbed and points will be scored with this one-two punch.
But it really isn't a one-two punch after all with Jeff Pendergraph in the mix.
He was recently drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft this year. Coming out of Arizona State, Pendergraph had a career-high of about 15 points and about eight rebounds last year. He looks to have some of his minutes this year as he will be playing somewhat of a key role when he comes off the bench.
Here, we end with the centers as I believe Joel Pryzbilla will take the starting role this year. I am just not that big of a fan when we involve the-man-that-looks-like-a-50-year-old Greg Oden. Words like "bust" and "Sam Bowie" have already been involving as Oden comes into his third year (pretty much second actually after being out of the whole rookie year). Oden will have to step it up a notch this year.
I like Pryzbilla's style of play as this 7'1" center looks to lead the Blazers as he will be grabbing a lot of rebounds as his size takes the advantage. Watch out for Pryzbilla this year, folks, he looks to be dramatic.
Although Andre Miller doesn't make a giant difference, he actually does though. The addition of Miller shows how strong the backcourt squad of Portland will be. The backcourt is going to be very impressive and they will lead the Blazers to victory. With such stars like Miller himself, Blake, speedy Bayless, unstoppable Roy, and key-role Fernandez, I think the Blazers are going to be good-to-go coming into the 2009-10 season.
Miller is going to create a spark this year, and heck, the Blazers will too as they will be making a lot of noise this year, and will be banging on the front door of the NBA Finals. Watch out, the words, "first round exit," will never be mentioned, unless if it involves the opponent.