Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"I Respectfully Request To Not Fully Agree, Sir."

I don’t “disagree” with the Martell take ... I simply don’t fully agree with it.  

Call me Sweden.

Alright, I am not saying that Martell Webster is “a good player” right now. Clearly he is not. At all.  What I think is that for a high school player who goes straight to the NBA, the first 2+ years are a "pass".  Plain and simple.   And if you’re talking about a PG, the first 3 years are a pass.  I believe you should see marked improvement in year 3 for most players, and I won’t yet go into “bust” or “panic” mode until we’re halfway through the player’s third year and he hasn’t shown much progress.  We’re 2/3 of the way through Martell’s second year; he’s played 119 games that don’t include cheerleaders with braces.  I’m willing to be a bit more patient.

I will admit that the lack of improvement is concerning. You could make the argument that the same stats on a better team is an improvement, but that is really only applicable to counting stats like PPG, RPG, etc. --  not shooting percent.  So while it is "concerning", I am not ready to count him out yet.

Hey – you gotta give him this, his defense has improved. Instead of "total abomination” he's merely "bad".

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

February PER Update

Seeing as how we're going to attempt to move past these last two games as quickly as possible, the monthly PER Report, with February now officially in the books. As always, 15 is the league average, and in alphabetical order:

LaMarcus Aldridge: 14.54. Slipped a bit as the season has gone on but it's obvious to everyone that he's the best center on the team. His jumper looks stunningly like Sheed's, and it's not that hard to see their comparisons in overall style of play, except The Marcus isn't a raving lunatic.

Dan Dickau: 10.08. The fact that I even have to discuss him is Nate's fault. When Sergio was on the shelf then Dickau had to play, now that Sergio is healthy Dickau should be warming the end of the bench. He stinks, but he's not been a complete disaster at times. How's that for a review of his play?

Jarrett Jack: 15.55. I go back and forth on Jarrett all the time. Sometimes I think he's the future, sometimes I think he's great trade bait when Sergio is fully ready to play 35 a night. Jarrett is a solid NBA point guard though, that much is clear.

Freddie Jones and Raef LaFrentz: Incomplete.

The All Star: 11.05. Clearly he's been better since his early season numbers, hovering around the 5 range. He still sucks, but he's necessary now with Joel's injury.

Travis Outlaw: 14.90. He also qualifies as an enigma for me. Sometimes I think he's great, sometimes I think he's terrible. That's pretty much how he plays. I think he's the most likely to be dealt this off season in some sort of package for a real starting SF.

Joel: Mercifully this season might be over for him. I like Joel, I won't bother ripping a guy who's had a lost season due to various injuries.

Z-bo: 22.72. It's been dropping a bit as the season has worn on, but I could make a case that he's getting better. He's taking fewer shots and being more effective. It does appear that he's wearing down a bit, his style has a tendency to do that over 80 games of bludgeoning people in the key.

Sergio: 16.42. Now that he's healthy, he has to play 20 minutes a night minimum to see what exactly we have going into the off season plans.

Brandon Roy: 17.49. I suppose we could talk about the comedy aspect that he's now referred to almost exclusively by his full name, they should just put "Brandonroy" on his jersey. The one budding superstar in the league that doesn't have a silly nickname. What else can we talk about? He's awesome, he's been awesome, we all know this.

Ime Udoka: 12.11. Solid player, would be a GREAT 15-20 minute energy guy at the 3 behind a really good starter (like Rashard Lewis). Good story, should be a Blazer for at least the next 3-5 years. Just don't get crazy with that contract extension down there guys.

Martell Webster: 9.88. Alright, I have to say it because nobody else will...he stinks. He's the worst on the roster, not including Joel and LaFrentz who have been hurt all year. I know he's a good guy, but he's just not a good player. He's terrible on defense, he floats on offense, and for a supposed sniper, 35.7% from downtown is piss poor. The only reason Travis is higher on my list of dudes that could be gone in a package this off season is because he has some tangible value that people want. Martell I get the feeling everyone pretty much knows by now that he's a passive sniper that can't really shoot all that well.

Bad Times

It was fun while it lasted. I suppose I should be thankful that they didn't drag this thing out and keep me on the edge of my seat, but it would have been nice if it lasted longer than a week. How can you beat the Jazz and the Lakers, not only beat but look like clearly the better team in both games, and then go out and lose to the Griz and the Sonics back to back after closing to within a couple games of the 8 spot? That's a disaster.

Last night's game up in Seattle might have been the worst effort I've seen in a while from this bunch that, to their credit, brings it almost every night. Last night was not one of those nights. At least I hope it was just a glaring lack of hustle and effort, because if the game plan was to let Rashard Lewis shoot wide open jumpers from 5 feet and out, that's not good. Oh, and Ray Allen can shoot too, might want to guard him.

I also caught Quick's pre-game notes on The Fan and if you haven't heard the news, Joel is scheduled for another MRI later this week and it's certainly possible that he's done for the year. That means a lot more playing time for The All Star, bad times, but probably kicks The Marcus up to about 25 a night as well, which is nice. The Marcus was the one guy out there that looked like he gave a crap last night, 12 points and 8 boards in 26 minutes. Freddy made his debut as well, he hustled and did some nice things out there but he didn't come into the game until they were down 20 and I was pretty much catatonic by that point. One thing's for sure, if Brandon Roy and Z-bo are going to combine to go 8 for 26 from the floor and 1 for 2 from the line, they're going to get blown out.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Q&A with RaptorsHQ

Late last week, your faithful moderator participated in a Q&A with Adam over at RaptorsHQ, one of the better Raptor blogs out there. What transpired is below. I'll include his questions and answers first, followed by the questions he asked me.

1. Why did Toronto make this deal? Purely to get out of Freddy's contract, or were they specifically looking for an off-the-bench shooter?
I think there were two main factors at work here in terms of why Toronto made the deal.
First of all, he simply wasn't performing up to expectations. After a solid pre-season in which he won the starting 2-guard spot and looked to be the slashing guard Toronto so desired, Jones stopped stopped getting to the rim and started shooting an inordinate amount of perimeter shots considering his accuracy from long-range. (This was extremely frustrating since 1) Jones' is such a great free-throw shooter that even drawing three shooting fouls a game would give Toronto an extra six points on their final score and 2) Toronto fans had just gone through this "I'd rather shoot jump-shots" situation with Vince Carter.) In any event, the jump-shots he was settling for weren't going in, and Jones found himself seated firmly on the pine.
Once it became obvious that Mo Pete and even Joey Graham had passed him on the depth chart, it made sense to move Jones considering the size of his contract and how unlikely it was that he'd regain much playing time. Therefore it was factor A which then led to factor B.
As for looking for an off-the-bench shooter, I don't think that was primarily what Colangelo had set out to do. I think he was simply looking to rid himself of Jones' contract after realizing that the former Duck just wasn't a good fit for the Raps, and would take what he could get in return.
2. When Freddy was first signed, what was the general reaction?
Interesting question as many may remember how the Raptors had originally courted John Salmons before he left Toronto hanging dry and moved on to Sacramento. Therefore fans were overjoyed that Toronto could get someone to take Salmons' place, let alone an athlete like Jones, and many believed that Freddie was an even better option than Salmons in the first place!
3. Did you watch Freddy at Indiana, and do you think the reason he couldn't match the production he gave there was because his skills had changed or deteriorated or he wasn't working as hard, or because the Raptors' system and personnel didn't go with his game?
I watched Jones a lot at Indiana and while I prefered Salmons over him, I did really think he could have a breakout year with the Raps. The Pacers played such a "slow-down, half-court, get the ball to O'Neal" style that I thought he'd excel under Raptors' coach Sam Mitchell's up and down approach. On top of this, I didn't feel he got the minutes that he needed in Indiana to be effective so it seemed like Freddie and the Raptors would be a perfect fit. However Toronto's offence changed about 10 games into the season and I think that yes, the change in system did have an effect on Jones' game. It seemed like he no longer knew his role in the offense and this is about when he started settling for jump-shots instead of driving the ball to the rim. And being that he's hardly Ray Allen from the perimeter, when his jump-shots (even open ones) stopped falling, he seemed to lose his confidence. Therefore I don't think his skillset deteriorated or that he stopped working hard, (believe me, Sam Mitchell gives Joey Graham enough grief so we would have heard if he was having issues with Freddie in that respect) I mainly think he just lost his place in the offence and this affected his confidence. However I'd also like to add that I think we all over-valued him when he arrived in Toronto. Whereas upon his signing I viewed him as a great sixth man in the league, I reaslitically think he's more suited to be an eigth or ninth guy on a good team.
4. Did he play the "2" exclusively, or did he play any SF?
Yes, Jones played the 2 almost exclusively for Toronto although did act on occasion as a 2/1 handling the ball in pre-season.

