Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Blazers Offense: Love it or Hate it?

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The Blazers offense is a nightmare. Last night against the Rockets, the offense was stagnant, lacked a steady mix of inside and outside players and strong Rocket defense made it look like an episode of The Addams Family. While that's unfortunate, the saddest part is, remember a few years back when the Blazers where the young, up and coming team everyone loved?

Those Blazers had talent, hunger and flexibility to keep improving the team. It seems that the Blazers have gone from a soon to be contender, down to a mediocre squad. The Blazers are trying to do their best, but it's sure sad to see what their best is right now.

The offense is a huge problem. It's reminiscent of the Hawks old, isolation style offense (funny fact: Jamal Crawford is on this Blazers team AND was on the Hawks iso-team). Throw the ball to one guy, let him dribble a bunch and waste a large amount of the shot clock and then rush to get something up at the basket before the clock expires.

While getting the ball on the rim to avoid a shot clock violation is smart basketball, it makes no sense to use the whole shot clock each time the Blazers halfcourt offense sets up. Not only does this lessen the amount of shot attempts the Blazers are able to get, it slows the game down more than this team needs a slow pace.

Coach Kaleb Canales and his staff should rethink the pace and system the Blazers run now. Are the Blazers maximizing their offensive abilities? Is the speed the team plays at reflective of the teams personnel? Is there tanking going on and does that make sense? How can the Blazers get Lamarcus Aldridge and Jamal Crawford more opportunities to score?

These are some questions and considerations for this team. While turning this team into something better wouldn't be that difficult, the team has to be critical of what the present problems are. If tanking is apart of the strategy, hopefully it's clear between the coaches, organization and players. I'm not a huge advocate of tanking, but if it's being done, the lines of communication between all parties who make it happen better be clear.

Are the Blazers tanking? Probably not, but considering there's a huge talent pool in this next draft and the Blazers poor record, it could make some sense to. Even if the Blazers played better earlier in the year and had a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, they weren't going to do much there anyway. This team is not built to go deep into the playoffs. While the Blazers may not be tanking, it would be hard to bash them for doing so at this point.

The Blazer offense needs work. It's hard to watch right now, but there are some pieces to it that aren't terrible (Lamarcus Aldridge, for one). Who knows, a great draft this summer and a healthy team could prove better next year. Nevertheless, as a Blazer fan or observer, times are cloudy right now.

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