Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer League Roster

#0 Taurean Green
#2 Josh McRoberts
#6 Stefano Mancinelli
#8 Martell Webster
#11 Sergio Rodriguez
#12 LaMarcus Aldridge
#18 Rick Apodaca
#31 Zendon Hamilton
#41 Joel Freeland
#42 Mo Charlo
#52 Greg Oden

I do find it interesting that while coming up with a starting lineup for that team I still can't find a starting small forward. Their 4 guaranteed starters will likely wipe the floor with the Vegas Summer League: Sergio, Martell, LaMarcus, and Oden. Might be interesting to move Martell to the 3 and play Sergio and Green together, yes, I like Taurean Green and I think long term he's going to be a very good player.

I wouldn't expect Oden to play that much in the Summer League though, he's also got to work out with Team USA. If I'm not mistaken, he will be the first Blazer to be on Team USA since Steve Smith. Looking at their roster, Oden should get a lot of playing time if not start. Brad Miller was their starting center, Oden's clearly a better option, but they do have Amare as well. Oden's going to get great experience at a high level of international basketball over the summer. I also wouldn't be overly surprised if Roy and Oden were on the team in the future. Roy's style of play would be ideal for the international game.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Obviously, There Are More Moves Coming

Nobody will be able to convince me that Portland got as much value for Zbo as they could have.

Of course, I seem to be the only person who thinks Golden State got ripped off by sending Richardson to Charlotte for a #9 draft pick – so what do I know.

Back to Portland for a moment. Clearly, there are more moves coming, and the if the Zbo deal was made to make room for another deal that was already in place, then I reserve the right to re-evaluate it. Pritchard said in the press conference last night that “we have used this draft to acquire other pieces in a trade we can’t talk about yet because of the league requirements, and we feel like we have the “3” position locked down for next year.” So there’s more to come and we can all calm down a little bit. (“we” means “me”, for the record, since I seem to be in the minority amongst folks railing against the Zbo trade.)

I’m hearing that Portland didn’t get James Jones for "cash", but that he was a part of the deal for the #24 pick. And for the record , I really like the McRoberts pick. I don’t see him getting much burn behind Aldridge or Frye, but I do think he can be a decent backup PF – in the mold of a pooer man’s Shane Battier – okay, a homeless man’s – and getting him in the second round is a great spot.

So let’s talk about the new depth chart. Who's our backup shooting guard right now? Because Martell was pretty much playing "3" last year exclusively. I’m guessing they're going to try to turn him back into our backup 2. Maybe Steve Francis? I guess...but he's too small (even though his game is more like a 2 than a 1) and I think we all sort of know that he won’t be playing a single game for Portland this year.

Here’s the new depth chart, not including Koppen or Fernandez (staying in europe) or Nichols (part of Zbo deal):

PG: Francis, Jack, Rodriguez, T. Green
SG: Roy, (empty)
SF: Jones, Webster
PF: Aldridge, Frye, McRoberts
C: Oden, Pryzbilla, LaFrentz

I bet Taurean Green goes to the NBDL, even with a potential Francis buyout.

Thank god we have four points guards, six frontcourt players, one SG, and not a single starter-caliber SF. Obviously there are more moves coming.

Update, 10:14 am:

Following is a transcript of that portion of last night's press conference, as best I can understand it:

KP: “I can’t talk about it right now, but we’ve added some pieces in this draft through trade, and we feel like we’ve got that three position solid.”

(Are there other deals in the works right now?)

“Just the mechanics of it, that the league has to process, we can’t talk about them.”

(Does that mean there are other possible trades in the works right now?)


(Outside of the New York trade?)


(What’s the timetable for when it can be announced?)

“It’s one that’s not going to get processed tomorrow or in the next couple days, it’s going to take a week or so.”

(You’re saying it involves a small forward?)

“I am.”

(Can you explain the difference between the trades that can be announced today and the trades that can’t?)

Pritchard then turned it over to Asst GM Tom Penn: “We have to formally finish the New York trade before we can formally do another trade.”

(Is it a sign-and-trade?)


Wow. You can bet we'll do everythign we can to try and figure out what this other deal for a SF is.

The Aftermath, I love it

I have the complete opposite opinion as the co-author of this blog. I think last night was the final nail in the coffin of the dark period for the franchise. They have their core, Roy, Aldridge, and Oden. They got rid of the guy that needed to go for a variety of reasons. They also added a ton of flexibility, they can pretty much do anything with the roster now.

(UPDATE: According to Pritchard, via the Oregonian, there is another trade that can't be announced until the New York deal is officially finalized with the league. It involves a small forward.)

The Blazers don't need Zach Randolph anymore. He's counterproductive to the style of play of their core players. Zach's offensive game has become give me the ball and then I'll run the shot clock down and try to score. He gets in the way of pick and rolls because he wouldn't get out of the way. He also was standing in the way of the front court of the future (and the front court of the NOW) in Portland, Aldridge and Oden, and has 5 years remaining on a max contract. He had to go. I'm glad he's gone.

Could the Blazers have got a starting small forward for him? Maybe. I think what this comes down to is whether or not you trust Kevin Pritchard and his vision for what he's doing. I'm pretty sure he's got targets, whether in free agency this year or next year.

Rumors were running rampant last night that the Blazers were going to buy out Stevie Franchise's deal. I do think he's a bad fit as well, a shoot first point guard isn't exactly what this team needs.

The bottom line through all of this is that the past is now officially behind them. I trust Kevin Pritchard's plan, whatever it may be. In roughly 365 days he's dumped the entire disgrace that was that 21-61 team. I'm sure their trading and wheeling and dealing isn't done.

Some final draft notes:

They acquired James Jones from the Suns for nothing. He's an outside shooter that plays the 3. I suppose it's a good flier since they gave up nothing for him.

They drafted Josh McRoberts in the second round. This makes my head hurt. I think he's got no real future as a post player in the NBA. He is one of Greg Oden's best friends and supposedly a good guy. I guess if you're going to have a useless player on the inactive list you might as well get your franchise center a buddy.

They drafted Taurean Green in the second round. I like this pick. He reminds me a lot of Jarrett Jack. I think if injuries happened to Jack or Sergio then he's an adequate replacement.

They drafted Demitrius Nichols, small forward out of Syracuse. Update: He's headed to the Knicks as part of the Randolph trade.

They acquired the rights to Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen, Euro guards that everyone seems to really like but will stay over in Europe for another year. Fernandez appears to be the one that everyone is freaking out over. He's a 2 guard that can "do it all" as they say, and apparently is a deadly shooter as well. Koponen is a 19 year old point guard from Finland, nobody seems to know much else about him other than he plays for some team called the Honka Playboys, which is awesome.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Done Deal, And I Hate It

Zbo, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones to the Knicks for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. It's a horrible trade, and there are a million things wrong with it -- but I'm only going to list five of them here.
  • How do you trade Zbo and not get a starting SF in return? How are you going to get our starting SF now?
  • Steve Francis is awful. He's got a terrible attitude, he's a shoot-first point guard who will take the ball away from Roy, Aldridge and Oden, and goes against everything that Portland is trying to build.
  • If Portland is indeed going to buy out Francis' deal, then they traded one of the league's best low post scorers for a backup power forward. Wonderful.
  • Channing Frye = a poor man's LaMarcus Aldridge. That's worth giving up Zbo?
  • Anyone who says that Frye will start at the "3" is insane.

