I'm finally back from my holiday travel so prepare for an epic run of posting through the end of the season. Feel free to skip down to the Season Status/PER check if you want to read Blazers stuff, but I need to have one of my freak outs here for a minute, totally unbasketball related. Alaska Airlines, which I typically love, had a solid F- performance in my travels this week. There was a 5 hour delay on my flight while 4 other flights had no problem making the perilous journey from Oakland to Portland. Ordinarily this type of thing doesn't bother me a whole lot, but Oakland International Airport is a disaster on every level imaginable. That has to be the worst airport on the planet (and yes I know the whole "what do you expect, it's Oakland?" thing applies). There's like 8 gates total, 1 bar with roughly 6 tables and a tiny tv over the bar, and 50,000 people trying to get in there. Bad times, bad times all around. I don't think people appreciate PDX enough, fantastic airport compared to others around the country.
Well, now I feel better. The Blazers sit 13-18, 4th in their division and ahead of only the Hornets, Sonics, and Griz in the West, that Philly loss at home stings. Still, it's hard to call the first two months anything but a success overall. The PER check, and remember 15 is the league average:
The Marcus: 15.37. Somehow he's on Nate's shit list and there doesn't appear to be any reason for it other than some vague comments from time to time. He's the team's best center and he's racking up one DNP-Coach's Decision after another. This vexes me, I'm terribly vexed.
Dan Dickau: 8.75. He's still on the team? I need some verification.
Johnny Dixon: 10.88. I am not a Dixon fan. He shoots too much, misses way too much, is a dreadful passer and defender and he's one of Nate's favorite guys. This upsets me but not as much as the Aldridge Situation (this needs a full post and will get one shortly).
Jarrett Jack: 16.23. I think it's safe for you jersey wearers out there to buy a Jack #1, he's going to be around for a long time. Just a rock solid NBA point guard, looks like a young Chauncey Billups to me.
Raef LaFrentz: Incomplete. We'll see how he progresses, he hasn't played enough to generate a reliable PER. I think he's useful off the bench.
The All Star: 10.38. He's freaking garbage. His last 3 years have been 12.91, 11.16, and now he's at 10.38 and logging heavy minutes off the bench over Aldridge and he's not even close to being as good as Aldridge is right now. Again, there's a long, insult laced tirade coming on this in a day or two, trust me.
Travis Outlaw: 15.39. Far better than I expected, and anyone who said they expected this type of performance is lying through their teeth. Finally starting to show off some of that potential he was drafted with.
Joel Przybilla: 8.75. Everyone loves The Captain, and he's played better lately, but I can't give him a free pass, he's been shitty. Any team actually playing to win or building for the future would have him coming off the bench and starting...forget it.
Z-bo: 26.36. Just an animal this year. He's a no doubt all star this year and if it was based purely off merit he'd be the starting power forward. He's been nothing less than the best power forward in the NBA this year. He obliterated a very good defensive Utah front line last night for 34 and 13 and it didn't even surprise me. He may actually be worth that max contract.
Sergio Rodriguez: 15.28. Can't shoot at all, but a terrific looking passer and ball handler. I don't think we're going to be needing any point guards in the draft or in free agency for a long time. We've got two very good ones, and that's not even counting the next guy on the list...
Brandon Roy: 15.53. The Savior is back in the lineup, but not quite as amazing as he started off the year. That foot/heel/ankle injury is going to bother him all year, but I like the way they've gone about it. Get him in there for an average of about 25-30 minutes a night, don't abuse him, but let him get this first season out of the way, then clean up whatever is going on in there. He's the leader of this franchise already, and with this year of experience under his belt, he should be a force next year, I see a possible playoff team next year with Jack, Roy, Z-bo, and Aldridge leading the way (please, if there's a God, let Durant be the final name in that starting 5).
Ime Udoka: 12.01. It's very hard not to like Udoka, he's basically Ruben Patterson without all the bullshit. He doesn't think he's a star, only shoots when he's open or has an open lane, dives for balls on the floor, plays good defense, etc. I think he might be a Blazer and a fan favorite for the next three to five years. However, he needs to be an energy guy off the bench, the team still lacks a quality small forward.
Martell Webster: 11.38. I'm done with Martell. I've tried to be patient, but this guy just isn't a building block for the future of this franchise, no matter what Subterfuge Stevie says. He sucks. He might be a nice bench sniper at some point in his career but he needs to be traded along with The All Star or Miles' contract before everyone else realizes that he's pretty much useless.
One final note, Ducks 13-0, will probably be 14-0 and facing the #1 UCLA Bruins in The Pit on Saturday. I will be in the fetal position all day. The Pac 10 is a monster this year, I'm not going overboard with the Ducks right now, I think they finish 10-8 in conference, 22-8 overall, and grab a 6 seed in the Big Dance.
Happy New Year everybody, Go Blazers and Go Ducks.