10.03.2008

On Being P.O.B

I think he's done a real solid job for us. He plays defense at a very high level. He gave Mourning fits the other night. He just brings a physical demeanor to the court, a hustle and a tremendous amount of energy. I've never seen Mark on the court, either in this current time with us or in the past, where he doesn't set the tone for our defense.

--Jim O'Brien on Mark Blount

It's hard to reconcile the above sentiments with the taste that lingers in our collective mouth when the subject turns to Mark Blount. Truth be told, however, Mark Blount did provide a defensive presence for differing periods of time under Jim O'Brien. The key to Blount's success was a commitment on the defensive end to the exclusion of almost everything else.

In this light, Patrick O'Bryant has a chance to actually exceed expectations. I don't expect him to be the second coming of Robert Parish or even Joe Barry Carroll. But he doesn't have to be. All he has to be is a consistently solid defender. At seven feet tall, he offers more length than Kendrick Perkins or even PJ Brown. And most of us would admit that a front line consisting of a seven-foot O'Bryant (if playing effective defense) and a seven-foot-one Kevin Garnett sounds a bit imposing.

Even the bad Mark Blount can enlighten our expectations for POB.

By the end of his stay in Boston, we knew Blount was a poor rebounder who had terrible hands. Yet in his contract year, he finished up the season as a terror on the boards, pulling down 20 caroms in one game. Most of that had to do with his D-E-S-I-R-E to land a big contract.

A motivated P.O.B may yield similar dividends.

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