Friday, October 02, 2009

Steve Blake Fights for his Starting Spot

As training camp opens for the Portland Trailblazers, Steve Blake (1999-2003) is the incumbent starter at point guard, but he faces a huge challenge from off-season free agent acquisition Andre Miller. In a story in the Columbian (via Gary Williams's Twitter feed) Blake's teammates are calling him the 'true' and 'ideal' point guard:
There has never been any flash to Blake's game, and there likely never will be. The 6-foot-3, 172-pound Blake is an old-school point guard in an ever-changing, modern league. To some, Blake is a throwback — a player who will never be more than a simple set-up man. But according to many of his teammates and several Portland coaches, Blake is irreplaceable. [...]

Monday, [Brandon] Roy drew a small line in the Blake-Miller debate, saying he feels extremely comfortable playing with Blake. Tuesday, Roy stated Blake's selfless style makes him feel limitless on the court.

"I hadn't played with that in a while," Roy said. "I was playing with point guards — the new-school point guard, who is aggressive and is kind of looking for his (points). But, you know, I played with Blake and I was like, 'Oh, OK. This is great.' "

Dime magazine says the coach has named Blake as the starter to open camp, even though Miller is the talk of the town:
Last season, Steve Blake did a legit job at the point but now management upgraded the position this offseason by signing Andre Miller to a three-year, $21 million deal.

The obvious choice to start would be Miller. [...] But Blake has done a great job running the Blazers’ offense for the past two seasons.[...] Plus, he has the ear of the team and more importantly, the confidence of coach Nate McMillan. The coach even said Blake is the starter coming into training camp.

Finally, the Rip City Project blog says Blake is the forgotten man in all the Andre Miller hype:
However, we can’t just go ahead and crown Andre Miller already. Thinking that Steve Blake is going down without a fight is just silly. His nickname is Lieutenant Dan and I’m pretty sure he could choke 80% of the NBA out. I mean he was the starter on a team that won 54 games last season. Say what you want but that’s something that Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash can’t say. Is everyone forgetting that this is a guy whose been in the NBA six years and played for four different teams (including this one) before finally finding a home in Portland. AND he’s in a contract year??? This is a big year for him.

(The Baltimore Sun's Mobbies blog awards voting is still going on through October 9. Remember that you can vote once per day! Our blog is hovering around #4-6 in the Terps category. I don't expect to win, but I'd like to avoid the embarrassment of finishing last. So why not stop on by and vote for us today?)

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