Now, the questions I answered.

1. Why did Portland make this deal?
Several reasons:
-Portland has needed some good PR in the worst way. The club bringing back a former University of Oregon star in Fred Jones makes everyone happy; even if he is a backup at best.
-Dixon wasn't bringing a whole lot to the table this year. People talk about him being a "good shooter", but in 131 games with Portland he shot 43% from the field and 37% from 3pt. That's a decent enough three point shot, but not "great". -Dixon didn't have a long-term future with the team. He's a liability on defense because of his size, and with Brandon Roy and Martell Webster, Portland already has it's 2-guard of the future and its shooting specialist of the future.
-This allows Brandon Roy to slide over to PG and not have a liability on defense next to him.
-Throw in Freddy's commitment to not pick up the player option and the "future considerations", and it became a no-brainer.
-And, you can't talk about Freddy without mentioning his athleticism. A few crowd-pleasing throwdowns certainly won't hurt Rose Garden attendence.

2. Why wasn't Dixon fitting into the Blazers regular rotation?
Last year and the first half of this year, Portland needed someone to fill minutes while the youngsters matured. That's just not the case anymore. With Brandon Roy being ready to start full-time right now, Dixon became a bench player. And with Sergio Rodriguez taking over the backup PG position, you simply can't play Rodriguez and Dixon together; they're both too undersized. Add to that Martell Webster's slow maturation into being ready to be a bench player, and Nate McMillan's continuing emphasis on defense, and Dixon just didn't have a role. Portland has been trying to establish a regular rotation all season, and Rodriguez, Webster, Travis Outlaw and LaMarcus Aldridge all need more minutes off the bench at this point.

3. Will Fred Jones be a better fit with Portland?
Probably a little bit. There's going to be a monthlong-or-so honeymoon period with him, purely because he is a former Oregon Duck star. (I'm a U of Oregon alum myself, and I'm fairly giddy to see him in a Portland uniform. At Fred's press conference yesterday, he was saying things like "I used to lay in my room at night when I was a kid and dream about playing for Portland" and "I just can't wipe the smile off my face, I'm so happy to be here, and this team is going to get 110% of everything I've got.") I think the addition of Freddy sort of turns Portland from a 9-man rotation to a 10-man rotation, and I see him getting about 10-15 minutes per night off the bench, backing up Brandon Roy at the 2-guard and playing the "3" in the small lineup. Nate McMillan rewards players who work hard, and it sounds like Fred's going to do that. Honestly, you could make the argument that Portland has gone from one mediocre backup SG to another, but we're still excited about it.

4. What can Juan Dixon bring to the Raptors?
I may sound down on Dixon, but he does have some value. For a long period of time in Portland he was the starting 2, which won't be a problem for you guys, but that's too much for him to handle. He's a guy who you can tell right away if he's "on" that night, and should be used as a shooter off the bench. He can provide some decent three-point shooting to relax the defense a little off of your inside guys when he's on. But he doesn't add much beyond that; he's a mediocre passer, a decent ballhandler, and a poor defender. I'll say this, he isn't afraid to put it up, hot or cold. We called him "Stop Shooting Juan" for awhile there last seson, but he did hit some big shots. And, he's a great character guy. I think he has had some terrible trajedies in his life that he has overcome (drug-addicted mother growing up, father died young, etc).

5. If he doesn't get minutes, will that be a problem?
Not at all. To Juan's credit, he's been jerked around a little bit in Portland -- losing minutes to younger players, sporadic playing time, seldomly defined role, etc -- and has handled it very well with very minimal complaining. I think going to a team like Toronto who's in the thick of a playoff race will be good for him, he's a very solid guy who will just enjoy the competition.

Spreadpredictor: Game 4

We both whiffed on the Blazers-Grizzlies game, and I didn’t see the game but apparently the team played like garbage. Moving on, the Blazers are getting 6.5 points tonight at Seattle, a line which I feel is utterly preposterous.

Portland @ Seattle
Line: Portland +6.5

Moderator (1-2): “I like Portland and the points. I even like Portland to win the game outright, and to prove this, I put my money where my mouth is. (Literally. Check my bodog account.)”

Lochi (1-2): "Blazers. Still pissed about the Memphis game. Freddy is going to posterize Rid.”

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Slightly More Technical Look At The Fred Jones Deal

There are two things that I need to get out of the way before we get to the meat and potatoes here.  

1. I have never felt that Juan Dixon was bringing a whole lot to the team.  His +/- was ranked 11th, his defense is poor, and I have never understood the “he’s a good shooter” angle.  In 131 games with Portland, he shot 43% from the field and 37% from three point.  That’s a good shooter?  No, that’s nothing special.  His career averages are 41% from the field and 34% from 3pt.  Again, that’s nothing special, if not below league-average.  His PER is 11.43, far below league average.  I’ll grant him this, he ate up a bunch of minutes at a relatively cheap salary which I’m ashamed to admit Portland has needed the past few seasons.

2. I am an Oregon Duck alumni with close ties to the Althletic Department, and have very fond memories of Freddy Jones.
 Or “Fred” Jones, as he’s apparently known by now.  I am a few years younger than my co-author and was a few years older than Freddy at U of O, but he was one of the rocks of Oregon basketball’s heydey and I’ve seen him play live more times than I can count.  I am realistic about his skills but nonetheless excited to have him on Portland’s roster.

Now a few notes about the trade:

- I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that thinks “don’t we already have Freddy on the roster?  His name is Travis Outlaw.”  But they play different positions, so I suppose you can get by with two uber-athletic streaky players in the same rotation. Freddy got a chance to start for several games two years ago after the Artest/Pistons brawl and put up some good numbers.  But he’s never been consistent.

- However, I like what Freddy brings to the team.  It’s clear that he’ll be a part of the second line along with Sergio, Webster, Outlaw and LaMarcus.  There’s not a lot of defense there, but that’s four legitimate threats running the break.  I worry a little about Freddy and Webster’s dual abilities to disappear, and there will be nights when that lineup gets abused like a blowup doll at a bachelor party, but they’ll be fun to watch.

- Freddy’s defense is nothing spectacular, but it’s an upgrade over Juan Dixon.  He’s bigger and stronger, and you don’t have to worry about your backcourt being waaay too small like you did with Juan.  This also allows Roy to slide over and play some PG without having a defensive liability alongside him in the backcourt.

- Freddy is listed as a “G/F”, but he will definitely play the “2” in Portland.  Let’s get that out of the way right now.  A byproduct of this is that any backup minutes that Martell Webster was getting at the “2” will probably go away; he’s going to primarily play as a “3” for at least this season.  And speaking of Martell Webster, if Darius Miles does indeed come back next season, I don’t see where Webster would get minutes.

- Throwing in that Freddy committed to not excercising his player option in 2 seasons AND that Portland gets future considerations, and this deal just keeps looking better and better.

I’ll be participating in a Q&A session with the guys over at RaptorsHQ, one of the Toronto Raptor blogs, to share thoughts as well and will let you know when they post it.



Spreadpredictor: Game 3

We’ve got a tie; both participants are 1-1.  For the first time since this contest began, however, we have an agreement.  Which is probably a bad thing.

Tonight’s game: Portland vs Memphis
Spread: Portland –4.5

Moderator (1-1): “Blazers.  Yes, Mike Miller scored 45 on Golden State two nights ago.  But this is a bad team, and one of few games that Portland should and will control from tipoff to the final whistle.”

