Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pritchard Talking

Jason Quick reported today that Kevin Pritchard has spent a bulk of his Orlando pre-draft camp:

  • Talking to Seattle asst GM Rick Cho
  • Talking to the Dallas front office
  • Talking to Chicago

Like 99% of what we hear about, it’s probably nothing.  But you know that Zbo and Rashard Lewis would be very interested in hearing all of this.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


By now, you all know that he’s requested a trade.  I heard the full interview with STEPHEN A SMITH this morning, and I have to say: no matter what people say, I still think he implied to the Lakers that he wanted Shaq gone, even if he didn’t come out and say it.  Additionally, for him to use this LA Times report about a “Laker Insider” saying he wanted Shaq out as his excuse to ask for a trade is a joke.  How stupid does Kobe really think we are?  He’s tired of losing, doesn’t want to stick out his contract, and was looking for an excuse to ask for a trade.  

Bill Simmons said something like “I wish just once a team would tell it’s star player to F-off; they signed a contract and it’s up to them to live up to it and make the team better.”  Never has there been a better instance of this than today’s trade request.  I’d love to see some of these NBA players try and live with un-guaranteed contracts like they do in the NFL.  I hope the Lakers don’t trade Kobe.

Aldrdige, Zbo, and Oden: Enough Minutes to go Around?

Zach Randolph said something interesting today, when asked about the prospect of LaMarcus Aldridge being deserving of starters’ minutes:

"I have been thinking that, too," Randolph said. "Have LaMarcus play power forward, big (Greg) Oden at center, you know, develop the young players. But I also think that even though LaMarcus plays the same position, there is enough time for all of us. Because LaMarcus can play center, too. I think we can all play together."

Which got me thinking.  Are there enough minutes for all three?  And what about Pryzbilla?  We’re going to make an assumption for purposes of this post, which is that Portland will be drafting Greg Oden.  Bear with me.

The quick answer: yes, for now.  We’ve talked about this before.  Between power forward and center there are 96 minutes in an NBA basketball game.  Zbo deserves to play 35; there is no doubt about this.  That leaves 61 minutes for Aldridge, Oden, and Pryzbilla.  

It’s looking more and more like Pryzbilla is a backup center.  And likely a very serviceable one.  And for most of his rookie year, I think you can get away with — and it might even be beneficial in the long term — giving Greg Oden about 20 minutes per game.  A front court rotation like this would certainly work:

PF: Randolph 35, Aldridge 13
C: Pryzbilla 20, Oden 20, Aldridge 8.

That’s 35 minutes for Zbo, and 20 minutes each for Oden, Pryzbilla, and Aldridge.  For the first half of the season, I think this a rock-solid plan.  Should anyone either get hurt or prove they don’t deserve that many minutes, you’ve got more than ample space to gobble them up.  The counter-argument to this scenario would be that Aldridge already deserves more than 20 minutes per game, and that Oden probably will by about halfway through next season.  Well folks, that’s why they allow mid-season trades in the NBA.  

So I would say that for now, unless the team can address it’s one glaring weakness (a starting-caliber SF), they should hold on to Zbo.  He’s a known commodity and will certainly fetch a hefty price in return.  If you can get a Rashard Lewis, or a Richard Jefferson, or a Shawn Marion (sorry, had to go on a little fantasy run there), then you deal Zbo.  If not?  Be patient, let your young bigs develop, and trade him later from a position of strength.  Kevin Pritchard knows all of this, and I trust him to make the right decision.  


Friday, May 25, 2007

A Quick Rundown of the Zbo Trade Rumors

We’ll get into more details in the coming weeks, but her are the preliminary rumors floating around.

-To Seattle for Rashard Lewis

-To New Jersey for Richard Jefferson

-To another top-10 draft team for their pick (and obviously an expiring deal), and Portland uses the pick to select Mike Conley

-To Chicago for Luol Deng or Andres Nocioni

-To Philly for Andre Miller and Kyle Korver

-To Dallas for Josh Howard

Most of these you can immediately disgard; but there’s what is floating around the ‘Net.


