Friday, November 09, 2007

Closing up shop

After 2 1/2 years and over 40,000 hits, Blazersblog is closing its doors.  Thank you for all of your support -- and GO BLAZERS.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BlazersBlog Featured On HoopsHype

Jorge over at has been running a feature entitled "Bloggers Corner", and he asked us - along with a few other blogs about the Blazers - to answer a few questions.  Enjoy.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance


I can't seem to get past #4.

My first post in two months, my triumphant return to the blog, and all I can produce is a gloomy, depressed "sigh". I keep, as you likely do as well, staring at the screen, reading the headline and looking at the picture of Greg Oden, hoping that it's not real. (Denial.) I haven't read the story yet because I know what it'll say: Portland's good luck turned bad, ridiculous comparisons to Sam Bowie, devastating news, etc. It's nothing that any of us don't already know, and it's not going to help to read it. We've already taken a hard punch to the stomach today; let's not exacerbate it. (Anger)

Portland's 2007-08 season which 4 hours ago seemed so promising will now have a cloud hanging over it. The development of our best and brightest player, our dominant monster who's going to lead us to the promise land, has been cut off; our hopes and dreams brutally sucked away; betrayed and stolen like a jealous wife discovering her best friend in bed with her spouse.

Please allow me to advise you to not talk yourself into any of this "he could be back by March and help the team push into the playoffs" nonsense -- I went through that phase about 10 minutes after finding out "the news", but it's fool's gold. (Bargaining.) I think we've all learned by now that it takes 12-18 months to fully recover from microsurgery. Do the names Zach Randolph or Amare Stoudamire ring a bell?

There is a silver lining, but you have to look awfully hard. For our own sanity, let's give it a try:
We still have a lot to look forward to for the Blazers' season. It's an exciting, talented young team which still has one of the brightest futures in the league. They won 32 games last year, and solely from the growth of Roy and Aldridge (not to mention having them for a full season), a potential step forward by any of Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez or Channing Frye, they've probably improved by 5 or 6 wins already. The team wasn't going to win a championship next year anyways. And you know what, we still have B-Roy, and we still have LaMarcus, who's probably ready to make The Leap.
But that Leap is going to be about 75% harder without The Big Fella patrolling the paint next to him. (Depression).

A few notes from the press conference:
  • The doctors performed a full microsurgery and it was successful
  • Oden will spend 6-8 weeks off of his leg; following that, he'll be out for the full season, 6-12 months
  • The club did MRI's on both of Oden's knees prior to the draft and they were "pristine"; even having the MRI results examined by three independent doctors
  • Going into the knee surgery, one of Portland's doctors speculated that a microfracture surgery might be necessary so it was not a total surprise
  • Greg and his mom said "sorry" to Kevin Pritchard probably "20 times" after coming out of surgery and finding out what needed to be done
  • "I can't underemphasize how bad he felt...because he feels that he's let us down."
  • The doctor who performed this surgery is the same guy who did Zach Randolph's microfracture
  • McMillan: "Certainly it's tough as it is, we have to move on. Injuries are a part of sports."
  • "This team is a long-term investment...we like the direction this team is going in; Greg Oden is a great addition and we'll just have to make that addition a little later than we hoped."
  • KP: "You never say never, but at this point in time, we don't expect him to come back at any point this season....we do expect him to fully recover but don't have a time table."
  • This doesn't open up a roster spot for Portland; Oden remains one of the 15 guys on the team's roster.
Putting aside the excruciating emotional trauma for a moment and trying to think technically, what could this mean for Portland's rotation? Obviously Joel Pryzbilla re-claims the starting center position, and LaMarcus Aldridge probably gets a little more burn at Center as well. Those two and Channing Frye will get the bulk of the frontcourt minutes, and likely one of Raef LaFrentz or Josh McRoberts will need to emerge as a reliable backup.

