Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Time to Rise Has Been Engaged

LaMarcus is soft.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've heard that exact statement in the past year. For every time I see the man dunk on someone, for every time I see him shoot a dagger through the opponent's eyes with his deadly jump shot and for every time I see him streaking down the court in front of much smaller and supposedly faster players, I want to yell at someone... anyone... who says LaMarcus is soft.

How's your shot?

Have you dunked on anyone lately?

Do you ever, say, go 20-and-10 on an NBA team while being the second and sometimes even third option on your team?

What do these people want out of LaMarcus exactly? Do they want him to throw Karl Malone style elbows? Do they want him to simultaneously dunk on and shove his 350 lb. crotch in the opponent's face? Nobody gets away with what Shaquille O'Neal circa 2000 and Karl Malone got away with throughout his career anymore.

Is LaMarcus's game shaped at all by his head coach's style of play? All I see is a very talented player who does what the system asks of him and what his coaches dictate. LaMarcus gets out on a lot of fast breaks when the Blazers decide to run. LaMarcus posts up and dunks on people whenever they put him in the post. I'm pretty sure that he doesn't decide from possession to possession whether or not to post up or stand around the perimeter fully on his own. In fact, it would be tough to argue if there is a more structured and disciplined offense in the league than Nate McMillan's Blazers.

And that, of course, brings me to Nate McMillan. It's not like I hadn't already lost all faith in end-of-season award voting, especially when it comes to baseball. But this is ridiculous. Considering the hundreds of games lost this season due to injury (Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla, Nicolas Batum, Jeff Pendergraph, Rudy Fernandez, Brandon Roy, Brandon Roy again... and I'm sure I've forgotten many) ... well, there was no team in the entire league that was more disadvantaged before even hitting the court than the Portland Trail Blazers in 2009-10. The fact that this cursed team won 50 games and took the 6th seed with a fairly favorable playoff matchup is pretty close to miraculous. When Oden went down, I did not expect this team to make the playoffs, but there were surprises around every corner from there on out.

The Blazers/Suns series is tied up at 1-1 now, and game 3 is tonight at the Rose Garden. At this point, I have no idea when or where I'll be watching it, but I will be rooting hard for L-Train and the Blazers.

Go Blazers!

And, seriously, if Grant Hill goes 10 for 10 again I will burn him to the ground...


G_Moses said...

I think with his physical skill set, people want him to be more like Amare than anything else.

It really shows when he's backing someone down one on one and instead of making a cut to the rim, he often opts for the fade away jump shot. And that really only pisses people off when he misses.

The problem with LaMarcus is that the expectations were the highest for him coming onto the team. His potential was supposed to be greater than Brandon Roy's. And the fact that Roy has outpaced him has people feeling like Lamarcus hasn't done his best yet.

I don't know though. I'm just waiting for Batum to surpass them all!

TJ said...

"350 lb. crotch". Thanks for that. L.A. doesn't have to shove guys around. That's what our center is for. That fade away is his shot. When he's on it the Blazers win. He's got to find that shot tonight.