SIGNINGS AND TRADES: MY ANALYSIS
August 3, 1999 >>>> Post comments here
RIDER: He was the Blazers leading scorer in 98-99, but by very little. His average of 13.9 was only 1 point higher than that of Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire and Arvydas Sabonis. I believe his scoring ability
|is slightly overrated. He led the Blazers in
scoring 13 times, only once more than Damon, who
struggled with shooting all season. His season high was
30 points, about the same as Damon's, Wallace's, Sabonis's,
and Brian Grant's. His tardiness, outbursts, and arrests
certainly did nothing to help the Blazers. But his
personality had a big upside too. At times he could be
kind and inteligent -- but not often enough. While he
certainly contributed in the first two rounds of the
playoffs, he disappeared against the Spurs. However,
several other Blazers did as well. We have lost a scoring
threat, but one who can be replaced, and an occasional,
or more than occasional, team problem.
JACKSON: I think Jim Jackson could have found a permanent home in Portland, but his problems with Mike Dunleavy costed him. As a backup, Jackson contributed 8.4 PPG, and about 3 APG and 3 RPG. He has had a 50 point game, something none of the Blazers can claim to have. But he was part of a jam at SG that involved Rider and the emerging Bonzi Wells in addition to himself. He is now likely to be labeled as a journeyman, a reputation which will only be enhanced if he is part of a rumored deal between the Clippers and the Hawks.
SMITH: Steve Smith is a proven scorer. He brings with him a veteran attitude, leadership, shooting ability, and unfortunately, oft-injured knees. His good qualities certainly outnumber his bad. With this acquistion, it is the clear the Blazers are trying to win a championship in the next few years... and that's a good thing. The questions about Smith's knees are serious. But his playing time in Portland will be less than in Atlanta, giving Bonzi Wells more time. Wells will also have a positive role model, on the court and off. With Rider gone, who clogged the lane with his post-ups, Damon will flourish. Smith is a former citizenship-award winner who donated $2.5 million to Michigan State. Of course, this means nothing if he can't play and win. I believe he can.
GRAY: Useless. Sums up Ed Gray. He's a two guard trying to play in a point guard's body. Atlanta wanted to get rid of him, so they dumped him on us. He'll cloud our roster and cost us millions, but then again we have millions. Or rather, Paul Allen does. He won't get much, if any time, behind Damon and Greg Anthony at PG.
VERDICT: A good trade for the Blazers, but could backfire if Smith's time is severely limited by injury. Otherwise, I give it two thumbs up. Assuming Smith can produce, this could be a championship formula.
SCHREMPF: Another veteran, who had strong numbers last year. PPG was 15, RPG 7.4, APG 3.7. His high in points was 28 (twice). If he can continue that production this year, he will help the Blazers immensly. He probably can't, but even 10 PPG and 5 RPG will almost match Rider's contributions, without the disruption. Schrempf did complain about coming off the bench with the Sonics, but he never got arrested. With Schrempf playing at SF, Wallace will be able to shift over and play center occasionally, or even often. He will contribute veteran leadership and hopefully production. The downside is that he's 36. Another inidication the orginization wants to win now. He was signed for $4.2 million over two years.
O'NEAL: A coveted free agent before being signed by the Blazers for $6 million a season, he averaged exactly 2 and a half points a game last year. Of course, we can't forget his 2.7 blocks. He promises to be an elite player by the last couple years of his contract, and some are inclined to believe him. I think he can produce maybe 15 PPG/10 RPG in a few years. This is not elite, and it's not worth $24 million, but it will help the Blazers win. And it's not like we're paying for it. Hopefully, Paul Allen will decide to pay out of his billions rather than raise ticket prices. O'Neal can contribute to the team... eventually.
VERDICT: Good signings, but at a high price. It's nice having the richest owner in sports. Two players, one old, one young. Both can help the Blazers.
|© Danny Rosenthal 1999, email@example.com|