Lochi (1-1): “Blazers.  Obviously I’m feeling about as high on them as I have in a long, long time.  Over/under on Freddy’s first dunk: 2 minutes into the second quarter..“

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The 1 Minute Michael Arrives

The Blazers just acquired Freddy Jones from the Raptors for Johnny Dixon. Needless to say, I'm downright giddy right now. The thought crossed my mind to take the rest of the afternoon off and celebrate with a bottle of bubbly. It's no secret that I really don't like Dixon, what many of you don't know is that one of my all time favorite players is Freddy Jones. I thought about titling this post "Freddy Jones and Me" but The Other Guy is certain to have his thoughts on the deal as well and that didn't seem accurate. Anyway, let's get started.

I was at the U of O in the mid 90's, Freddy Jones arrived my senior year and a guy I knew who followed high school basketball was absolutely thrilled with this development. He had stated that he was going to alter the course of college basketball at Oregon. I was obviously 21 years old at the time and thought nothing of the reigning 2 time Oregon high school player of the year. I had heard he was super athletic and thought this might be fun, seeing as how at the time I believe the Ducks had 1 player who could dunk, Jersey Curry.

The first game of the season (I think it was Fresno State), about halfway through the first half he came streaking down the side and took off, we stood on the floor in the first row underneath the basket when I was at school. They used to let us stand about 2 feet from the baseline. Freddy took off and it was like time had stopped, he was outside of the key when he went airborne and threw down the most thundering tomahawk dunk I've ever seen. The crowd at first didn't even cheer but gave the a shriek, it wasn't even your typical "oooooh", then...pandemonium. We had our new hero.

The rest of his freshmen year was filled with some dunks that spread across campus like urban legend. He also got trash talked by Jason Terry into missing two free throws with only a couple seconds left on the clock that could have beaten Top 5 ranked Arizona. I still hate Jason Terry to this day.

Unfortunately, the next couple years for Freddy went this same way. He'd have a few dunks that were like throwing chum in the water for sharks, we ate it up, and every once in a while he'd fire down a couple 3's in back to back possessions and we'd think we had something. He'd then disappear for the rest of the game. He was glossed "The 1 Minute Michael" due to his 1 minute on the floor that resembled His Airness and the other 29 minutes that resembled a guy who was just out for an evening jog.

Then his senior year came. He had a dynamic point guard in Luke Ridnour, a solid do everything wing in Luke Jackson, and everything finally clicked. They started running and gunning, Luke with the crazy floor vision started finding Freddy for an aerial assault of dunks, and he'd drive and dish and he'd be wide open for 3 pointers. He was dominant. The crowning moment, or so I thought, was just obliterating Arizona down in the desert. The Ducks were up 28, Freddy steals, outlets to Ridnour who takes it straight to the basket on the break, only he doesn't lay it in, he goes off the backboard for a two handed dunk that basically sent every Duck fan into a state of Nirvana.

They won the Pac 10, locked up a 2 seed, and then crushed Montana in round one of the Big Dance. Then came Wake Forest, a rugged ACC team that pushed the Ducks around for much of the night. With about 10 minutes to go, they'd fought their way back and were just looking for that momentum boost, enter Freddy. He took a missed jumper for a follow 2 handed slam that you could see on the looks of every Wake player had just stunned them. Like a Tyson uppercut, that was ballgame.

Following that game came the sweet 16 matchup, early foul trouble, 2 points all night, tie game and last shot time against Texas. It was clear out for Freddy time. Freddy hit a little floater to send the Ducks to the Elite 8 and there was dogpiling in a bar in NW Portland. Alas, they lost to Kansas two days later and Freddy's career at Oregon was over.

I still talk to my buddies about what it would be like to have Freddy or one of the Lukes here playing for the Blazers. Well, Freddy is coming. I'll put my money where my mouth is, I will be buying tickets for some games to close out this season, and I will love every moment of it. I don't know who's responsible for this, Subterfuge Stevie, Dwight K Shrute Pritchard, doesn't matter. You are on my cool list at the moment. Freddy Jones is a Portland Trailblazer. Just made my day.


From (

Blazers agree to send Dixon to Raptors for Jones

The Portland Trail Blazers and Raptors have agreed in principle on a trade sending Juan Dixon to Toronto for Fred Jones in a swap of backup guards, ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher reported.

Dixon, 28, in his fifth NBA season, is averaging 8.9 points per game for the Blazers. Jones, also in his fifth year, is averaging 7.6 points.

Trade Deadline Delicousness - Vol 3

This morning’s buzz:
  • Kidd to the Lakers is looking all but dead. New Jersey doesn’t like what LA is offering, and so the Lakers are trying to acquire another piece.
  • Vince Carter is not looking like he will get dealt, although if he did, the Clippers are a potential destination, with Shuan Livingston involved in the deal.
  • More Bibby/Cleveland rumors are floating.
  • The Bulls are looking at a Bonzi Wells / Michael Sweetney deal.
  • Detroit is also looking to acquire Bonzi Wells, perhaps for Dale Davis, and they're dangling Flip Murray out there too.
  • The Dallas Mavericks like PJ Brown and have discussed a minor deal to add him; perhaps for Jerry Stackhouse.
  • Speaking of Dallas, they made a minor deal today, sending PG Anthony Johnson to the Hawks for a second-round pick this year. To quote Chad Ford: "Hawks fans you can rest easy ... after passing on Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo and Marcus Williams and overpaying Speedy Claxton ... the Hawks have finally solved their point guard woes."
  • Portland reportedly offered Juan Dixon to the Warriors for Michael Pietrus (would have been a fantastic deal for Portland) but were predictably turned down.
  • Minnesota is trying hard to move Mike James’ contract, and Houston is a possibility.
  • Marc Stein over at ESPN is saying that the Bulls are looking at Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and that the Sonics aren’t dealing Rashard Lewis or Ray Allen.
We’ll keep you posted on anything else we hear. The deadline is noon PST.

Remain Calm...

Relax, take a deep breath, 26 games to go and the Blazers are 2.5 games out of a playoff spot and just beat the Jazz and Lakers in a back to back, pretty convincingly too. The final scores weren't as close as the games were in the last 5 minutes. Let's put some of the cards on the table as we take a look at this thing, I'm sure The Other Guy will have a full schedule analysis of all the teams and an odds report soon. Here are some things to consider, in handy dandy bullet format.

  • They are 2.5 games behind the Warriors, who have a comical 6-20 record, and the NOOCH.
  • They are 2 games behind the Wolves and the Clip.
  • They are 1 game behind the Kings.
  • The most difficult part of it is obviously the 5 teams to climb over, but it should also be noted that in the loss column they are 3 games behind all 5.
  • The Trade Deadline could throw this whole thing into a bigger mess than it already is. The Clip could deal Maggette, the Kings could deal Bibby, and the Wolves could deal anyone including KG. I think the NOOCH is the most dangerous with Chris Paul back.

And finally, it has to be noted that the Blazers are playing better basketball than they have in years and now have a stretch of games that goes like this: Memphis, at Seattle, Charlotte, Sacramento, San Antonio, and Golden State. 5 home games and the only roadie up to face the Sonics. 5-1 would put them 29-33 and probably has them within a game of the 8 spot with 20 games to play. They also have Seattle twice more at home, Memphis again at home, the Knicks and Hawks on the road, the Clip once at each place, and Warriors at home. Remain calm...all is well.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trade Deadline Delicousness - Vol 2

Some random low-flying rumors I’m hearing:

  • The Knicks are exploring a possible Vince Carter trade.
  • Carter is expected to opt-out of his contract this offseason, regardless of whether he’s dealt or not.
  • It’s looking more and more like Mike Bibby is definitely getting dealt, and the Cavs could be a player.
  • Clyde Drexler may participate in “Dancing With The Stars” next year (oh, clyde ...).
  • If Portland doesn’t trade Magloire, they may waive him in early March.
  • Same goes for Seattle and Danny Fortson. Another big man that nobody really seems to want, including his current club.
  • Minnesota is all but certain to trade Mike James, and a three-way deal involving the Cavs and Kings (where Bibby ends up in Cleveland and James in Sacramento as his replacement) is being discussed.
  • My contact at the Clippers doesn’t think Maggette will be dealt.
  • The Jazz are trying to add a significant piece, and are dangling Gordan Giricek, Rafael Araujo, and Ronnie Brewer.
  • I’m hearing a few Juan Dixon to Detroit rumors.
  • Not a trade rumor, but a free-agent rumor ... Former first round pick Julius Hodge, a player my co-author really liked prior to the ‘06 draft, was released earlier this year by the Milwuakee Bucks and could be one of the first non-roster players signed following Thursday’s trade deadline by a team with an open roster spot.

