Welcome to Rip City Mr. Camby

It’s being reported that the Portland Trail Blazers have all but solidified a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to bring Marcus Camby to Rip City in exchange for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and cash. I first read rumors of this Tuesday morning in Korea, which was Monday evening in Portland, and immediately began streaming Trail Blazers Courtside online as it started. Stoked to see that Brian Smith, beat writer for the Columbian, would be joining in studio, I emailed my one and only concern about this deal to the show in hopes that he could elaborate. And right before he he left for the Trail Blazers practice facility in Tualatin, preceding the break that brings the first hour to a close, Bob Akamian read my question and the expert cleared up any doubts that I may have had.

I have a question for Brian Smith. With your insider knowledge, how do you think the proposed Camby for Blake and Outlaw would effect the locker room of the Blazers?

Dustin in Korea

I don’t remember his answer exactly, in it’s entirety, and I can’t find the broadcast yet on trailblazers.com or on iTunes, but to paraphrase from my horrific short term memory:

Outlaw is great in the locker room, so is Blake, and they would be sorely missed. However Camby is far from a problem in this regard, that could add another veteran presence, and give the Blazers what they need to make a run at the playoffs.

That’s all I needed to hear.

I have been a huge backer of Steve Blake when many have jumped all up and down his game. He’s a two time Trail Blazer. He works hard in the off-season and his family lives in Portland year round. He leaves it all on the court. He drains 3’s. He’s a warrior that stands up to anyone, no matter how big they are. He bleeds on the court. He owns up to his mistakes. He’s been a champion at the high school and collegiate level. His team mates dig him. He works great with Brandon Roy.

Travis Outlaw has been with the Trail Blazers longer than anyone on the roster, drafted out of high school in the first round of 2003 NBA draft. He has a presence in the locker room, apparently the funniest guy they have, who is held in high regard among his team mates. He’s Brandon Roy’s best friend. He has pulled off some jaw dropping 4th quarters. He can create his own shot probably better than anyone else on the team. He could be in the running for 6th man of the year (although it’s a pretty silly award) year after year.

However, Marcus Camby is a 14 year vet and proven defensive stopper. He’s 6-11, at a time when Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden are out for the season with knee injuries. He has been on the NBA All-Defensive team twice, and the 2nd team All-Defensive team twice as well. He was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in Denver a few seasons ago.

As long as he’s not gonna shake things up too much in the locker room, and anger the up tight community by reserving a table at Exotica like Zach Randolph and Darius Miles, and hot boxing his hummer on I-5 like Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire, this deal has my blessing. Outlaw can have his moments of greatness, but the team has accomplished some pretty amazing things this season without him. And, who’s to say he’s not gonna bail in the off season as it is? For as many times as he hits that shot, that he elevates over anyone in the league whenever he wants, he has also made me cringe just as many times. Blake is a man, who has received my strongest support up until now. But the Trail Blazers are guard heavy and big man deficient. Andre Miller has proven himself in Portland, Jerryd Bayless is the near future and Paul Allen has shown his love for Patty Mills. That’s a not a great place for Blake to be.

Welcome to Rip City Marcus Camby. Let’s see what we can do in the playoffs.

Good luck in the future Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw. You’ve got a life long fan in me.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on February 16, 2010.

13 Responses to “Welcome to Rip City Mr. Camby”

  1. There’s talk that they will resign both Blake and Outlaw in the offseason since Camby is an expiring contract. I like the move, I’m not a big Blake fan as a starter, he has a tendency to stray from his role in big moments (last years playoffs a perfect example), but, he would be a really good backup on any team. Outlaw hurts a little more, especially with Roy banged up, because he has proven he doesn’t mind taking the final shot. I’m not sure you get that out of Aldridge. But, when Roy gets back, that lessens the impact (I’d put Roy only behind Kobe in terms of guys I’d want taking a last second shot).

    As far as their big man situation, this is huge. Camby is a guy who will bang down low and get the tough boards. That’s something that, unfortunately, Aldridge hasn’t shown the willingness to do, except for an occasional random game…and when he has, he’s looked worth that big contract. I like Aldridge, but he plays a little too much like Rasheed (minus the techs and hot boxing). Hopefully at some point he’ll get a little dirty down low, but haven’t seen it so far (post up and take it strong big guy! Don’t settle for fade aways that take you away from the offensive boards!). Plus, Camby has played on fast teams, so can get the board and get the ball out quick. If the Blazers actually push the ball after that, it could be a huge upgrade.

    The one concern I would have is he’s had some history with injuries, and the way things have been going for the Blazers, that could be a little worrisome.

    This move is solid, though. Solidifies the interior, and if the Blazers can get a couple more guys back, reinforces my desire to not have the Lakers face the Blazers in the playoffs (I think the Blazers are the only team in the west, aside from maybe Denver, who don’t fear the Lakers).

