Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Four Things I've Learned Today

Not much concrete info flowing around Blazerland today, just a few tidbits and rumors. Getting right to the chase, here's what we've gathered in terms of current Blazer updates:

1. John Lucas Was Portland's Top Coaching Choice

And he turned the job down, pulling out of consideration for "personal reasons". What the hell is going on here. There are two things wrong with this scenario ... 1. Portland's top choice being a former retread coach who, despite being a really good guy (he works as a drug counselor in Atlanta), hasn't done much to merit another head-coaching stint. 2. That he turned it down. I'm upset that Portland would invest so much interest in a second-tier candidate, but I don't even know where to start with the fact that he pulled out. This distresses me on multiple levels.

2. There Are Three Remaining Candidates Left

And I'd guess the three left are Dwayne Casey, Marc Iavaroni and Nate McMillan. Why the obsession with Seattle's coaching staff? Casey would be a fantastic candidate, but everyone I've spoken with expects him to be offered the Minnesota job this week. Which leaves Iavaroni and McMillan. Iavaroni we've covered here before ... he's a bright young NBA mind, comes from a successful background and has done a wonderful job with Amare Stoudemire ... but Nate McMillan? Why, lord, do you bait our foolish GM with such silly lures? McMillan "wasn't known as Seattle's X's and O's guy", he was more of a player's coach who built his reputation on relationships. The guy was ready to get fired prior to this season. He's another Mo Cheeks!! Haven't we tried this before?

3. Gerald Green Probably Isn't Coming to Portland

After Portland requested that he come work out, his agent's reply was "only if there aren't any other players around". Which essentially means that all the team would get to do is watch him run around and shoot jumpers. And they're supposed to drop a top-ten pick on this guy based on that? After seeing tape of his high school games? No thanks. Proven college players can get away with that request much more than High School guys. Unsurprisingly, the team's response was "then don't bother coming". In some additional good news, it's becoming nearly a lock that Andrew Bogut and Marv Williams are getting drafted 1-2, meaning it's increasingly likely that Portland's best opportunity is trading its pick to a team interested in Chris Paul.

4. Phil Jackson is Returning to the Lakers

Yawn. They're still a crappy team.

Around the League
  • Chad Ford's latest draft has Marvin Williams getting drafted #1, with Andrew Bogut going #2. This got me thinking: any chane that Bogut slides further than that? With Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Danny Granger and now Fran Vasquez (an impressive spanish power forward) impressing clubs at an alarming rate, it's not out of the realm of possibilities to see Bogut slide down into the 4-7 range. I can tell you that if I were an NBA GM, he'd be about 11th on my list. Nonetheless, pay attention to June 19th -- that's the day Williams brings his act to Milwaukee for a private workout and likely unseeds Bogut at the top.
  • Dwayne Casey will be a great hire for the T-wolves. Casey's worked with Gary Payton extensively which will help him in reigning in Sam Cassell, and any hire that Minnesota makes will have KG's blessing. I still don't understand the firing of Saunders, but they're doing a nice job replacing him if Casey is indeed the choice.
  • Rumors have Charlotte willing to trade the #5 and #13 pick for the #2 pick, but not for the #3 pick. What's the difference? Chris Paul is the end result either way. With Williams likely going #1 and the Bobcats already having Emeka Okafor, they sure aren't taking Bogut.
  • I really hope the Knicks waste a first round pick on Channing Frye. He'll be an undersized center in the NBA, and will drive an already atrocious train-wreck of a team even farther down.
  • Rashad McCants seems to be the toughest guy to figure out in terms of this draft. Each team that works him out acknowledges he's a top-ten talent player, but his checkered past has caused him to fall out of the lottery. Whoever does grab him will get tremendous value on their pick. Would it shock anyone if the Pacers, Nuggets or Grizzlies snatched him up between 17 and 20? All have sharp GM's known for shrewd moves such as that.
  • It's rumored that Phil Jackson has requested specific personnel changes prior to agreeing to become the new Lakers coach. The team as constructed now is mediocre at best; you can bet that Jackson is pushing for the club to deal for some size. Chris Mihm was better than expected last year, but you aren't winning much with him as your starting center. Might they dangle Lamar Odom? It makes the most sense.
  • Finally, a Blazer note. If Portland does end up trading down into the 5-10 range, I'd love to see them pick up Danny Granger. He's a Shawn Marion clone, and would be a perfect addition to a starting lineup of Telfair, Randolph, and Pryzbilla in two years. Granted it doesn't solve their shooting guard problems, but it makes Darius Miles expendable, which is starting to look like a good thing.

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