At the end oflast season coach Nate McMillan passed out sheets of paper to his players andasked them to list their choices for starters, second-teamers andthird-teamers. Instead of selecting Sebastian Telfair or Steve Blake as thestarting point guard, the majority picked rookie Jarrett Jack. McMillan sayshis poll played no role in the Blazers' decision to trade Telfair and Blakeover the summer, but it did show him that the team was comfortable with Jack,who, after averaging 20.2 minutes a game last season, will now be running theattack.
Jack fits whatMcMillan is looking for: He's competitive, mentally tough and businesslike. Hespent the off-season studying video of top point guards such as ChaunceyBillups, Steve Nash and Tony Parker. "Last year the effort was reallackadaisical at times," Jack says. "We really didn't prepare ourselveslike we were supposed to. I think that's the reason why we've got so many newfaces."
Of the 15 playerson the roster, eight were new, including 6'10" forward LaMarcus Aldridge,the No. 2 pick out of Texas, and 6'6" shooting guard Brandon Roy, the sixthchoice from Washington. One of the holdovers was 25-year-old power forward ZachRandolph, a double double threat whose off-court activities have been all tooreminiscent of Jail Blazers past. In June, Randolph was riding in a car citedfor street racing, and in August he was investigated for sexual assault. (Nocharges were filed.) "It's not even going to be a three-year fix,"McMillan says. "The direction we're going, we have to be patient."
ProjectedStarting Lineup with 2005--06 statistics
Record: 21--61(15th in West)
Points scored: 88.8 (30th in NBA)
Points allowed: 98.3 (18th)
Coach: Nate McMillan
(second season with the Trail Blazers)
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
BENCH 2005--06 STATS
BRANDON ROY * (R)
JAMAAL MAGLOIRE *
DAN DICKAU *
(R) ROOKIE (COLLEGE STATISTICS)
Enemy Lines Anopposing team's scout sizes up the Trail Blazers
I don't get thesense they have a plan for how to rebuild. They talked about having qualitypeople, but then they signed guys like Zach Randolph and Darius Miles to bigcontracts.... Miles exhibits no passion for competition; he's always in cruisemode. He's got so many gifts, but you don't ever see him letting it loose andbreathing hard.... Travis Outlaw has made a lot of improvements in three years.Even though his footwork's not all there yet, he plays hard, and I wouldimagine that every team is tracking him because of his potential.... OnceMartell Webster got used to the speed of the game, he started feeling reallycomfortable with his shot. People around the league compare him with LamondMurray--he's a really good shooter who needs to work on putting the ball on thefloor and learning other ways to score instead of just coming off screens....They're creating higher expectations for rookie Brandon Roy than the Bobcatsare for Adam Morrison. Roy is good, but if they think he's going to be thesavior, then that's very, very unfair.
The 2005--06 Trail Blazers, who finished last in points per game (88.8) andrebounds (37.7), were the first team since the '00--01 Bulls to be the league'sworst in both categories.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH