College, NBA / Aug 7, 2009 / 4:23 pm

Dime Q&A: Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless

Jerryd Bayless

Nobody was more disappointed in Jerryd Bayless‘ NBA rookie campaign than Bayless himself. After destroying the ’08 Vegas Summer League (29.8 ppg), Bayless went into the regular season as a darkhorse Rookie of the Year (or at least All-Rookie Team) pick, but soon found himself sitting behind Portland starters Brandon Roy and Steve Blake, and fighting for backcourt minutes with Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez. While Bayless had some standout moments — like scoring 23 points in a Jan. 15 game at New Jersey, and dropping 19 on the Hornets on Feb. 2 — for the most part, the 6-3 combo guard’s first go-round in the League (4.3 ppg, 12 mpg) was pretty forgettable.

Going into Year 2, Bayless is on a mission to turn things around. Although the Blazers signed another point guard this offseason, projected starter Andre Miller, Bayless is still determined to prove he deserves more time. Earlier today I caught up with him at the adidas Nations camp in Dallas, where Bayless, 20, is one of the NBA counselors working with some of the best high school players in the U.S., plus some of the top teenagers from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Dime: Last year you were the talk of the Vegas Summer League. This year you put up numbers (18 ppg, 4.3 apg), but didn’t get as much attention. How do you think you did in Vegas?
Jerryd Bayless: I think I did good. It was just a different situation this year. Last year I was going in with the mindset that I had to make a splash and I was really looking to score. I wasn’t looking to score as much this year; I was trying to do more creating, running a team and getting other people involved.

Dime: So you’re trying to be more of a “pure” point guard?
JB: No, I wouldn’t really say that. I think just being me, just being Jerryd, is good enough. That’s what I’m trying to do. My only goal is to continue to get better and be ready for next year.

Dime: What do you think your role will be on the Blazers next year?
JB: I don’t know yet. We just signed Andre Miller, and I haven’t had a chance yet to talk to Coach (Nate) McMillan about my role.

Dime: When you first heard about the Miller signing, what was your reaction?
JB: I thought it could be a good learning experience for me. I just gotta take it for what it’s worth and learn from it. Andre Miller’s a great point guard, so it’ll only help me get better.

Dime: Not many Lottery picks get to be in the playoffs their rookie year. What was that experience like?
JB: It was cool … It was definitely cool, I just wish I would’ve played more. But just getting to see it and watch everything was a great experience. I’m sure it’ll benefit me later in my career, having been through that.

Dime: Other than the Andre Miller thing, have you been following the NBA offseason moves?
JB: Not really. The only thing I’m worried about is me, and getting more minutes next year.

Dime: Do you think there’s something you need to do more of — or less of — to get those minutes? Or is it just a matter of being in the right place at the right time?
JB: Yeah, it’s kind of that I think, being in the right place. All I can do is continue to get better, and my opportunity will come somewhere. Hopefully it comes soon.

Dime: Have you been working out at the U of Arizona? I understand a lot of NBA guys go back there in the summer.
JB: No, I haven’t been to U of A. I live in Phoenix, so that’s where I’ve been working out. There’s not too many NBA guys from Phoenix, so I haven’t run across a lot of guys this summer.

Dime: Off the court, how was the transition going from college to the NBA lifestyle?
JB: It went well. I’m still figuring things out, like figuring out what to do to take up all the free time you have. You gotta continue to stay busy because there’s a lot of distractions out there. So far I’ve just been working out a lot, getting ready for the season.

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  • Q

    I remember when people were sayin that Jerryed was better than D Rose… Smh…

  • http://www.stonerodco.com dennis stone

    Im` surprised to hear how jarryd is taking the arrival of andre. He seems to be taking a very mature outlook ,trying to stay positive. I have seen enough of the young man to want him to be a part of the blazers future. I wish him good luck in his battles for playing time this year.

  • the cynic

    hopefully Bayless added something to the repertoire besides recklessly attacking the basket while hoping to get a foul call

  • bobby stew

    He could end up as good as D. Rose. Just give him time.

  • Luigi

    if bayless was on a team who needed his scoring ability…. like the knicks….then he would have been in the conversation on whos better….but hes on the blazers where he cant do much because of the talent that surrounds him he can be a new ben gordon with more of a drive n less of a shot

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    toss up- Bayless: focused or boring?

  • tl

    bayless seems like a douche

  • Ashlov

    FREE JERRYD!

    This kid could easily be 20ppg scorer on any team. Poor bastard.

  • Ragermack

    “The only thing I am worried about is me, and getting more minutes.”Where have i heard attitude like that in a Trailblazer??

  • doc

    Bayless is not fucking with Rose.Not now or ever.

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    Portland wants him to be a combo guard, he’s about as combo as Eric Gordon. He’s a scorer, period. Recognize it Blazers.

