Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Lightning Round (Part Two): Transactions, News, Notes

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland is a long way from doing anything as fun as contending for a playoff spot, but they have more talent on the roster now than they had in early May. Kevin Pritchard may never be officially named GM but he'll still always be the last player I pretended to be on the playground before I got too old for such fantasies. Aldridge (once healthy), Roy, and Jack are potential All-stars. If they can get a role player who does even one thing well in exchange for Darius Miles, all the better. If they feel compelled to trade Zach Randolph, it will be almost impossible to get an equally talented basketball player in return. That's the rub with Zach Randolph.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings best players are aging (Mike Bibby, Brad Miller, Shareef Abdur-Rahim), unsigned (Bonzi Wells--and re-signing with Sacramento doesn't appear to be an option), or crazy (Ron Artest). Though Kenny Thomas and Kevin Martin are the start of a good bench (if Martin starts ahead of John Salmons, then Thomas is the start of a good bench), there's not another veteran you'd want your team to put in the game. There is, however, Quincy Douby.

Everybody knows that Douby scored a bunch of points for Rutgers last year. I don't think everybody knows that Douby took 38% of his team's shots while on the floor while shooting over 51% inside the 3-point arc, and 40% from beyond the arc. He made 85% of his free throws, led his team in assists, and had a 7:4 assist-to-turnover ratio. Rutgers was as close to a one-man team as you could find in major college basketball in recent years. Opposing teams recognized it, keyed their defenses to stop one man, and that man foiled their efforts in terms of both production and efficiency. Douby is a dark horse Rookie of the Year candidate and could be the saving grace of a disappointing season in Sacramento.

Seattle Supersonics

The Sonics have opted to give a full season's try with the roster they had at the end of the season. I think there's a good chance that results in an improved record (their team defense almost has to improve) but I doubt it's the recipe for play-off success. This is a decent roster; they should finish within a couple games of .500.

Watson and Ridnour form a good point guard tandem, especially if Watson plays a majority of the minutes. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis provide one great and one good scoring option on the wings. Wilcox and Collison should make for a nice power forward rotation alongside a potentially improved Swift/Petro platoon. If they continue to get decent production from Damien Wilkins on the wing then anything they get from Gelabele, Halperin, Felix, and Sene will be gravy.

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