Who knows. I'm not quite sure what else to say. For crying out loud, Nate McMillan made comparisons to losing his mother two years ago. This is devastating news, and all of us in Blazer Nation are feeling a lot of pain today. Email us your thoughts and we'll post the best replies. Vent your heart out. I'm not ready to move on to "acceptance" yet, and neither should you.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oden Surgery

This is not good. Hopefully it's just a minor scope, but anytime your cornerstone center is having his first knee surgery before he's even played a game for you, you're allowed to worry. Here's the story from ESPN:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We May Have Something Here

Rudy Fernandez was named the FIBA European Player of the Year and he's still lighting it up for the Spanish National Team. It's entirely possible that he's the final piece of the puzzle at the small forward position and Pritchard knows it. Would it be all that surprising if they went into 2009 as the trendy pick to win the Title with this starting 5?

Chris Paul
Brandon Roy
Rudy Fernandez
LaMarcus Aldridge
Greg Oden

Considering their ages, their potential contract status at that time, and their games that appear to fit very well together, that could be a legitimate dynasty in the making.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm posting essentially on a weekly basis until camp starts and The Moderator is MIA at the moment. We'll be back to daily business here in about a month.

And yes, I've noticed how awesome Team USA looks. Carmelo is still awesome in that format, potentially the best player in the world at that sytle of game. Kobe's defense and Redd's snipering is the difference and could make them borderline unbeatable in China. I also still think Oden will be on this team when they head to the Far East.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tournament of the Americas

I'm bumping around the channel guide last night and to my surprise I found basketball, and real basketball at that. Needless to say I had to watch this incarnation of Team USA after their flop at the World Championship last year. They obliterated Venezuela, who should probably start Johan Santana at point guard, they'd certainly be better. The final was 112-69 and I did not make it to the end, they were up 44 in the third quarter and I figured that was that. I do have some thoughts on this version of the team (shocking).

  • Carmelo, LeBron, and Kobe do kind of look awkward on the floor together. I actually kind of wonder if LeBron is a good fit for this style of play. Carmelo clearly is, he's our best international player by a mile, and Kobe is just so dominant on both ends of the floor that he has to play. If LeBron can turn into the passer of the 3, then they could be almost unstoppable.
  • Kobe's defense is a serious upgrade, as is Tayshawn Prince coming off the bench.
  • I like Chris Paul as much as the next guy, but Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups are better for this style. They're much more in control and set up guys in the exact position to hit shots.
  • Michael Redd makes a huge difference, Team USA would be the world champions right now if they'd had him. You just simply can't sit back in a 2-3 zone with him on the floor. And when the back court is Billups, Kobe, Redd, they'll just destroy a 2-3 zone. Then when you come out of it Kobe just takes his guy for an easy bucket.
  • Greg Oden is going to be on this team next year. If Tyson Chandler is on it right now, then it's a no brainer Oden will be going to China. Plus they're going to need another athletic big man to play along side Howard against teams like Greece.

Some final scoring numbers: Carmelo had 17, Michael Redd 17, Kobe had 14, Amare 16, Dwight Howard 12, and LeBron had 11.

Update: How come nobody has told me about the sweetest bald spot in the league? Everyone knows Manu's is great, and it is, but apparently Michael Redd developed a great one over the summer. Wait till you see it, it's quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bring Out Your Dead

I assure you, we are sill alive. There's just not a lot going on right now, just kind of waiting for camp to start and things to pick up. Since we're all dying for some info, here's a few things I could find but none of it is really that shocking.

Ime Udoka is finalizing his deal with the Spurs. Should be a good fit, he's kind of a poor man's Bruce Bowen anyway.

Aldridge has left the Washington Generals portion of the US National Team scrimmages. Apparently he has some discomfort in his heel and is going to rest up for camp. I have a feeling Aldridge is going to lead the team in scoring and rebounding this season. I know Roy's the popular pick, but Aldridge could thrive with Oden getting all the attention. He's my pick to make The Leap this year.

