Friday, December 05, 2008

The Reason

Jason Quick of the Oregonian says that one of his readers has labled Brandon Roy as "The Reason." As in, the reason Portland is so good, or the reason Portland's future is so bright or the reason their young players are so good or the reason your team just lost or the reason Portland is never out of a game or....well, you get the idea. I love it. I love "The Natural" too, but The Reason may be even better.

I'm going with it. You should too. Spread the word.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some quick thoughts

A few quick sports thoughts for you today:

I don’t understand why people don’t talk about how much Tyler Hansborough looks like a really tall Frodo Baggins. Also, why does he have such a bad haircut?

I think the teams in the Western Conference should be afraid of Denver. They are playing as well as anyone outside of LA and Melo hasn’t even started playing well yet. What if this is the year that Nene and Kmart actually stay healthy and Karl becomes a big game coach? Oh yeah, forget everything I just said. Oh well, at least the trade helped Billups on my fantasy team.

I can’t figure out why the Blazers don’t throw lobs to Oden. There is no play where this is even attempted. Yeah, he is still getting his legs back and doesn’t jump out of the gym, but he jumps well and is 7 freakin feat tall. Do the Blazers (other than Sergio) not know how? Does coach Nate hate lobs? It seems like Oden could get 8 points a game just by either running to the hoop on pick and rolls like Tyson Chandler or just jumping up when the defenders turn their back like Howard does. I don’t get this, and like most things I don’t get, it pisses me off.

Is the Plaxico shooting himself story the least interesting sports story of the month or the whole year? I thought a long time to see if I could care less about this “saga” and decided I could not. I almost long for the days of daily Barbaro updates.

I’m sad that Rudy doesn’t just go with “Rudy” on his jersey like he does on the Spanish team.
Is it possible that Kevin Durant is the next Shareef Abdur-Rahim? Great talent, great stats, no Ws. I know his team sucks, but isn’t that partly the point? If he is all that, should they suck that bad? It is early, but I have seen him play a couple times and yet to be wowed.

Speaking of hyped phenoms, I think everyone who favored Rose over Beas is looking pretty smart. I have to say that B Easy is looking more and more like Glen Robinson every day and that’s not a good thing.

Is there something about the Arizona sun that makes basketball players stupid? First Marion was upset that he played in the most fun system with the game’s best PG that made him look 5 times better than he was and now Amare is in the same boat. Why? Because Shaq is playing well again and gets more attention? Because you want your name to be mentioned with Wade and LBJ and Kobe? Get over yourself. Amare will never be “the man” on a contender so long as he needs to be so badly. Also, no player that plays such bad D should be that mouthy. He’s like a middle class man’s Zach Randolph right now. You heard me.

Blazer fans seem to be stuck in a state of deep emotional dissonance. No one is real sure whether to be disappointed in Oden or patient but everyone seems determined to talk about the debate until we all reach consensus. The local sports radio idiots have been fueling the fire lately on their morning show as they alternate dissing Oden and then swearing they’ve been Oden fans from day 1 when he has a decent game the next night. I blame the Blazers for this. They half-heartedly told us we would have to be patient and then started “leaking” news out of practice that made Oden sound like he would immediately be Shaq and Hakeem rolled into one. The Blazer broadcast guys, KP, Nate, the assistant coaches and the players all did nothing but talk about how unstoppable he was. Then when he finally got on the court for the public to see he looked confused, slow, disinterested and generally the opposite of dominant. If we hadn’t had to suffer so many winks and wry smiles and promises of “just wait and see” we the fans would have been willing to give him time. But since we were told to expect Wilt, we expected Wilt. Instead we got a young Erick Dampier and were justifiably disappointed and irritated. Personally, I think Oden will be just fine and may still end up being great, maybe by the end of this year but more likely in the 2010-11 season. But that’s fine because this team doesn’t need “great” from Oden. So, I don’t blame Oden. I blame the Blazers. Either he is a different player in practice than he is in the games or everyone just got a little overly excited. Whatever the reason it has led to constant annoying chatter on local radio which is only now slowly being replaced by the equally hysterical fans calling for Roy to be named MVP right now. Come on. Can’t we just sit back and enjoy this ride?

I know that I can…at least now that I’ve gotten this off my chest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Your Portland Trailblazers

Ding Dong the witch is dead. D Miles is gone and the last of the foul stench that was the Jail Blazers has finally wafted away. Good ridance. Now we just have to hope that he doesn't sign elsewhere and play in 10 games (his money comes back on the cap if that happens). To memorialize the moment, I am posting some Blazers thoughts on my orphaned sports blog. Enjoy and feel free to note your agreement in the comments section.

