Portland Trail Blazers Thread

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Apple iCup

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To kick off this thread, I'd like to hear what fans and basketball fanatics alike think of Portland's current roster and what moves you would think would be wise this off-season.

Roster;
PG D. Lillard
SG W. Matthews
SF N. Batum
PF L. Aldridge
C R. Lopez
6 M. Williams*
7 D. Wright
8 T. Robinson
9 W. Barton
10 C.J. McCollum
11 M. Leonard
12 E. Watson*
Res. V. Claver
Res. A. Crabbe

Notes;
Draft Picks:

Portland has no draft picks in the 2014 draft. The Round 1 pick went to Charlotte for the Gerald Wallace trade and the Round 2 pick went to Denver with the Raymond Felton trade.

Free Agents:
Mo Williams
Earl Watson

Players:
- Damian Lillard: Hopefully Lillard follows his pattern from last offseason and works out with someone like if not Gary Payton. A rookie to make a decision like that was very mature and wise. Most players go into the league with a cocky attitude, believing their shit doesn’t stink.

It took LeBron quite some time to realise that if he add post to his game, he will just have another weapon to his arsenal and he did that with Kareem (I believe).

Another good example is Dwight Howard, where it took him 9 years to figure out that he needs improvement and worked with Hakeem Olajuwon (yes I do know that, that was part of what enticed him to go to Houston, along with Kevin McHale).

Anyway, back on point; Lillard’s defensive game does need improvement and if Damian continues to seek assistance, I’m all for it.

- Wesley Matthews: I honestly think that Matthews is Portland’s best defender, over Nic (more of that in Batum’s Notes). This is his last season under his current contract. Hopefully Portland can secure a contract extension sometimes during the year, preventing drafting up a new one and costing Portland. Otherwise you might see him leave via trade before the all-star break.

- Nic Batum: I personally find Batum's contract to be too generous, not for his potential, but for his performance and his durability. I know he played through a broken finger and did have a good season, yet he lacks consistency and most of all aggression.

I do believe that when Minnesota sent him an offer [during the 2012 offseason], it was a Win-Win for the Timberwolves, either they acquired Nic or they committed salary espionage against Portland.

As much as I love watching him play, I also get very frustrated doing the same thing. Not that Portland will, I do believe that he is a tradeable asset.

- LaMarcus Aldridge: It was hilarious watching everyone go crazy over LaMarcus avoiding the question regarding his contract. Ludacris comments like he is unhappy again, just like the end of last year when he demanded a trade.

Firstly, the team looks promising and had a dramatic improvement over last year’s win-loss record. Neil Olshey was able to draw some potential key players last year and I think that Neil will only improve on that. Aldridge has also gone on the record to say “I was emotional at the time and tired of losing”.

Secondly, just because Aldridge isn’t going to extend on his current contract does not mean he has intentions of leaving Ripcity. He would earn a great-deal more with a new contract (which you can only imagine is a max. contract) than simply extending on his current contract.

The contract that he is currently on, was drafted and agreed to the same day Brandon Roy extended his contract in (2010?). At that stage, Roy was the focus and Aldridge was a notch below. I’m pretty sure he was going to earn around 2 million less than Roy per year. I really can’t be ****** backing that up with research. Kind of going by memory.

- Robin Lopez: What can I say about Lopez? WOW. I know he isn’t your All-Star center like his twin brother, but wow. I rolled my eyes as soon as I found out that Portland got Lopez, when the Blazers failed to acquire DeJuan Blair.

I slept on his career-high season that previous year (didn’t watch too many New Orleans games that year). So much so, that I went to a mate and said “This will be Portland’s worst move this offseason, he is a scrub”. WRONG. Like Matthews and Aldridge, also out of contract at the end of the 2014-15 season.

- Maurice Williams: Mo's contract still has a player option and despite the deadline to opt in or out is Jun 15th, he has already stated that he does not want to exercise that option. This doesn't mean Portland is not an option, he is just after financial security via a multi-year contract, as he said "this off-season is my last [major] contract".

I think trying to lure Williams with a new contract is wise. Obviously the Blazers don't want to cut too much into their salary cap.

Dorell Wright: I was a major fan of Wright during his time at the 76ers and more so at Golden State, so when the news came that he was moving to Oregon, I was stoked. He is a tradable piece yes, however, he was never really given a solid run in rotation.

He has two stints, during; the time Aldridge, Freeland and Robinson were out with injuries and prior to McCollum starting his debut after recovering from a broken foot.