Rudy Fernandez is tearing it up for the Spanish National Team over in Europe, putting up 16 and 7 in a 93-69 victory over Venezuela, which is odd because Venezuela is most definitely not in Europe. Sergio is also on that team, had a 6 points and an assist (hat tip to the Oregonian's Blazer Blog for that story).

And...that's about it. It's pretty dead around here. Football is on the TV again, baseball games are starting to feel a lot more tense, which means basketball season is right around the corner. Hang in there.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Western Conference Tier Trauma: Version 1.0

Below we have our first Western Conference Tier Trauma, pre-season edition.  As always, the teams are listed by grouping, and within the group in order.  We don't believe in true "rankings" around these parts, so we have teams set into four groups: Heavyweights (title contenders), Cruiserweights (very good teams who are still a player or some growth away), Middleweights (borderline playoff teams), and Lightweights (terrible teams).
Tier 1: The Heavyweights
San Antonio
All of last season, we assumed it would be a two-horse race to the finish: Dallas versus Phoenix.  But Dallas got upset in the first round, San Antonio beat Phoenix in the second round, and Utah ended up in the Western Conference Finals by default.  I still believe Phoenix and Dallas are the most talented teams, but until someone either knocks off San Antonio or they've shown themselves to take a big step backwards, they're still the favorites.
Tier 2: The Cruiserweights
I don't believe that Utah will repeat their performance from last year -- I don't even think they'll win the division -- but I've included them here because it's tough to deny how well they played at the end of last season.  They're a candidate for relegation so keep an eye on their first 20 games.  Houston and Denver on the other hand wouldn't surprise me to take "the leap" this year.  The Rockets stole Steve Francis, hired Rick Adelman, made a nifty little acquisition in Luis Scola, and are looking like a scary team this year.  I believe Bonzi Wells will do much better under Adelman than he did under Van Gundy, and with Yao's continued dominance (he was the best center in the NBA last year, and I can't believe this didn't get more pub) Houston could very well join the "big three".  Denver will probably win their division, and I don't think the loss of Steve Blake will hurt them that much.
Tier 3: The Middleweights
Golden State
LA Lakers
New Orleans
LA Clippers
One of the more interesting groups to watch.  Teams like Golden State, the Lakers, the Hornets, and the Blazers could win 45 games and contend for a 6-seed, or they could win 35 and be out of it by late February.  You'd be shocked how thin the line is between those two win totals. All of these teams are either extremely thin and carried by a few star players (Lakers, Hornets, Clippers) or young and blossoming teams who will be very strong in future years (Blazers, Grizz).  Frankly, I'm not quite sure what to make of the Warriors just yet.  I still like their team, but trading away Richardson was a huge mistake that I think will end up costing them big-time.  Two other quick notes: I created these rankings after the news that Elton Brand was going to be out at least 6 months, maybe 12, with an achilles tear, so the Clip got knocked severely for that.  Also, I'm not quite as high on the Blazers' win total for this coming year as many of you are.  I love this team in the future, but I think we've got one more year of non-playoffs before things really start looking sweet.  We'll obviously have more on that in the coming weeks.
Tier 4: The Lightweights
Three horrible teams.
That's it for now. 

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ho Ho Ho

If you had any doubts about what kind of impact Greg Oden has on the Blazers, look no further than the schedule in his rookie year. The schedule just came out this morning and the Blazers have a couple of marquee games on there.

They open the season in San Antonio on October 30th. That's right, the home of the Champs while they hang their banner and Oden's first game will be against Tim Duncan. Thanks for that.

They make their triumphant return to Christmas Day basketball. They will be the third game of the annual triple header, hosting the Sonics. You might notice that means Durant v Oden I will be quite the spectacle here in the Rose City.

Some other first impressions, San Antonio, Dallas twice, and a 4 team Eastern roadie in the first month of the season. Yikes. They have two 6 game home stands, one in December and one in late January/early February, and they have a monster roadie in January, 7 games in 10 days that goes Toronto, Jersey, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans.