Spreadpredictor: Game 2

Your fearless Moderator correctly predicted Portland’s big win last night, while the other guy — the one who gives you his name, which he is no doubt regretting due to the fact that writing this blog creates a papparazi frenzy outside your home — didn’t do so well.  It’s 1-0 Moderator, and folks get used to that.  

Tonight’s game pits Portland against the hated Lakers; a next-day road game after home game against a team who had the previous night off, the classic gambling trap.  Vegas realizes this, and the line is Portland +10.  The caveat here is that there’s a slight chance LA pulls off a Jason Kidd trade today and ships out 4 players; if that’s the case then all bets are off.

Tonight’s game: Portland @ LAL
Spread: Portland +10

Moderator (1-0): “Tough call, but I think the Lakers will cover this — assuming they’ve got their full roster.  They’re just a better team and I don’t like Portland playing this game on the road after a real tough win last night.”

Lochi (0-1): “Blazers.  Really liked the way they played last night, Lakers have lost 5 in a row and one of their better players hurt his shoulder auditioning for a role in Blades of Glory.“

Trade Winds A'Blowin

Screw the intro paragraph, let’s get right to it.

1. Pau Gasol  

If you’re the Bulls, would you give two of the Deng/Gordon/Heinrich/Nocioni foursome to get Gasol?

I sure as hell do.  Supposedly the hang-up is that Chicago will only give one of them away.  Personally, I don’t see why The Grizz aren’t demanding Ty Thomas.  I’d want Thomas and Deng and the rest could be cap filler.  Add Gasol’s low-post scoring to Ben Wallace’s defense, Nocioni’s scoring, and Heinrich and Gordon, and you’ve got the best team in the East.  I do predict that Gasol gets dealt today or tomorrow, though it may not end up being Chicago.

2. Jason Kidd

Don’t see him getting dealt.  The Lakers offering what essentially amounts to Jordan Farmar and a bunch of crap doesn’t get New Jersey anywhere.  Kidd would be a perfect addition to the Cavs, but I played around with the trade machine and couldn’t find anything that made sense for New Jersey.  

3. Cory Maggette

Another guy I don’t see getting moved.  He’s got too much talent and (ironically) has too much of an economical deal to make a trade worth it.  I’ve heard some rumors about Jazz throwing a couple of young players and some cap filler LA’s way, but that doesn’t make enough sense either.  I’d love to see him in Portland by the way; a shooting small forward who plays defense and is signed reasonably?  Where do I sign up for that.

4. Jamaal Magloire

Yes, I believe Portland will move him.  Despite what we’ve heard coming out of the front office (gasp! The Blazer front office not being forthcoming?  Shocking), I have it on very good authority that Patterson and Pritchard fully intend on trading Maglorie but are holding out for either a first-round pick, or a young asset that comes along with an expiring deal.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tonight's Ramblings Presented by IPA

It's hard to watch a game like that and not be excited. They just beat the Utah Jazz a few minutes ago, and despite The Other Guy's opinion, they're a good team. True, they may be the modern day equivalent of the Red Army Team, but they're good none the less. Let's run through some high points from tonight's game shall we? And yes, I've powered through about 6 beers.

Brandon Roy, how is it possible that he keeps getting better? 27 points, 20 in the second half (game was tied at halftime), and I can't quite believe this, but he's making The Leap right now. I figured it would be next year before he started pouring in 25 a night on average and flat out taking over in the second half. Well, it's here, enjoy.

Z-bo, please, someone, I don't care if it's the ghost form of Obi Wan Kenobi, but please convince Zach that if he just takes under 20 shots a night, crashes the boards, and passes out of double teams that this team can be a serious threat for a long time with him, Brandon, Sergio, and Aldridge. How's that for a drunken run on sentence? If it makes no sense, slam a couple beers and it will, trust me. Let's just say that 22 points on 18 shots to go along with 12 boards makes me happy.

Ime Udoka. It takes a big man to admit when he was wrong, I am not a big man. I still think he's best suited for a 15-20 minute a night energy guy, but damn was he good tonight. 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, but more importantly held AK-47 to 5 points, 6 boards, 0 assists, 0 steals, and 1 block. Outstanding work Ime.

Nate McMillan. Simply put, The Marcus (who apparently the radio team is calling "LA", now THAT's funny), 27 minutes. The Captain 19 minutes for a grand total of 46 minutes at the center position. I have no idea if that shitpig Magloire was traded in between the time I left work, hit happy hour, and caught the second half of the game, but not seeing him on the floor made me happy.

Thus ends the slightly buzzed rant for tonight. I will not discuss the free throw shooting, Travis Outlaw, or the officiating in this game, they won, they beat a good team. I'm happy. Time for bed, more coherent thoughts tomorrow I assure you.

If The Playoffs Started Today

This would be what the bracket looked like.


(1) Dallas vs (8) Minnesota
(4) San Antonio vs (5) Houston

(2) Phoenix vs (7) Denver
(3) Utah vs (6) Lakers


(1) Detroit vs (8) Miami
(4) Toronto vs (5) Indiana

(2) Cleveland vs (7) Orlando
(3) Washington vs (6) Chicago

-The three division leaders in the West hold 8.5, 9, and 10 game leads.  Oy.
-Who do you think would be favored in that Utah-Lakers series?
-Would you rather be the 3-seed and face the Lakers, or the 4-seed and face the Rockets?  Tough call.
-Better question, would you rather be the 6-seed and face Utah, or the 5-seed and face the Spurs?
-This shows you how important that Lakers/Nuggets  battle for the 6-seed is.  Phoenix instead of Utah?  I’d be climbing all over myself to get that extra spot.
-As for the East, I see it as Detroit and then one big clusterf**k.  You could take any of those 2-8 seeds and jumble them all up (and with a 4.5 game difference between then, it just may happen).  I’d bet that teams will be going all-out to avoid the 8 and 4 seeds, though, to postpone a potential Detroit series.

A New Little Game: Spreadpredictor

As you may or may not know, we here at Blazersblog enjoy our fair share of gambling.  One of us has even been known to refer to a craps table as “The ATM”.  And with our beloved Fire-Starters not looking likely to make the playoffs, or make a solid run at them, we’re starting something new here for this first game of the preseason: your two authors will be predicting Blazer games against the spread, monitoring the progress, and tracking each one’s performance.  You’ll get a sentence or two of explanation as well.  NOTE: these predictions are made independently, hence there may some comment overlap.

Tonight’s game: Utah @ Portland
Spread: Portland –1

Moderator (0-0): “Tough call, but I like Portland for a couple of reasons.   They’re playing at home and Zbo will be on a mission to prove he deserved the All-Star nod over Mehmet Okur.”
Lochi (0-0): Utah.  “Portland giving points to a team that’s 35-17 is just a blatant error by the oddsmakers.  I would have to forgo my long standing rule of never wagering against your own team if I was in the state of Nevada today. “

28 Days

Only 28 games remain in the season for the Blazers, a surprising turnaround year, certainly progress, but we'll save the overall review for the end of the season. Right now let's address some of the key issues in the last 28 games of the year.

22-32, 4th in the division, technically 5 games in the loss column out of the 8th playoff spot. Obviously they aren't making the playoffs, but they should focus on finishing ahead of the Sonics. Baby steps. They have a home heavy March schedule, I don't think it's unreasonable to think they can go 14-14 to close this thing out, 36-46, far exceeding expectations and trendy pick for the playoffs next year.

The trade deadline. In order, most likely to get dealt: Johnny Dixon, The All Star, Travis Outlaw. I could see Outlaw or Webster packaged with one of the other two get something of value. Some obvious guys we like here at the Blazers Blog, Corey Maggette, Rashard Lewis, Luol Deng, and Mike Miller.

Draft position. Hollinger covered it a few weeks ago, but there is really not a major mathematical difference once you get past the first 5 picks. They're not going to get there, might as well just win as many games and keep us fans and the good vibes flowing. They should end up in that 8-10 range (Chase Budinger warning).

Playing time. Time to really settle in on the rotation instead of just throwing shit against the wall like they have all season long. It's time for The Foundation to play a lot of minutes together (Sergio, Roy, Aldridge).

