Thursday, June 28, 2007

What a night, 2007 NBA Draft

Fun times. I was a little miffed since I could only follow the first few picks of the night online. I can only ninja out of my cubicle and appear at the nearest sportsbar so fast. Once I got situated, the good times rolled.

First of all, I ended up sitting next to the perfect kind of people at the sportsbar: the old hoopheads. This was not Rip City HQ, this was a corny sportsbar in a westside suburban business park. And still, there was a decent turnout of enthusiastic folks. The plummeting Josh McRoberts became a running joke, and I think I even impressed with my Tiago Splitter knowledge. Good people.

The reaction to the big Zach Randolph trade was priceless. When it flashed on the screen the roof came off the place. An old lady playing video poker went into convulsions. The old hoopheads were excited because Zach was gone and salary space was saved. They said Francis won't play a game for Portland, so no need to worry about him. Who needs ESPN analysis when you got these guys?

Then I noticed all the Knicks fans going crazy, and I couldn't stop the laughter. You guys have no idea what's in store for you. Your frontcourt now consists of Eddy Curry and Z-Bo, if you think thats something to give a standing ovation then you don't know Zach. Don't let the numbers fool you. PS, this is a guy that can't stay out of trouble in Portland.

The draft was awesome, I learned that Kevin Pritchard is still made of magic. McRoberts was a steal since he is a very good complimentary player and supposedly Greg Oden's semi-buddy. Taurean Green with the #52 pick? I'll take that all day. Koponen the workout wonder is worth the low risk, especially since he can develop over in Europe for a while. Rudy Fernandez? I don't know much, but I read good things. As for everyone else? Kevin Pritchard drafted them, so they must be awesome. Now its time to look forward to free agent season, summer league, more trades, and a dynasty. I love being a Blazer fan.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

They're saying its Oden, Seattle Still Sucks

It came all over local news and ESPN earlier this evening. Awesome. If thats K-Pizl & Crew's choice, its probably the best one. Roy, Aldridge, and Oden is quite a young core (not to mention those other guys, yay!). Even with the main suspense likely gone, the draft is still gonna be great fun to watch play out.

I assume this means Durant is going to Seattle, although I am hoping they pick Jianliang and maintain their hilarious draft strategy of using high picks on unproven 7-footers (shout out to Robert Swift and Sene!). Forget your future Seattle, you know with your ownership its probably a wrap anyways, so keep the comedy going!

Durant is an incredibly gifted, hardworking, and lucky person overall. That said, how thrilled can he really be going to Seattle when the organization is so bad that Detlef Schrempf doesn't even want to be there? That organization is apparently in terrible condition all around (save for the incredible #2 pick this year), which could be bad news for Durant, and the league. Maybe he should pull a Kobe and try to force a trade before he even suits up. Hey, K-Pizl has a niiiiiiice young 20 and 10 low post player available, lets do lunch!

Sucks to be a Celtic

This is a great time of year to indulge in trade gossip. There's so much right now, I've had to dedicate 3 hours a day at work just to keep up (the things I sacrifice). Through a lot of the rumors, a theme keeps popping up that makes me smile for some reason:

Nobody wants to be a Celtic.

Wow, I think this is significant. The Celtics are one of the most storied franchises in SPORTS. Actually, they're probably one of the most storied organizations in the history of organizations. I haven't counted lately, but I'm pretty sure they have something like 742 titles. Players who wanted to win, be famous, and be respected as greats used to kill to join this club. Today they won't even suit up if you pay them 22 million a year. Thats saying something.

Reportedly, Kevin Garnett spoke up and killed a trade that had him ending up there. So did Shawn Marion. Now there's rumors that Paul Pierce might want to bail. God knows who else. At this rate, will the Celtics even be able to find enough guys to fill the roster?

Not ALL of this is Ainge's fault, but um, he doesn't seem to be helping things much. Is there a D-League for GM's?

Side note: Maybe this will all make Ainge desperate enough to take the plunge and offer Portland something for Z-Bo? Keep hope alive!

Its like Christmas Eve right now

Actually comparing the 2007 Draft Eve to Christmas Eve is a bit of a stretch. First of all, my family always opens presents on Christmas Eve as opposed to the next morning (old pagan ritual), so for me its more like Christmas Eve-Eve. Plus usually the presents suck, at least compared to your home team getting the #1 pick. Still, Blazer fans have to be feeling pumped and anxious as the draft inches nearer.

I'll be happy with Oden or Durant (sorry, I know I said no more waffling, but its hard), and watching the rest of the draft shake out is always fun. I can't wait to watch Kevin Pritchard and crew like an M. Night Shyamalan movie (one that doesn't suck, maybe Sixth Sense. I liked Unbreakable too, but anyways...), sitting back and eagerly awaiting all the unexpected twists. I mean seriously, 4 Second Round Picks? Just what are you up to, K-Pizl?

More than the future, this draft can help Rip City heal some old wounds. I'm not just talking about the "Jailblazers" garbage, I'm talking about something far worse. The 1984 Draft. I don't even like typing it. Who really wants to revisit Portland selecting Sam Bowie over Jordan? I doubt I'm the only one (Clyde still defends the pick) who has spent many half-hearted conversations trying to get people to understand the circumstances:

"Of course that doesn't mean they were right, but how could anyone know Jordan would be the greatest ever? Portland already had a perimeter star in Clyde, and really needed a quality big guy. I mean it turned out bad, but it wasn't dumb at the time, it made sense."

God I'm tired of being that guy. If Portland picks Oden (or Durant!) and goes on to win multiple titles and all that loveliness, I don't think I'll have to be that guy anymore.

"Yeah that was dumb back in 84, but how about that dynasty team 25 years later?"