If you're thinking playoff push in April, they got no favors handed to them. They play the Lakers twice, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix in 6 of their 8 April games.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dog Days

We've reached the down time portion of the off season, except in Boston apparently, where you just kind of sit around and wait for camp to open. Here are some notes from some various news sources that have been bouncing around in the last few days.

Oden will likely not play for Team USA this year. He's going to rest up and get ready for his rookie season. I think this is good for the Blazers obviously, Oden will have plenty of chances to play for Team USA down the road.

Kevin Pritchard recently told the Oregonian that the roster is set and us fans shouldn't expect any other major moves. That makes it all but certain that Outlaw or Jones will be the starting small forward on opening night, with Martell Webster being the long shot.

The Blazers are about one draft away from setting up their own team in Europe with all the players they've got stashed over there.

The Garnett deal is obviously good for the Blazers in the short term. They've moved to the third best team in their division, with the Sonics and Wolves being arguably the two worst teams in the Western Conference. I do kind of like the nucleus the Wolves are starting with, and with all their draft picks they kind of look like the Blazers two years ago.

As for the Celtics, in honor of The Donaghy, two days ago they were 100-1 to win the NBA Title, today they're 5-1. They were 75-1 to win the East and are now 5-2. That says about all you need to know about the deal from their end.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


One of the most fascinating, relatively new analysis methods for baseball players is judging players statistically against all players throughout the game's history and coming up with their most similar players. There's a couple of ways to go about it, the Baseball Prospectus runs theirs through a computer system called Pecota, and runs theirs through a system called "similarity scores". Pecota is based on projecting the future and similarity scores is based on what they've actually done so far. Well, as you might imagine, there is some ground breaking work being done on this front in basketball as well. If you'd like to know more about the method behind this madness, there's a link at the end of this that will explain it all. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the current Blazers roster and where their similarity scores lie, note that these are most similar at age and based solely on past performance, not projecting what they will be:

Brandon Roy: Jason Richardson (Ray Allen & Paul Pierce make an appearance on his list)
LaMarcus Aldridge: Michael Doleac (yikes, see disclaimer below)
Travis Outlaw: Michael Doleac (this isn't exactly going as I had planned)
Martell Webster: Marvin Williams
Jarett Jack: Joe Dumars
Joel Przybilla: John Salley (apparently we've entered the Detroit Pistons part of the program)
Steve Blake: Pearl Washington
James Jones: Kenny Walker (of former slam dunk champ fame)
Raef LaFrentz: Herb Williams (no idea)
Sergio Rodriguez: apparently not enough data
Channing Frye: Sharone Wright (and Michael Doleac making an appearance at #2)

Grain of Salt Disclaimer: Each of these contain 10 most similar players, I'm just putting out the #1 guy on the list. For example, LaMarcus also has Al Jefferson, Chaz Villanueva, and Vlade Divac on his. Basically for the younger guys it has a really wide range that could go either way. It would also appear that when they have a wide range they always throw Michael Doleac on there. He's got to be the most comparable player in the league just looking at this small sample size.

Overall, not all that surprising, a lot of young players that could still go either way but there's some real promise there. That's kind of the "firm grasp of the obvious" way to look at it. Then there's the Greg Oden factor. As we all know, he changes everything. The link explaining similarity scores is listed below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

70% (Updated to 57%)

Stories are starting to come out about the games a certain ref worked under the orders of Uncle Junior Soprano, apparently 70% of the games he refereed hit the over. That's astonishing. He should be indicted for that alone. If you hit 70% of anything gambling wise you're either a cheat or you built a time machine out of a Delorean and already know the outcome and are just losing enough not to get caught. I think point spreads would be a little tougher to fix from a ref's standpoint, but still certainly possible. The over/under would be extremely easy to fix though. It appears blatantly obvious that the 30% of the games they didn't hit the over were games that they weren't wagering on, obviously it's quite a red flag if games you're reffing happen to hit the over 100% of the time.