Next year, the Blazers will need:

1. A starting lineup of:

PG - Jose Calderon - I'm a Jose Calderon fan and to a lesser degree an Andre Miller fan for this team, though it would be preferable to find a point that can actually shoot. Problem is there aren't many PGs in the league that are an upgrade over Blake and the ones that are could not be less available. The best PG who might be available is probably Baron Davis, but I don't think he fits with this team unless Nate could make him stop shooting 3s and I just don’t want him. So, I'm in favor of trading up to get Rose or trading the pick and pieces for Miller. But I think the best course of action is somehow to convince Toronto to part with Calderon. He is underrated and underutilized and somewhat tradeable for Toronto. Is there someone else who would be an upgrade that might be on the market? I don't want Arenas. I'm not sure Hinrich is an upgrade. It’s easy to say we need a better point guard, but making it happen is a different story. Good thing we had Telfair so we didn’t need to draft Paul.

SG - Roy - I still don't want him at the Point full time as it exposes his weaknesses (durability, speed) and limits his strengths (everything else), but I do want to see him at the point in the 4th quarter like Miami uses Wade when he's available. That brings into question how much you spend on a topflight PG if he might be on the bench during crunch time. Personally, I think you still go after the best PG you can and just try to find one who can shoot well enough to play off the ball.

SF - Hedo Turkoglu - Made a huge jump in production this year, but is still redundant of Lewis. They are about to find out that you can't win in the playoffs with two outside shooting small forwards and only your center left to rebound and bang inside. Hedo was actually better than Lewis this year, but Lewis is too expensive to move. I think Hedo is available for the right price. It is probably dreaming to think the Blazers could get both Calderon and Hedo, but it's worth a shot. He would be perfect for the Blazers. Good passer, spreads the floor, can actually be a playmaker on offense, isn't a prima donna, and has turned into a good closer. My one concern is Defense, but you can live with one guy on the floor who doesn't play much D especially when Oden is guarding the rim.

PF - Aldridge - I think he took a nice step forward this year, but he needs to get stronger and improve his rebounding. Still, he looks like he could occupy this spot for a decade.

C - Oden - Count me among those who don't think he will dominate this year, but could still be the difference in 5-10 wins.

2. A bench of:

PG – Blake – It wouldn’t kill me if he was the starter again so long as we had another shooter/scorer who could play in the 4th with Roy. Blake was good, but not great this year and while I think they need an upgrade here to go forward, I have no problem with Blake getting quality minutes off the bench. – Westbrook? – Of the draftable PGs without getting Rose, I like him the best – Taurean Green – Still don’t get why we traded him. Koponenenenen – Hopefully he’ll be ready for a few minutes here and there. Missing – Jack and Sergio – I was a huge Jack fan and while I still think he’s a solid NBA player, he is no longer looking like part of the future. He’s too much 2 and not enough 1 and not consistent enough. I still like him, but he’s a trade asset at this point. Sergio has no place on this team. Can’t shoot at all, can’t finish at the rim and can’t play D. Do we really want to put that on the floor just so we can see a sweet no look pass once every 4 turnovers? If the only way to get Rudy is to keep him, fine. But he gets no minutes and I would rather see what we could get for him…..don’t you think he would fit well with the Raptors uptempo style?.....hmmm….

SG – Say it with me now…Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! The Blazers sent a team over to Spain this week to try to convince him to come. He seems to hold it against Nate that Sergio sucks and he can make a ton more money over seas, but other than that, why wouldn’t he come? This is another test for KP. He found the talent, now he needs to land him. He immediately becomes the Blazer’s Manu. A 6th man that scores for the second unit and plays down the stretch for the first. He and Roy can both handle and the combination they could provide could be one of the league’s best. Not sure about Rudy’s D, but hopefully he can at least flop well. - Stephon Curry – Might he slide to the Blazers in the second? Who knows, but I’m thinking the Blazers look for someone like Curry or Eddie House who can come off the bench on any given night and go bezerk even if you know it won’t be every night. I also think Martel can play some 2. Missing – Von “illa” Wafer. Why is he on our team again? – J Jack – See above.

SF – Webster/Jones – I still like this combination of shooting. Webster gets better doing other things every year and we can just ride whoever is hot or healthy. You can’t have too much shooting and maybe Webster has to go to make some of the above referenced trades happen and if so, ok, but otherwise, I still think the kid can play and gets better every year. He is secretly one of the best dunkers on the team. I also think Roy, Aldridge and Rudy can potentially play some minutes here as needed. If we got Hedo, Outlaw might be a better change of pace fit off the bench, but he’s actually better at the 4 and should be the prime trade bait. Missing – Outlaw – I appreciate the effort and the improvement, but like Jack he is probably needed more as a trade piece than a building block.

