Saturday, July 14, 2007

More on Steve Blake

It happened, and now the team with too many players added one more to the mix. Steve Blake is a Blazer after signing a 3 year deal worth $12 million with Portland. I think we all see the writing on the wall with this one, that Jarrett Jack is probably being shopped right now.

I guess at that price, Blake isn't a bad signing. There were rumors he was looking for the mid-level exception and up, which had me worried last night.

The Blazers know their personnel better than I, but I've never understood why they've seemed so eager to rid themselves of Jack. 12 points and 5 rebounds a night is very good for a second year pointguard new to the starting role. I know he was inconsistent, but I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt since he was going through some difficult times off-the court last season.

Blake by the way, is going into his 5th season, and his best stats were from the last half of the season with Denver after being traded, 8 and 6. My question is why give on Jack who is younger and, statistically at the least, better? Afraid you won't be able to re-sign?

They will tell you that Steve Blake gives the Blazers much needed 3-point shooting, but don't buy that. He shot .279 the first half of last year with Milwaukie, and .343 on a Denver team where he got a lot of open looks due to the attention commanded by Iverson and Carmelo. "Inconsistent" Jack shot .350 from 3.

Was it for defense? Jack hasn't yet shown to play the type of defense Portland has hoping for, and Steve Blake has a reputation for "working hard" on defense. Blake will work hard all night, but won't lock anyone down. Jack is still improving in all areas, and who knows?

After this we plunge into the ever sexy and mysterious "intangibles" argument, where Blake allegedly excels. I'm not sure losing Jack is worth gaining a player who's attributes make him sound like the Trent Dilfer of the NBA. I know, Trent won a ring, and Blake did in college. Still, I'm not sure you give up Jack for somebody who is basically good enough to "not mess it up."

There's the playing style argument, because Jack isn't the type of run-and-gun point that is flourishing in the league right now. Show me evidence that Blake is.

Its hard for me to buy that Blake is significantly better than Jack is right now, and Jack is still improving while Blake is the best player he ever will be. This doesn't sit well with me.

Of course, I don't know what Pritchard & Crew have in store. Maybe they can put together something tremendous with Jack. Maybe they'll blow us all away and trade Sergio instead, its not as crazy as it sounds. Especially after you watch him get outplayed by multiple players that haven't even played in the League yet (Portland notes from Summer League: game 1, Notes from game 2, Game 3). Seriously.

Pritchard has been on a wave of support and good fortune, and deservedly so. He is a smart guy who surrounds himself with other smart guys and they work together to make great decisions. This one I'm uneasy about. Whatever else is in the works has to be pretty exceptional for this deal to make sense.

Of course I could be getting irrational, and I'm aware that trading Sergio is steeply against the collective thinking right now. Looking back, I've been fearing losing Jack for a long time: here and way back in March here. Kevin Pritchard knows better than to tread softly and has the political support to be bold. I just hope he's still made of magic.

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