UPDATE: Appparently the numbers above are not entirely accurate. Here's an excerpt from's Wayne Drehs and his analysis of the subject:

"In the two seasons in which the FBI is investigating Donaghy for allegedly fixing games for gambling purposes, Bell found that NBA teams scored more points than Las Vegas expected (hitting the over) 57 percent of the time when Donaghy was part of the officiating crew. With a league average of 49 to 51 percent, the odds of such an occurrence are 19 to 1."

"When Bell analyzed the numbers from the two seasons before the two in question, he discovered that in games Donaghy officiated NBA teams scored more points than Vegas expected just 44 percent of the time."
"Although the 13 percent difference might not seem that jarring to the casual observer, it's jaw-dropping in the world of sports gambling. Bell said the odds of a 44 percent probability happening 57 percent of the time are about 1 in 1,000. "

I echo The Moderator's thoughts on this as well, I don't think this will destroy the league. Unless there were players and hordes of refs involved and this was the tip of the ice burg, then that might have a lasting effect. Baseball didn't suffer too much overall when the Pete Rose stuff was coming out, but it did when the 1919 Chicago White Sox threw the Series. That really hurt the game and until the Babe started doing his thing in the Bronx, baseball was on the ropes (note: there's obviously a lot more to this, but this is a basketball blog). It would be much worse if they found out the Dallas Mavericks threw the series against the Warriors.

Onto some Blazer related stuff, it would appear the mystery starting small forward for the Blazers is going to be James Jones or Travis Outlaw. I'm somewhat ok with this, Jones is a gunner and Outlaw is a slasher, they should complement each other well in a sort of baseball player platoon split kind of way. I get the feeling that they're just waiting for Fernandez to get over here after this season and then go with the run and gun style with Sergio, Roy, Fernandez, Aldridge, and Oden. Is it too soon to call Sergio and Rudy "The Spanish Armada"?

Does anyone else get totally fired up when they're driving on the freeway and see the giant Greg Oden jersey on the side of the Rose Garden?

Monday, July 23, 2007

(chirp, chirp)

That sound you don't hear are the crickets chirping away because nothing is going on with the Blazers. At least that we're privvy to. So let's catch up on a few other items around the league.

1. Ime Udoka. Nothing much has changed from Portland's perspective...he appears to be out. Portland doesn't have a roster spot for him and doesn't have much cap room, either. The most that Portland can/would give Ime would be a 2-year, $1.35 million per year deal with a team option for a third. A guy like Udoka doesn't get the chance to "cash in" very often, so he should - and likely will - receive more than $2.7 million in guaranteed money in whatever deal he signs. I'm not buying the three-year, $12 million that his agent is claiming, but I'm sure he'll end up with a $5 - $9 million deal at some point. He's a good guy, and I hope he gets paid. The Spurs and Grizzlies appear to be the most likely destinations right now.

2. Desmond Mason. It appears that he is going to sign a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, thank god. I say "thank god" because this means he won't be available to Portland. In fairness to Kevin Pritchard, he's never hinted that Desmond Mason is on his radar, and given all of KP's statistical analysis I highly doubt he'd be interested anyway. But the last thing the Blazers need is an on-the-downside player who relies on his athleticism and can't shoot.

3. Tim Donaghy. I won't expound any more on the situation than has already been said, other than to make two quick points. First, while we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of what will be exposed ...I'm just not buying the theory that this will have any sort of major effect on the league's popularity. The game and the league is bigger than all of this, and I suspect that once all is said and done - which , granted, may take awhile - the only real effect this will have is how closely the league monitors its officials. And second, I'm a little annoyed at the lack of depth in some of the coverage. For example, it was revevaled today that "20% of the games Donaghy officiated had the point spread move by two points, due to heavy action on one side of the wager." Fair enough... but how does that compare to other referees? What is the league average? Is that by far the most of any referee, or is it just near the top? We need more information before that number is useful.