PF – Joel Freeman? Josh McRoberts? I like both of those guys, but what the Blazers really need is a rebounder. Suddenly Frye is a rebounding machine for the first time in his life with Prz on the IR. Where was that earlier in the season? If he can keep that up he can stay. Otherwise, he needs to go. He needs to go because his minutes need to be given by an Oakley/Kurt Thomas/PJ Brown/ power rebounder type. I don’t know who else might be out there in the league or in the draft in the second round or if Freeman could be this guy, but I think he’s a bit short. Blazers need someone with size that can get 10 boards and hit an open 8 footer and put in some tip ins. Sometimes you can find guys like that in the second round. Bottom line, this is one of the biggest areas of need for the Blazers. They have to upgrade at the 4 off the bench.

C – Prz – If he plays like he did this year, he probably becomes the best backup center in the league. He can’t score, but he does everything else you want and should mean that we have some flexibility on the bench since his defense improves the team D so much. We could still use some more size here which is why Fry would be a good fit to stay if he is willing to rebound, but otherwise, a guy who could play some tough minutes at the 4 and 5 and score a little and grab rebounds is essential. We need the next Turiaf or Verajao. Surely we can find that guy somewhere.

So, the keys for the Blazers as I see them are:

1. an upgrade at the point, though you don’t sell your soul here because Blake is solid

2. an upgrade to the 4 off the bench

3. an upgrade at the 3. Need a consistent scorer with some versatility without breaking the bank. Jamison might also look good in red, black and white.

4. a healthy GO

5. A stateside Rudy.

If even most of that happens, the Blazers win 50 next year and get the 7th or maybe even the 6th seed. I can’t wait.

Friday, February 01, 2008

ROY

Roy is an All-Star. I could not be happier.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pippen

I'm planning to start posting here again now that I've got some professional changes handled. To start with I'm stealing a link from Henry Abbot's great work for Truehoop and espn.com about Dirk and Pippen.

I never really liked Pippen. There was the unforgiveable shoes incident in Chicago. There was the fighting with Barkley in Houston and then there was an inability to score or get a stop by one of the 50 best players all time in the fourth quarter of the 2000 WCF against the Lakers that I will never, ever forgive him for.

And now recently there is all the brutal things he said about guys he allegedly wnats to coach in Chicago. If he's not a jerk, he does a pretty good impression.

Anyway this is a link from some pretty interesting sounding German show where they matchup two celebs from different backgrounds and follow them around during a night out. This is Dirk and some musician I've never heard off. A little ways in Dirk says something like, "I was disappointed (by his then idol Pippen) because he's an arrogant A** like you would not believe."

Good stuff.

http://www.ballineurope.com/us-basketball/nba/through-the-night-with-dirk-nowitzki/#more-411

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More Yi

Following up on yesterday's post, I just found out that Yi will likely be left off the All-Star ballot. Apparently, the NBA is just as sure as I am about what would happen if he was. It seems a pretty transparent move given that high profile rookies generally make the ballot. I bet Durant will be on there. Yi is about as high profile as anyone and has actually been playing as well as any rookie, so leaving him off the ballow would make a statement.

I will be very curious to see the ballot because in years past there has been a place to write in votes. Is it really that hard to imagine half of the people who watched Yao v. Yi would write in Yi's name? If that happens, he will be a starter. I might have to come off my "it's an absolute lock" prediction, but I still think it will happen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yi

Just a quick comment about the Yi v. Yao game. By all estimates, this meaningless duel between two players who don't play the same position or anywhere near each other on the court, was one of if not the most televiewed sporting events of all time. Nearly as many people as live in the US saw a game that US basketball fans thought was more about TMac and Redd. I only bring this up because, as I've said before, I am going to laugh until I wet myself when Yi is averaging 12pts and 5 rebounds and is the leading vote getter for the Eastern Conference All-Star game. Not only will Yi, who is about the 6th best player on his own (which isn't any good) is not only the biggest lock ever to be voted in as a starter this year, but he is nearly certain to be the leading vote getter for the Eastern squad. Also expect Redd to enjoy the TMac effect and get a boost in voting.

When this happens, we will find something interesting out about the NBA. Will Stern flip the bird at American fans who have zero interest in watching Yi take up an all-star roster spot and hold the status quo in favor of expanding his empire into Asia? Or will this be the year we finally get some welcome changes to the way fan voting works?

Only time will tell, but Yi is going to get more votes than probably MVP KG this year and if that doesn't inspire change, nothing will.