Thursday, November 29, 2007

Zach in NY: Like a Glove!

Remember when Zach Randolph became the model for high character on the Knicks? Crazy how things turn out. Remember all those concerns about him actually helping this team win? Oddly, those are gone too. An article on details how Zach is the "right fit" in New York. Interesting. After listing Zach's great stats, this is my favorite nugget:

While the team as a whole could improve on defense, Randolph has given New York a boost in the front court.

When New York made the trade for Zach and ESPN talked to all those happy Knicks fans, I would have put money on them regretting it all by now. I was convinced these poor deprived basketball fans had no idea what they were getting themselves into. As it turns out, fate had much worse things in store for them. With things as bad as they are, a statistic producing machine like Z-Bo is the least of their problems.

His stats are largely shielding him from criticism, something that wore off in Portland.

If the situation improves to the point where such nit-picking can resume, fans in NY will realize that Zach's greatness is limited to the box score. When you don't see that he needs a slow offense and near constant possession of the ball to get those points. When you don't see the lay up line his total lack of defense brings to the other end of the court. There are scenarios where I can see Zach being a huge offensive asset to a winning team. He needs to be surrounded by good defenders, both on the perimeter (because he can't help) and inside (because he needs help). Chicago comes to mind. Lining up next to Eddy Curry, not so much.

So Z-Bo, pray things don't get better. In fact, things getting worse is a reasonable wish. Hope that an intern shows up pregnant claiming that David Lee is the father. Cheer for Isiah to keep his job. Encourage Nate Robinson to stab somebody. As long as you got the double-double on lock, you're gold in NY.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Finnagler aka Petteri Koponen UPDATE

Just when you think Finland has cast you aside forever, they come back all smiles like an absentee father. And as much as I was hurting from them leaving, I can't help but let them back into the DeceptivelyQuick family. Especially when its H.T., our Invisible Finnish Hand embedded informant, long feared to be lost forever.

H.T. brings not only news of being alive, but some Petteri Koponen updates as well. I've been curious how Koponen's military service would effect his play, to which H.T. brings some insights (bolded stats are my doing):

Koponen began his military service just two days after the 2007/2008 campaign tipped off. Koponen started the season slowly, battling against fatigue and struggling with turnovers while going through intensive army recruit training. In November, Koponen has performed stronger than everbefore, averaging 19,7 points, 4,2 assists, 4,0 rebounds and 2,3 steals agame while shooting .549 at 2pt, .464 at 3pt and .818 from the charitystripe. He still averages three turnoves a game, but his assist-to-turnover ratio is still among the best in the league. Blazers fans might be pleased to hear that Koponen has improved quite a lot in the defensive end. Maybe that is the reason he went to the Finnish defence forces? Anyway, Koponen's possibilities to crack Trailblazers' rotation in 2008/2009 are looking good at the moment.

Apparently the Blazers have sent their own eyes to see how The Finnagler is doing, and he is doing quite well. H.T. is on it:

Portland Trailblazers' representative Steve Gordon arrived to Finland just a couple of days ago to witness how Blazer point guard prospect Petteri Koponen is progressing. Koponen didn't disappoint, playing full 40 minutes in a 76-60 victory over Joensuun Kataja. Even though Honka Playboys is struggling with injuries (three of their starters and their sixth man are out for more than a month), Koponen managed to general Honka to victory with 27 points (2p 4-6 3p 4-9 Ft 7-7), six rebounds, seven assists and four steals while allowing Kataja's point guard Louis Hinnant only 14 points.Gordon will stay in Finland for a few days and will probably suffer through a salmon overdose.

