Line of the Night (12/17): Jerryd Bayless

Bayless has had trouble getting consistent minutes in his year and change with the Blazers, but Portland was without Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw due to injury, so Bayless played 29 minutes last night against the Suns. He responded with 29 points, four assists, three rebounds, and hit 9 of 15 shots from the field, spearheading a 105-102 win for the Blazers at the Rose Garden.

Here is what John Hollinger said about his rookie season:

The combo guard had a rough rookie year, but the problem wasn’t the oft-heard mantra that Bayless is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. There are lots of players like that in the league and many of them are thriving. No, Bayless’ issue was that he was a shooting guard who couldn’t shoot trapped in a point guard’s body. That’s a problem.

After the game, Bayless commented about his role with the team:

“Me and Brandon talk about it a lot,” said the second-year guard from Arizona. “He can be Lebron (James) and I can be the Mo Williams of our offense.

“Mo’s not a pure point; he’s a guy who can make plays. That’s what I tried to do tonight — make plays for myself and everybody else.”

If Bayless can shoot the ball well, he can play alongside Roy in the backcourt. The Blazers want a player who can space the court and keep double-teams off of their superstar. Bayless’s FG% has risen from 37% in his rookie season to 53% and his 3P% has risen from 26% to 36% over the same span. If he can keep shooting the ball like that, he will get minutes.

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