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.

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