  • james p

    I didnt even know he was in the leauge til I brought nba2k9 and killed wtih him.

  • D

    @tl I’ve run into him before when Portland was in Houston for the playoffs. He was eating by himself all suited up and real quiet. Some kid in a Portland jersey rolled up on him looking for an autograph and bayless obliged. He stood there and was really friendly and talked with the kid and the adults that were with him for a while. I thought that was pretty nice of him

  • UncheckedAggression

    He comes off a bit selfish in this interview. He needs to be working hard (sounds like he might have that part covered) and talking to the coaches and front office about what the expectations are and how he can get those minutes. He hasn’t talked to them since the Miller signing? Not a good sign. He’s still got time but isolating himself from the team is not a good way to go about your business in the league.

    That said, the guy clearly has a lot of athletic ability and the skills to stick around for a long time. Comparing him to Rose is ridiculous though. They have very different skill sets and play the game differently. If Jerryd plays his cards right he’ll likely be a damn good player. If Rose does the same, he could be one of the best PGs ever. It’ll be a minute before either can meet their potential.

  • Glenn

    I think it’s amazing how Jerry’s so tongue-in-cheek about his experience at Arizona. Obviously, he did not get to play for the legendary Lute Olson and his free running system, instead he played for Kevin O’Neill who at points told him to stop scoring/was an asshat. It’s obvious to me that any mention of UA doesn’t bode well with him, but he’s so respectful of the situation, seeing that it was out of his control, that he reserves his true feelings behind it.

    I mean, former players come from all over the nation to play in the summer pickup games at McKale and Jerryd won’t do it because he’s from Phoenix, a 2 hour drive? C’mon man, even Gilbert Arenas is making the trek to beat ASU in a pickup rivalry game! The UA Faithful know you single-handedly took us to the 24th tournament appearance, the fans still appreciate what you did and it’d be great to see you be a part of the brotherhood that is basketcat alumni.

  • jksonics

    imagine being a point guard and being drafted by the blazers in the 2nd, no contract guaranteed, round and then breaking you foot! if bayless can’t get minutes what hope does patty mills have!

  • AB_40

    patty mills is more of a pure point then bayless he sees more things. Bayless is a scorer. next season the roles are gonna be different batum is gonna want the ball a little more and so does oden. miller is gonna orchestrate things and we’re gonna see Roy do some cutting and coming of screens which off I think he’d be very good at. I just don’t see where he fits in. they can use his 10 ppg a la microwave but not much more. and rudy and blake are still in front of him in the rotation and at the two martell webster is coming back. I see him as a 10 ppg guy at best next season with a few games where you say wow in a different situation but hey. portland is stacked and in three years half of the young guys will be gone.

  • MSkittle

    He is only concerned about himself and playing time, he says? That’s his first problem right there

  • Abe504

    Blazers are shooting themselves in the foot wit this dude. In a couple of years he is gonna blow up just like Gilbert Arenas….

  • Mel

    Kid’s got talent upon talent, unfortunately his biggest strength is his ability to score and he’s the kind of player at this point in his career who needs to dominate the ball in order to do that. The Blazers already have someone who they want with the ball in his hands in Roy, so Bayless is going to need to make himself useful in some other way whether it be getting other guys involved or locking down the other teams pg on D. As somebody wrote above, the kid could score 20ppg if he was on a team that needed him to do so, but if he’s scoring 20 on the Blazers then he’s taking shots away from guys like Rudy/Outlaw/Webster etc. It’s almost a case of the Blazers having too many scorers. Hopefully 2 years from now when Miller’s option comes up the Blazers will be able to decline it because Bayless has developed into a true pg.

  • fLaVa

    Bayless AT BEST is a Randy Foye

  • http://www.nukedasouth.net Chicagorilla

    Bayless is useless. Everyone keeps talking about the loads of talent he has, but I don’t see it. I watched him in college and his summer league games last year. He is a terrible teammate and it seemed like they all hated his poor shot selection and gunning every time he touched the ball. Just because he tries hard to score on offense, doesn’t mean he has elite talent. The kid doesn’t know how to pass and doesn’t seem to care for it. Not just passing, but coming off screens, running an offense, playing (team or one on one) defense and being a leader. He knows nothing when it comes to basketball other than SHOOT! That’s not a ball player and that’s why he’ll be on the bench.

  • Don

    It’s a myth that a scorer can’t become a point guard. Lots of NBA players have done it. Andre Miller is one example. It takes talent, a willingness to learn and a team first attitude.

    Bayless has talent.

    I’m not so sure about the willingness to learn or a team first attitude. I was concerned about one thing he said.

    “Dime: Other than the Andre Miller thing, have you been following the NBA offseason moves?

    JB: Not really. The only thing I’m worried about is me, and getting more minutes next year.”

    Not a good answer.