When the Trail Blazers acquired Jerryd Bayless from the Indiana Pacers on draft night, many penciled his name in as Portland's point guard of the future. And starting Saturday, we'll get a better idea of whether or not he can truely fill that roll. After Thursday night's loss to the Timberwolves, coach Monty Williams stated that Bayless, not Petteri Koponen, would be the starting point guard against the Phoenix Suns in game 4 of the Blazers Summer League campaign.
"We want to see if he can run the team," Williams said of his expectations for Bayless. "A lot of time he gets the ball and he just kind of goes off on his own. Hopefully he can run the squad, get us in our stuff and hope that we can be a little more efficient than we were (against the Timberwolves)."
Bayless insists playing point guard is nothing new for him, at Summer League or otherwise.
"I’ve been running point a lot today and the last couple of games too," Bayless said. "Pete obviously starts at the 1, but throughout the game I periodically switch off, play 1. It’s not really that big of an adjustment for me. I know I can do it and I’m just looking forward to going out there and playing again."
Though Bayless has technically played the point periodically during Summer League, he hasn't had the same chance to show the skills and leadership associated with the position, particularity the ability to get other players involved on the offensive end. Bayless has tallied just four assists in three games in Las Vegas.
"Whatever (coach Williams) wants me to do, I’m going to do," Bayless said. "I’ve stressed that since I got to Portland. Whatever the coach wants me to do that’s best for the team, I’m going to do it."
As for where Petteri Koponen fits in, Williams said that he may rest the Finnish guard or play him at the two, much in the same way he was used last year while Sergio Rodriguez ran the point.
Coach Williams' decision to move Bayless to the point seems to be more about getting a chance to see what he can do at the position than an indictment of Koponen's performance.
"We’ve got to look at Jerryd at the point guard."