Like most of the bench, Terry needs to spread the minutes.

Thomas Robinson: Very impressed. Sometimes—mostly during the beginning of the season—he would look lost out on the court. Predominantly on the offensive end, while not quite sure where stand while spacing the floor etc.

Despite that, he committed, which is something you can’t say about Meyers Leonard.

- Meyers Leonard: Scrub. You can tell by the way he pouts on the bench, he thinks he deserves a bigger role. Regardless of his belief, he doesn't. In fact he is far from it. I get the vibe he doesn't focus on the game from the pine and come the time to get his number called by Stotts, he looks rusty and his mentality lacks.

Then you get the games where you can see his potential and it's as transparent as Glad Wrap. But that doesn't happen often.

- Joel Freeland: Joel had a great first-half to the season, until his injury, which didn't give him enough chance to condition himself back for Playoff ball. Though I did like the Englishman’s performance this season, he is a tradable piece.

- Earl Watson: Watson's contract has expired. There have been rumblings at his desire to coach. So may not resign.

Where to Improve:
- Defence: This is where conditioning a young Robinson can be a very sexy investment. Promise him 15-18 minutes as an incentive. Lillard and Batum I’ve already touched on regarding defence.

Robin Lopez hangs under the basket in an attempt to clean up the offensive glass, which is great. Nevertheless, he is slow to get down the other end of the court.

- Bench: Although there was an improvement compared to bench production of the season beforehand, the Blazers bench looked somewhat of an odd-bunch that didn’t gel at times. A lot of people will be looking of offseason moves to fix this, but with no draft picks and little cap space, this more of a pipe dream. One thing that Terry needs to do is space out the rotation and find a gameplan that implements the role players both offensive and defensively. Relying on Lillard to play 40-45 minutes per game over an 82 game season is not an efficient gameplan come playoffs.
 
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Deemanding

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#3
Good write up. The bench is certainly a weak spot in general - Stotts seemed so reluctant to give minutes in the playoffs, whilst whoever the Spurs put on court just seemed to work for them (obviously number 1 in the league for a reason). The starting 5 looked exhausted with the amount of minutes each of them played during the season.

Would like to see more court time for Robinson and Barton. Not sold on McCollum though still early days. Definite need for defensive improvement across the board.
 

Son of Skeletor

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#4
Might want to shine the Bat-signal to the vets

smashh StevieDewar


Re. RoLo, everybody slept on his year in Nawlins, even some stoopid then-Hornet fans. He also looked OK in Phoenix before losing his hops to injury.

Armed with this inside info I was pretty confident the Blazers would be an improved team this year. That you guys ended up knocking out Houston was sweet delicious poetic justice.

FWIW I disagree on Matthews vs Batum - still think Nic is clearly your best 1-on-1 defender, pretty sure Stotts sees it that way too. If you decided to trade him then you'd have 20 teams queuing up to take him off your hands.
 

Apple iCup

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Might want to shine the Bat-signal to the vets

smashh StevieDewar
Yeah, my bad. I'm new to this part of BigFooty, stumbled across it by accident honestly.


Re. RoLo, everybody slept on his year in Nawlins, even some stoopid then-Hornet fans. He also looked OK in Phoenix before losing his hops to injury.

Armed with this inside info I was pretty confident the Blazers would be an improved team this year. That you guys ended up knocking out Houston was sweet delicious poetic justice.

FWIW I disagree on Matthews vs Batum - still think Nic is clearly your best 1-on-1 defender, pretty sure Stotts sees it that way too. If you decided to trade him then you'd have 20 teams queuing up to take him off your hands.
I try to avoid box scores when watching games and even season averages through a season, so please don't take everything I say as gospel. The write-up was mostly from what I witnessed via League Pass. Though I did look at both Matthews and Batum's today, as blazers.com mocked up these wallpaper/graphics that showed each players numbers. Matthews and Batum were close to on par.

But going by season averages proves nothing really. There are a lot of elements (which is one reason why I posted this). Batum could go 17/15/8 then disappear for a fortnight with 5/2/3. Where it feels as though Matthews (remembers I try to avoid box scores as often as possible) will go 10/7/5 on a consistent basis, then have a break out game once a fortnight where he goes 23 points.

The other element is; I enjoy the watching pre-season moves, the whole package (drafts, free agency, trades and hell let's put in waivers as well), the unknown you get from trying to compile a team that has balance and pieces that fit.

