Five Reasons that Joel Przybilla Signing Means Little for Portland

Giving the Vanilla Gorilla More Bananas is Fruitless for Blazers

The denizens of Rip City rejoiced on Sunday with the signing of former Portland TrailBlazers center Joel Przybilla. In his first stint as a Blazer from 2004-11, he averaged 4.8 points, and 7.3 rebounds per game.

His 607 blocks are fifth on Portland’s all-time list. Blah, blah, blah.

I really want to say that this move is irrelevant, but signing Przybilla, 32 is not completely pointless because Portland’s frontline always needs an insurance policy given the franchise’s history with centers. Centers Marcus Camby, 37 and Kurt Thomas, 40 have logged significant minutes in the condensed NBA season and it seems apparent that head coach Nate McMillian does not trust 26 year-old Chris Johnson enough to play him.

The move is a low-risk one that appeals to fans and will sell a few more tickets in the upper bowl. There are five reasons that signing Joel Przybilla was not the move the Trail Blazers needed to make at this time.

One More Injury Prone Player

The gangs of doctors and physical therapists over at the Rebound Clinic located across the plaza from the Rose Garden Arena already have their hands full with the bumps and bruises the Blazers have received this season.

Przybilla’s knee has been out of service since the Trail Blazers dealt him for Gerald Wallace last season, and there are no reasons to think that he won’t break down when the second half kicks into gear.

Frontline is Already Too Old

On the court Camby, Thomas, and Przybilla make up the oldest trio of centers in the league. There is something to be said for experience, but how much do you need? Young centers are tough to come by, but Johnson is already on their roster and deserves more playing time.

If the Blazers inquired, I am sure that Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are available for 10-day contracts.

Joel Przybilla

I have hope that this is not the splash that the Trail Blazers had in mind for the looming March trade deadline.

Point Guard Issue was NOT Addressed

It is no secret that the Trail Blazers desperately need a point guard. Nobody will ever argue that second-year guard Armon Johnson was the answer to solving Raymond Felton’s woes or that he deserved any more playing time than he already received.

One of the last things that Portland should do is let a point guard go when you don’t have a viable one to replace him.

Not a Playoff Move

If Trail Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan does not want to address the Felton situation yet, that’s his prerogative, but the Blazers brass owes it to season ticket holders to make moves that make them at least a partial contender.

If Przybilla was playing like he did in his prime six years ago the move wouldn’t have made them a contender, so one can imagine what it means now.

Management needs to make a move that matters in the wins column.


Not a Lottery Move

As it stands right now, Portland is on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff picture. The team is in the dangerous territory of average in professional sports.

They are not losing enough to get an upgrade in talent through the draft and they are not winning enough to be relevant.

With LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Wallace and Camby the Blazers have the pieces to warrant a number of first-round picks for years to come.

I have hope that this is not the splash that the Trail Blazers had in mind for the looming March trade deadline. NWSB writer Rick Stella provided us with five trades the brass at One Center Court could make.

In order to regain relevance, Buchanan needs to peel off some fruitful moves in the weeks to come.


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  • Jacob190000

    Why don’t you go learn some facts before you go blabbing your mouth about stuff you know nothing about?

    • Blair

      I want to thank you reading NWSB and appreciate your comment. I just want to say I think the world of Joel Przybilla. I have had the chance to meet him and have a couple of conversations with him and think that he is a really nice guy.

      Nobody can dispute the Vanilla Gorilla’s achivements on the court. The moniker was given to him by Portland fans, not by me for his hard work and his willingness to be an animal on the defensive end of the floor. (If you were at the Rose Garden last night like I was, your probably saw the Vanilla Gorilla signs scattered throughout the arena). If you read through all of the article, you’ll notice that I give stats to support his efforts: In 2004-11 (4.8 points, and 7.3 rebounds per game). His work ethic and determination are qualities that I admire in him as a fan.

      All of that said, lets be honest. Przybilla’s body is breaking down. Including last night against the Heat, he has played 66 games in 2 1/2 seasons due to two catastrophic knee injuries. At 7’1″ 270, he is now considered injury prone and in danger of more injury because of the abuse that big men take in the post.

      While Przybilla is a young man in age (32), his body has taken the punishment of 554 regular season NBA games, thus building up some NBA mileage for a big man. Thomas and Camby have both played more games in more career seasons than Przybilla, thus the age factor with the frontline (besides Aldridge).

      To address the other issues: Przybilla is a center, not a point guard, thus that is not addressed. Przybilla does not add wins to this team, but rather another big body on a fragile front line. This is not the same player pree-knee injuries. Nobody comes back from what he is coming back from and gets more explosive. That’s sad for him and for fans.

      Lastly, this doesn’t make them worse, which in theory is good. That said, if end up out of the race for the playoffs for whatever reason, to get the best talent, you have more chances with the more losses you have as it increases your chances in the lottery.

      Thanks for reading, Jacob.


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