Brandon Roy's coronation as the Rookie of the Year. Foregone conclusion.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More Magloire: Who Needs a Big Man?

Big man for sale! Big man for sale! Expiring-contract-big-man for sale!

Why on earth would any team want Jamaal Magloire? He’s expensive, and he kind of sucks.

Okay he just sucks.

I’ll tell you why: because he’s a large human being. Granted, when your only discernable skill is your physical stature, that’s not necessarily the most flattering compliment. However in the world of athletics, its frequently enough to make you very wealthy. Anyhow, there are four teams I see who are:
-Likely playoff teams
-In need of a big man

Given that a team acquiring Magloire makes no promises of his existence on their team past these next 30 games + playoffs, I disagree with Mr. Sheridan that it will be difficult to trade Magloire. Those four teams: New Jersey, Toronto, San Antonio and Washington. Let’s go team-by-team:

New Jersey
Why they need Magloire: they lost their starting center for the season, and their depth chart at the position currently reads: Mikki Moore, Jason Collins, Mile Illic. More like Ill-ouch! Thank you, thank you , be here all week.
Trades that work under the CBA: Juan Dixon, a draft pick, and Jamaal Magloire for Richard Jefferson. (I’m just saying.)

Why they need Magloire: I covered this my last post. They have no backup C to speak of.
Trades that work under the CBA: Magloire for Morris Petersen & Kris Humphries. Magloire and Juan Dixon for Morris Petersen, Kris Humphries, Freddy Jones, and either PJ Tucker or Pape Sow.

San Antonio
Why they need Magloire: Their backup PF and top two C’s are: Robert Horry, Fabricio Oberto, Francisco Elson. They are rumored to be acquiring Melvin Ely in today which may help them here.
Trades that work under the CBA: Brent Barry and Matt Bonner for Magloire. Brent Barry and Fabricio Oberto for Magloire. Brent Barry and Jackie Butler for Magloire.

Why they need Magloire: They’ve got a shot at a top-4 seed, and their backup PF is Darius Songaila. Their two centers – Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas – get in fights about, oh, five times per year, and they’re both on par with Magloire talent-wise.
Trades that work under the CBA: Unfortunately, both Thomas and Haywood have four years remaining on their contracts, so Portland wouldn’t want either of them. Hence, it would need to be a three-way: Magloire to Washington, Etan Thomas and Michael Ruffin to Toronto, Morris Petersen and Kris Humphries to Portland.

There’s a few ideas to chew on for now. If you come up with any good ones, email them to us at and we’ll post them here.

Looking Ahead: Next Year's Minutes

Thinking ahead to next season, what do the Blazers really need? Where might there be available minutes to be had?

Rather than screw around with the 5 positions, let’s go back to our age-old proven recipe of “guards”, “wings” and “bigs”. Looking at the situation from a very high level, here’s how I see the minute requirement next year:

Jack – 30
Roy – 30
Rodriguez – 20

Webster – 25
Outlaw – 25
Udoka - 15

Randolph – 35
Pryzbilla – 20
Aldridge – 25

Bear in mind that there are 240 minutes available in an NBA game (5 players * 48 minutes). The above totals get us to 225 minutes. You can say that players like Pryzbilla, Aldridge, Webster and Roy deserve more than what they’ve been allotted above, but I think once you look at the season-long average, this is what you’ll see. Assume for argument’s sake that the above is accurate. Where do the remaining 15 minutes come from? Clearly, you need more than an 9-man rotation over the course of an NBA season, and the above assessment doesn’t even take Darius Miles, Raef LaFrentz, or Portland’s likely-top-10 pick into account. Clearly the team is light in the “wings” department, as I don’t consider either of those three players to be a legitimate NBA starter yet. I think what it boils down to is that we’ll probably be okay with the existing players at Guard and Bigs, but Portland could use another Wing. Whether that comes through the draft or this year’s trade deadline remains to be seen.

Chris Sheridan Posts a Blazer Trade Rumor

From Chris Sheridan at

We know the most popular Portland trade chip to be run through the rumor mill this season has been Jamaal Magloire, but Insider is hearing that Portland is now "begging" teams to take the former All-Star off their hands. Magloire's $8.3 million contract expires at the end of this season, but big expiring contracts clearly aren't nearly the valuable commodities they were in recent years.  That's why we're listing Dixon as the likeliest member of the Blazers to be shipped out. Don't be surprised if he goes to Toronto for Fred Jones.”

A few bizarre items here.  First of all, that Portland is “begging” teams to take Magloire off their hands.  I’m not quite sure I buy this.  Portland can’t be “begging” teams to take him; they can let his contract expire and have no future commitment.  Worst case scenario is that he’s gone and they get nothing in return, which actually isn’t THAT bad of a scenario — we’ve got enough guys who need minutes already, more on this later.  Secondly, Sheridan intimates that the value of an expiring contract isn’t what it used to be.  I’m a bit unclear why that would be the case?  We have a fairly strong free agent class this coming summer, and cap room isn’t any less valuable than it once was.  Thirdly, we’ve speculated before that Portland could get into the Fred Jones mix for a number of reasons, and if they could land Jones straight up for Dixon (a trade that works under the current cap rules, by the way), that would be a very nice play for Portland.  Add Fred Jones to a starting lineup of Rodriguez, Roy, Zbo and Pryzbilla, and you’ve got a nice mix of ballhandling, shooting, athleticism and post play.  Jones has only 1 more year on his contract, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

What’s really bizarre to me is that Toronto is a perfect spot for Magloire to land.  Looking at the Raps' roster, they break down like this-

PG: TJ Ford, Jose Calderon
SG: Anthony Parker, Mo-Pete, Fred Jones
SF: Garbajosa, Mo-Pete, Joey Graham
PF: Bosh, Bargnani
C: Nesterovic, Garbajosa  (yes, their starting SF is their backup C)

So clearly they have plenty depth at wing, with Parker, Pete, Jones, Garbajosa (a good rookie who's underrated) to deal for Magloire, who would fill a role at backup C that they clearly need.  A straight-up Morris Petersen for Magloire trade doesn’t work, and Toronto probably wouldn’t do it anyway, but both teams have enough spare parts to make a deal work.

Magloire Memorial All Star

If I told you there were these two players, which one would you say is the more likely All Star?

Player A: 18.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 18.66 PER

Player B: 24.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 22.99 PER

Keeping in mind that they play the same position, if I tried to make an argument that Player A was a more deserving All Star than Player B everyone would laugh me out of the room. Well, Player A, Mehmet Okur is now an All Star and Player B, Zach Randolph is not. That is completely ridiculous. I was ok with the whole Dirk, KG, Duncan thing, clearly they are better and you can't have an All Star Game without those guys, but Mehmet Okur? Would you trade Randolph straight up for Mehmet Okur? No, of course not.

Emperor Stern essentially gave the bird to the Blazers twice with his recent All Star reserve selections. Presumably Okur was selected because the Jazz are good, but then he selected Ray Allen off the Sonics, who have one of the5-7 teams that are considerably worse than the Blazers. Thanks for that.

Anyway, I'm in a silver lining type mood this morning, so maybe it's a good thing that Zach isn't going to the All Star Game. Look, he's had a great year, but Zach in Las Vegas unchaperoned for 4 days is a BAD idea. Needless to say I'm not too concerned with Brandon Roy being there. He'll probably walk up to a craps table all cool and calm-like and roll an hour's worth of 6's and 8's, thank everyone, and stroll away.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Glossary of Terms

The Blazers Blog Glossary of Terms, it's been a long time in the making, mostly due to general laziness, but here it is. The list will continue to expand at all times, hopefully The Other Guy (more on this in a minute) will figure out a way to link to it over on the right hand side. Some of these are ours, some are from elsewhere just to clear things up. Starting with some of the more relevant and current terms:

The All Star: Jamaal Magloire, when he was acquired by the Blazers every newspaper report, press conference, and still most of the time it seems as if the Blazers broadcast team is being strictly told to refer to him as "All Star Center Jamaal Magloire".

The Marcus: LaMarcus Aldridge, just translating his name to make things easier on everyone.

Johnny Dixon: See LaMarcus Aldridge.

