Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bayless or Sergio?

For those of you looking for a Spurs game recap, don’t worry, I just decided to make it a different post then this one. Please see the “Blog Archive” on the right hand side for the recap.

After Wednesday nights loss to the Spurs I have read and heard many fans jabbering about Bayless not seeing the floor at all, and how Sergio sucks. Why isn’t Bayless playing over Sergio? Sergio has reached his ceiling. How are we supposed to win with Sergio playing over Bayless? Who cares if Bayless makes mistakes, let him play through those mistakes. He needs court time to get better.

Then the same fans turn around and say, “what are the Blazers doing? We needed that win last night to stay in the playoffs.” And stuff like “Nate needs to tighten up his rotation so we can get into the playoffs.”

While I am as big as of a Bayless fan as anyone, you have to step back and take a look at these “fans” are contradicting themselves. On one hand they want us to play Batum, Bayless, and Oden a ton of minutes so they can “improve” by playing. Yet, they fully expect this team to not only get into the playoffs, but have a shot at homecourt advantage! I think you need to take a step back and realize how far ahead of schedule these young Blazers really are. Below are the average ages of the starting 5 for a couple of the eastern conference teams and the (9) teams in the playoff race in the west, including Portland.

Suns = 32.2

Mavericks = 30.2

Lakers = 29.8

Spurs = 29.8

Celtics = 28.6

Cavs = 28.4

Nuggets = 28.2

Rockets = 27.8

Hornets = 27.4

Magic = 27.2

Utah = 24.8

Blazers = 23.4

The only two teams with a younger starting 5 then Blazers are the Thunder and Grizzles, who combined, have 7 less wins then the Blazers.

Thunder = 22.8

Grizzles = 21.6

If that doesn’t tell you how special this team already is then I don’t know what will.

Bayless Needs To Prove Himself In Practice First

We have the youngest playing rotation in the league and are only 2nd to Golden State (20-37) in average roster age. Not only are we in the playoff hunt, but we were sitting in 4th, with homecourt advantage for a few weeks! I think fans, including myself, tend to get near sighted when it comes to our teams, and that’s why we say things like Sergio sucks, let’s play Bayless and let him make mistakes. Well, that’s fine, but the goal from day 1 of this season has been to make the playoffs. If Nate thinks that Sergio will help this team accomplish that better then Bayless then so be it. Do you realize that if we started playing Bayless over Sergio, we would have 4 rookies contributing significant time to our team? That is unheard of, especially for a playoff team. And don’t worry, Bayless’ time is coming. It’s not like Nate is going to stash him at the end of the bench forever, but Bayless still has a lot to learn. And if we know anything about Nate, he demands the most from his point guards.

A lot of people cite defense as the reason Bayless should be playing over Sergio, I would counter by saying that yes, Bayless is a better on the ball defender, but what about TEAM defense? I have seen multiple times when Bayless is a step late in the rotation and surrenders an open look. However instead of admitting Bayless was slow to react, or doesn’t completely understand the defense yet, we pass it off as great ball movement by the other team. Now I am not saying Sergio doesn’t mess up in his rotations, but defense is more then just playing on the ball and getting up in a guy. It’s about smooth rotations, good communication, and knowing where to be and when to be there. Bayless needs time to learn these things, and he will in good time.

Another misconception is “good offense” is scoring a lot of points. The reason I love basketball is you can do so many little things that contribute to your team winning (plus as a 6 ft. Asian post, points aren’t exactly easy to come by). Well Sergio is that guy at the point for us in the 2nd team. He sets the table very well for Rudy and Outlaw. Bayless still struggles with this, and while he is very good at getting to the rim, he needs to be able to keep his head up and get the ball to open teammates. There is no denying Sergio has a better grasp of Nate’s offense, and that just comes with time and experience. Again, Bayless will get there, he’s just not there right now.

Lastly, there is not denying Sergio’s chemistry with Rudy. That was obvious from the moment they stepped on the court together. Bayless does not have that connection with anyone yet. I am not saying he never will, it just doesn’t exist yet. That connection comes from just flat out playing a lot of ball with that person. For the same reason Batum starts over Outlaw, Sergio goes better with the second unit. You cannot tell me that today Batum is a better player then Outlaw. But Outlaw meshes better with the second unit and same for Batum and starters. It’s obvious that Sergio just meshes better with Rudy and Travis then Bayless does RIGHT NOW.

Wrapping this whole thing up, it sure sounds like I love Sergio and not Bayless. That is hardly the case, I am not a huge fan of Sergio, and LOVE Bayless’ potential. But that’s all it is right now, is potential. If playing time was doled out on potential, then I guarantee those average ages of starting lineups would be a lot lower. But it doesn’t work that way. Bottom line is it comes down to this question. Are you trying to win now, or are you trying to win in the future? Fortunately for us Blazer fans we’ve been able to enjoy the best of both worlds, which is definitely contrary to how things normally work in this league. Personally I think we have more to gain this year by getting into the playoffs and gaining that experience rather then get Bayless significant regular season minutes. And as much as it pains me to say it, Sergio is the one who gives us a better chance at getting that done THIS year.

What do you think? What is your answer to the question, Are you trying to win now, or are you trying to win in the future? I want to hear your guys’ opinions!


  1. real talk guy...i think sergio needs to still do a bit less of playing on balls, and getting up in guys. thats just my take tho...hope the bleezies pull their heads out soon!!!

  2. Don't come here and drop comments like that. Your filth is not welcome here.