How deep does PDX go?
Over the past six seasons, we’ve seen the Portland Trail Blazers transition from one of the youngest teams in the league to one of the oldest—and now back once again to one of the most youthful squads in the entire NBA.
Heading into the new year, the Blazers are going to be one of the youngest teams in the league from the starting lineup to the 12th man, which should create for a number of ups and downs throughout the 2012-13 season.
Full Bench Rotation
- Joel Freeland, C
- J.J. Hickson, PF
- Jared Jeffries, PF
- Victor Claver, SF
- Luke Babbitt, SF
- Will Barton, SF
- Sasha Pavlovic, SG
- Elliot Williams, SG **(Season ended due to injury)**
- Nolan Smith, PG
- Ronnie Price, PG
- Adam Morrison, SF *(Training Camp Roster)*
- Dallas Lauderdale, F *(Training Camp Roster)*
- Demonte Harper, G *(Training Camp Roster)*
If the Trail Blazers’ bench has anything going for it at this point, it’s energy.
Terry Stotts is expected to institute a fast-paced, up-tempo system, and what better crew to run the offense than a group of kids who are excited to get out run.
J.J. Hickson can play in the full court, Will Barton can score in bunches and Nolan Smith showed during the Las Vegas Summer League that he can be called upon to take the pressure off the team’s top scorers.
From the point guards to the centers, this roster if full of players who excel in the fast break and make plays with their athleticism.
For those who won’t be creating with their athleticism, consistent shooting touches will be the next best option.
Players such as Victor Claver and Luke Babbitt could prove to be sparks off the bench in the three-point game, and while they’re not likely to be sixth men anytime soon, they’ll certainly have their spot in the rotation if they can knock down big shots from long-distance.
If Stotts can find a blend of players and personalities that mesh well on the court, this team has the potential to be one of the most exciting squads to watch in the entire NBA.
When a team has a young starting lineup, they rely on the bench for veteran leadership and reliable performances.
Unfortunately for the Blazers, they don’t have that luxury.
The biggest deficiency coming from the Trail Blazers’ bench has to be a lack of experience. At this point, the team’s bench boasts a group of youngsters who have yet to prove themselves, a few veterans whose best days—if you want to call them that—are behind them and one somewhat established reserve in a 24-year-old Hickson.
One area in particular that lacks experience is the center position, which is going to be a major problem if one of the rotation post players falls to injury.
If the Blazers stay healthy, Hickson and Joel Freeland should be able to step in and provide minutes; but if one of the bigs gets hurt throughout the season, the frontcourt is going to look awfully shallow as they try and make up for their missing man in the middle.