Alright, it’s here! Blazersland Mailbag #5, Febuary 2019 edition where I answer your questions regarding the Portland Trail Blazers.
My question is why does Stotts refuse to let Layman start and bring Moe off the bench? Now leading into my main question, I love the pickup of Hood. Even though we haven’t seen a lot of him yet I love that punch that Jake and Hood bring energy wise. So do you think Stotts would even think of starting Hood over Moe? I think Moe and Jake off the bench would be awesome. What’s the advantages of starting Hood? Or switch it around and why should he stay on the bench…thanks so much! – Adam N
Well Adam, I don’t think it’s a matter of if Layman or for that matter Hood deserves to start or not. The case can be made that both of them certainly do. Terry Stotts is a methodical coach. He is married to his notecards and his system. In keeping Layman or Hood on the bench, he isn’t aiming to be callous. He is more likely scheming the best balance in his mind between the starters and the bench.
What if Stotts started Layman or Hood. How would it affect the production of the bench? If you throw all of your fire power up front, the result is not always the best. It is frustrating for us fans. We want Stotts to experiment with the lineups, so we can see for ourselves.
Why is Moe the starter? Seniority? For the sake of maintaining chemistry? The tools he brings? I’ll give Moe this, when he is at his best, he is a swiss army knife, stealing, running the floor, cleaning the boards for second chance shots, scoring at the basket, and playing tight as a knot defense. He is an energy source, not expected to score so much as do the little things that don’t necessarily show up in the boxscore.
There is benefit to starting him. That said, he can’t get passed a nagging knee injury. And, keeping Moe happy is probably another reason, and no it’s not a good one. But, you bench him and you will most definitely get the mopey, world is out to get me Moe, who is quite flaccid and unreliable. He already knows he was on the trading block. Bench him too? A storm of low self esteem will be a brewing.
Layman started in his place during the early part of the season and the Blazers won, more than lost. He fits easily into the starting lineup, and in fact plays later in the game with the starters. Layman will eventually be the starter, next year probably, after Moe is gone. He has shared the starting spot with Evan Turner in the games Moe had missed in this seesaw season, of will the knee heal, will it not?
What would starting Hood bring? More consistent shooting. Theoretically, a third guy at the arc, who would leave offenses pissing themselves because they no longer had the luxury of trapping Dame and CJ in ISO without consequence. What would it cost. Defensive presence. Ball movement. The fluidity of the motion offense.
I think it’s the right choice to bring Layman and Hood off the bench. Unless a certain matchup should dictate otherwise, of course. It’s important to maintain a homeostasis between the starters and bench. A balanced team, is a winning team. If your going to experiment it should be early in the season. There are a lot of egos and personalities to juggle on this team. It takes more than it appears to keep 15 guys content. We can argue Stott’s decisions all we want. We may want to consider that he is doing the right thing.
With the salary cap squeeze we are currently on, how does NO plan on retaining our needed free agents in Aminu, Curry, Layman and Hood since we didn’t make some type of consolidation trade to move Aminu before he expired? – Orion B
Orion, It’s not going to be an easy task to say the least. Neil Olshey has his work cut out for him (and he put himself there) His plan will likely be contingent on moving the contracts of Harkless, Turner, and Meyers, who after this season will be on the last year of their contracts. He will likely try to move them draft night.
Out of the four, Layman is the only one who is restricted. Expect him to get some serious competing offers. The Blazers have the power to match, and ultimately will, but it’s going to cost them. Al Farouq Aminu is likely gone this summer. I doubt there is any seriousness to trying to sign and trade him. The Blazers will watch him walk away into the sunset.
Hood and Curry on the other hand will be resigned. They won’t be as costly or as sought after by other teams. It is safe to say they will be here next training camp.
How will Neil get it done? He can find a team to take on Turner, Meyers, and Harkless’s contracts. He could trade CJ in combination with them to bring back fewer guys and open up some space in the cap. That probably won’t come to fruition, but you never know. Making harder, the Blazers will still have dead cap, paying out the stretched contracts of Andrew Nicholson, Anderson Varejao, and Festus Ezeli. Point is, like I said Neil is knee deep in it, and it i!s going to take some crafty maneuvering to get out.
What is the Blazers biggest strength? – TorturedBlazerFan
Tortured, the humor does not go unnoticed in the ironic contraposition of the positive nature of your question and your name. As Blazer fans, we all seem to be tortured. It is our daily bread.
Seriously though, when one speaks of a teams strength, offense or defense is among the first things mentioned. Maybe the fast break, athleticism, or the team is deep with three point shooters or talented rim protectors/shot blockers. These more fundamental elements are often at play in such analysis.
The Blazers however are deep in something else: Culture and Unity. I hear you sighing. I hear you saying chemistry is good and all, but isn’t that an answer for losers. Well, at least we have cohesion right. Hold the phone.
This Blazers team for the most part know each other, and as they continue to grow together they get better. The Blazers don’t have the luxury to rely on a roster full of stars. They have to depend on each other. Each of them bringing something different to fuel the machine.
They know they are underestimated. They use it, continue to carry a chip on their shoulders to remind them. They shouldn’t have succeeded as much as they did these last three years. They did so because they are all willing to place egos aside ( ok CJ is still working on that ) and commit to their given roles.They realize they are part of a larger whole. Something bigger than themselves. They succeeded because of an unflinching solidarity. Lillard himself, said that he didn’t want to trade players away at the expense of chemistry. It is a valuable commodity, some teams forget that. For the Blazers, it’s their greatest strength.
When Hood leaves this summer and either Stauskas or Baldwin turn into another Will Barton next season, which will be the worse trade, Afflalo or Hood? – jlprk
Neither Nik Stauskas or Wade Baldwin IV will ever be a Will Barton level player. Stauskas is a guy who can give you a couple three’s a game and a double digit night every once in a blue moon. Baldwin, is more of a defensively minded player who is lacking on offense. Who knows though, he is young. If either of them will turn out to play at such a level, it would be Baldwin. That is very doubtful though.
Thus, between the two, the Afflalo trade will always be the worst trade. The Blazers traded away Barton for what amounted to an unsatisfying rental. In the Blazers defense though (and they could use some) at the time Barton was stuck behind Matthews and CJ. He was a young unknown. He showed potential, Portland was aiming to get back to the conference finals, and Afflalo then, was the better player. Portland couldn’t have known. But, hey excuses, excuses.
That is the fifth edition of Blazersland Mailbag. If you want to see your questions answered in the next edition, submit them via the mailbag form at Blazersland.com/submit-questions/ -OR- by emailing them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org