Clearly I'm not happy about this deal at all, and more investigation needs to be done. Stay tuned and we'll try to figure all of this out. In case you're wondering, here's our new depth chart:

PG: Francis, Jack, Spanish Chocolate

SG: Roy,

SF: Udoka, Webster

PF: Aldridge, Frye

C: Oden, Pryzbilla

It's not that I have a huge problem with that depth chart as it is; I just feel like Portland missed a HUGE opportunity to make it a lot better. They still don't have a quality starting SF; they don't have a good backup for Roy; and they're likely to release Francis with nothing in return.

In other news, it appears that Portland has purchased Phoenix's #24 pick and is having then select Rudy Fernandez; a 6-5 shooting guard. He's got a $1 million buyout in his contract with his Spanish team (which Portland can't pay), so he isn't likely to be here until the '08-'09 season. So it's nothing to worry about yet or get excited about to quell the disappointment of this terrible Zbo trade.

Live Blogging: 2007 Draft

Here we go, the 2007 NBA Draft live blogging. Each of us will have a smart ass comment about every draft pick except for the Blazers, who will be free from most angry heckling, what a difference a year makes. Apparently there's a trade that's going down already, Ray Allen to the Celtics for the #5, Wally, and West. I'll say this for the Sonics, if they can move Ridnour for that #11 pick and end up with something like Durant, Conley, and Noah that would be one hell of a remake job. Anyway, our Portland Trailblazers are on the clock.

A few other notes: Mike Tirico is hosting this shindig with STEPHEN A SMITH, Mark Jackson and Jay Bilas on the desk with him. Just an abomidable broadcasting team. Oh, and Joakim Noah is sporting a seersucker suit with a gigantic bowtie and his hair down. Just when you thought he couldn't look any more like a tranny.

And Jim Gray just reported that Golden State is getting into the KG sweepstakes. Anyhow, on to the picks:

#1: Portland Trailblazers: Greg Oden

Moderator: Just as we all hoped, Oden is the man. He might be the 50-year old man, but he's the man none the less. We've all kind of thought this would be the case for the last month since Portland won the lottery, but I don't think any of us were 100% sure. I'm glad to see it is. I feel better now. Portland now has its franchise center of the future - he's going to change the team as much as B-Roy did last year. Roy, Oden, and Aldridge: our fantastic threesome from this day forward.

And we won't talk about how Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr look and act like a gay couple in their ESPN ad together. Just move along. Not that there'd be anything wrong with that.

Lochi: I'll have more about this tomorrow, but honestly, I've never cheered for a team that's had a dominant center. I've always just been pissed off that other teams have them and my team doesn't. Well that all just changed. Greg Oden is our man. Start measuring for banners in the Garden, flags fly forever.

#2 Seattle Supersonics: Kevin Durant

Lochi: Hey that's great. I would have missed the Sonics and I think Durant just saved basketball in Seattle. They might as well just title this draft "A Rivalry Reborn" and I can't wait. Durant will probably be more impressive, but Seattle is going to have no answer for Oden for the next 15 years.

Moderator: Durant will be fun to watch for the next several years. He may put up better rookie numbers than Oden ... but I'd be shocked if Seattle won more games. Congrats to the Sonics and their fans; they got almost as luck as Portland did in this lottery and draft. I don't think this saves Basketball in Seattle though; it's probably too late unfortunately.

#3 Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford

Moderator: The Hawks were faced with a choice between drafting for need (Conley) or drafting for best available, commonly thought to have been Al Horford. Well, the Hawks have drafted a forward in the first round for the fifth consecutive year (to go with Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Josh Childress, and Shelden Williams). I don't really have much to say about this pick except I feel sorry for Big Al because he's goign to an awful franchise. I can't really fault them for taking Horford here, but if it were me I would have either taken Conley or traded the pick.

Lochi: I don't mind this pick just because I'm not that crazy about the other 4 forwards they took and I like Horford. Basically that's the reason Chris Paul doesn't play in Portland, but we wouldn't have Oden so that doesn't piss me off as much as it used to. They should trade Marvin or Childress for another piece and draft Law with the #11.

#4 Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley The Deuce

Lochi: Yeah, let's see how good he is without Greg Oden taking up all the defenders on the floor.

Moderator: Conley is a solid point guard. Quick, athletic, good passer, and he'll fit in great in the NBA in that he can't shoot. And most importantly, this displaces Damon Stoudamire for them. The Grizz now get to pair Conley with Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, and Pau Gasol -- plenty of scoring on this team while Conley develops his jumper. Solid squad they're putting together. Too bad they play in the West.

#5 Seattle Supersonics: Jeff Green

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boston has traded this pick to Seattle along with Wally Szerbiak and Delonte West in exchange for Ray Allen.

Moderator: Bizarre trade and bizarre pick. Seattle trades Ray Allen to acquire a bad contract, a third point guard (West is no better than Ridnour or Watson), and another 6-9 player to go with the 6-10 player they just drafted. This almost certainly means one of Ridnour or Watson are gone, if not tonight then later this summer. As for Boston, I've said all along that they should keep the pick, trade Pierce, and build around Jefferson, Rondo, Gerald Green, the #5 pick, and whatever they got for Pierce. But hey, instead they get to pair Ray Allen with Paul Pierce and get the fifth seed in the East for the next two seasons. Congratulations.

Lochi: The Sonics just drafted their starting SF and then drafted his backup with the #5 pick. Awesome. On second thought, maybe the Sonics should move.

#6 Milwaukee Bucks: Asian Darko

Lochi: Um...the Bucks just started an international incident. This is not good. Someone get me Jack Bauer...quick...I'm OUT OF TIME!!!!

Lochi's Alcohol check: 2 mojitos down, a glass of bubbly for the Oden pick, now on Corona #2.

Moderator: Awesome, I love it when pro basketball franchises tell the most populous country in the world to "fuck off". Yi had a list of cities he would and would not go to, dictated by the Chinese Government (which is a load of bullshit if I may add), and needless to say , Milwaukee was not on that list. But hey, it's not like they've got a lot of leverage here. What's he going to do, go back to China? (laughing)

#7 Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer

Moderator: Awesome. I had an entire scathing post all ready for the T-Wolves for when the picked Spencer Hawes; and they didn't do it -- they did the right thing and took a very talented, athletic young SF. Now hang out for the rest of the summer and watch then sell KG for 60 cents on the dollar. Brewer, Foye, McCants, and whatever they get for KG: it's not a horrible place to be. They are destined for mediocrity for the next 5 years; but it could be worse. Oh, and another thing: Corey Brewer speaks English about as well as KG does so it's a shame they won't be able to have conversations together.

Lochi: Obviously the T-wolves are trading this pick to whoever takes Spencer Hawes and Josh McRoberts. Nothing else is possible. It's a great pick, which makes no sense. By the way, Crying Mom count is at 2 with Mrs. Durant and Mrs. Green.

#8 Charlotte Bobcats: Brandon Wright

Lochi: Michael Jordan takes the "best available Tarheel." I love MJ the executive.

Moderator: I love MJ. He is definitely in the discussion for "best player ever", he was incredible, yadda yadda yadda. I don't have a big problem with this pick; but let's be honest here: would you want Jordan running your team?

Also, I'd like to point out that best players remaining according to John Hollinger are: 3. Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech. 7. Nick Fazekas, Nevada. 8. Josh McRoberts, Duke. 9. Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Washington. 10. Jared Dudely, Boston College.

#9 Chicago Bulls: Joakin Noah

Moderator: God dammt; my Spencer Hawes fury continues to sit idle like a pathetic youngster at a junior high dance. What does Chicago need? Low post scoring. So they went and drafted a player who'll be a defensive and rebounding specialist with a limited offensive game. Noah would be a great value if you selected him in the late teens or early 20's; I don't see any way that Noah will ever become a significant offensive force. You might even go so far as to say that he'll be an offensive liability for his first few years in the league which is great because by the time he's ready to contribute, all of Chicago's youngsters will need contract extensions and their window will be closing.

