Thursday, June 22, 2006


I know it's been a while, so I figured I'd post a few of the email questions I have received since returning from the dark recesses of non-Blazerdom.

So, where have you been for the last six months?
-Philly Cheese, Portland

I don't think enough of you really care that much about my personal life so I'll spare you the details. Long story short: very busy, and very frustrated with the Blazers. We all have lots going on; it's tough to find time to write about a team you have no respect for. That's starting the change a little. Firing John Nash -- while purely superficial on management's part -- was a start. Let's call that "Part 1". Getting the ownership situation resolved will be Part 2, and hiring a real GM will be Part 3. So I guess my returning to the blog would be Part 1.5 ... right in between Nash's firing and the ownership resolution.

Why are we supposed to believe that you won't blog for a year and then bail again, like last time?
-(Also Philly Cheese in Portland)

Fair question. I've now got a partner who is co-authoring this blog with me. You'll be hearing from him within the next few days. Between the two of us, we should be able to scratch out enough time and energy to keep you, and us, entertained and up to date on the goings-on of the Blazers.

Which of Portland's three point guards do you think they should keep?
-Mike, Tigard

Sebastian Telfair and Jarrett Jack. I firmly believe this. Steve Blake is a nice guard, he'd be a decent second-string guy for most teams. I hate to say it because Blake played so well at times last year, but he's probably hindering the growth of Telfair and Jack (soon to possibly be "Jack and Telfair") at this point. Honestly, what does another year of Steve Blake get us? 35 wins instead of 32? I'd rather see Telfair and Jack both get 20+ minutes per night so we can really see what kind of players these guys are.

Who do you expect will be on the board when Portland makes their draft pick? By the way, I hate bloggers who only post sporadically. Thanks for that.
-Brian, SoCal

First of all, I expet at least one trade involving the top-4 picks. Whether that's Portland moving up or another team moving in, there will be some movement. I will say this: my personal preference for Portland's draft goes like yay -- 1. Morrison, 2. Aldridge, 3. Bargnani. I don't think Brandon Roy would be a good fit because we've already got our 2-guard of the future in Webster. Drafting Roy would put us dangerously close to the Atlanta Hawk patented "draft the same position in the top 10 every year" method, and you can see how it's worked out for them. I don't think Tyrus Thomas would be a good fit because we don't need another project and he seems to have a poor attitude. I'm not a big Rudy Gay fan either; he seems to be bursting with talent but lacking the drive to use it properly, and last I checked we already had a starting small forward with that same problem. We'll get into more details once my new partner and I unleash our official Draft Preview in the coming week or so, but there's a rough idea for you.

Who did you REALLY think would win the nba championship? I bet you picked the Mavs, and don't lie about it.
-Terry, Portland

Yes, I picked the Mavs. And to make things worse, I picked them to win in six games. I think they are a fun team to watch and I love the way they play. I also think Mark Cuban -- while probably a tool in real life -- is absolutely terriffic for the NBA, and I'm jealous of Maverick fans that they get to have an owner like that. I wish he'd buy the Oakland A's and move them to Portland. But you know what? If you could give me the choice of either team's roster, I'd take Dallas in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact, if they played the series all over again and started next week with game 1, I'd STILL pick the Mavs. I do believe they are a better, deeper team than Miami and I consider Miami's championship to be slightly flukey.

Heard any good jokes lately?

Yes I have.

What past successful NBA team would you most compare the Heat to? Bill Simmons says the 1980's Showtime Lakers, but I'm not buying it. If anything, the Heat are built like the Spurs only the dyslexic version. They rely more on the penetrating guard than the dominant low post guy, but still it's a center that you have to double no matter what and a drive to the rim 2 guard that are the keys to the teams, along with a number of really average role players that all bring at least one skill to the table.
-Mark, Portland

I was thinking the early/mid-90's Seattle Sonics. One superb guard that runs the entire offense, one dominant big man, and a few decent role players around them. Although Shawn "Fat Man"Kemp in his heyday was more of an above the rim player than a plodding down-low big man like Shaq, he was still a DARN good post-up player. A lot of people forget this.

Got any decent news for us upon your return? Any scoops or updates that we haven't heard yet?
-Matt, San Francisco

I do not, but I do have a good read for you. DraftExpress' Paul Gearan has a fantastic article up here entitled "Predicting NBA Draft Sucess And Failure through Historical Trends". He measures the five-year success rates of different on-court positions, different pick numbers, etc, and it's quite fascinating. I won't give everything away, but here's a sample: players chosen in the top 7 picks have a 70% success rate of becoming either a solid starter or a star player in their first five years. Picks 8-15 drop to 43%, and anything in the second half of the first round is under 25%. Just something for you to chew on while you think about the value of Portland's two late picks. But give the article a read, that's just the tip of the iceberg and you'll enjoy it.


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