The Portland Trail Blazers made a roster move to shore up the frontcourt earlier today, signing well-travelled center Earl Barron for the rest of the season.
The 29-year old big man has played 19 games for both the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, posting averages of 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.7 turnovers, and 2.2 fouls per game while playing 14.1 minutes per contest.
Barron might seem to be a minor signing that will have a negligible impact for the Trail Blazers, but if you look closer, the decision does have its merits. Although he can’t seem to keep a steady job in the NBA (He’s played in 108 games in parts of 5 seasons on 4 different NBA teams), Barron has average 15 minutes a game throughout his career. So it’s not as if he’s totally rooted to the bunch, it’s just that he hasn’t found any sort of luck whatsoever. Given Portland’s well-documented troubles regarding the health of their big men (Greg Oden and Marcus Camby), Barron provides insurance as a servicable 7-footer. And in the NBA, you can’t teach height.
While his foul rate is ridiculously high (he commits an astoundingly bad 5.62 fouls per 36 minutes), he’s proved that he has the talent and durability to contribute in whatever minutes he is allocated – just look at what he did during a brief stint in New York last season. In seven games, Barron averaged a double-double, tallying 11.7 points and 11.0 rebounds on 44.1% shooting in 33 minutes of playing time. If he didn’t have some kind of servicable talent whatsoever, there’s no way he’d be averaging gaudy stats such as these. (He’s not Andris Biedrins or Kwame Brown, yet they still have a job in the league).
In my opinion, this guy can play. And he’s certainly a better option than Chris Johnson and Jarron Collins, the other two centers on Portland’s roster. So don’t be surprised if Earl Barron gets 10-15 minutes of action when the playoffs come around. He has the work ethic and brings the lunch pail with him to work every single day in hopes of tying up an extended contract somewhere. And who knows? If he’s given a chance and makes the most of it, he could stick around for the Portland Trail Blazers for next season!