I know the money way paid to secure Nic and it's not like Kobe's two-year deal where he isn't even touching the hardwood. I just get frustrated. There are the games where you want to spit on his performance, then there are they games you want to make a Batum shrine and worship him with your pants around your ankles.

I also know that he was and still is well sort after, that is why I threw his name up. Just for hypothetical purposes, where a draft-day trade is made. I did put in my conclusion that it mostly the minutes factor during regular season that would most benefit this franchise.

Good write up. The bench is certainly a weak spot in general - Stotts seemed so reluctant to give minutes in the playoffs, whilst whoever the Spurs put on court just seemed to work for them (obviously number 1 in the league for a reason). The starting 5 looked exhausted with the amount of minutes each of them played during the season.

Would like to see more court time for Robinson and Barton. Not sold on McCollum though still early days. Definite need for defensive improvement across the board.
I don't know if sold is the word, but I was rather comfortable with McCollum's first 3 games. Showed a little more consistency from deep that I anticipated. I do believe he can slash and pull-up mid-range. I was really pushing for Portland to start him when he got healthy. It was just after Portland hit it's peak with 3pt % and was starting to slip.

Yelling at the computer for Matthews/Lillard/Batum to drive, just to mix it up and add another element to Portland's rather sexy offense. I was kind of looking for him to come in as a 3rd option to slice through lanes. I did also like his mentality, where he had a good balance of when to take a shot and when to kick it off.

Barton (though I didn't mention this originally) impressed me, yet frustrated me slightly. Regular season he was looking determined and not pouting when he finally got his name called. Playoffs, he looked rattled on some offensive players and coughed it up--but I saw Williams doing the same mistakes. So my frustration has no malice)--I will put this down to what you and I agree is a lack of minutes throughout the season.

Those are the negatives with The Thrill. The positives kind of outweigh them (probably cause I am giving him leniency with the limited minutes Stotts distributed). He was aggressive offensively. Drove, pulled-up, catch and shoot 3 (though I prefer him to do the former).

Robinson, couldn't agree more. Now that we have spoken about Barton and Robinson. I would like to reminisce. Care to join me?

 

Apple iCup

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Hit the nail on the head really.

Bench, big man support, defence are the keys.

Solid effort (y)
Big man support is something I hope Oshley and Stotts look at this offseason. Someone who wont disturb chemistry (like Bynum with Hibbert), but does push Lopez and Lopez him. Much like I was excited with Matthews and Roy pre-amnesty clause. The 2011 off-season was an emotional rollercoaster (and the lockout made it worse).

Where do people rate Cole Aldrich? I honestly wouldn't mind trying a 1-year deal to around 1.1million.
 

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#8
Blazers have a little more wiggle than i first thought.

About 4 mill under the cap give or take, they may even have the MLE. They signed Mo with it, at least partially, its hard to find a lot of detail on the exceptions tho, possibly even the BAE.

Cole Adrich, not a fan really.

At C there's not a bunch of options, maybe Okafor? Big Baby's out there but doesnt really fit this squad. Ryan Kelly's a ufa, Jerebko, Udoh

Scraping the bottom of the barrel tbh
 

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#9
Apple iCup nice write up! As I said after the exit to the Spurs the hard part you've accomplished. That is you've got your starters sorted. Having said that you have to pick up a couple of pieces to build depth on your bench and rely upon improvement to get to that next level. Having said all this with the unrestricted free agents of 2015 and the pay demands could you see them making a significant trade this off season?
 

Apple iCup

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Blazers have a little more wiggle than i first thought.

About 4 mill under the cap give or take, they may even have the MLE. They signed Mo with it, at least partially, its hard to find a lot of detail on the exceptions tho, possibly even the BAE.

Cole Adrich, not a fan really.

At C there's not a bunch of options, maybe Okafor? Big Baby's out there but doesnt really fit this squad. Ryan Kelly's a ufa, Jerebko, Udoh

Scraping the bottom of the barrel tbh
Okafor, I would love to have him! However, I think he will be at Phoenix again come October 31st. I mean anything is possible, as the Suns either want to build or freefall after this past season. But I don't see them wanting to sacrifice 2014-15, they had so much promise without any 'stars', so I doubt they'd want to roll over an die for the next draft. Then there is the whole fact of being a middle order team kind of sucks, especially if you're fishing to the draft to dig you out.

I'm not a fan of Glen Davis. Not at Boston, Orlando or the Clippers. I also think he will be a bit of a handful in the locker room.

From all those, I would try Udoh. Give him the motivation to push and one long-term motivation could be 'Lopez is out of contract next year'. Obviously you couldn't word it as though he has 100% commitment from Portland to start him in 2015, so I wouldn't exactly call it incentive. You can't lose trust with a player with false promises. More like a glimmer of hope.

Apple iCup nice write up! As I said after the exit to the Spurs the hard part you've accomplished. That is you've got your starters sorted. Having said that you have to pick up a couple of pieces to build depth on your bench and rely upon improvement to get to that next level. Having said all this with the unrestricted free agents of 2015 and the pay demands could you see them making a significant trade this off season?
I think everyone is in love with the starting 5. I do think Portland could get decent 2 Forward/Guards with letting go of Batum, maybe even a draft pick. The problem you have there is the feel good locker room of 2013-14 can potentially be tarnished because of tampering.

I know it sounds like a hate speech, as I do bring Batum up in the mix, but I just see him as a highly regarded player, who wouldn't be as missed as other pieces on the starting rotation.

This will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I'd personally rather trading Batum for 2 guys who average 9pts/4reb/3ast each. Quantity over quality. Just to make a quick suggestion Corey Brewer and Chase Budinger. That suggestion isn't exactly what I would ideally like, I'm just throwing it out there.

But after all that pointless reading I just got you to do, I don't see a big trade. I think Wright, Freeland, Claver and Leonard (not that many people would want him) are actual trade pieces. I would say Crabbe, but Portland kind of got drunk and gave up two future picks for him. I'm not quite sure what the Blazers have in mind there. Perhaps to develop a Troy Daniels like offensive gun?
 

Son of Skeletor

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#11
But going by season averages proves nothing really. There are a lot of elements (which is one reason why I posted this). Batum could go 17/15/8 then disappear for a fortnight with 5/2/3. Where it feels as though Matthews (remembers I try to avoid box scores as often as possible) will go 10/7/5 on a consistent basis, then have a break out game once a fortnight where he goes 23 points.

I know the money way paid to secure Nic and it's not like Kobe's two-year deal where he isn't even touching the hardwood. I just get frustrated. There are the games where you want to spit on his performance, then there are they games you want to make a Batum shrine and worship him with your pants around your ankles.
The thing with Batum is that his versatility is invaluable. He's not just a small forward, he's your second playmaker on offense, and can guard three, even four positions at the other end.

His outside shot suffered after he injured his hand, but he's still a dependable outside shooter on his career. He even led the league in rebounding in March (!).

So what you're getting for $11 million might not be an All-Star, but two or three players in one - that's where his true value lies. He's also still only 25 and conceivably not yet reached his ceiling... there's no way you'll let him go unless LeBron or KD are coming back in return.

Incidentally, chemistry is another reason not to break apart your roster - your starting five have obvious chemistry. You don't want to fix what ain't broken.
 

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#12
I think Stuckey could be a great fit and provide some scoring off the bench for you guys and could be had on a short term MLE similar to what you guys did with Mo Williams, he was actually really good for us off the bench last year. The problem would be that he would hinder CJ's development.

Otherwise for a cheap big man maybe Jordan Hill? The corpse of Chris Kaman?
 

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I think Stuckey could be a great fit and provide some scoring off the bench for you guys and could be had on a short term MLE similar to what you guys did with Mo Williams, he was actually really good for us off the bench last year. The problem would be that he would hinder CJ's development.

Otherwise for a cheap big man maybe Jordan Hill? The corpse of Chris Kaman?
I wouldn't really like to go for another undersized center, like J.J Hickson. Though he is promising for any team that does have him, but if I was a GM of any organisation, I would never start him at the 5. I would like someone who can step up into the starting rotation if Lopez was to get an injury. As defense is something that lacks in Portland, I would not care if the back-up center was to only average 2.5ppg. Cleaning up offensive glass would be nice, but securing defensive rebounds and kind of abandoning the offensive glass to get down the other end.

Portland doesn't really need another C/F.

If Portland was unsuccessful in getting a new agreement done with Williams, I wouldn't mind Stuckey. I like how despite the added guard (in Jennings), he didn't fall of the wagon. I reckon a lot of people would be discouraged if they are dealt with less minutes etc.

Another back-up point guard I would investigate would be Aaron Brooks
 

Son of Skeletor

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#14
Personally I wouldn't touch Kaman or Brooks if I were Portland... high usage ball stoppers who are deplorable defenders.

Jordan Hill is a nice option, but he'd cost you your MLE and for now Thomas Robinson plays a similar role, if more inconsistent and unpolished.

