Bayless and the Numbers Game
Posted Jul 18 2008 2:22AM
LAS VEGAS, July 17, 2008 -- There are a plethora of numbers that jump off the page when you look at Portland rookie guard Jerr
First you see his 27.7 points per game average. That’s damn near 30 a game from a kid who doesn’t even turn 20-years old for another month.
Next your eyes will fix upon his 5.3 boards per game (you’re trained to read points-rebounds-assists in that order, anyway) and you’ll think, “Not too bad for a 6-3 guy.”
With a little bit of digging you’ll get to the money stat … The one that’s truly special … The one that makes you believe the player could be truly special: Bayless is 44-for-55 (.800) from the free throw line in three games.
To put that in perspective, he’s averaging more points just from the foul line – 14.7 – than last year’s No. 8 pick, Brandan Wright, is averaging overall – 14.3.
But no matter how productive those numbers might seem, there are only two numbers that concerns the Portland coaching staff when it comes to this year’s No. 11 pick who the Blazers acquired from Indiana on a draft night trade:
One and two.
As in, is Bayless a point guard (one) or a shooting guard (two)?
Portland assistant coach
“We got to look at Jerryd at the point guard,” Williams said. “We want to see if he can run the team. A lot of times he gets the ball and he just kind of runs off on his own. Hopefully he can run the squad and get us in our stuff and hopefully we can be a little more efficient in what we do.”
Bayless says that he’s not worried about making the transition from shooting guard to facilitator, pointing out that he has already played point in spots already through the Blazers’ first three game.
“It’s not really going to be a big adjustment, I know I can play one,” Bayless said.
The University of Arizona product added that his mentality while playing the point isn’t any different than when he’s the primary scoring guard: “Just attack.”
While Bayless insists playing the point won’t be a problem, if we keep playing the numbers game, you find a different story.
His averages in the traditional statistical point guard measures – assists and turnovers – are just as bad as his scoring feats are good.
Bayless is dishing out 1.3 assists per game in Las Vegas against 4.67 turnovers per game. For a starting point guard, you usually seek an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1, Bayless is hovering closer to 1-to-3.
He only had two assists on Thursday (although one of them came on a full-court outlet pass that found
So far in Vegas, Bayless has used the stronger aspects of his game – namely his first step, dribbling ability and quickness – to get to the hoop and call his own number.
Now he’ll need to use those skills to set his teammates up.
It will be a good challenge for Bayless to integrate his game with the likes of Koponen and Nicolas Batum now, because he’ll certainly have to do so once training camp starts in the fall.
“Whatever the coach wants me to do, I’ll do,” Bayless said. “I’ve stressed that since I got to Portland.
“I just want to be a part of it. I don’t want to be the man, I don’t want to be nothing else like that. They already have Brandon Roy – he’s the All-Star. They already have Greg Oden – he’s the No. 1 pick. They already have LaMarcus Aldridge who’s probably going to be a future All-Star. I just want to be a part that comes in and helps them win some more games.”
The personal success he’s had to start the summer league doesn’t surprise Bayless. He said on Thursday he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder ever since he fell to No. 11 in the Draft after being projected as high of a pick as No. 3 at one point.
So, forget the numbers that have Bayless’ name being tossed around as the potential MVP of Vegas, the only thing on his mind right now is his team’s sub par 1-2 record.
“I don’t really care about that [MVP talk],” Bayless said. “We’ve lost the last two games. I think every good thing comes with winning and we have to figure out a way to start winning some games.”