Subterfuge Stevie: Steve Patterson, Blazer GM, President, Emperor, whatever he's calling himself, might as well name himself the King of Scotland while he's at it. Anyway, not our favorite guy and the only one to be on this list twice, he likes to bully people and whenever a story broke that was not positive in nature he liked to say that the story was "filled with subterfuge and innuendo." Then of course within the next couple days it comes out that the story was true and it's just Stevie that's a liar and a jerk.

Pulling a PatterNash: The systematic destruction of a franchise. Patterson and Nash took over the franchise, proceeded to end the 22 straight playoff years, and took them to the worst record in the league in just 3 years, fairly impressive really. Some in Boston might call this "Pulling an Ainge" at this point.

Martell Person: Basically just Martell Webster but since he plays exactly like Wes Person, only younger, he's been called this from time to time.

The Other Guy: The nameless Moderator of this board, and no he's not me.

The Savior: Brandon Roy, looks to be the one to lead us out of the dark times, our first truly elite perimeter player since Drexler.

Spanish Chocolate, Spanish Fly, Spanish Magician: Sergio Rodriguez, basically pick a nickname that starts with "Spanish" and you've got him. I almost think we should call him the Spanish Deon Sanders or the Spanish Apollo Creed because of this development, could happen.

Flo Hartenstein Status: When a player is a token starter, although he only plays the first 6 minutes of the game. Also has duel meaning, can refer to when a player plays 20+ minutes while collecting 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, and 0 turnovers. Basically out for an evening jog.

Mo Mo The Clown: Former coach of the Blazers, Mo Cheeks, who was without a doubt the worst basketball coach I've ever seen. No plays on offense, no adjustments on defense, botched 2 for 1's, no time outs ever at the end of the games, just dreadful in every way. However, he was a great guy, famously saved that little girl when she was choking the Anthem, which got him another two years on his contract. I wish I made that up.

Kevin Shrute Pritchard: During the corporate restructuring that somehow ended up with Subterfuge Stevie naming himself GM, he elevated Pritchard to Assistant to the General Manager, or like Dwight K. Shrute, Assistant to the Regional Manager. Can also be listed as "Kevin Pritchard, ARM"

I'll Sue: Refers to whoever got punked in a fight, goes back to when Ha got hit by one of our random Euro's a few years back, yelled "I'll Sue, I'll Sue" at him, and then proceeded to go get a stick and chase him around with it.

PER: Player Efficiency Rating, stat created by John Hollinger, now over at, judging every player against everyone else at his position individually on their overall efficiency.

Vulcan: Not our term, just seems like a good time to point out that the owner of the team and multi-billionaire, Paul Allen, named the company that handles his finances after the planet that Spock is from.

Agent Zero: Gilbert Arenas, complete raving lunatic, one of our favorite players in the league.

NOOCH: The New Orleans Oklahoma City Hornets

The Black Mamba: Kobe, everyone should know this.

Bullets: The one true name of the Washington franchise, they are not referred to as anything other than the Washington Bullets on this site.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sub Zero

Nice payback there Gilbert. Agent Zero went a sizzling 3 for 15 from the floor, 0 for 8 from downtown, and scored only 9 points as his Bullets took a pretty solid ass kicking at the hands of our boys this morning out in DC. The Blazers win puts them 2-0 on this roadie leading up to the all star break, and also gives them 22 wins on the season, 1 better than last year with 30 games to play.

The Marcus had 18 and 10, Jarrett Jack and Ime Udoka hassled Arenas all day, or so it sounds like. I should apologize to Blazer management (first time for everything I guess), it was ABC's broadcasting rights for the NBA that prohibited the game from being on today.

This week should be entertaining, the long awaited Blazers Blog Glossary of Terms will be rolled out, as will a look at the impending trade deadline and what the Blazers could/should do.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Digging Deeper: Blazer Lineup Statistics

Thanks to the good people over at, we can look at a variety of non-traditional NBA statistics. Today, we’ll focus on Portland’s most effective 5-man lineups; who’s played the most, who’s been most effective, etc.

Portland has four sets of five-man lineups that have played more than any others. They are as follows:

1. Jack-Roy-Udoka-Randolph-Pryziblla. (304 total minutes have been played with this lineup)
2. Jack-Udoka-Webster-Randolph-Pryzbilla. (138 minutes)
3. Jack-Roy-Udoka-Randolph-Aldridge. (83 minutes)
4. Jack-Udoka-Webster-Randolph-Aldridge. (77 minutes)

Following those four, you then have 9 more lineups that have played between 42-49 minutes. Before we dive too deep, let’s ask a question: has the number of lineups that Porltand has used been abnormally large? Let’s use 40 minutes as a cutoff point. Portland has used 13 total lineups that total 40 minutes or more together. How does that compare to other Western Conference teams?

Let’s look at the top four teams in the West:

Dallas: 8 lineups
Phoenix: 13 lineups
San Antonio: 12 lineups
Lakers: 10 lineups
(average = 10.75)

And now, the bottom four teams (excluding Portland):

Memphis: 10 lineups
Seattle: 11 lineups
Sacramento: 10 lineups
New Orleans: 12 lineups
(average = 10.75)

What does that mean? Absolultey nothing. Which was the point. Good teams don't necessarily play a fewer amount of lineups together, despite what many hack sportswriters would like you to think. So, while Portland may be a touch on the high side, they certainly aren’t grossly so. And considering that they’ve suffered more injuries than most teams to-date this season, that’s to be expected.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, and we know Portland’s top-5 most played lineups, which are the most effective? For one thing, let’s define “effective”. We can look at the top-5 lineups by total overall +/-, but that’s partially a counting stat in that two equally effective lineups will have different overall +/- depending on total time played. Hence, I propose we measure effectiveness by “win%”. Meaning, how frequently did that lineup outscore their opponent during the segments they were on the floor?

Here are Portland’s top 5-man lineups, their W-L and %, followed by total minutes played and rank. We’re only considering lineups that have played a total of 40 minutes or more together, so the rank is out of 13. (Bear in mind that Portland is playing at a .400 winning % as a team right now, so that’s the mid-point.)

1. Rodriguez-Dixon-Webster-LaFrentz-Magloire, 5-2, 71%, 42 minutes, #13
2. Jack-Udoka-Webster-Randolph-Pryzbilla, 7-3, 70%, 138 min, #2
3. Jack-Udoka-Webster-Randolph-Magloire, 4-2, 67%, 49 min, #6
4. (tie) Jack-Dixon-Udoka-Randolph-Magloire, 6-6, 45 min, #10
Jack-Dixon-Webster-Outlaw-Magloire, 6-6, 50%, 43 min, #11
5. Jack-Roy-Udoka-Randolph-Aldridge, 5-7, 42%, 83 min, #3
6. Jack-Roy-Udoka-Randolph-Pryzbilla, 8-12, 40%, 304 min, #1

I extended it out to #6 so you could see where the top lineup ranked.

Interesting. We should keep in mind one key thing: the starters, or #’s 2, 5 and 6 in the above rankings, always play against the other team’s best players, so they’re starting out at an immediate handicap. With that in mind, several items jump out:

-the lineup that Nate has used is playing right on par with the team’s win%. Not that that should be a shock to anyone, but worth noting: as those guys go, so goes the team.
-the small sample size of the top-rated lineup must be taken into consideration. No doubt they’d regress back a bit with more playing time. That lineup has played fewer than 3% of the season’s minutes.
-I’m shocked to see Martell Webster both a part of two of the top 4 lineups played and a part of 3 4 of the top 5 most effective lineups.
-LaMarcus Aldridge is not a part of a single lineup that has a 50% or better win%. Surprising.
-Nate’s getting pretty close with his second-most-used lineup also being the second-most-effective.
-Brandon Roy is nowhere to be seen; not in a single +50 lineup. One might argue “but he plays with the starters, and hence plays against the starters.” Then how do you explain Zach Randolp and Ime Udoka’s success?

In case you’re wondering, here is the rank of the individual players for how frequently the team has “won” its segments of the floor when that player plays. What follows is the rank, player name, % of minutes played, and Win%. We’re only going to pay attention to players who have participated in 15% or more of the team’s minutes.

