I have been saying that Jerryd Bayless should start in the NBA since his first game at Arizona.
The kid has all the right traits to be a top tier talent, except one thing—playing time.
Last week, on national television, Bayless came off the bench and helped the Trail Blazers to a come from behind win over the Phoenix Suns, with a career high of 29 points.
The following game versus Orlando, Bayless had a less stellar performance going three for 13 from the floor with two turnovers in 30 minutes in a loss.
This type of inconsistent play can be expected from a young player still trying to find his role on a team. Bayless actually had an earlier “break-out” game his rookie season against the Nets with 23 points which also included this dunk in traffic.
So last week’s performance shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone.
As you can tell from the clip, and Jerryd’s play on TNT versus the Suns, not only can this kid play—he can play with intensity. Bayless has a deep desire to win and is very vocal about it.
However, he still has a lot to learn.
Brandon Roy on the other hand is an established all-star and team captain. Who better to learn from?
Roy has been in Bayless’ ear the past season and a quarter, telling him to be patient, keep working hard and he will get his chance.
I think Roy is the one who is also greatly anticipating Bayless’ entrance to the starting line up. Bayless is only going to improve by leaps and bounds once he starts to receive consistent minutes in a starting role.
Rumors about Andre Miller looking to be moved and Portland’s resistance to any idea of trading Bayless only make the future backcourt picture that much clearer.
On top of that, Miller is not a happy camper in Portland and Roy’s game actually fits better with Bayless in the line up.
Strictly from a basketball standpoint—Bayless can spot up and go to the rim off of Roy’s penetration and double teams, where as Miller needs to dominate the ball to be effective and in turn renders Roy less effective.
Bayless may not have the court vision of Miller, but he is more of a threat to get to the free throw line as well as finish in traffic, not to mention has a better outside shot.
The important thing is Bayless is part of the young core of talent that Portland has assembled and they need to commit to this experiment and throw Bayless in the starting line up.
A backcourt of Roy and Bayless provides a lot of athleticism and scoring which is a great combo to have in the Western Conference.
Bayless has the talent and drive to be an elite guard out West, now all they have to do is give him the chance.