Lochi: Here's one for everyone, I like Noah as a player. He looks like a tranny and that suit might be in the top 5 outfits ever worn to the Draft, but I think he's the new version of Dennis Rodman. The problem is the Bulls don't need that. I bet there's a trade in the works. I've liked all the Bulls moves (except for Ben Wallace), and they need a low post scorer. I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking Noah, Nocioni, and PJ Brown for Z-bo. Not sure if I like it, but that would be the best defensive front court in the league by a mile.

#10 Sacramento Kings: Spencer Hawes, Husky Shithead.

Lochi: With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select...

Moderator: And we have a winner! Congratulations, Sacramento Kings: you've taken a top-10 pick in the most loaded draft in years and wasted it on a player who's absolute ceiling is Joel Pryzbilla and more likely scenario is Shawn Bradley, only without the blocked shots. (which leaves nothing). I was wondering which team would be the one to fall for the same trick that a team or two falls for every year and Sacramento is it. They could have made a smart pick, dealt Bibby and Artest, and rebuiltt around the pick, Kevin Martin, and whatever they got for Bibby and Artest -- but hey, what do I know. Why do all that when you can draft this year's Big White Stiff. Good to know that Sacramento won't be a problem in the coming seasons.

#11 Atlanta Hawks: Acie Law the Quattro

Moderator: I can't argue with the strategy -- take one of the fantastic young wings with the early pick and get a point guard with the second pick. I am not a huge Acie Law fan but I see what Atlanta is trying to do. I just wish they'd trade a few of their young guys for a veteran because this is getting a little ridiculous. Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Salim Stoudemire, Marvin Williams, Shelden Williams, Al Horford, Acie Law ... how many babies can one team have? Greg Oden is older than all of those guys put together.

Lochi: So besides the first two obvious picks, the three picks I like the most belong to the T-wolves and both picks by the Hawks. Either the world is about to stop spinning on its axis or I've been drinking too much. Oh, and the new Hawks unis look cool too, but they should go back to that old school pac-man looking bad boy somewhere on it.

#12 Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young

Lochi: Interesting. Bilas says he "needs to tighten up his ball skills" so I'm fresh out of jokes for this pick. He looks like he's kind of doubling up on some positions for them, I think they could use a bigger guy. I would probably have shot high with Julian Wright.

Moderator: I like this pick in that I do think they went for the best available player which for a shitty team like Philly I would always advocate; I do have a feeling we'll consider him a nice pick in a few years. Seems like he might be a little bit of duplication with Andre Igoudala but that doesn't really matter for Philly right now. Interesting point by Lochi; Julian Wright wouldn't have been a bad pick here.

Also, I'm flat out disappointed by the lack of deals tonight. No major veteran has been moved, no top-10 picks moved, all in all a fairly straight forward night and none of us wanted that.

#13 New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright

Moderator: Solid enough pick by New Orleans. Put him next to Tyson Chandler and they compliment each other quite nicely. I imagine New Orleans was hoping that Wright would slip to them and lo and behold he did. They swung for the fences and you can't blame them. It may take 2 or 3 seasons but another pick that I like.

Lochi: Let me get this straight, they add arguably the third highest upside pick with the #13 to go with Chandler and Chris Paul? Outside of the Griz, is there a bad team in the West? I really like this pick for the Hornets.

#14 Los Angeles Clippers: Al Thornton

Lochi: Best available player. Other than the fact that he's old enough to discuss the impact of Run DMC on the hip hop scene with Sam Cassell, he's a solid pick for The Clip.

Moderator: Jay Bilas just said that he's got to "tighten up those ball skills". Aside from that, this is another pick that I really like. Thornton won't be a star, but if you ask me he might be one of the safest picks in this draft. He's basically Jerome Kersey and I think he'll carve out a nice career for himself.

#15 Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey

Moderator: I don't know much about Stuckey other than the fact that he tore it up for a small college. My question about him is that he seems kind of like a tweener; more of a volume shooter, and those guys are always hit and miss. Detroit has this pick because of the Darko trade. And the ironic thing is I bet Stuckey contributes a lot more to this team over the next two years than Darko did -- but he'll get a lot more PT as well.

Lochi: From the team that drafted the immortal Fennis Dembo, they bring you Rodney Stuckey. I'd say a mad gunner that shot 27% from the college 3 point line is a risky pick but that's just me.

#16 Washington Bullets: Nick Young

Lochi: Trade warning I think. He's Agent Zero insurance, but I wonder if they're drafting him for someone else or if they're working on some other deal involving Arenas. He's a free agent after next season.

BLAZERS' NOTE: is reporting that the Blazers and Knicks are talking about a Zach Randolph deal. The trade would be Channing Frye and Steve Francis for Randolph and Dan Dickau. I'm not sure why Portland would want either one of those guys so I'm not putting much stock into this. The article also mentions that Malik Rose instead of Francis could be a possiblity. Back to the draft analysis.

Moderator: Will one of these teams please do something stupid? Another nice pick. Washington needs to get some frontcourt support; they already get plenty of wing/guard scoring from Arenas and Jamison.

Well, now the guys here on the draft broadcast are saying it's almost a done deal.

What the hell? Portland already has a better version of Channing Frye in Lamarcus Aldridge. Steve Francis is a selfish, shoot-first point guard who goes against everything they are trying do. I hope this isn't true because I don't understand it.

Sorry folks, but we're going to have to suspend the live blogging of the draft until we figure out what's going on with this Blazer trade. I can only hope that the media is jumping the gun and that this trade doesn't actually exist.

1:35pm: More Stupid Updates

STEVEN A. SMITH- a horrible, frightening, unlistenable broadcaster - who has LOTS OF IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY was on ESPNEWS (i've decided to go with that version), and here were his updates:
Wait, let's try again.  Here is what STEVEN A SMITH has to say:
I'm sorry ... I just couldn't watch it.  Can't stand that dude.  Had to change the channel. 

1:08 pm Update

Andy Katz is on ESPNews, (ESPN News?  espnNews?  ESPNEWS?  How exactly is this handled?), and here are his "updates":
  • Atlanta is leaning towards Horford rather than Yi.
  • Memphis is going with Conley, Jr at 4 - even if Atlanta selects Yi and Horford is on the board.
  • Boston is considering Jeff Green along with Brewer and Yi at #5.
  • If Yi is available at #6, Milwaukee has made the decision that they will take him, regardless of his "exclusive list of cities"; even going so far as to clear it with the NBA to make sure they'd have the league's support if Yi tried to pull some shenanigans.
  • Kevin McHale has spoken with the Chinese officials today regarding Yi.
Frankly, we're basically hearing the same things over and over.  Is it 4:00 yet?

