Tuesday Mailbag: Answering your Blazers questions

Welcome to the first edition of the my weekly Tuesday mailbag, where I have adamantly resisted planting my own questions under a pseudonym. As a result, it’s possible that only three questions were emailed to me, and even more possible that two of them came from the same person.

But hey, I figure working with the absolute bare minimum is as Blazery as it gets. So let’s get started.

I understand why McMillan has shrunk his rotation, but doesn’t Portland benefit from the high-energy Patty Mills, especially when the offense gets sluggish?



I asked Nate about this Friday, two days removed from Mills scoring 13 points on 5 of 5 shooting in the first half against the Hornets, yet logging only 11 minutes for the game.

“Did you consider playing the hot hand there? Patty couldn’t miss,” I asked.

Responded McMillan: “Did you watch the end of the third quarter?… Come on, we’re not playing games here.”

Nate was referring an episode in which Chris Paul blew by Mills like he was a hall monitor en route to an easy 3-point play.

Patty has one of the more aesthetically-pleasing shooting strokes in the game, and when he gets cooking, can certainly enhance Portland’s offense. But I’m not sure that offsets the fact that he can get lost on defense, or that he’s often viewed as “feeding time” for opposing point guards, particularly the quick ones who can muscle him up.

And remember, a few outside shots rarely tempt McMillan into deviating from his game plan. Against Philadelphia last month, Wesley Matthews hit five consecutive 3-pointers in the first quarter, yet didn’t start the second.

I wouldn’t say for sure that Mills won’t see minutes in the postseason, but it’s looking less and less likely. Then again, there is another defensive liability that’s seeing fairly significant time, which brings us to the next question.

Is Brandon Roy done, or DONE?


I’m going to assume “done” means that the Brandon Roy as Blazers fans once knew him is no more, and that “DONE” implies that instead of giving an exit interview after the season, he should throw a retirement party. I’ll compromise and say he’s DOne.

Roy can still supplement Portland on the offensive end, and on defense, he can guard an opposing forward while a player such as Nicolas Batum sticks the point guard. But on the three occasions Roy has failed to record a field goal in his career, two have happened since March 22. That’s not good.

I think once pragmatic Blazers fans accepted the fact that Roy’s health would permanently inhibit his athleticism, they hoped he’d adjust similarly to Phoenix’s Grant Hill, a former superstar whose injuries downgraded him to a an effective role player scoring 13 to 15 points per game. That seems unlikely at this point, but I also think it’s fair to give him a season to find his niche.

Plus, he has had his bright spots.

The 21-point effort against Dallas and the clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation vs. Denver were the two most nostalgic moments of the year. The thing is, after dropping 21 on the Mavs, it took Roy five games combined to score 21 again.
You can’t deny the 26-year-old’s natural talent and aptitude for the game. But I wonder sometimes if his name was Frank McCalister, and not Brandon Roy, whether McMillan would be giving him the playing time that he has been. Then again, given Roy’s history, can you really blame him?

Has Free Throw Guy personally invited himself over to your house yet?


Put it this way. Getting heckled every time you try to change the channel gets really old, really fast.

Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or matt.calkins@columbian.com

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