    Go Lakers!!!

  2. Just to add to the fast break part, there’s no excuse for a team that young and that athletic to consistantly be last in the NBA in fast break points. It really, really bugs me, to say the least. They don’t have enough guys who can create their own shots on a regular basis to not take advantage of fast break opportunities. I thought that would change when Pyryzxybilla and Oden went down, but no dice. Use those young legs while they are still young Blazers!

  3. D – Your post on Facebook was the first thing I saw this morning, so instantly grabbed the computer. I heard the rumblings that it was possible, but it got a whole lot more serious than I anticipated.

    I like the move for a couple reasons. 1. We need a big. Period. 2. Like the articles say, all are expiring contracts. If you’ve got a gaping need, and are guard heavy (like you say) why not make the move? Yes, Trout hit some big shots. However, if you really watch Blazer games, his defense cost us big shots on the other end. I think it was Mike Rice that said he’d shave his head if Trout ever got 10 rebounds in a game. With those kind of hops, I don’t care what position you play, you should be battling for rebounds all the freaking time.

    Big ups to Steve Blake though. He is a warrior. However, he’s also expendable, as Dre has become the man, and we need to find out if Bayless is going to work. (Not to mention getting Patty Mills some playing time. With a name like Patty, you’ve gotta be one tough dude. That’s like being a boy named Sue.) Funny aside – that picture you have of Blake bleeding, I was sitting like 10th row for that game. That incident happened right in front of me. Me and a couple other people instantly stood up and started calling for the trainer. It was freaking nuts. Towel boy threw a towel to Blake, he puts it against his head and walks to the other end of the court where he throws the towel down, and it’s SOAKED in blood. It was freaking crazy.

    Go Blazers!

    wp

  4. Trout, that’s awesome, hadn’t heard that before. I’ll be using that in the future. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go talk to a co-worker about the trade right now so I can use it in a sentence.

  5. The reason for not fast breaking is Brandon Roy. You always hear that coach Nate wants to run, the team has the players to fun… but B Roy doesn’t like that pace of game, and he’s your #1 player and All-Star.

    No Outlaw and Blake frees up playing time for a lot of people. Look what happened to day against the Clipps. Rudy took the extra PT to apparently break out of his slump, finishing with 15 and a handful of 3’s. Webster had a career high seven 3’s to go along with his 28 points. And there is no doubt that the excellent play of rookie Dante Cunningham made it that much easier to say goodbye to Travis.

    I remember watching that game when Blake cracked his skull. That dude is warrior.

    Now the question is… should Brandon Roy just take it in the gut and sit for the next month, in an attempt to make a come back for the playoffs?

  6. Yeah, but they don’t run when Roy is sitting either. They just don’t run. At all. When Roy’s been out, they haven’t crept up the fast break point charts. Plus, it’s not just about a breakneck speed, it’s about pushing the ball so the defense can’t get set and there are possible mismatches to take advantage of, and you get set with 20 left on the shot clock, instead of 16. They don’t have to be the Phoenix Suns (that’s not winning basketball come playoff time, but neither is the slow, plodding pace the Blazers play in when you go up against good defensive teams who have ample time to get set), they just have to do what all top NBA teams do, push the ball and take advantage of the opportunities it presents. It would add another 3-5 wins to their record if they did so, and make them an extremely dangerous team come playoff time.

    If Roy is the reason for not running (I was unaware he didn’t like to run, as the only player on the team that seems to like to is Rudy), that is something that has to change. Whether it’s the point guard pushing it regardless of whether Roy wants to run (that’s what a point guard is there for, set the offense and dictate pace of play), or Roy has to be willing to run. They won’t make the next step unless they do, right now they have to work way too hard to get their points. I like Roy, he’s a Dawg, and I consider him a top 10 player in the league taking into account his intangibles, but if he makes that concession, he goes to a top 5. The key is they’ll still be a half court team, just not exclusively a half court team.

  7. That’s just not true. I can’t find the stats, but the Blazers definitely run more with Roy out. I may be in Korea, but I watch every game vie NBA International Online League Pass. Announcers from both sides of the court have commented on it. I’m not saying it’s the focus of the offense, but it’s more than before.

    It’s well documented that Roy doesn’t like that pace of play. Tt is also proven that more than just Rudy like to run. Andre Miller has lead that style of offense most of his career, it’s hard to find a big man that can keep up with LaMarcus ALdridge, Nic Batum and Rudy Fernandez have been encouraged to quickly take the ball up the court and even Greg Oden has been quoted saying he enjoys getting in the open court.

    Pushing the ball a bit more is a good thing.