Humor From Last Year's Live Blog

A few funny notes from last year's live blog that we thought you might enjoy.  Some of these are funny, others are simply dead wrong, but they're entertaining.  For your own enjoyment:
Lochi, regarding Andrea Bargnani: "Look, I'm Italian, that's the least Italian looking Italian guy I've ever seen. He looks a lot more like a guy playing for the U of Utah than an Italian. He also can barely dunk, shoots set shots from the outside, and is tall. They just drafted the Euro Sam Perkins first overall. Congrats.
Lochi, regarding Sheldon Williams: "Hilarious. He obviously gives them...honestly, I have no idea what he gives them."
Moderator, regarding Sheldon Williams: "I would understand this pick ... if Atlanta was selecting at #12. It's a reach. He's essentially a poor-man's Elton Brand, which makes him Corliss Williamson."
Lochi, regarding Brandon Roy: "He's a Husky, I hate him, never thought he was that good in the first place."
Moderator, regarding Brandon Roy: "And even better, this means that Rudy Gay falls to Portland. I am happy about this. If you'd have told me 2 months ago that Portland would come away from this draft with LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay, I'd have taken lewd pictures of your girlfriend and posted them on the internet. Good stuff."
Lochi, regarding Golden State's selection of Patrick O'Bryant: "Now THIS is funny. I would openly like to offer double or nothing to our fearless moderator on his Warriors are a playoff team wager."
Moderator, regarding Golden State's selection of Patrick O'Bryant: "As for the Warriors, they are not going to make the playoffs next year, despite with Lochi says. I think they're about 13 months away from blowing the whole thing up again."
Moderator, regarding JJ Reddick: "nice pick, will be a good player, will have a long career, can do one thing very well which 90% of the NBA cannot do (shoot the lights out). Can't fault anyone for taking him in the 10+ range."
Moderator, regarding Renaldo Balkman: "Uh ... what? Mistake number 4,325 by Isiah Thomas and the New York Knick front office. This dude averaged 9 points per game in the freaking MAC conference. I'm not much for quoting Jay Bilas, but I'll amend that rule in this special circumstance: "I'm stunned. This guy is a second round pick at best. There is not another team who would have taken him in the first round."
Lochi, regarding Balkman: "Lochi: Ahhhh, Isiah, thanks buddy, that made me laugh. Gotta like Spike going "...sleeper?" Seriously, does this guy play striker for Brazil? They should have just taken Ronaldhino."
Lochi, regarding Portland's 2006 draft: "Seriously, what the hell are they doing? I'm going to take some time to think about all this bullshit and post something tomorrow that at least has a theory as to what the hell happend tonight."
(Editor's note: that last clip was following several beers and several head-spinning hours of live blogging the NBA draft.  He eventually came around.)

Mike Barrett: KP Says No Promise Made

I just received an email from Mike Barrett, the Blazers' play-by-play voice, and he says that Kevin Pritchard hasn't promised anything to anyone.  I can't quote his email, but here are the specifics from his blog:
I talked to Kevin Pritchard this morning, in his office, and he once again stated that nothing has been guaranteed to anyone. So, that basically says the reports you've been hearing on ESPN are false. It doesn't mean Portland won't actually take Oden, of course, but no one has been promised anything in advance. Kevin was adamant about that, and said "don't believe the reports you're hearing."
You can read the full post here: .

What We Learned From Chad Ford's Chat Today

Chad Ford conducted one of his ESPN chats today, and here's the good stuff:
  • He confirms what we already knew, that Portland is trying hard to get another lottery pick, and thinks they'll deal Zbo for a small forward later this summer.
  • Sonics GM Sam Presti has been offering both Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis (sign-and-trade) around the league. 
  • The Atlanta Hawks are split as to whom to select at #3 between Al Horford and Asian Darko.
  • Memphis at #4 is torn between Conley Jr and Corey Brewer.  Joakim Noah is also getting some consideration here.
  • Milwaukee at #6 may trade their pick.  A few of the offers include Devin Harris from Dallas, and the #12 and #21 picks from Philly. 
  • He doesn't think KG will get dealt today.
  • Charlotte (#7) also may trade their pick; with Golden State's Monta Ellis being the target.
  • Chicago at #9 is looking at Yi, Noah, and Spencer Hawes.
  • Toronto is trying to get into the first round, with Jose Calderon as the bait.

And, we've already had our first trade today -- Orlando sent the #54 pick to Houston for cash considerations.  I hate to even comment on this, but you have to like that deal from Houston's perspective. 

The Big Day

ESPN is reporting the choice has been made and it's Oden (thank God), but the Oregonian is reporting that Pritchard emphatically denies that he's told anyone. This to me is like Vito Corleone saying that "I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today." Well yeah, technically you weren't, but Michael unleashed the fury. What's the difference? I'm sure the Blazers have told Oden and his people he's the guy, even if Pritchard hasn't himself.

Some other thoughts about rumors around the league:

If the Hawks turn the #3 and #11 picks in the draft into Yi and Luke Ridnour I might seriously injury myself laughing.

If the Sonics turn the #2 and Ridnour into Durant and Law I might be somewhat concerned, however they're going to have loads of trouble finding someone to handle Oden for the next 15 years.

Why does nobody mention the fact that Horford and Noah are both top 10 picks in the most loaded draft in history, and Greg Oden wiped the floor with both of them in the NCAA Title game?

I'm borderline giddy to see what Portland does tonight. I think they'll move back into the first round, potentially twice, Thornton might be an interesting target.

Some late first, early second round types that I think would be useful players off the bench on a contender:

Aaron Afflalo, good all around player, particularly defensively, and a streaky shooter. Kind of a younger, more polished version of Udoka.

Taurean Green, strangely he reminds me of Jarrett Jack as a point guard.

Glen "Big Baby" Davis, now this guy I really like as a bench big man. He's got good skills and obviously is a very big guy. Off the bench, I like what he could give them behind Aldridge and Oden. He's got soft hands and would be a nice pick and pop guy for Sergio.

DJ Strawberry, tough defensive point guard, reminds me of a young Greg Anthony. Despite my hate for his dad (I'm a Dodger fan, we'll discuss this if the Blazers draft him), I think he'd be a great bench player for defensive purposes.

Marco Belinelli, I'm Italian, we could use one of my brothers on the team. Apparently he's a sniper.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Recap of 6/27 Jason Quick Chat

Quick spoke to again today; below are the main points.  Anything you see in parentheses is me talking.  Quick said...

  1. The Blazers are up to “big things” today.  They assembled and talked about the #1 pick, and Pritchard feels good about where there at and know who they’re going to go with.  But there are other items brewing. Quick thinks Portland will get another first round pick, probably in the 17 – 24 range.  But there is also something bigger brewing (Note from Moderator: Zbo trade?).
  2. How many of their four second round picks will they actually use?  Quick thinks one.
  3. Kevin Durant thinks that Greg Oden will be the #1 pick.  (This is a huge indicator to me.  If the Blazers were legitimately consider him, he’d know it.)
  4. Jason Quick is the most un-confident that he’s ever been since Portland won the lottery that they will take Oden.  There’s just something he sees in Pritchard to indicate this.  
  5. Quick’s colleagues are kidding him, asking him in his writings why he’s acting like its a debate during Oden-Durant, because “everyone knows it’ll be Oden”.  But Quick is not not so sure about that now.  “Pritchard really worries me with the way he’s carrying himself.”
  6. He thinks that Pritchard would take an incredible amount of heat if he takes Durant.  But he’s not here to please a fan base, he’s here to win a championship.  Pritchard has long talked about an up-tempo style of play, and Durant is the perfect player for that kind of team.
  7. Quick says with all certainty that Nate McMillan is an Oden guy.
  8. Players that may be on Portland’s radar for a late-first, early-second round pick: Bellini, Saboutas, Daequan Cook.
  9. “I think Jarrett definitely (has a chance of getting traded).”
  10. Quick will have an article in Friday’s paper that talks about what/some of the offers that Portland has gotten for this pick, and what the organization has gone through in making this pick.  

And, of course, your faithful authors will be live-blogging the draft tomorrow.  

Rumor Roundup: Blazers-only Edition

Thought you might like to see a bit of what’s floating around Al Gore’s Internets.

Chad Ford,  “If the Lakers get left out in the cold on a KG deal ... what's the next move? They could probably wrangle Zach Randolph from the Blazers for Lamar Odom.”

Blazersblog reaction:  No.  Just no, Chad, Portland is not shipping Zbo to LA for Lamar Odom.  There are so many things wrong with that suggestion that I”m not even going to get into it.