Much better.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Its official: Draft Kevin Durant

I've been waffling. Through the workouts, through the youtube and google "research," through all the blogs and articles and talking heads making a case for one camp or another. I was all Oden, then Durant, then back to Oden before finally deciding to sit on the sidelines, throw my hands in the air and issue the defeated cop-out line, "In Kevin Pritchard We Trust." Hey, he's the one with magic powers.

I'm done with it. I've had a revealation of sorts and am ready to plant myself firmly on one side: draft Kevin Durant. Not because of the recent workouts. Not because of Oden's health or Durant's "killer instinct," I'm basing this on something more solid, my mistrust of the majority.

This is where I tried to link to, only to find the url expired 6/3/07. I had very low confidence in the team management just a year ago, and rightfully so. I feared they would heed those fans outside the practice facility and actually draft Adam Morrison. Very Scary.

So unnerving, I vowed to never trust the popular opinion of Blazer fans. Your past yearning for the Great White Mope has made you forever invalid. With this in mind, a poll in the Oregonian shows fans want Oden over Durant.

You've given me direction, Rip City. A new heading for my blog. I have no choice but to oppose you: Draft Kevin Durant.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Letter to the World: LeBron has you right where he wants you

There, I said it.

Down 0-2. Not like down-to-Detroit 0-2, but down-to-San Antonio 0-2. The world has chimed in like only The World can, "LeBron, its a wrap."

No doubt. Nice run Lebron. Who cares what they say about the LEastern Conference, you're a 22 year old who has carried your odd-ball squad to the finals. All the seemingly unfair expectations you have created in your young life, only to exceed them. How is it even possible for a player with this much hype to remain ahead of schedule?

LeBron is prodigious when it comes to surpassing mountains of hype, and such habits are scary rare and lead to even loftier standards. So goes the career of a wunderkind.

Thats why I'm posting this. Down-to-San Antonio 0-2? Expecting a comeback from this would be lunacy. Totally unrealistic and unfair. Not even LeBron has done anything like this before.

Sound familiar?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I'm starting to fear the magic man

Blazer fans have been going crazy with trade speculation. And why not? It's fun to sit around and conjure up fantasy scenarios that include trading Z-Bo and D. Miles for the #2 Pick, Ray Allen, and an iPhone (Oh wait, Paul Allen would never let us have an iPhone). I've certainly slipped into this dreamland as a fun way to pass the time. Plus we have Kevin Pritchard, the magic man league bamboozling super GM who will probably not just deliver our outlandish fantasies, but surpass them.

It's fun to be a Blazer fan right now.

Then I came across a couple articles that sobered my mind like an Oregon Burrito from Muchas Gracias at 3 AM. Reality just isn't as fun.

First off, The Oregonian is reporting that Pritchard isn't getting as much interest in Z-Bo as we would like to believe. In all this excitement we were forgetting the very real possibility that Zach will be once again doing his thing in Portland next season. Ouch.

Secondly,DraftExpress is making reasonable speculation that Portland is shopping Jarrett Jack for a draft pick. Apparently Portland is inviting pointguards to private workouts. Jack is a good guy, and a good player. I see him as a potential Upper-Middle-Class Man's Chauncey Billups, to be honest. It isn't a reach to say that Jack in his third season will run the team better than any rookie pointguard in the draft. Do we really want to go younger at this position? At this time?

Losing Jack would mean losing someone we know is a character guy that the fans seem to demand these days. It would also mean losing a competant young pointguard thats still improving. Lets not forget we'd probably taking a step back in that position (at least in the immediate future).

I really like Jack. I've been paranoid about him getting moved all season. I first blogged my fear back on 3-16-07.If there was a negative to the electricity and excitement produced by Sergio Rodriguez, its that it seemed to push Jack off the stage a little.

If KP pulls the trigger on this, his 110% approval rating probably won't go away, but it will get a critical look from more than a few. Of course if it all works out, and Portland becomes better off, great.

I say "In Kevin Pritchard We Trust," but I'm no longer yelling it. I wonder if magic is enough.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Punishment from the Basketball Gods

Why no entries for a while? I've been sequestered in a cave somewhere in Oregon, with a basketball in one hand and a picture of Terry Porter in the other, in a trance-like state searching for answers.

Let me explain.

Remember how I wrote about how I can't seem to care about the Eastern Conference Playoffs? I genuinely felt bad about that feeling, like I was being a bad basketball fan. But it was the truth.

I admit, I was getting a little interested in the early Eastern Conference Finals. This is irrelevant, because I wasn't interested enough to prevent what would happen next. On May 31st, The Pistons and The Cavs played a little something called Game 5. I was watching from tip off until I remembered I was going to go play some basketball that night.

"I can miss this, even when its close how fun is it to watch NBA teams score in the 70's anyways?"

Peace out TV, the pickup game is callin!

Thats when the heavenly and just bodies that watch over basketball decided they'd had enough of my ways. Time to teach a lesson, Jack Brown will respect the game.

First of all, I didn't even get to play a real game. Not enough people showed up (they were appeasing the Gods by staying home and watching Game 5 I imagine), so we played a few rounds of 21 instead. Weak.

During this unholy act I was receiving text messages about what was going on, first came this:

"lebron takeover!"


"ot, lebron!"

And finally, when I knew I was being divinely punished,

"Cavs n 2ot, lebron 48"

I missed it. When I got home I was glued to the highlights. I woke up the next morning and had to read stuff like this all day long about where Lebron's performance fits on the all-time playoff moments list. Worse still, was the people asking me what I thought about the game.

I'm sorry. It will never happen again. I'm renewing my vows to the game. Never again. Lesson learned.

Lebron's last 25 points: