Found February 25, 2013 on
NorthWest Sports Beat:
Portland Trail Blazers
New York Knicks
Silent but deadly
The Portland Trail Blazers have been known to make a splash at the NBA trade deadline. In 2010, they acquired Marcus Camby, in 2011, they complete a lopsided trade for Gerald Wallace and in 2012, they started from scratch, ridding themselves of Wallace, Camby, Greg Oden and then-head coach Nate McMillan.
This time around, the team stayed relatively quiet, yet they still managed to score an ‘A’ by bringing in a solid backup point guard and keeping around a player who has been the unsung hero of the 2012-13 season.
Whether or not the Blazers make the playoffs has yet to be determined, but with Eric Maynor officially on board, life just got a little bit easier for rookie point guard Damian Lillard.
Eric Maynor will make life easier for rookie point guard Damian Lillard. (Photo: AP)
It’s no secret that the Trail Blazers’ bench has been awful this year. They average the fewest points among any second unit in the NBA, and they’re the reason the starters have been forced to play so many minutes.
At the 2013 trade deadline, the team brought in a competent point guard in Eric Maynor, and they managed to score him for practically nothing.
The downside is that Maynor is coming off a season-ending ACL injury just a year ago. The word “ACL” puts Rip City on edge instantly, but the fans have to realize that this guy isn’t expected to be the star of the team; a la Brandon Roy and Greg Oden.
What Maynor has going for him in Portland’s offense is that he’s a pass-first point guard. If head coach Terry Stotts wants to experiment with Maynor playing alongside Damian Lillard, there’s no reason he shouldn’t give it a shot.
However, Lillard is playing the fourth-most minutes in the entire NBA, so the more-likely scenario is that Maynor alleviates the pressure and allows Lillard to catch his breath in the race toward the playoffs.
Does It Get Any Better?
The only way the deal could have been made better would have been by cutting Nolan Smith—not Ronnie Price. Ronnie Price had been a mentor and a friend to Lillard, while Nolan Smith has struggled to make basic plays on a regular basis.
It’s never easy to let go of a first-round pick, but Portland would have been better off letting go of Smith and keeping Price around, even though Price’s ankle has been a problem since before the year even started.
As the Feb. 21 deadline was approaching, the player whom everybody was talking about was J.J. Hickson. His name was being floated about in rumors for weeks, but the problem was that a substantial offer never once came to surface.
Portland ultimately kept their starting center, and it was the best decision they could have made.
J.J. Hickson has been the unsung hero for Portland this season. (Photo: AP)
If the Blazers have any aspirations of making the postseason, moving J.J. Hickson would not have been the way to do it. He has the fourth-most double-doubles in the league, he’s the only consistent rebounder on the team and his energy is unmatched on a nightly basis.
Ridding the roster of Hickson would have been a clear sign that the playoffs were out, and that the team was simply hoping for a spot back in the lottery.
The other side of the argument is that Hickson’s expiring contract could have brought in a valuable long-term piece. There’s more than one team out there willing to trade talent for cap space, and Portland missed an opportunity to capitalize on its most-tradable asset.
But here’s the problem—there was never a deal worth considering. Portland never received an offer in the form of a solid long-term piece—at least to the best of our knowledge—and it wouldn’t have made sense to move Hickson just for the sake of moving him.
His long-term prospect with the team is still undecided, but even if Neil Olshey opts to let him go, that creates cap space to strengthen both the bench and the low-post positions next season.
The Blazers deserve credit for their execution on draft day, and whether the postseason is around the corner or not, they’ve set themselves up for the future without sacrificing talent along the way.
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Portland Trailblazers brought local hero and former Gonzaga star, Adam Morrison to training camp, but he was cut before the season. Morrison stated that if he did not make the team he would retire, but the Trailblazers would be smart to sign him to a ten day contract.
Not only would bringing him in bring interest and intrigue to the team, but he could actually help the team...
The 2013 NBA trade deadline came and went last Thursday. It was a day when a ham sandwich would have dominated the headlines had it gotten traded. Instead, the biggest names to be moved were perennial bench players JJ Redick and Jordan Crawford.
The Portland Trail Blazers made one move; Neil Olshey turned an obscure Greek player and a trade exemption into serviceable but limited...
Williams should be counting his lucky stars.
In December, Shawne Williams was arrested after a cop caught him smoking a marijuana blunt in his car. He also informed the officer he had codeine in the car on that famous day.
“Officer I ain’t gonna lie to you, there’s a blunt in the car and some syrup.”
Williams pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance (marijuana...
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. A year to build some cap space, let Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard learn, and try and compete next year. Then the wins started rolling in, and as late as February 4th, the Blazers were two games over .500 and in eighth place in the Western Conference as they started a five game road trip.
Sometime along that trip, the wheels came...
I’m a diehard Trail Blazers fan and have been for quite some time. I actually started off as a Shaquille O’Neal fan when I was younger, especially through his Orlando Magic days. I’m sure my obsession of him must have started because of his fantastic showing in the hit film “Kazaam” but either way, I was fan of the dominant center.
As I grew older, I moved onto bigger...
Another big-picture game
The Portland Trail Blazers got a much-needed win against the Boston Celtics Sunday night, but they’ll need to keep momentum going with the Denver Nuggets coming to town Wednesday night.
Matchup: Portland (26-30) vs. Denver Nuggets (36-22)
Venue: Rose Garden Arena
Time: 7:30 PM PT
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2013
The team is in the midst of a four-game home...
Not getting easier
The Portland Trail Blazers have lost seven straight games, and while the Boston Celtics aren’t what they used to be, they’re still a tough opponent for a young Rip City squad.
Matchup: Portland (25-30) vs. Boston Celtics (29-26)
Venue: Rose Garden
Time: 6:00 PM PT
Date: Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
The playoffs are becoming less and less likely with each grueling...
We’ve talked about preseason expectations for the Portland Trail Blazers and we know they’re a hard working team. I think everyone has come to the conclusion that as long as they continue to work hard, they will meet expectations. They may win the majority of their games to end the season, but they could also miss the playoffs entirely. The fact remains that the end of the season...
Former Nets forward, Shawne Williams, was arrested in December for possession of weed and codeine (cough syrup). The former NBA star was charged with possession of a controlled substance (weed) and possession with intent to sell (codeine) following the arrest, and Monday pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance, Luckily for Williams, a passenger in the car took the...
The Celtics have lost, again. Tonight's 92-86 loss I Portland wasn't too hard to watch, but there were times that I got frustrated. Going into this one I kinda knew that they were gonna lose, but I still had to watch the game. They went down with a fight. But tonight, things just didn't work out.
Tonight's USOTN goes to the performance of Brandon Bass. This season...
8:03: Tonight, the Celtics will conclude their time in the Pacific Timezone when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers, who are just 25-30, are a great 17-9 at home while they are just 8-21 on the road. Tonight will be a really tough one. In my opinion, it will be the hardest game to win of this whole road trip. They will have to start good and end good if they want to end up on top.
The New York Knicks front court is looking like it will get reinforcements soon and I’m not talking about Kenyon Martin. Head coach Mike Woodson said after practice today that Marcus Camby is nearing return but wouldn’t confirm a return date.
After Tuesday’s practice, Mike Woodson hinted that backup center Marcus Camby is nearing a return soon.
“Camby’s getting close...
There has been a lot of discussion about the Portland Trail Blazers bench or lack thereof this season. It was no secret heading into the 2012-13 campaign that this was going to be a sore spot for this Blazer team. However, as you may want to criticize the second string for lack of productivity or GM Neil Olshey for failing to assemble a collection of reserves worth their salt, realize...