The Ohio News-Herald: “Teams are saying Portland is simply asking too much for power forward Zach Randolph.”

Blazersblog reaction: What I’m guessing this means is that Cleveland proposed some shitty offer to Portland like “Andreson Verejao in a sign and trade and next year’s #1 for Zbo”, and Portland laughed them off the phone.  

The Oregonian is still floating the “#6 pick and Dan Gadzuric for Pryzbilla and Jack” rumor.

The Oregonian: “One NBA source explained Tuesday that Pritchard and Allen probably don't want to tip their hand because they love the national attention it's garnering them. A second source said the Blazers don't want to announce that they plan to select Oden because they're waiting to see if the Sonics love Durant so much they'd be willing to swap picks and sweeten Portland's fortune.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What The Professionals Are Saying

This is Greg Oden’s scouting card from

Draft Projection: Top 2

Similarities: Tim Duncan meets Patrick Ewing

Notes: Oden announced on April 20 that he was declaring for the 2007 NBA Draft and hiring an agent, ending his college eligibility.

Positives: Has lethal combination of size and athleticism. Runs the floor very well. Dominant on the defensive end. Excellent shot blocker and rebounder. Alters so many shots that his numbers alone don't do him justice. Great hands. Soft touch from inside and a developing jumper. Very good passer out of the post. Smart kid.

Negatives: Doesn't dominate the way you'd expect him to. Can be almost too nice at times. Doesn't have the killer instinct, though he started playing with more passion in the second half of the season. Post moves still need work. Wrist fracture sidelined him for the start of the season at Ohio State. His right wrist is still very stiff, forcing him to shoot free throws with his left hand for much of the season.

The consensus No. 1 pick in the draft despite Kevin Durant's amazing season. Draws comparisons to Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. He may not be spectacular, but most NBA GMs believe he'll immediately be one of the top two centers in the league. His strong performance in the NCAA title game gave us a glimmer of what he's capable of, going for 25 points, 12 boards and 4 blocks.

Silly Season

This is the time I like to call the Silly Season. The three days before the draft are filled with all sorts of hilarity, but this might be my all time favorite dumb rumor. A three team trade in which the Blazers give up LaMarcus to some phantom team and get back Jose Calderon. Despite my love for Miami Vice and particularly anything to do with the evil kingpin Calderon (or Jai Alai), the Blazers are not trading a guy that looks like a sane version of Rasheed Wallace for Jose Calderon. They're just not.

I'm still holding strong in the Greg Oden camp. I'm still honking once as they say. Oden is a once in a generation center, Durant is not a once in a generation wing player. He's not because Garnett, Dirk, Kobe, and Agent Zero are all in the league right now, so by definition he can't be a once in a generation player. Oden is the best center in the world right now. I'm tired of talking about this, it's starting to give me a migraine.

Anyway, be careful with the rumor mongering, it can get crazy right now. And as for the monster trade being discussed, why wouldn't the Celtics just cut the Pacers out of the deal and take Odom and Bynum and pair them with Pierce, Jefferson, West, and Rondo? That's basically a poor man's version of the Lakers from last year. It's not a championship team, but at least it's a playoff team and keeps the lynch mob away from Danny Ainge. Bynum would also be a fairly decent center to build around as well. Incidentally, THAT is a reason to draft Oden too, Andrew Bynum is what passes as a decent young center to build around. Oden would wipe the floor with Bynum.

One last thought, I still think the Blazers are going to get another lottery pick somehow. I'm not sure if they like Conley, Green, Brewer, or whoever, but I think they've got a target in mind. I'd prefer Brewer to all of them, but everyone knows that by now.

Update: From Andy Katz over at ESPN, rumor floating around of Jack and Joel to the Bucks for the #6 and Dan Gadzuric (he's still in the league?). Corey Brewer, Corey Brewer, Corey Brewer....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Your Door is Ajar

The door was left cracked open by our future franchise center, this is mildly concerning to me. Obviously if he does in fact have a back injury that really changes things, but I'm sure the medical staff will put him through a variety of tests to see if he does. The wrist injury I don't think is much of an issue, it certainly got stronger as the college season went along and he became more and more dominant over that time.

More concerning would be the workout itself, where he was nervous, got winded, and even apologized twice for his shoddy performance. I think it's safe to assume that Kevin Durant is going to come in here tomorrow and shoot the lights out and look every bit the bad ass that he is. Then we could really be in trouble.

I still fully endorse Greg Oden with the #1 pick, franchise centers win championships, Shaq and Duncan have won 8 titles in the last decade. If you've got a shot at that, you can't afford to pass on him for the next Garnett or Nowitzki, or a hybrid of those two and Kobe all mixed together. Yes, Kevin Durant is fantastic, and yes the Blazers would also be a playoff team and one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA with a starting 5 of Jack, Roy, Durant, Randolph, and Aldridge. But I'm not 100% certain that Kevin Durant brings a championship to Rip City, I am 100% certain that Greg Oden will, at some point in the next decade, win an NBA Title.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rumor Rundown

Lots of juicy stuff floating around the NBA rumorville lately.  Following are some non-Blazer related rumors to catch up on.  Of course all of this comes with the prerequisite that “since we’ve already heard about it, it probably won’t happen”.  

Kevin Garnett
The Rumor: Garnett to the Celtics for Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, the #5 pick and cap fodder.

The Rundown: If the T-wolves can get this, I say jump on it.  I’d be surprised if Boston was willing to do this deal without getting Minnesota’s pick in return, but I’ve seen the rumor both ways.  Dealing Garnett means a re-build, and I doubt they’d get much more than this.  They get a PF to replace Garnett who will be around longer and is cheaper in Jefferson, and for that downgrade they also get a young SF with a big future in Green and an excellent pick in a great draft.  Randy Foye, Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, the #5 pick (Asian Darko?) and the #7 pick (Mike Conley or Acie Law?) is an awfully nice group to build around.  I’d be more scared of them after this deal than I would be now.  

As for the Celtics, a Paul Pierce – Kevin Garnett paring probably gets them back to playoff level; especially if Rajon Rondo can develop a little.  I wouldn’t make this deal if I were Boston — this writer says they should deal Pierce and commit to a rebuild — but if you have a chance to get Garnett I suppose you can’t blame them too much.  I don’t believe Garnett is getting dealt this offseason (I’m more inclined to think they’ll move him at the trading deadline, following another terrible first half) anyway, but it’s fun to speculate about.

Ron Artest
The Rumor: Artest to the Miami Heat for Udonis Haslem, Jason Williams and expiring contracts.

The Rundown: Haslem?  Are you kidding me?  He’s a backup big man who rebounds and plays a little D, and that’s it.  No way this rumor has any legs.  If I’m Sacto, I try to deal both Bibby and Artest this offseason, hire Dwayne Casey as my coach, and commit to a rebuild around Kevin Martin, the #10 pick, and whatever you get for those two stars.  

Yi Jianlian (aka “Asian Darko”)
The Rumor: Boston, Chicago, Golden State, and Minnesota are all trying to get him.

The Rundown: Kudos to my co-author for coining this nickname.  Along with Mike Conley, probably the biggest question mark in the draft.  Looking at the top-ten in the draft, it’s conceivable that Jianlian could go as high as #3, or more likely, at #5, #7, or #9.  The big question seems to be if Boston deals the #5 pick – and all signs indicate that they are shopping it, hard – will it be to a team looking to move up to grab Yi or Conley?  