Here’s a video of the Blazer draft party.  A definite must-watch for any fellow out-of-town Blazer fans.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Recap of 5/24 Kevin Pritchard Chat

Getting right to the meat and potatoes:
  • Pritchard actually found out that they had gotten the number 1 pick prior to the announcement.  There’s a room in the back with a  bunch of NBA executives who witness the pulling of the numbers, so he saw it happen.
  • “Don’t read into any inflection...don’t read anything into anything.  We’re going to keep an open mind about these two individuals; no decision has been made yet.”
  • What attracted Pritchard to Brandon Roy last year?  That he spoke about always wanting to put his teammates first.  This was immensely important to Pritchard.
  • He was asked about the “Portland acquiring another pick to select Mike Conley, Jr” rumor, and all Pritchard would cop to is that he’ll always be aggressive.  (Personally, I don’t see this happening — but whatever.)  “I don’t plan on picking up the phone to make the #1 pick and then going to sleep for the rest of the draft.”
  • On Zach Randolph: “Will either of these players that we will pick, you can simulate in your mind how they fit in with Zach, and Brandon...” etc.  “If anyone isn’t on board with what we’re trying to build, I have no problem moving players, or finding players, or finding new places for players.”
  • What about Portland’s issue of all of their young talent wanting huge contracts in a few years?  “As long as Paul Allen is our owner, money will not be an issue and we won’t be losing anyone.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dear Jerry West:

Would you like some cheese with that whine?


All Oden, All The Time

The dust hasn't even begin to settle on this historic day for our beloved franchise, but there are some things that need to be addressed. First off, look at that NW Division now, it has Oden and Roy in Portland, Durant and Allen in Seattle, Garnett in Minnesota, Carmelo and Iverson in Denver, and oh yeah the Utah Jazz are in the Western Conference Finals. That's going to be a slugfest going forward. On the surface, I like the Blazers, Nuggets, and Jazz to all be playoff teams next year but for the next decade it's hard to not like the chances of the Blazers and Sonics, although there could be some minor realignment issues if they move to Oklahoma City.

As I discussed in my catatonic state last night, the Blazers could go one of two ways with this. The first would be to add a scrappy veteran small forward with playoff experience and a sniper off the bench and look to build a playoff ready team, or they could go for a star SF. This is an interesting move, they clearly have 2 budding superstars already, potentially 3 depending on what you think of Aldridge. Would they be better off with a lineup that went Jack, Roy, Veteran Tough Guy, Z-bo, and Oden, or Jack, Roy, Rashard Lewis, Aldridge, and Oden?

Another thing to consider, Z-bo's below average defense in the post is much less of a factor when you've got Oden back there. Greg Oden is the best defensive center alive right now. He makes up for a lot of errors elsewhere on the floor. However, the Blazers can afford to be patient with this, Aldridge and Oden are clearly the future, but it might not be a bad idea to bring Aldridge off the bench for 25 minutes next year. They also still have Joel, who becomes and interesting trade piece if they're looking to add Veteran Tough Guy at the 3.

Oden is off to Vegas for the announcement that he's joining Team USA, which makes sense since he's probably their starting center right now. His mobility, defense, and rebounding will really help against teams like Greece and Argentina. The key element of this is Nate is the assistant coach on that team. I'm not concerned about any potential wearing out of our new franchise player, but it also fuels the "keep Joel and Z-bo for now" side of the debate. Having all 4 big men early in the season would allow them to keep Oden fresh, which is essential because I fully expect them to be playing basketball into May next year.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The Blazers have won the NBA Lottery.

