By popular demand, Jerryd Bayless got placed under the ATS microscope. This is an evaluation of his performance on Wednesday against the Rockets. I will work in some other observations from the Blazers beat down of the Spurs from Saturday as well.
The main question surrounding Bayless, "Is he a point guard?" The answer, "No." Well, that's my answer.
The ATS View of Bayless
Bayless didn't have the toughest of match ups in the Rockets game. He was alternately going against Mike Green, Will Conroy, and Garrett Temple. None of these guys have been rotation players in the NBA. I don't any of them will be shortly.
In the game against the Rockets, I think two things speak to my "No" answer. One, Bayless ended the first half with 11 points, 5 turnovers, and 0 assists (He had 7 more turnovers vs the Spurs and his game low for the summer league is 6). Two, in crunch time, the Blazers went to Pooh Jeter in the fourth quarter as the point guard and play maker, and Bayless played the shooting guard. Pooh had 15 points, 6 assists, and only 1 turnover in 21 minutes. Bayless went 1-5 from the field in the second half in his role off the ball.
The thing that jumped out at me regarding Bayless is that he is very effective creating his own shot, largely because of his strength. At 6' 3" and 200 pounds, he's a very solid guard and he likes contact. On several occasions he used his good first step and strength to create space for his shots. I'm not sure how effective he can be scoring against the bigger point guards like Billups, Fisher, Williams, and shooting guards if they match him in the strength category or are much longer than he is.
In addition, his points came exclusively on isolation plays from the top of the key, or in transition, and almost always early in the shot clock without running an offensive set. He was not effective in the pick and roll at all as the extra pressure from the help defender forced him to back up. On a couple occasions he picked up his dribble for no reason well outside the 3-point arc and this stalled the offense.
In general, his ball handling seemed a bit sloppy and his decision making fairly poor. He forced several passes and others were not accurate. If he wasn't getting his offense early, then the Blazers offense really struggled.
So, if Bayless isn't a point guard who can distribute the ball and create shots for his teammates, the next question is whether or not he can be effective playing off the ball?
Dante Cunningham has been very impressive. Mainly, knocking down mid-range jumpers like he is LaMarcus Aldridge. I would like to know, though, why he rides an exercise bike when he's on the bench? Back? Legs?
Pooh Jeter has been really good in the two games I have seen him.