To Blame or Not Blame Portland's Steve Blake

Specifically, Portland's Game 3 loss in Houston is not the fault of Blazers point guard Steve Blake. How can you blame a slow oversized fellow for not being able to keep up with one of the quickest, most slippery point guards (Aaron Brooks) in the league? Blake took one awful (no, AWFUL) shot late in the game, but followed up with a clutch make on the next possession in what clearly was a "My bad" shot. Three points in two shots in crunch time, I'll take it.
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↵But the reason Portland is down 2-1 here can be attributed to Blake's presence. More specifically, that Blake is the team's point guard is problematic ... because he cannot create shots for his teammates. The Blazers marched through the regular season with the league's most efficient offense, a simply awe-striking display of shotmaking. That's because Brandon Roy is a scoring genius, the Aldridge-Przybilla-Oden triptych owns the offensive glass and if there was an award for Most Potent Bench Duo Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez would sprint to a victory. Blake hits threes, but he's a net negative for the offense. (Portland's defense is mediocre, and I personally have trouble figuring out why, so I'll abstain from blaming a specific player at this point. It should suffice to say Blake is clearly not an elite defender.)
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↵For years, the single hole in Portland's line-up has been point guard. The Blazers reportedly chased Jason Kidd and Devin Harris last winter, and moved up to draft Jerryd Bayless in the draft. Given how frequently Brooks has lit Blake on fire, how infrequently Blake has been able to create decent shots for his teammates when Roy is locked up or struggling, and stated wonderlust the Blazers bosses have shown at the position, I feel confident in asserting that Portland will be chasing a big-name PG through trade or free agency this summer. Kidd, oddly, will be available (but old).↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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