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8 Portland Trail Blazers There may be new management, but old habits are hard to break

Oct. 27, 2003
Oct. 27, 2003

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Oct. 27, 2003

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NBA Preview 2003-04: Scouting Reports
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8 Portland Trail Blazers There may be new management, but old habits are hard to break

When Steve Patterson relocated from Houston to Portland this
summer, he got an unexpected break: three months of unremitting
sunshine. In his new job as president of the team known as the
Jail Blazers, however, Patterson faced a cloudier picture. He had
barely gotten his business cards from the printer when point
guard Damon Stoudamire was arrested for marijuana possession
after allegedly trying to smuggle a stash of pot wrapped in
tinfoil through an airport metal detector. (A judge has yet to
rule on whether the search was constitutional.) Patterson
responded with immediate force, fining him a whopping $250,000
and saying that Stoudamire's trade value was so minimal that he
couldn't be traded "for a chair."

This is an article from the Oct. 27, 2003 issue Original Layout

A respected sports executive who oversaw the Rockets' mini-dynasty
a decade ago and, more recently, helped engineer the successful
launch of the NFL's Houston Texans, Patterson, 45, was hired by
the Blazers with a clear (if not explicitly stated) job
description: Clean up the mess left by his predecessor, Bob
Whitsitt, whose talented players outdid one another at getting
into trouble. Though Stoudamire's fine was later rescinded--he'll
now submit to drug testing and give $100,000 to a Portland
charity--Patterson conveyed a strong message to the team and,
more important, to a community of disenchanted fans. As he puts
it, "There has been a dramatic philosophical change."

Patterson has even promulgated a 25-point "mission statement"
that included a pledge to sign players with character as well as
talent. The Blazers may or may not sustain their redoubtable
21-year streak of making the playoffs, but as long as the
franchise regains the community's affection and the players steer
clear of the law, Patterson will consider it progress. --L.J.W.

COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO Damon Stoudamire

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Trail Blazers

"For the first time in years they're not especially big, they're
not as deep or athletic, and they're not a lock for the playoffs.
Even if everything goes right, I don't see how they can finish
higher than sixth in the West.... The only improvement might come
at power forward, where Zach Randolph should become a bona fide
low-post threat this season. That will liberate Rasheed Wallace
to play even more on the perimeter.... Though Scottie Pippen
received a lot of credit for organizing the offense as their
point guard over the last two years, his departure is going to
hurt them most on defense. Damon Stoudamire isn't known for
locking up defensively, and it has as much to do with lack of
effort as lack of size. Neither he nor Jeff McInnis likes to
fight through screens or fight to contain pick-and-rolls....
Because the Blazers aren't as deep as they have been, the roles
and rotation will be more clearly defined. At the two and three
positions the minutes will be divided among Derek Anderson, Bonzi
Wells and Ruben Patterson, who takes pride in his D though he's
not as good as he thinks he is.... Wells is their second scoring
option after Wallace. He's strong, gets his points in a variety
of ways and tries to get into guys' heads. He'll talk to his
opponent the entire game, even lean against him during dead-ball
situations and tell him sweet nothings. Some nights it's
intimidating, and other nights it backfires, which is when Wells
loses his composure.... They're perennially one of the best
offensive rebounding teams, but that means you can beat them
downcourt in transition--and that's exactly what you have to do:
score before they can take advantage of their length and
athleticism in the half-court defense."

FAST FACT

Rasheed Wallace's technical fouls dropped from 27 in 2001-02 to
11 last season, while the Blazers' fell from an NBA-high 93 to 58.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 50-32 (6th in West)
Points scored: 95.2 (15th in NBA)
Points allowed: 92.5 (11th)
Coach: Maurice Cheeks (third season with Trail Blazers)

DALE DAVIS

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
C 117 7.4 7.2 1.2 0.90 0.65 54.1 63.3

RASHEED WALLACE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
SF 28 18.1 7.4 2.1 1.04 0.95 47.1 35.8

DAMON STOUDAMIRE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
PG 130 6.9 2.6 3.5 0.66 37.6 38.6 79.1

BONZI WELLS

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
SG 73 15.2 5.3 3.3 1.64 44.1 29.2 72.2

ZACH RANDOLPH

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
PF 92 8.4 4.5 0.5 0.18 0.55 51.3 75.8

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

G DEREK
ANDERSON 119 13.9ppg 3.5 rpg 4.3 apg 1.18 spg 42.7 FG%
G-F RUBEN
PATTERSON 184 8.3 ppg 3.4 rpg 1.3 apg 0.94 spg 49.2 FG%
F QYNTEL
WOODS 255 2.4 ppg 1.0 rpg 0.2 apg 0.28 spg 50.0 FG%
G JEFF
MCINNIS 273 5.8 ppg 1.3 rpg 2.3 apg 44.4 FG% 74.6 FT%
C[+]RUBEN
BOUMTJE-BOUMTJE 332 1.2 ppg 1.7 rpg 0.48 bpg 40.6 FG% 52.0 FT%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)
2001-02 statistics [+]