I am truly stunned. That looks even better typed on my laptop screen that it did on

I've been a die-hard Blazer fan for my entire 28-year existence on this planet, and tonight's lottery was one of the top-ten best Blazer moments of my life. The great news keeps on coming for Portland. As Greg Anthony pointed out, Portland already had one of the most impressive collection of young players in the league, and now it's about to go off the charts. Last year, Portland utilized the draft to fleece Boston of Brandon Roy, Chicago of LaMarcus Aldridge, and Phoenix of Sergio Rodriguez. This year, they got lucky with the lottery and will be selecting Greg Oden.

A few selections from around the 'net:
"Jackpot! The Blazers are a good fit for Oden. With Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, the Blazers have an extraordinary young core and will be a playoff contender next year." -Chad Ford,

"It really is an amazing moment for the Portland Trail Blazers. Now Kevin
Pritchard gets to do all his gamesmanship magic and try to freak out the rest of
the league -- who know that he'll do some bold stuff because he did it last
year...for the record, I trust Pritchard with this decision." -Henry Abbot, TrueHoop

Portland Trail Blazers beat the odds and won the right to settle the Greg Oden-Kevin Durant debate. With just a 5.3 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, the Blazers won the NBA's draft lottery Tuesday night, earning the right to draft a potential franchise player from what's considered to be a deep class. Represented by Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, the Blazers got a head start on landing next year's top rookie. -Associated Press

"They're going to help us right away. They can come into the NBA right away and play. I'm just excited about sitting back and knowing our general manager has the choice of drafting either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden. Either one, you can't go wrong. So I'm excited we have the opportunity to choose between the two." -Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers

My favorite part of the lottery? The smile on Brandon Roy's face when the vice-commish announced Seattle as the #2 pick. He knows, we know, and the nation is soon to know, that there's something special brewing in Portland.

Go Blazers.



"And that means the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft goes to the Portland Trail Blazers."

The words that just changed this franchise forever. I'll be back tomorrow with some more in depth analysis, and I'm sure the fearless Moderator of this blog will as well. Right now I'm on the verge of passing out, but there are a few things going on in my head that need to be thrown out there.

1. They are drafting Greg Oden. Let's just be clear about that right now. I love Kevin Durant, but they're not passing on the best center to enter the draft in decades.

2. Seattle getting Durant makes for a very interesting scenario. The Zach Randolph for Rashard Lewis deal makes a hell of a lot of sense right now.

3. However, the Blazers could make some side deals to acquire a league average small forward.

4. Make no mistake about it, the Blazers are a playoff team next year and a title contender for the next 10 years at least. Their window didn't just open, it was blown open with dynamite. They need to start to built for the playoffs. That small forward position might be best filled by a veteran player. Someone who's been in the playoffs and knows the battles that are fought in May and June. I don't really know who this player is right now, I have to do some research tonight, plus that's the Moderators usual territory.

5. With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Greg Oden, center, Ohio State University.

Open some bubbly everyone. It happened!!!

Lotto Day

The big day is here, where we get to find out if the Blazers are extremely lucky and can start measuring spots in the rafters for some more banners that aren't from guys that played 30 years ago. I think they're on the brink of something very special anyway, but obviously adding Durant or Oden would be beyond my wildest imagination. Some things to consider, using The Moderator's favorite bullety format:

  • The Blazers are far better off than most of the teams in the Lottery, it wouldn't be a disaster if they didn't end up with the #1 or #2 pick. That's reserved for the Celtics, Hawks, Bobcats, Grizzlies, etc.
  • Jeff Green, Corey Brewer, Wright, they're all good fits, would slide right in for the Blazers as the starting 3 and they'd be a borderline playoff team next year.
  • Noah and Hibbert are interesting but the Blazers are probably picking a bit high to take either of them.
  • I'm not buying the Chinese Guy hype. Chad Ford has gone batty before, and this is just screaming Asian Darko. Please, just for my sanity, don't take the Asian Darko.
  • We've been over this before, but I'm firmly in the Oden camp. That's multiple titles. No elite center in the history of the league has ever gone title-less with the notable exception of Patrick Ewing who had to deal with Jordan and The Dream his whole career.
  • Kevin Durant might make me pass out though. The thought of a starting 5 of Jack, Roy, Durant, Z-bo, and Aldridge is just...well I can't really talk about it rationally.