Frankly, I find this whole thing more "funny" than "shocking"; it was only a matter of time until this happened. NBA officiating is terrible, and if this fiasco results in better on-court refereeing than perhaps it will all have been for the best.

4. Troy Hudson. Remember him? He's a crappy SG who supposedly plays great defense and shoots the ball well. Portland gave him a huge offer sheet three years ago when he was a restricted free agent - something like 5 years, $32 million - and the Wolves thankfully matched it to retain him. Since then, Hudson has averaged roughly 8 points, 1 rebound, and 2 assists per game while shooting 40% FG and 35% 3PT, with PER's of 12.38, 10.74, and 11.1. Well, the TWolves have had enough of that, and they're negotiating a buyout. I don't know what is more stupid -- giving him that offer in the first place, or matching it. But we should all give a big "thanks!" to Kevin McHale for matching that ridiculous deal, and be thankful that it wasn't us who got saddled with Hudson.

And finally, for those who haven't heard, Portland's pre-season schedule has been released:
  • Wed., Oct. 10, 7pm: Blazers vs L.A. Clippers, Rose Garden
  • Fri., Oct. 12, 6pm: Blazers at Denver, Coors Event Center Boulder, Colo.
  • Sun., Oct. 14, 11am: Blazers at Atlanta , Philips Arena
  • Fri., Oct. 19, 7pm: Blazers vs Sacramento, Rose Garden
  • Sun., Oct. 21, 6pm: Blazers at Sacramento, Arco Arena
  • Wed., Oct. 24, 7pm: Blazers vs Seattle, Rose Garden
  • Fri., Oct. 26, 7pm: Blazers vs Denver, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center
This guy is getting FIRED UP for the season to start. Let's go, Blazers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If Anyone Would Know, It's Him

Everyone listen up - Jamaal Magloire says the league has gotten soft!

"This league has changed a whole lot since I've been a rookie and a second-year player. It's gotten soft," proclaimed Magloire,

My question: is he talking about the seats on the end of the bench?

Magloire played about 20 minutes per game last year, averaging 6 rebounds and 3 fouls.  I can see why a guy who's lighting up the NBA like that would have those types of things to say.

The Blake Conundrum

I agree with my co-author in that Blake is far from the type of player who will elevate this team into "contender" status. But is that what Portland needs?

i wrote at the time of the signing that:

"I'm not convinced that Jarrett Jack is a long-term solution at PG for a playoff-caliber team...but I'm also not quite sure what has changed about Steve Blake since the last time he was here. I think that averaging 6 assists per game while being the only pass-first player playing next to a couple of mad gunners like Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony isn't that impressive."

But thinking a little more about this, and taking a closer look at the numbers, it's starting to make a little more sense. Blake piloted a pretty good team last year -- the Nuggets went something like 15-7 (Editor's note: it was actually 16-6) to finish the year once everyone got healthy and acclimated to each other, and they gave San Antonio their toughest playoff series of the playoffs. And I keep going back to the fact that with Roy, Aldridge, and Oden, you just need role players to fill the gaps -- and Blake is that type of role player. Plus, since it's a three year deal, he's basically here to help facilitate the transition from "young guys with promise" into "bad ass conteders". We don't need him to take us to the next level; we need him to play well while our studs mature.

Also, his 6 assists/2 turnover averages was in 22 minutes per game, so if he plays 30 , you can probably give him 8 assists per game. Do you know how many players averaged 8 assists per game last year? Five. Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Chris Paul, and Derron Williams. And check out Blake's April numbers. He played 30.1 minutes per game and averaged 7.7 assists. In February, he played 35 minutes per game, and averaged 8.4 assists per game. Denver was a better offensive team last year, averaging 105.4 points per game (third in the NBA), than Portland will be this year so we can't expect the same amount of production purely based on the fact that he won't have as many possessions to generate those assists. But given what Portland needs right now, given what we're paying for Blake, and given the flexibility it gives our roster both from a trading perspective and an on-court perspective, I've gone from "optimistic but wondering why" to "fully in favor" of this signing.