1. Rodriguez, 19%, .500
2. Webster, 43%, .490
3. Pryzbilla, 25%, .429
4. Randolph, 71%, .408
5. Dixon, 47%, .404
6. Aldridge, 31%, .395
7. Outlaw, 34%, ..382
8. Udoka, 59%, .341
9. Magloire, 37%, .340
10. Jack, 67%, .333
11. Roy, 41%, .310

Wow. More interesting items. If you were to look strictly at these numbers, with no other factors considered, you’d come to the conclusion that Udoka, Jack, and Roy play far too much, and that Rodriguez, Webster, Pryzbilla, Dixon and Aldridge should be playing much more. I’m not saying this is right, I’m just saying that’s what these particular numbers are indicating.

I’ll take it one step further, and say if you were to look at these +/- numbers, then your starting lineup should be: Rodriguez, Dixon, Webster, Randlph, Pryzbilla, with your first guys off the benc as Aldridge, Outlaw and Udoka.

Fascinating stuff. Again, we aren’t saying this is right, but chew on this for a couple of days – I’ll be back next week with some further analysis.

Enjoy for now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

At Center, #12...LaMarcussssss Aldridge

A few little noteworthy items as the Blazers set sail on a 4 game roadie that includes the much anticipated stop in DC against Agent Zero and his 2006/07 Vengeance Tour, Nate is next in his sights.

According to Jason Quick, the time has apparently come for The Marcus to start. Amazing that it took Nate 50 games to start his best center, and of course a bit shocking that Joel has started 37 of the 50 games while being a total disaster for roughly 37 of the 37. I like Joel but he's going to have to play better, this isn't being too hard on him.

Canzano does like to stir up trouble doesn't he? This one is high comedy on many levels. If you haven't seen his story in the Oregonian yet, and yes I know I'm awake and coherent before most sane people, he's got a big story today on Portland Mayor Tom Potter taking an illegal gift of front row tickets. I'm not sure what the best part of that whole story is, but let's break it down in bullet format again:
  • Potter is not allowed to take any entertainment gifts that value over $100. Yeah, sure.
  • Potter was given two $34, 300 level seats and that's what he claimed on his report, apparently figuring that when he got to sit in the first row court side it was roughly the same price. That's some quality logic right there.
  • The Blazers saying the tickets were "worthless". Well yeah, to them they were, to Global Spectrum they certainly weren't. The pissing contest continues.
  • I guess I can't ever be mayor of Portland, I've accepted free tickets many times. Of course we never would have had a ski lift in downtown that cost $60 million if I were mayor either. I would have built a much more economical gondola or a high speed quad.

Oh well, kind of a slow news day when we're talking about stuff so trivial. The Blazers get a big piece of Adam Morrison and his Bobcats tomorrow night before the big showdown with Arenas on Sunday morning. In typical Blazer fashion, the game I'm looking most forward to on the trip will not be on TV. It's at 10AM Sunday morning, no NFL, and against one of the best teams in the East on the road. I guess it makes perfect sense that it wouldn't be on, or not. Looks like I'll have to resort to Wheels and his "Boom Shakalaka" crazyness.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


The Blazers lost last night to the Suns 109-102 in overtime, a terrific game in which the Blazers fought back time and time again and even had a chance to win it at the end of regulation. We were on the other end of the floor but it sure looked like Travis could have just dunked it and won the game instead of going for a lay up. The thing with the Suns is you always feel like you're down 6-10 points. You claw and scratch your way back, and then all of a sudden they hit a 3, get a long rebound and a lay up, and it's back up again. Still, a spirited effort, I was with clients so not exactly in note taking mode. This is just off memory in bullet format:

  • Barbosa is just nails. He's almost unguardable he's so fast, but he knows exactly when to fake drive and knock down that jumper off the space created. He finished with 25 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds and it looked even better than that.
  • Amare isn't the freak of nature he used to be, but he's a much better basketball player now. His wide array of baby hooks, jumpers, tip ins, and filling the lane on the break was a joy to watch, 36 points in all, and he was dominant from the beginning.
  • Brandon Roy is going to be a Superstar and own this city. I know this is talked about a lot around here, but wait until he decides to take games over from the beginning. Right now he's a bit too concerned with getting everyone else involved, but when it really gets down to it in the 3rd and 4th quarters it's the Brandon Roy Show. He had 27 last night and most of them came after halftime. I love the way he goes to the basket.
  • Zach was his usual Zach self, 33 points and 10 boards but this was the Zach I'd love to have around for a long time. He only took 15 shots and scored 33 points.
  • Solid, solid F- performance by the Blazer Dancers. I guess part of the budget cuts from buying back the arena means no more slutty outfits for the Blazers Dancers, they were in jeans and flannels all night. It's like it was Pearl Jam Appreciation Night or something.
  • Yes, I have a Jamaal Magloire Bobblehead, which provided a ton of entertainment before the game. He has a ball like he's shooting a hook shot or grabbing a rebound, unfortunately there's no sideline for him to drop it out of bounds for a turnover.
  • They had one of my least favorite halftime acts, although it improved as time went on. They had Spinning Bunch of Basketballs guy, only apparently the AAA version since he dropped them about 10 times and they went spilling all over the court, so that was fun. Things picked up at the end when he brought out a cheerleader, who he proceeded to tie up with a various array of contraptions, one of the guys in our box announced "I guess the family portion of the halftime show just ended." Good times. The camera angles on the jumbotron while she was all tied up with balls spinning around her were...interesting. Pretty sure that's not what she signed up for.
  • I didn't think that Travis was going to be playing this much, but he played 29 minutes and looked really solid again for the most part. Then he missed the wide open lay up with 1 second left in regulation that would have won it. Again, not to harp on him but Travis, send that bad boy in with some authority.
  • The Marcus might be hitting the Rookie Wall. Not playing with quite the same vigor.
  • Joel has reached Flo Hartenstein Status as a "starter" where he plays the first 6 minutes and then gets to work on an ass groove in one of the chairs on the bench. I think he should have his name on one like a movie director.
  • Looking at the box score this morning, Mr Bobblehead only played 12 minutes? Felt like 30.

Overall, an enjoyable night in the luxury suite. Free drinks, free food, and a wildly entertaining game. It obviously would have been a bit better if Nash and Sergio were going at it. Phoenix would be just another good team, 50 wins max, without Nash, but with him they're headed for an epic showdown with Dallas, although you never want to mess with the Parker/Manu/Duncan trio in the playoffs if you don't have to. That's the hidden fight for the #1 seed, not home court, but the right to avoid the Spurs in Round 2.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


You would think I'd be furious with the fact that Steve Nash hurt himself last night and will probably miss the game I've been looking forward to attending for weeks. While it certainly caused a bit of harsh language, immediately I noticed the silver lining. This means that the starting point guard tonight for the Suns will be another Lochi favorite, noted Pirate of the Caribbean, Barbosa. Sure he might be a little prone to mutiny, but he's a hell of a basketball player and a joy to watch. He might be the fastest player in the NBA and I love the way he attacks relentlessly. In the 33 minutes he played last night against the McNuggets he poured in 20 points, 5 boards, 4 assists to only one turnover. Needless to say, I'm still giddy even though Nash will likely be out.

The other silver lining is obviously this gives the Blazers a glimmer of hope. They've played surprisingly well against the better teams in the league this year, especially at home, and even gave the mighty Suns a bit of a scare on the road a few weeks ago. A full review will follow, probably tomorrow, in the meantime I believe The Other Guy has something exciting planned for later today as well.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Meeting With The Bob's

Time for our monthly Efficiency report, as judged by the PER for everyone (more or less) on the Blazers roster. It's actually a few games past time to check on it but what can I say, I didn't get to it at the end of last week. Paul Allen did buy back the arena, technically he "signed a letter of intent" which I think means he plans to play college football for the Global Spectrum or something. Anyway, I'm not all that concerned about it, that's for Canzano to rant and rave about. The player efficiency of the Blazers through February 5th, remember 15 is the league average for their position, and we go in alphabetical order:

The Marcus Aldridge: 14.19. He's slipped a bit in the last month due to some rather horrid shooting nights, but still is holding up well in his first season in the NBA. The best center on the team.

Dan Dickau: 8.33. The worst part about the Sergio injury is it means more Dan Dickau. Yikes.

Juan Dixon: 11.44. I hate Johnny Dixon, he sucks, apparently Nate doesn't know this, let's move on.