Around The League
  • I refuse to believe that Kobe Bryant is going anywhere.
  • Peter Vesey is reporting that Rashard Lewis’ agent may have screwed up the paperwork to void the last two years of his deal and may have jeopardized his status as a free agent.  I haven’t seen this validated anywhere, and Vesey is one of the worst “make shit up” writers out there, so take it with a grain of salt but file it away.
  • As for Steve Blake, I’m hearing rumblings about Denver and Cleveland both being interested.  I don’t quite see how Portland fits in unless they deal Jarrett Jack which isn’t out of the realm of possibilities; but do you really think a guy like Blake — who’s been a fringe NBA player in the past — would really hold off on signing a long-term guaranteed deal with another club on the chance that Portland might trade Jack?  
  • Another Blazer related note — with Kevin Pritchard screaming about how impressed he was by Brandon Roy saying last year “I put the team first”, doesn’t that give a big flag to both Durant and Oden to say that, and doesn’t it also put into question the genuinity of such a statement?  Not to get all Peter King on you, but Hey KP — how about playing it a little closer to vest what you’d like to see?
  • The Sonics appear to be deciding between Dwayne Casey and PJ Carlesimo for their coaching vacancy.

Finally, Mark Bryant is interviewing with the Phoenix Suns for an assistant coach position.  Why do I bring this up?  Because I have a special place in my heart for Mark Bryant.  

It was the summer of 1988, and I was a nine-year old kid participating in a summer basketball camp at one of the Portland suburban high schools.  During the “end-of-day speech” that the coach would give, they had a contest each day where the first person to raise their hand and answer a question correctly won a prize.  That day’s question?  “Who did the Blazers pick with their first round draft choice this year?”.  My hand shot up first, I got called on, and correctly answered “Mark Bryant!”.  (#21 pick out of Seton Hall).  The prize: an $80 gift certificate to the Nike Employee Store.  Got me a new pair of the Robinson Pumps and couldn’t have been happier.  Thank you, Mark Bryant, and good luck getting that assistant job.

Oden Arrives

Today's the big day, Greg Oden arrives in Portland. I guess Aldridge and Roy are going to be leading his recruiting visit, dinner tonight with the workout tomorrow. Kevin Durant arrives after that for essentially the same tour and treatment. Pritchard is going with the poker face, which seems odd since he has the #1 pick and it really doesn't matter. Who knows, maybe he really does like Durant more than Oden, but I still think there's no way they pass on the big fella on draft night next week.

Rumor of the day: that same Chicago rumor keeps popping up. According to Chad Ford, the Hawks are going to pick Horford because they are the Hawks, and there is no known cure. It's not that I don't like Horford, but come on, another forward? Anyway, this scenario could potentially cause Conley to fall to the Bulls at 9, which could certainly open the door for a Blazers trade. I'm still not big on Conley, but I keep seeing this rumor in spots.

Another rumor floating around with Northwest ties but not for the Blazers, the Wolves may have their sights set on Spencer Hawes...I'm glad they're in our division. Kevin McHale says he sees a lot of himself in Hawes, apparently he sees him as another horrific GM in 20 years. I actually feel bad for KG at this point. That big vein in his head might finally pop if they draft Hawes with that #7 pick.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rumor Of The Day 6/15

Another day, another rumor, this one coming out of Chicago. They're clearly interested in Z-bo and this one really seems to be grasping at straws. The deal would be structured around Conley being available with their #9 pick (no chance in hell). Obviously their contracts wouldn't match up so we're back to wild speculation. For the record, I hate it when news sources say stuff like "Conley for Randolph" without any kind of attention being paid to the salary cap.

I suppose we need to look more into Conley Jr., his name keeps popping up and it seems hard to believe that there can't be at least some fire where the smoke is coming from. Let's look at his frosh year at The Ohio State University:

31.6 minutes, 11.3 points, 3.4 boards, 6.1 assists to 2.2 turnovers (2.8 to 1), 2.2 steals.
51.8% from the floor (like that), 30.4% from the college 3 point line (don't like that at all).

I know he's Oden's buddy, and the assist to turnover ratio is pretty strong for a freshmen point guard, but the rest of his numbers don't really sell me on him as a player to trade an asset like Zach Randolph for.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rumor Of The Day

Seeing as how they seem to come on a daily basis, here's the one I heard yesterday:

Blazers trade Z-bo and Jack to the Hawks for Marvin Williams, a cap filler, and the #3 pick.

This might be one of the more interesting rumors I've heard, and it would make some sense. Jack played at G-Tech, the Hawks would certainly be better in a hurry, and the Blazers get a high upside forward and that #3 pick that they could do a number of things with. Speculation is that Conley Jr.'s dad (and the "agent" for both Oden and Conley) is trying to get Conley to Portland to continue his playing relationship with Oden. Not sure how I feel about that, but I wouldn't mind any situation that got them Corey Brewer along with Oden.


I've been thinking about the right way to address this whole Oden vs Durant debate, but the question should probably be asked of whether or not it's even worth debating. Kevin Durant is a marvelous player and is going to be an elite scorer in this league for many years, but these facts are undeniable:

Tim Duncan: about to win his 4th title.
Shaq: 4 titles.
The Dream: 2 titles

Kareem, Parrish, Walton, the list goes on and on. The only elite center I can come up with that didn't win a championship is Patrick Ewing and he had to deal with the greatest player of all time in his conference and when he did make the Finals they played against The Dream and one of them obviously has to lose.

So why is this even a debate? If you want to win a championship, Greg Oden is the guy you take with this pick. I'd go so far as to say that anyone who honks twice at that billboard over by the Rose Garden should be immediately pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Addressing The Golden State Rumor

Many of you may have heard of the latest “Zbo” rumor going around, that Portland and Golden State are talking about a Zbo and #2 pick for Richardson, Patrick O’Bryant and Golden State’s #1 pick deal.

It’s nice in theory because J-Rich is a wing player who scores a ton and runs the floor, but there are several problems with this deal you should be aware of.  

1. J-Rich is a "2" not a "3".  And he's not one of those wing players who really could be either one (like Stephen Jackson), he's a pure 2.  

2. Who is Patrick O'Bryant?  He was that big stiff center from Bradley who led them to the sweet 16 in the tourney two years ago that Lochi and I were making fun of during last year’s NBA Draft Live Blog.  He spent almost all of last year in the NBDL and is a project.  I'd be surprised, though, if Golden State threw him in; they actually value him quite a bit and would probably want a pick in return, let alone including their #1.

3. Al Harrington is a "4" who played out of position at the "5" all season and struggled, and this was exacerbated in the playoffs.  So in theory they already have their starting PF who fits into Golden State’s style of play much better than Zbo would.

4. ...Which as you can guess, means that Zbo would be horrible for Golden State's style of play.  In theory a low-post scorer would be perfect for them, but he's a plodder, and they're a running team.  it would be like Zbo on the Suns, just wouldn't make sense.  And if Golden State was trying to convert to more of a half-court team, then they’d need Jason Richardson even further to complement Zbo.  I'd actually believe this deal more if it were Stephen Jackson than Richardson; but Portland would never acquire a guy like Jackson after all the off-court goodwill the team has been trying to earn back these last few years.

Anyhow, just more information to use at your disposal.


Notes From Around the League

Joe Dumars says that the Pistons are going to re-shape their roster.  I think you can assume that Chauncey Billups will be back, but don’t count on both Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton returning.  It’s going to to be tough for them to trade Rasheed; and frankly they probably shouldn’t.  But one of those two wing men will probably be moved and don’t be too surprised if they go after someone a little more multi-dimensional.  Hamilton is quick and he can shoot a little, but is a terrible half-court defender, and Prince can easily be posted up for a small forward.  

