Friday, July 29, 2011

Blazers Trifecta—Who Should it Be?

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

When the Blazers drafted Greg Oden with the first overall pick in 2007, he was supposed to be the third and final piece in a trio the Blazers would build a championship around, joining second year players LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy.  Unfortunately, much has changed since that glorious day in June ’07.  Oden has only played in 82 games in four seasons.  Roy has gone from a perennial All-Star to man without menisci or a clear future.  And Aldridge has emerged as one of the most dominant power forwards in the NBA.  These changes leave us with an important question: Are Oden, Aldridge, and Roy the Blazers’ Big Three of the future?

From an optimist’s perspective, the original Big Three are still the future of the Blazers, with a small shift in focus from Roy to Aldridge.  Oden will return this season fully recovered from his second microfracture surgery to become the dominant center we drafted.  Roy will learn how to play Robin to Aldridge’s Batman by being more of a distributor and sharpshooter to free up the inside.  Most importantly, Aldridge will become un-guardable by developing an ambidextrous post game to compliment his silky outside touch while becoming a force on the defensive end.  Yet the number of Blazers fans who harbor this believe is likely very low at this point.

If you are not one of these optimists, what combination of three players would you build the team around?  Two criteria factor into deciding a Big Three: players who play three different positions and players who complement each other’s skillset.

Below are a few options:

Option 1:  Aldridge, Wallace, and Matthews. 
This trio is exciting with their penchant for streaking down the court, powering to the basket, and their ability to knock down a consistent jumper. 

Option 2:  Aldridge, Batum, Felton.
This trio can help spread the floor, push the pace, and potentially be deadline through the air, throwing down oop after oop.

Option 3:  Aldridge, Roy, and Wallace.
This trio can play a mix of styles, slowing it down to play an inside out, slashing offense, and it can effectively use screens to create amazing half court ball movement that works through Aldridge down low and off of Roy isolation.

Option 4:  Aldridge, Roy, Batum.
This trio is similar to Option 4 with the potential for a more spread out half court set if Batum can become the deadly 3 point shooter the Blazers hope he will become.

Option 5:  Aldridge, Oden, and Wallace.
This trio can be the most dominant threesome on both sides of the floor, clogging the middle on defense and leading the league in points in the paint and offensive rebounds on offense.

Option 6: Aldridge, Oden, and Felton.
This trip can create a powerful pick and roll offense with Felton’s ability to work off the pick while also providing stout defense.

Who do you think the trio should be?  Do you agree with any of the above options or would you build the team around a different set of three players?  Share your thoughts.

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