Some players I'd look at were I Neil Olshey - Patrick Patterson, Alan Anderson, Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, Ramon Sessions, Zaza Pachulia (expensive, and you'd have to trade), Drew Gooden (would be cheap), Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gustavo Ayon, Marvin Williams, Andris Biedrins, Channing Frye (if he opts out), Jodie Meeks, Devin Harris & Anthony Morrow.
 

Apple iCup

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Personally I wouldn't touch Kaman or Brooks if I were Portland... high usage ball stoppers who are deplorable defenders.

Jordan Hill is a nice option, but he'd cost you your MLE and for now Thomas Robinson plays a similar role, if more inconsistent and unpolished.

Some players I'd look at were I Neil Olshey - Patrick Patterson, Alan Anderson, Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, Ramon Sessions, Zaza Pachulia (expensive, and you'd have to trade), Drew Gooden (would be cheap), Chris Douglas-Roberts, Gustavo Ayon, Marvin Williams, Andris Biedrins, Channing Frye (if he opts out), Jodie Meeks, Devin Harris & Anthony Morrow.
I left Hawes out cause I thought he would be out of our price range. But if you can promise a deep playoff run, shaving some cash might be appealing. Same with Pachulia and Gooden. Three I would like to have for a bag of peanuts I would.

Frye could space the floor to draw defenders out to the perimeter. He has been with Portland and played alongside Batum and Aldridge, so there are ties.

Allen is a yes/no kind of deal. I like him, then I don't, much like Thaddeus Young (I know he is undersized and I even find him undersized at the 4 slot).

Harris and Session might be out of our budget. Plus doesnt Harris have a starting job at the Mavs? That's a question, not me being a smartass.

Didn't give Morrow any thought, didn't actually know he was a free agent.

I honestly don't think much of Meeks.

Even without any moves from the Blazers, this year and next I am really looking forward to the free agency period. So many good roleplayers and starters available.
 

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#16
Dallas went with a Calderon/Monta backcourt this season, with Harris as the third guard coming off injury - very similar to the role Mo played for you.

I reckon Harris is a better all-around player compared to Mo, played pretty well in the playoffs too. He played for the minimum this season, however the Mavs might have another contract waiting for him given the bizarre signing/non-signing process he went through last year.

Sessions played for $5 mil this season, which is MLE range - 3rd guard off the bench is the right gig for him, just up to him whether he wants to do it.

Morrow played for the min this season (played OK too), just opted out. Meeks is meh, but had a pretty decent all-around season for the Lakers.

Hawes is a moo, but he is a (proud) native of the Pacific North West - he didn't get his Sonics back, so Portland is as close as he's going to get. He's not worth more than $5 mil in my eyes, and he won't help your D... but he's a useful rotation big, primarily because he can space the floor.
 

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I know this is 2 years late and it's a bit of a trivial piece to put on the board, but I wish Portland would roll back to their previous Alternate Jerseys. They have grown on my and I don't mind the design, but I much prefer the uniforms to be tied in together.

This one. For those playing at home
 

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#18
Bingo.
We need bench scoring help and an interior defense this offseason.
Not sure where that will come from though, we don't have a lot of cap space to wiggle with (I've been out of NBA mode a while but only BAE, MLE?) meaning any real difference maker off the bench is probably out of our range. May have to come from within (improvements to T-Rob, CJ and Barton)
I see about a 5% chance of bringing Mo back and I'm not overly happy about that. I would, however be over the moon if it was a 0% chance. Dear god, no more Mo.
I like the idea of the two guard lineups with Dame (Dame/Maynor, Dame/Mo) and I'd like us to target someone more in the Maynor mould than Mo.
Livingstone would be nice, but maybe out of our range. Not at all a Collison fan, ditto Stuckey. I like Chalmers. Maybe Vasquez if Raps aren't willing to shell out for 2 PG's? But again, this problem may have to be solved in the way of a much improved CJ.
I've seen Thabo's name thrown around a bit, not a massive fan of that. Think it'd be a bit redundant.
I'm an irrationally massive Jason Thompson fan, if we could add him I'd be wrapped. Ditto Jason Smith. And while I'm on my personal fav big men, Jordan Hill would also be an upgrade at 3rd big.
I don't think we'll make any big moves this offseason. Can't see any of the core moving on.
As for what we have, I doubt we move Robinson, Freeland, Barton, McCollum unless it's a clear upgrade. Claver, Wright, Leonard and Crabbe could be had if there was any interest. Which I doubt there would be.