The Chicago Bulls are reportedly making a play for Shawn Marion.  This upsets me, because I want Portland to acquire Marion.  But all things considered this doesn’t make a ton of sense.  The reason that Phoenix wants to trade Marion in the first place is because they want to get under, or at least closer to, the luxury tax line; so they’ll need to deal Marion to a team that is under the cap and can send back less than they receive.  Charlotte, Atlanta, and Orlando I believe are the only teams who fit into this category.  This is also why I’m not buying the “Marion to Boston” or “Marion to Detroit” rumors either.

The Cleveland Cavaliers want to be like Portland.  The Cavs’ owner has reportedly approved the team spending as much as $3 million to purchase an additional draft pick; similar to Portland purchasing Phoenix’s late-first-round pick last season.  As incredible a job as Phoenix has done putting together their team over the past few years, that move was one of their more foolish maneuvers.  They traded the pick to Portland so they could free up cap money to sign Marcus Banks, a backup point guard.  So Portland promptly uses the pick to select Sergio Rodriguez, who would have been perfect for Phoenix.  Now Phoenix is stuck with a bad contract in Banks, still doesn’t have a good backup point guard (Barbosa is more of a “2”), and may have to get ride of Marion to save money because of it.  But, going back to the Cavs thing, don’t be surprised if Portland ends up selling a second round pick to the Cavaliers.  Seems to be a perfect fit.  The Blazers don’t need to use all four of those picks, and I think the ideal situation would be using one to select a sharpshooter or a player to stash in Europe and either trading or selling the other three.  Portland doesn’t need to bring any more than 2 rookies onto the roster next year.  

The Nets think they’ll be able to keep Vince Carter.  Because hey, why break up a team that has no future when you’ve got a marketable asset to use that could bring you the size that you so badly need?  

And finally, confession time.  I haven’t watched more than two or three quarters of these NBA Finals, which is why you haven’t heard anything on the subject and which also sets a new personal-record for “NBA Finals Apathy”.  And I don’t expect to catch a single minute of tonight’s game either due to a personal obligation.  Am I the only one here, or is everyone this disinterested in the series?  The only way that this could get compelling is if LeBron pulls some of the same shenanigans he pulled in the last series and wills his team to a couple of wins.  But unless the series gets to game six, I’m afraid the NBA is essentially over for the year as far as I’m concerned.  

And you know what, this isn’t even the Spurs’ fault.  They’re a great team who play hard, lock-down on defense, and even have a few good playmakers.  The Spurs are fine.  It’s the Eastern Conference that I have a problem with.  It’s such a shitty, repugnant league, that I can’t imagine the NBA finals will be any good for at least another 3 years.  The East deserves to get swept; it’s the JV of the NBA.  As soon as the East can start rolling out some teams worth of their Western Finals foes, then I’ll tune back in.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something To Chew On

I’m not saying that I think this will happen.

But remember last year’s NBA Finals?  A dominating, heavily favored Western Conference team led by a versatile big man and a speedy guard easily wins the first two games and there is much talk of a sweep.  

Then the other team’s single dominant player takes over for four straight games and “wills” (read: gets ridiculous preferential treatment by the refs) his team to a championship.  

Cleveland isn’t quite as talented as Miami was last year — at least Wade got “some” support — but the similarities are striking.

One Update

Gilbert Arenas’ announcement this past weekend has sent the Washington Bullets into a tizzy, and there is now speculation that they will look to make serious, aggressive measures to immediately upgrade the club and ensure that Arenas re-signs with them next summer.  

And part of that speculation includes the tidbit that they would now be more likely to pull the trigger on an Antawn Jamison-and-a-first-round-pick for Zach Randolph-and-two-second-round-picks trade.  

Just something to file away...

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 7th Quick Chat

  1. Orlando pre-draft camp:  “Highlight of the week was getting to see Durant and Oden work out in drills.  Oden was very, very impressive.  Portland fans will notice right away his ballhandling skills...footwork...and explosion to the basket, are all exceptional for a big man.”
  2. “Durant...just didn’t look all that interested...just kind of went through the motions and didn’t take it as seriously as Oden.”
  3. “I would put all my money on the Blazers picking Greg Oden in this draft...99.99%.”
  4. “It’s very interesting how many point guards the Blazers are bringing in.  14 or 15; by far the most of any position.  This makes me think that Portland is looking for help at the Point Guard position this offseason.  I don’t know that this seals the deal that Jarrett Jack will be traded...”
  5. “While the Blazers like him (Jack) and were satisfied with the job he did, I think there are questions regarding whether Jarrett Jack is a starting point guard in the NBA for a playoff-caliber team.”
  6. “I think you can take Rashard Lewis off of your wish list.”  (He has decided he wants to go to Orlando.)
  7. “Two western conference teams have offered their superstars for the number 1 pick.  And they are hall of famers.  And the Blazers have turned them both down.”  (Note from moderator: speculation here...could it be Seattle (Ray Allen), Denver (Allan Iverson) or Minnesota (Kevin Garnett)?)
  8. Any further Aaron Brooks thoughts?  “I think he’s probably going to be an early-to-mid second rounder.  He’s awfully small but awfully quick, and he’s got great leaps...I was impressed mostly with his defense in Orlando.”
  9. “I don’t know what’s going on with Travis right now.”  How does he think the small forward situation shakes out?  “I think the team views travis as a power forward.”
  10. “I really think Houston is looking to trade Shane Battier...and at one point was looking at a Jarrett Jack/Travis Outlaw deal....they were considering Travis and Jarrett for Shane Battier...their next option was Jarrett and Martell for Battier...I think those trade talks were quickly swept by but they were brought up by the Rockets when talking about Portland.”
  11. They may have Greg Oden on the chat next Thursday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Rumors, etc.

There is no truth to the rumor that I actually died of happiness when the Blazers won the Lottery. Now that I'm back in action and The Moderator doesn't have to do it all by himself anymore, let's get right to the long list of rumors floating around the Blazers.

  • It's obvious at this point that they are taking Greg Oden. They'll still go through the process but after he was nothing short of amazing in the draft camp drills testing athleticism, it's over. Oden's our guy.
  • So that leaves us with three "known" players going into next year, Roy, Aldridge, and Oden. Everyone else fits into different degrees of trade possibilities.
  • We're going to find out over the next month how they feel about Jarrett Jack. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to make a play for Billups, but I don't have anything to really back that up. If the Pistons blow it up, he'd be a fairly ideal guy to be the veteran presence on the team. Could you win a title with Billups, Roy, Udoka, Aldridge, and Oden? I think so.
  • Lots of rumors swirling about the Draft and the Blazers moving up into the first round with a collection of their 4 second rounders and various trade assets. If they could somehow manage to get high enough to get Brewer you could be looking at the greatest back to back drafts in NBA history. Roy, Aldridge, Sergio, Oden, and Brewer in a span of 365 days.
  • Richard Jefferson, Antawn Jamison, Corey Maggette, Rashard Lewis, hell I've even heard a Ray Allen rumor out there. The crazy thing is they are all possible at this point, Z-bo is a great trade chip to be played, he could bring any of them in return. I'd probably prefer a younger 3 that can play with our young core for a number of years to come.

It's all about to go down over the next 3-4 weeks, on this blog we'll have our mock draft and our patented live blogging of the Draft from both of us. You'll remember it started to get a little out of hand last year around pick 20, too many beers, and you can pretty much guarantee it will be taking place again this year.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How Did I Not Know About This?

Greg Oden has a blog.

Some great stuff there.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Worst Uniforms in NBA History

The AOL Fanhouse has a great run-down of the worst uni’s in NBA history.

