Interviews: Miller, McMillan, Demopolous discuss Bayless

Portland Trail Blazers coaches Nate McMillan and Dean Demopolous, as well as guard Andre Miller, discuss Blazers guard Jerryd Bayless.

Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller about Bayless following a Wednesday morning shootaround

On Bayless’ progress:

I think he’s done pretty good with his situation. It’s always tough for a young guy who plays with energy to not know if you’re going to play or not. But there’s ups and downs for pretty much everybody. This season has been about staying above water, and he puts a lot of expectations on himself. It’s tough being a point guard in this league.

On his relationship with Bayless:

There’s been give and take. I’ve mainly just observed him. He has the respect of the players around this league.

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan about Bayless during a pregame discussion with the media prior to Wednesday’s contest against Indiana

On evaluating Bayless’ progress:

That’s why we made the decision with (Steve) Blake, is so that we can see. It’s still early. He hasn’t played the point position where he’s run the team and having to set up the team, as well as being aggressive and having to make decisions. His year and a half here has pretty much been off the ball. But Rudy’s playing that spot. And now that Blake is gone, the opportunity for him to play the point is what we’re looking at.

On Bayless potentially being the team’s starting point guard in the future:

I think you take baby steps with it, in the sense that there is an opportunity for him now to play the point. And that position is needed, because we’re not flipflopping him. When he goes in now, he’s going in as a 1, not an off guard or situations he’s been in. So, we’ll see how it goes. I think anything is possible. The start of the season, I thought we would have all of our guards at this time. So, there’s been a lot of changes just in a few months, as far as starting, rotation, future.

On talking with Bayless about his play after a recent road game against Minnesota:

No, I didn’t have a conversation with him. But, yeah, that’s part of the process with him. Playing that position, and being able to make decisions without being hesitant. He is a scorer. And there are times when you can see him trying to involve guys — which is what you’ve got to do. But when he becomes really good, that decision will be made in a split second, and not think in (his) mind before the play even happens.

On Bayless’ performance in recent games against Memphis and Minnesota:

I thought in Memphis, not only did he distribute the ball, but he was aggressive. His decisions on plays were good — good enough that I went with him down the stretch, because we needed both offense and defense at that point position.

On sending Bayless a message with his playing time against Minnesota:

It’s not so much sending him a message. It’s combinations. Yeah, we’re going to play our guys, but also getting that balance. My thing is, there are about 10-15 minutes possibly there at that backup point position. And with (Andre Miller), trying to get Dre not only with the first group but the second group. And if Bayless is able to give us some things, we’ll stay with him a little longer. But with a four-guard rotation, there’s not a lot of minutes at one of those spots — at the fourth spot, so to speak. And that’s kind of a — we put him in and let him play and we look for certain things. And if we’ve got some rhythm, we’ll stay a little longer with him. And if not, we get Dre back in there, because it’s a young group.

Trail Blazers lead assistant coach Dean Demopolous about Bayless during warmups prior to a game Wednesday against Indiana

He’s been a real positive factor for us all year long. He’s become more consistent with it. He’s growing with it. And he’s a positive force in the game for us. I think his evolution is very natural for a player of his gifts, or a player of any stature at all. There’s a learning curve. But I think he’s done real well. And he’s now been a member of the team for two years that have been pretty successful, so it means that his contribution has been very positive.

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