  8. They may run a bit more without Roy, but a free throw shooter who shoots 45% one year, then gets up to 50% the next year may have improved, but he’s still a bad free throw shooter.

    I agree with the comments about Aldridge, Batum and Fernandez, they just don’t take advantage of that valuable skill set. Andre Miller doesn’t push the ball like he used to (although, now that he’s getting more comfortable, he has pushed it more), that may be more due to age than anything. What I meant by my comment on Rudy is that he’s about the only one who actively gets out and runs. It seems like he’s usually out way ahead of the ball, and can get an easy open court opportunity, but doesn’t. Aldridge can run, but he doesn’t that much. Watch a Laker game and Pau (about the only 4 that can run with Aldridge, that’s why I bring him up, not because he’s a Laker, that’s just bonus), he gets 2-3 easy, fast break baskets a game just by running down the floor as a trailer.

    Have you heard a reason why Roy doesn’t like to run? Like I said above, you don’t have to be the Phoenix Suns, that’s not going to get you far, but neither is playing exclusively half court. Just push the ball, and some easy opportunities will come about, and that’s all I’m saying they should do. The upper half of fast break points, not even top 5, just middle of the pack, will drastically improve the team.

    TBH, with a roster that athletic, and a 4 that can out run just about any other 4 in the league, it’s a surprisingly selfish attitude by Roy. I don’t think the Blazers can take the next step unless they do. Another team that doesn’t run nearly as much as they should is Cleveland, and that was a big reason they were eliminated by Orlando, they weren’t able to get any easy baskets so it made it easy to shut down the other four players aside from LeBron. Playoff defenses will lock down if all you do is run half court sets. Points are much harder to come by in the playoffs, so any easy buckets you can get, you need to get.

    I’ll admit, I haven’t heard the announcers mention that, but usually when I watch a Blazer game, I listen to music, as I can’t stand Mike Rice. (Although, he’s ten time better than listening to Nique do color commentary for Hawks games, that’s just downright painful. Pull up a game on NBA all access, if nothing else, just for the hilarity of it).

  9. Throwing some stats around here. Their last three games they are at 10 fast break points per game, up from 9, an improvement, but not by much (A three game split earlier in the month had them at 12.3, I think Roy was out for those games, unfortunately, what they gain in fast break points with him out, they lose in the half court). Now, the Blazers currently average 97.71 points per game, and have a point differential of 2.57, currently 10th in the NBA (generally considered the best indicator of who really are the best teams in the league). If they ran a bit more, not by much, just an extra 4 fast break points a game, that would put them at 21st in the NBA in fast break points. Figuring if they got those 4 easy points, they probably would have got about a three point increase in points per game, we’ll bump the differential up by 2.5 to account for the extra possessions the other team would have also got. That would put there point differential at 5.07, a very good point differential, and move them up to 4th overall in point differential. They would then be an elite team in the NBA. That’s not much more running, just enough to get an edge, which is what they should be doing.

  10. BTW – I’ve obviously put way to much thought and time into this… Yeah, my life is exciting! LOL

  11. I enjoy talking the NBA with you bro, I don’t have anyone around here to do that with.

    That’s aweseom dude, where do you find the stats? I’d like to look at them more in depth myself. Besides the few recent games he has made a small attempt at playing, Roy has been out well over 10.

    Totally agree that the Blazers should run more. First, I’m excited to see how they look with Camby today at home against Boston… who by the way, can also get out and run.

  12. I like the Camby move a ton. Fast break points are tough to find, I had to go to some random stat sight. I usually go to basketball reference.com. I’ll spend hours there going over stats for everyone from Chamberlain and Bill Russell all the way to randoms like Rambo (Kurt Rambis). It’s an awesome site, tons of data. I’m sure they have fast break points there also, but I couldn’t find them. I will say that fast break points are an overrated stat, generally the leaders tend to be the bad team, because they have to play that way to even score, but generally mid pack teams in fast break points tend to be the better teams in the NBA, and the ones with legitimate title chances. Check out that site, though, it’s great, bare bones, but tons of info. Check out Elgin Baylor, he put up some amazinig numbers in I think 1968 and he was in the military stationed in Washington. Would fly to games after done for the day, and the Lakers had there practice facility at the base so he could practice with the team. Amazing season, being he was full time military for that season.

  13. You should also check out The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. Read it a couple months ago, really good. It’s highly entertaining, the guys hilarious. He’s a bit too much of a Celtic homer for my blood, but it should be obvious why I think that. Very few gripes with his analysis. My really, really big one is he thinks Robert Horry is a hall of famer. If there was a Hall of Fame for role players, he’s the Michael Jordan of role players, but you can’t tell me a player who was never even the third option on any team he played on is a hall of famer. Clutch, yes, but lacking in so many other areas. He has him rates as 97th overall in NBA history.

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