Jarrett Jack: 14.81. Solid as ever. One half of the Point Guard Conundrum facing the franchise, still think he's the most likely to be traded in a "Go For It" move this off season.

Raef LaFrentz: 5.52. The only thing more ridiculous than there being a Jamaal Magloire Bobblehead Night (more on this in a minute) is the fact that there's a Raef LaFrentz Bobblehead Night on March 14th against the Pistons.

Jamaal Magloire: 10.45. Everyone knows how I feel about Magloire, but there is some sweet irony in the fact that I've got the corporate box with clients tomorrow night against the Suns and it happens to be Jamaal Magloire Bobblehead Night. I've got a pretty decent arm but I don't think I could actually hit him with the doll from the luxury box. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, maybe light it on fire as a sacrifice to the gods, maybe use it as my token throwing devise when the team stinks it up on tv, needless to say I'm giddy about the whole thing.

Joel Przybilla: 7.70. Good lord. The last 3 years for Joel are 15.58, 15.32, and now 7.70. I haven't seen tanking like this after getting a contract since Adrian Beltre signed with the Mariners.

Z-bo: 23.27. Still just outstanding, had a 42 pointer, mixed in a 26 & 17 game, we've covered his All Star situation, just simply bad luck more than anything else. Great year by Zach, can't say enough about it.

Sergio Rodriguez: 17.19. I need to start doing these in dyslexic order because the bottom guys in the alphabet are far more fun to talk about. Sergio, despite his injury, has been nothing short of spectacular. I'm more than a little upset about the timing of the injury, was really looking forward to a Sergio v Nash spectacular tomorrow night. Oh well, in case you missed it, Nate expects him back right after the All Star Break, February 20th against the Jazz.

Brandon Roy: 18.49. The Savior. Second highest PER on the team and getting better. He's making the transformation into superstar before our eyes. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves but in more traditional stats Brandon is averaging 15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. In his rookie year, Dwayne Wade averaged 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.

Ime Udoka: 11.84. I know, I know, how can I hate Johnny Dixon at 11.44 and love Ime Udoka at 11.84. is more than 11.44. Yeah, I got nothing. Sorry.

Martell Person, sorry Webster: 10.81. I don't want to say that he's reaching bust status, but he's reaching bust status. He has flashes of being decent, even has a game here or there where he actually looks pretty good. Most of the time he just generally sucks.

Note: I skipped Outlaw because he's been hurt and hasn't changed at all since the last one. Obviously this team's future lies with Sergio, Roy, Z-bo, and Aldridge, so not much has changed but it has been a surprisingly enjoyable ride so far this year, even at 20-29.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Z-bo is officially the Travis Hafner of the NBA. An elite player who, simply by being in the wrong place, wrong league, at the wrong time, is not on the All Star team. Travis Hafner, who goes by the nickname Pronk due to his striking likeness to a character from "Shrek", has been one of the best hitters in the American League the last 3 years. He's had an OPS (on base + slugging percentage) of 993, 1.003, and 1.098 the last three years but has never made an All Star Team due to the presence of more high profile DH's in the league, Big Papi, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, etc.

Z-bo on the other hand is the only player in the league averaging over 23 points & 10 rebounds a game, and ranks 11th in the entire NBA in PER at 23.66. The problem is that out of 10 players ranked ahead of Zach, 5 of them are power forwards in the Western Conference, Dirk, KG, Duncan (although it could be argued that he's a center), Boozer, and Brand.

So, while it seems ridiculous that Zach isn't an All Star, there is precedent here. Bad timing. The greater injustice would be The Marcus not making the rookie game. I can't explain how Jorge Garbajosa is on the team and Aldridge is not, unless Bargnani had it written into his contract as the #1 overall player that says he gets to bring his Euro buddy with him wherever he goes. I would have made a stink about Sergio as well, but since he's hurt we'll leave that alone.

There have been some cries for Jarrett Jack to be on the Soph team, but let's be honest, Jack's a solid player but he's not going to be selected at the point ahead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams.

The to see here, move along.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Durant vs Oden: Who Goes #1?

With the NBA and NCAA seasons chugging along just past their midpoints - too far from the Playoffs or Tourney and too removed from the start of the season – many are focusing on the thrilling race for the #1 pick in the NBA Draft, which is becoming clearer by the day that it’ll be one of two players; Kevin Durant or Greg Oden.

Both look like superstars-in-waiting; but whom will be selected first? The dominant center that immediately gives any team a huge step towards contention, or the do-it-all wing player with a seemingly unending list of skills?

It probably comes down to personnel; what does the team in question need more? As I see it now, there are roughly eight teams who have a realistic chance of snagging the #1 pick. They are as follows:

1. Memphis

The Grizz. An awful team built around a star power forward who may or may not get dealt this season. The Grizz could really go in either direction; they don’t currently have a center or a small forward of the future on their roster. They’d probably go for Oden, simply under the guise of “dominant centers are harder to find than dominant wings”.
The call: Oden

2. Boston

Bizarre team. Built around Paul Pierce and have Gerald Green waiting in the wings, but seem to think very highly of Kendrick Perkins, their young center, and Al Jefferson, their young PF. This is just a guess, but I think they’d go Durant if given the choice. Jefferson is looking like a better bet than Green at this point.
The call: Durant

3. Philly

Easy call. Between the existence of Andre Igoudala and Rodney Carney at SF, and their apparent desire to get out of Samuel Dalembert’s contract in the middle, they’d go for the big man.
The call: Oden

4. Seattle

Weird situation. They have their apparent center of the future in Robert Smith; plus their underrated SF Rashard Lewis has an opt-out in his deal. If they re-sign him long term, they probably go Oden. But that’s a big “if”.
The call: Durant

5. Charlotte

This is an abominable team, and I think they’ve taken a step backwards in the last 12 months. With Adam Morrison around and no clear center-of-the-future, they probably need Oden more than any team on this list.
The call: Oden

6. Sacramento

It’s only a matter of time until Artest and Bibby are both dealt, and they’re starting all over in “the city that’s on the way from San Francisco to Tahoe”, as best known in the Bay Area. Between Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia, they appear to have a few good wing prospects, so the thinking here is that they’d go big.
The call: Oden

7. Atlanta

Another team with a glut of wing players (Johnson, Smith, Childress, Marv Williams) and no real center to speak of. Their current depth chart at the 5 reads: Zaza Pachulia, Lorenzen Wright, Solomen Jones. Another easy one.
The call: Oden

8. Milwaukee

Milwaukee’s starting front court for the next five years: Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva. Another clear answer.
The call: Durant

The final tally? 5-3, Oden. And that’s probably about right. Big men are generally a more coveted asset. I’ve got pretty high hopes for both these players and whichever teams end up with them will be happy in the end.


I think this goes into the category of two steps forward and one step back. The Blazers got a huge win last night over their nemesis, the Denver Nuggets. It's their 4th win in a row at home and 6th of 9 overall, bringing their record up to 20-27. To put that into perspective, they went 21-61 last season, so unless they are planning on going 1-34 to close out the year, it's certainly been a year of progress for the first time in a while. However, as it seems to be the norm with this team, there's always a down side, Sergio Rodriguez badly sprained an ankle last night, leaving the building on crutches and telling teammates that "it's bad", presumably through an interpreter.

The game was highlighted by Brandon Roy doing his Brandon Roy thing, 25 points, 8 assists, 6 boards, and further cementing his status as the clear rookie of the year and savior. Zach had a monster, even by his standards, 26 points, 17 boards. Jack was his usual solid self as well and even hit the dagger 3 pointer off an assist by Roy that iced the game. I still think Sergio is the future of the point guard spot in Portland, but this just shows the value they could get in trade for Jarrett Jack.

Sergio will probably miss quite a while, those ankle sprains can be fairly nasty, for lack of a better phrase, this bums me out. I'm going to the game against the Suns on Tuesday and was all kinds of excited to see Sergio and Nash run up and down the floor with each other. There won't be any pre-game Blazer Blog beer sessions this time however, this is a corporate box outing with clients, I'm not sure exactly who this money goes to in the arena power struggle but I'm sure Canzano can write a column about how much it sucks for someone.

One last non-Blazer related note, #9 Ducks...#5 Bruins...Pauley Pavilion...I'm already in the fetal position.