I get that things were different in the seventies. Collars were easier to pop, everyone was on acid, and you could still freak out The Man. That said, I still think that the Hawks' home unis from 1970-1972 are the worst thing ever made. The road ones are okay, in a newly-built subway system map kind of way. But that green on the home ones is absolutely putrid, like what the guts of radioactive lobster look like on a bad night. Not only is it ugly, it's goofy and not at all imposing. Imagine trying to get your competitive fire burning when you're looking like a kid's book character.

Read the entire thing here:

Whatever Happened to David Aldridge?

He used to be one of my favorite NBA writers; for a while there he was approaching “The Peter Gammons of Hoops” during his last few years with ESPN.  But since they canned him, he’s been relegated to sideline reporting duty for TNT and Peter Vesey-esque rumor columns for the Philadelphi Inquirer.  

I submit for you his latest proposal:

The trade: Bryant, center Andrew Bynum ($2.17 million) and the Lakers' 2007 first-round pick to the Blazers for forward Zach Randolph ($13.3 million), guard Martell Webster ($2.97 million), guard Fred Jones ($3.3 million), guard Sergio Rodriguez ($980,400), the Trail Blazers' 2007 first-round pick (first overall), and two of Portland's 2007 second-round picks (37th and 42d overall).

David, David, about you stop talking for a while there champ?  Not a chance in hell that Portland A. trades the #1 pick, or B. acquires a star player at the same position as Brandon Roy.  It’s disappointing to see what’s happened to Aldridge because he used to be a great read.

Rumor Rundown: 2007 Offseason, Edition I

We’re introducing a new “feature” today called Rumor Rundown.  This includes a rundown of any non-Blazer NBA rumors floating around out there.

RUMOR: The Kings are going to trade Ron Artest and Mike Bibby this offseason.
RUNDOWN: I agree that the Kings need to blow up their team, but I only see them moving Artest.  Bibby could go at the upcoming season’s trade deadline, but as for this coming season, you’ve got to remove Artest from the offense and see what Bibby and Kevin Martin can do together.  

RUMOR: The Pistons will trade Rasheed Wallace.
RUNDOWN: Whatever happens with Rasheed, I don’t expect it to shake down until after the Chuancey Billups situation is resolved.  Frankly, Chauncey is more important to that team, and until Detroit knows whether he’s coming back, or what/if anything they’re getting in return for a sign-and-trade, that will dictate what happens with Rasheed.  I expect Chauncey to re-sign with Detroit, and then the Pistons will look at what they can get for Rasheed.  

RUMOR: The Kings want Stan Van Gundy as their coach.
RUNDOWN: It’s true, but Van Gundy wants to stay in the Eastern Conference and is waiting to see what happens with the Orlando Magic.  Don’t be surprised if the Kings get fed up with waiting around for him and move in a different direction.

RUMOR: The Lakers want Marcus Camby from Denver.
RUNDOWN: While the rumor is true, there’s nothing to the trade potential.  Any contract that LA could add to Andrew Bynum to get Camby wouldn’t help Denver because they want to get under the luxury-tax level.  Pay more attention to the Lakers-Pacers Jermaine O’Neal trade.  And I’ve got to tell you, if the Lakers are willing to give up both Odom and Bynum for O’Neal, I’m jumping on that.

And as a side-note, I’d say to the Nuggets: why mess around with this Camby idea?  The team was scorching hot at the end of the season once Iverson and Anthony were finally both healthy, both playing and acclimated to each other (16-5 to finish the year, and gave the Spurs a nice challenge in the playoffs).  I’d like to see what these guys can do with a full season together.

RUMOR: The Hawks have given Mike Conley Jr a guarantee at #3, like they did with Sheldon Williams at #5 last year.
RUNDOWN: Not true.  Everything I’m reading says they’re leaning towards Brendan Wright.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Jason Quick 5/31 Chat

Here’s what The Man had to say, live from the Orlando pre-draft camp.

  • On Durant: “He’s a cool guy.  Humble, soft spoken...much more reserved than Greg Oden, who’s personality takes over the room.”
  • He’s 6-9 1/2 without shoes, 6-10 with shoes, currently 220 pounds but wants to get a little bigger.  “Biggest hands I’ve ever seen.”
  • Oden will be in Portland on June 19th-20th, Durant June 22nd.
  • “Whoever they pick, whether it’s Oden or Durant, I think Portland will like both of these guys.  They’re good kids who won’t get in trouble.”
  • “I think the Blazers will pick Oden.”
  • In Oden’s workouts, he’s been working on his explosion and his dribbling.
  • Greg Oden’s weight...nobody knows.
  • “I think Nate McMillan is firmly in the Oden camp.  Even though Pritchard has firmly been in the Durant camp over the past year, he’s coming around on realizing what a special player Oden is.”
  • Pritchard is spending a lot of time talking to Dallas, Chicago and Seattle.
  • “Portland is going into this draft trying to get multiple picks in the first round.”
  • Quick thinks the Blazers may look at acquiring Steve Blake.  (Note from moderator: why?  Jack and Sergio aren’t doing the trick?  I know a lot of people think Portland could acquire a veteran point guard, but I’m not sure why.)
  • And then Quick promptly addressed this: “There are still some doubts in the front office regarding whether Jarrett Jack is a quality starting NBA point guard.”
  • What is Jarrett Jack’s stock in the rest of the league?  “I think he’s well regarded...I don’t think anyone is willing to give up the farm to get him.  What the Blazers are thinking is ‘is he ready to take on what is becoming a winning team...and step up and take that next step of leading a winning team...if you look at the history of great NBA point guards, their biggest season of improvement is around the third or fourth year.  As a second year point guard, he did pretty well.  But the stakes have been raised because the Blazers are going to be a better team.”
  • “Jarret is a little sensitive.  He never let on last year, but it bothered him a bit how ga-ga everyone was over Sergio.”
  • A lot of people assume that it’s a foregone conclusion that Zbo is getting traded; what’s his reaction?  “Zach understands it.  He realizes the talent of LaMarcus Aldridge...but Zach still thinks it can work, and he’s pretty adament about not wanting to be traded.  But at the same time he says that, he’s very interested in trade rumors.  He’d love to be traded to Chicago, he talks about that all the time.  I don’t think Zach is as sensitive as Jarrett...what does bug Zach is he’s not included in this glowing talk of the team.  If you listen to Kevin and Nate, they rarely if ever mention Zach along with Brandon and LaMarcus and Jarrett and the #1 pick when talking about the direction of this team...but Zach is very aware of that.  He points out all the time that ‘this team has never given me a bobblehead’.  So he’s sensitive to how this team views him, but at the same time I don’t think he frets about his place or his standing because he’s confident in his abilities and he views himself as one of the premier players in the NBA.”  (note from moderator: as he should; he’s one of the best PF’s in the NBA.)
  • Quick seems to think that Portland would be interested in a deal that had Zbo and Chicago’s #9 pick as the main parts.  Is there an urgency to find another team for Zach?  “Not right now.  Kevin has made it very clear that they are focusing on the draft, and after that they’ll figure out how everyone fits in and what moves need to be made...and I don’t think they’ve’ decided which of Oden or Durant they will select.”
  • Has Quick heard any scuttlebut about Portland from other reporters at the camp?  “It’s unanimous everyone thinks they should pick Oden.”
  • A brief note on Aaron Brooks: “He played alright, but has his shot blocked three times in the lane.  When you get in this type of environment, you really notice how small he is and wonder if he can compete in this league.”
  • Final note on Oden: “This guy is a different player than he was in college because his wrist has healed...he has an array of shots he can get off with both hands.”

It was a nice, long 39-minute chat.  And I’d like to add that I think Jason Quick is great.  I grew up in Portland and have watched him turn from an assistant notebook-writer into Portland’s best full-blown beat writer. He always does a good job and is about as forthright as you could expect from someone as close to the team as he is.