Also FWIW, I think Matthews is the superior 1on1 defender between him and Nico.
And I also think you're way too hard on Nico, Apple iCup
Don't like the argument that he's not aggressive because he isn't averaging 20ppg
 

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I agree that Nicolas Batum has a lot of versatility (like mentioned by Son of Skeletor) and I understand why you, smashh may think I'm talking about Batum increasing his points to 20ppg. It's not so much about Batum boosting his ppg average, it's more so about Batum taking that open three or open lane that he usually passes up on. Like I said, I try to avoid statistics and a lot of my opinions are based on observing the game without watching the box score.

He is a point forward, another player who can make plays if Lillard is off and younger/less-experienced players are on the hardwood. It also helps has CJ isn't a point guard and Lillard is more of a scorer than a passer.

Batum does have a tendency to make lazy passes, when they should be easy. But Matthews has the same problem.

As far as I am concerned, Batum has a young/healthy Ginóbili-esque ability to cut through defense and finish in traffic, much like Lillard does with his left hand (which makes me ooze from my naughty parts when it happens). He is strong there and I wish he would do that, than some of his threes.

I also find that Batum is a better 3-point shooter off balance, than he is wide open.

It's not hate and I do agree I have been hard with picking Batum out, when the bench deserves more criticism. I was just pointing out a few traits of Nico that I think needs improvement or more awareness. I also threw up the idea of using as a trade piece for more depth, rather than having 5 great starting players, have some players on the bench that are actually productive.

If he was more aggressive, I would suggest starting Batum as sixth man, and starting Wright. Just to space the offence out, like Harden when he was at Thunder, Jamal Crawford at the Hawks and Clippers, and of course Manu Ginóbili at the Spurs. Perhaps that would also boost production of other role players around him.
 

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#21
Seems like Batum's scoring is mostly affected by Lillard and Aldridge. I remember when Aldridge was out for a while Batum scored quite well.

I like Batum, but as said above, sometimes it's a little frustrating when he plays conservative.
 

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I know this is a day old, but it's been a busy day.

Chris Kaman to Portland 2 year $9.8 million contract.

I'm just playing the 'wait and see' card right now. This area [back-up big men] is somewhere, where Portland lacked last season, especially when Robinson, Freeland and Aldridge where out at the same time. Plus Kaman isn't undersized.

However, he did have issues last season regarding Mike D'Antoni and the minutes he was given. I'm hoping that he realises that he is 32 years of age and Robin is our guy.

I'm not getting overly excited, but I was wrong with Robin Lopez last off-season.
 

Son of Skeletor

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#23
As someone who has had both RoLo and Kaman play for their team in the last three years, I can tell you unequivocally Lopez >>> Kaman.

He'll score points in bunches for you, but he'll also make bone-headed plays that make you want tear your hair out. As for that defense...



 

Apple iCup

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Thread starter #24
Portland is still in need of a reserve true point guard. C. J. McCollum can play the 1, however--like Lillard--is about offensive transactions. If CJ wanted more minutes and was to try and snuggle up to Stotts and get some more minutes, he could work on his passing game. This filling the void of Mo Williams and Eric Maynor.

In the games this year, he was more than happy to dish the ball off as well as take his own shots (unlike Mills for example, who likes to shoot 7-8 times out of 10 if he gets the ball in his hands), but I am not sure if it was to do with the rookie afraid of being benched and/or get on the wrong side of team mates or if it is a part of his game that he actually has.

With the roster how it is, I would go with;

Lillard
Matthews
Batum
Aldridge
Lopez

McCollum
Barton
Wright
Robinson/Freeland*
Kaman/Freeland*

Freeland having the skill set to play the undersized center.

**Still want Leonard gone. Claver I don't care for and Crabbe can be sent down to Idaho Stampede (D-League)
 

Son of Skeletor

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#25
CJ McCollum doesn't look like a point guard to me, but you might be forced to go down that route.

It's really tough looking around the league for a decent back-up PG who can competently run and offense and play D. If it's the former, then guys like Mo are about as good as you're going to do, but he's basically the guard equivalent of Kaman. If it's the latter... wow, Ish Smith?? He's probably the guard equivalent of Thomas Robinson, all hustle and no polish (and no jumpshot), although he's a decent defender.

I'd have a look at Alan Anderson as a two-position reserve 3 & D guy if you can get him cheap. He might make Wright expendable, might be able to flip his salary for a serviceable reserve PG or a shotblocker.
 
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