Every good championship team has that one guy, the guy who protects the star, the guy who enforces the unwritten rules of the game, the guy who puts a hurtin on the other team to let them know who owns the paint. Come playoff time we need someone who is going to protect Roy from the hard hits he will take in the paint. Someone to get in the mind of Kobe and put him on the floor when he tries to drive the lane. Basically a guy who is willing to let the other team know that when you foul Roy you will be getting the same thing back…we need a hit man.
Looking at some of the great enforcers in league history we can see they come in many different forms. Maurice Lucas of the Blazers was one who would just plain thrown down (even in the NBA Finals!). Guys like Bruce Bowen straight up lock you down on “D” and play the dirty, cheap unseen jabs at a guy that take him out of his game. Then you have the “instigator.” The guy who is not really a bad ass as much as he is a fly that bothers you and makes you respond. The greatest of all time Rick Fox. His main goal on the court in the playoffs was to get under the skin of the best player, to get that guy to throw a punch, make a push, anything to get both him and Fox out of the game or games. Man we hate that guy.
Let us say this off the bat, we love our team. Everyone knows that we have a young, great, and talented team. However, is the current team soft? One thing that Jail Blazers had that we need is swagger. People were scared of us when we were full of criminals. Not saying we need to go back to a roster of thugs, but we need someone, something that will give us the punch we need.
About 5 times this year we saw teams seriously try to intimidate us, especially Lamar Odem and the Lakers. The world around the league is that we could be bullied. The last game of the year saw LMA and Outlaw get in the face of Odem, but nothing was done on the court as retaliation for his hit on Roy. With our team getting Rudy and Greg back the question must be posed: who is going to be the next enforcer of the Blazers?
Option 1: Greg Oden
When Oden comes on board we know he will own the paint. It is much more accepted in the NBA when a center of PF bangs someone hard then when a PG or SG does it…in a way it is expected that if you enter the paint you will get a little beat up. But do we really want Oden being the enforcer, the guy who could potentially in a playoff series be suspended for a game?
Option 2: Joel Przybilla
The nice part about the Vanilla Gorilla is that he will now be our backup center. Losing your backup center is not nearly as bad as losing Oden for a game or so. We know Joel gets his fair share of hard hits. He also kick boxes to stay in shape. If you think about it, Joel has never played a full season in the NBA, so maybe if he gets a few suspensions for roughing up someone else his only games missed will be self imposed.
Option 3: Free Agency
Beyond Greg and Joel our team lacks a hard nosed, bad ass who can be the enforcer. Nothing against Europeans, but they are not know for their grit. James, Webster, Frye, those guys are just plain nice. When looking for an enforcer you want a guy who is not afraid to throw down, a guy who can get in the head of the other team’s star, a guy who will take a suspension for the team. So you don’t want that guy being a star or someone who is the third or fourth option on the team. That takes Oden out of it. Do we have room to add this guy in free agency? Who do you think we should go after?
So what do we need, who will be our enforcer?? Lets hear it.