Finally, one note about the Blazers new deal with Comcast, it sounds like the way to go from a revenue standpoint. In baseball the teams that can muster up their own exclusive channel have made a boat load of cash from it (YES, NESN, etc.). However, I've sent out some e-mails, spent about an hour doing research, and I've still yet to find how this effects those of us that have DirecTV. I love the Blazers, but let's just say I will be seeing a lot fewer games if they're not made available in some way on my DirecTV.

That's it for now, I'll be back this evening for a wrap up of the Lottery.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Catching Up Around The League

Obviously, it’s a slow time in the NBA for Blazer fans.  And as if it weren’t enough that our team was not among the 16 out of 30 who qualified for the post-season, the four most-fun teams to watch...Phoenix, Golden State, Dallas, and Denver, have all been eliminated and we’re left with the boring Spurs, the smashmouth Pistons, the Jazz (whom I think we all still hate thanks to the Malone-Stockton years, or maybe I’m just a bitter bastard) and the “we’re here because there has to be a fourth team” Cavaliers.  

I guess it will be fun to see how LeBron does in the conference finals; or at least, it would be, if they weren’t playing Detroit which makes it nearly impossible to watch.  And the thing is, it’s not like Cleveland is a fightin’ underdog who overachieved to ge here; I think it’s fair to say that the #2 seed Chicago gift-wrapped for them on the last day of the regular season essentially put Cleveland where they are.  Not to take anything away from them...but I’m taking any sense of accomplishment away from them.  I think the over/under on Cleveland in this series is 5.5 games.  Anything more than 5 and they’re probably doing better than expected; 5 or less and it’s shrug-your-shoulders and move on.

But enough about the Eastern Conference, for crying out loud.  Let’s talk about a few things to keep our interest through the remaining playoffs.  The howitzer’s loaded up and the bullets are flying.
  • If you’d have told me that neither of Phoenix or Dallas would make it to the conference finals, well then I’d have told you to ‘suck it’.  All season long we assumed that the Western finals would be a colossal battle between Phoenix and Dallas, the two most talented teams in the NBA.  But along came the Warriors – a perfectly bad matchup for Dallas – and the Spurs, with their thuggish cheating ways, to spoil the party.  And the net-net of all this is the Jazz get an easy road to the conference finals and the Spurs likely kick, elbow, beat, and cheat their way to another title. Last year’s tournament was the most exciting playoffs ever; and this year’s has been disappointing.  Except for Warrior fans.  And even then, the way Golden State folded in the second round was disheartening.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies are in the process of discussing their head coach position with Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni, whom you may recall I advocated Portland give their job to two years ago.  And if they do hire Iavaroni...pairing him up with their young nucleus plus a likely top-two in this year’s draft...look out.  We could be in for some fantastic Portland-Memphis western finals in a few years’ time.  
  • In case you’re wondering, Portland has a 5.3% chance to win the lottery tomorrow night.  Anything in the top-2 would be an absolute coup for the Blazers, so keep your fingers crossed.
  • Finally, a reading recommendation.  Paul Shirley is back at it with, and I maintain he’s the most entertaining basketball writer on the planet.  You can find his most recent article here ( , and he’s recently released a book as well.  It’s sitting on my desk and I’ll keep you posted on whether the hardback lives up to the pixilated screen deliciousness.

Enjoy the week, folks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


No, we're not slacking, we're calmly waiting for the lottery to take place and then we can really get down to business with off season overviews. Well, at least I am, the Moderator of this blog is too busy cheering on the Golden State Warriors. The playoffs do look like fun, hopefully the Blazers will remember their fans used to enjoy playoff games and do whatever is possible to get back there next season.

Some housekeeping notes:

LaMarcus managed to get on the All Rookie Team along with Brandon Roy, congrats on that. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that the Blazers and Raptors could make up the entire starting 5 for the Sophs team in the Rookie-Soph game next year during All Star Weekend.

Freddy Jones and Ime Udoka are coaching AAU teams in the area this summer, good for them, that kind of stuff doesn't get talked about enough.

I don't know if it's possible, but if the Suns do lose and look to shake up the roster, I'd try to figure out some way to sneak into a 3-way trade that nets us The Matrix. I know Rashard Lewis seems like the logical off season move, but if The Matrix is out there you have to give it a shot.

Only a week to the Lottery, I hate being in it, but this one certainly has a bit more excitement than normal.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Recap of 5/3 Quick Chat

Quick joined Casey Holdahl (who by the way flaked out on me for a Q&A that was supposed to happen earlier in the season) for another of their “Coffee Talk” chats today.  As always, I spare you from having to listen by providing a summary of the important stuff below.
  • Regarding ROY winning the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy, Quick essentially said that he was happy for him, he’s such a good guy, and its great for the franchise.  (both the franchise and The Franchise).
  • Roy’s biggest goal this offseason is to improve his three point shot.
  • Five teammates showed up for ROY’s Eddie Gottlieb Trophy press conference, which is pretty cool.  The five were Zbo, Dickau, Jones, Udoka, and Miles.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge finished sixth in the voting.  Quick wasn’t surprised he finished that low and expects him to potentially be on the all-rookie team.
  • A weird question came up about a potential trade with Orlando.  Quick was a little vague but generally denied knowing anything.  File that away for later.
  • He reiterated thinking that Portland will end up with Rashard Lewis, and likely at the expense of Zbo.  Chicago was identified as a potential third team to get involved along with Portland and Seattle.
  • The Lakers are going to blow their team up, so don’t be surprised if they get involved.  (Ironically I was emailing with the co-author of this blog about this earlier today.  Very easy to see them offering a ton for Zbo.)
  • Most likely Blazer to be dealt: Dan Dickau.
  • Zbo got the cast off of his hand this week.  It was a minor injury, on the non-shooting hand, and won’t be a big deal for any potential deal.
  • There are rumors about a Jarrett Jack to Atlanta deal.
  • Kevin Pritchard is “obsessed” with getting one of those top-2 picks.  Once we know where Portland is going to be drafting, then we’ll have a better idea of what the offseason approach will be.
  • Quick’s take on Pritchard is that he’d go with  Durant if Portland had the #1 pick.
  • Pritchard’s “numbers” that he runs say that the team is most effective when Joel Pryzbilla is on the floor.
  • Quick: “I think Raef (LaFrentz) will be the surprise of next season...he can be a 12-point, 8-rebound guy next season.”  (?)
  • Martell Webster: “I don’t think he fits anymore.  It’s hard to say he’s going to improve because he doesn’t take to coaching very well.”  Boy, he sure has lit into Webster the past few weeks.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brandon Roy Wins Eddie Gottlieb Trophy

Brandon Roy was awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy today, receiving 127 out of 128 first place votes for the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.  And that one guy who didn’t vote for him?  The Raptors’ beat writer from the Toronto Star, who voted for some girl named “Andrea” for the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.

Two Blazers have won the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy before, in back to back years ... Geoff Petrie, who won the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy in 1971, and Sindey Wicks, who won the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy in 1972.

Brandon Gets His Award

Brandon Roy officially won the Rookie of The Year award today. More on this to come, however the more pressing matter is that we need to find out who the jackass is that didn't vote for him and have Paulie Walnuts make a little visit to his house. Brandon got 127 of the 128 first place votes.

Blazers Roster Redux

There are obviously two of us here at the Blazers Blog and the Z-bo issue is one that I think we firmly disagree on. I'm convinced that the Blazers will trade Zach Randolph this off season, I think it's as close to a lock as anything in the off season.

First, this team has turned the corner on the court. My biggest complaint of the last few years is they've never had an identity on either end of the floor. They've looked like a jumbled mess, just trying to figure out what kind of team they are. This season they found it in Brandon Roy and the Jarrett Jack/Sergio combination at point guard. They're going to be a high screen and roll, motion offense team. This doesn't fit at all for Zach, who's a dump it into the post and let him do his thing type of guy. This team will put the ball in the hands of Roy, Jack, and Sergio in the half court and let them create, Zach's counterproductive, he gets in the way of driving guards and he also is a hideous passer.

Second, they're in a perfect position in the draft to take a big man. Yes, Hibbert and Noah would be projects, but coming off the bench behind Aldridge and Joel is a good way to work in either of those two guys. We won't even discuss Oden, that's obvious, if they win the lottery Zach's clearly gone.

Aldridge and Joel are a perfect tandem in the front court. Aldridge is the scoring guy that sets good screens and pops out on that pick and roll, Joel's the banging rebounder that doesn't need the ball on offense. On D, Joel's a very good post defender and Aldridge is athletic enough to guard any 4 and also help off the ball. Zach and Aldridge doesn't work very well, Aldridge isn't a great defender if he's playing the 5, and Zach's defense is average at best.

Finally, and most importantly I feel, is that if you want to get a top shelf SF to make a run to the playoffs next season, which I think they are in a great position to do, they'll need Zach's contract to move in a sign and trade. Nobody is taking Raef's deal, too many years left on it, and they don't have any more large contracts to move. Zach's contract would be easily moved to Seattle for Rashard Lewis, or to New Jersey for Vince Carter, or some sort of 3-way trade with Phoenix for The Matrix. I'm not really going to get into pros or cons of those 3, the point is to get one you need to move a big contract and Zach's is the one to move.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blazers Roster Next Year

The way I see the Blazers’ offseason, there are three big questions facing the team.

  1. What is the team going to do for a starting SF?
  2. How will the club utilize its likely-#6 draft pick?
  3. Will Zach Randolph be dealt?

Regarding the first one, we’ve already seen a Rashard Lewis rumor.  But the answer to #1 ultimately depends on the answers to #2 and 3.  Before we get to answering #3, let’s take a look at what we know as definites - as of right now – regarding what the roster will look like next year.

This is what we know about for sure.

PG: Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez
SG: Brandon Roy, Fred Jones
SF: Ime Udoka, Martell Webster
PF: Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Raef LaFrentz
C: Joel Pryzbilla,

That's 10 players.  We also know that Outlaw could be back, as could Darius Miles.  I don't believe we'll ever see Darius play another game for Portland; lets leave him off this list for now for these purposes.

But look at that front court.  If Portland trades Zbo, that leaves only Aldridge, Pryzbilla and LaFrentz.  That's not nearly deep enough, considering that Aldridge will only be a second-year player and can't be counted on for an entire season of 30 mpg, and also given Pryzbillla's injury risk.  I don't even consider LaFrentz a guy who deserves backup minutes at this point.  If Portland traded Zbo, they'd either need to get another big man in return (the Soncis actually have a few that would work, going back to the Lewis rumor) or lock themselves into taking a big man in the draft.  And if you look at the big men in the draft that are in the #5-#7 range, none of them are impact players right away--- most are projects, like the chinese guy, or Hibbert, etc.

This is why I still don't think that Portland trades Zbo.  Zach, Aldridge, and Pryzbilla form what I see as a great threesome for the frontcourt.  If you add up a full game’s worth of minutes at the PF and C positions, there are 96 minutes.  36 for Zbo and 30 each for Pryz and Aldridge sound about right to me.

Keep an eye on the situation; I think it’s fair to say that if Portland drafts a big-man, they might be preparing to deal Randolph.  If they draft a SF-of-the-future, it’s likely you can both squash the Lewis rumor and the “dealing Zbo for a stud SF” idea.