Excellent news indeed (except for the certain impending salmon overdose of Steve Gordon). To top it all off, H.T. also included another amazing Finnish music video, which is as good a way as any to end this post.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blazer Player Breakdown: Brandon Roy

Back with another player breakdown (Aldridge, Webster, and Green have been presented here), fresh from the DeceptivelyQuick Research Department. There was all sorts of science behind this, beakers, tubes and chalkboards with lots of odd looking math on them. All in an effort to better understand our Portland Trailblazers. Today we have Brandon Roy:

Like Wade, Roy transcends his commendable box score quantified value. They both are providers and facilitators for their teams, fillers of the traditional Daddy role. Both remind us of this most in the fourth quarter of a close game. What Wade has on Roy, and most everyone else, is a sort of athleticism not often achievable by humans. This isn't a knock on Roy, who is definitely athletic even by NBA standards. But while Wade will usually explode around and over all in his path, Roy has to take a more strategic approach. Both are effective. Perhaps because of this need, Roy has developed into a deep threat. As of this posting Roy is shooting .486 from 3. In NBA rank, this sandwiches him between specialists Kapono (.487) and Stojakovic (.472).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

El Finnagler

As you no doubt have heard, DeceptivelyQuick was rocked recently when the Invisible Finnish Hand released us from its icy grasp. This was encapsulated by the secret organization removing all Finnagler-related references from Petteri Koponen's wikipedia. Our embedded informant, the mysterious "H.T.," has long since broken off all contact, and we fear the worst.

A minor victory then, that "The Finnagler" still appears in all its glory on Koponen's Spanish language wikipedia. The Invisible Finnish Hand knows two-hundred ways to kill a man, but it does not know Spanish. A small but significant weakness indeed. If any more dead humpbacked perch show up on my doorstep, I'm booking a flight to Mexico.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Losing Finland

The Holidays are about family, and recently a cousin of DeceptivelyQuick has been coming around less and less. That empty place at the table is difficult to ignore, and we're getting the feeling Finland's "maybe I'll be able to make it" was just a polite "no."

For much of the existence of this blog, Finland has been there. There were days when our kindly maildeliver-er Mr. Lumpkin would complain because hauling all the fanmail from Finland was hurting his back, plus it was "really cold" and often "smelled of fish." Mr. Lumpkin has been happier lately, as our Finnish support has dropped to an all-time low.

But why? Some believe our newly elected mascot Spencer the SweetPotato has failed to connect with the crucial young male Finnish demographic. It only loudens the criticism that we should have gone with our first choice, Finnish rap superstar Stig Dogg. Although we can't disclose the specifics of financial matters, Stig wanted more humpbacked perch than we can provide at this point. Spencer works only for the opportunity to spread the faith of how delicious and healthy sweet potato's really are.

As if this weren't enough, as we watched the Petteri Koponen's DeceptivelyQuick approved nickname "The Finnagler" gain traction, it has apparently vanished from his wikipedia and thus, from the lexicon of relevance.
The Invisible Finnish Hand can be cold indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oden is TOO strong, no really

ESPN hit us with an Oden update, the Blazers are a little nervous because he's gained 30 pounds...of muscle. They swear this is a bad thing:

"We don't want him to get bigger. That's going to come,'' Portland coach Nate McMillan said on Friday night. "It's very easy for him to put a lot of weight on having a year off. We've really got to be careful about the weight training with him.''

That about seals it. You can't approach Greg Oden as if he's a human being. He is an extraterrestrial, possibly from the same planet as Shaq. This adds something to the suggested Optimus Prime nickname.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How bad off are the Knicks?

We've heard about the poor condition of the Knicks organization framed in what seems like thousands of perspectives. Here's an ex-Blazer related one from J.A. Adande's column at ESPN today. J.A. runs through the most recent Marbury act, and, after noting Marbury explaining that he was tired after his poor return performance, turns to Zach:

"If anyone had a legitimate excuse to be tired it was Zach Randolph, who had missed the previous two games to be with his family in Indiana after his grandmother passed away on Friday. Randolph scored 16 points on 5-for-18 shooting from the field and pulled down 19 rebounds.

'I wanted to help the guys out, any possible way I can,' Randolph said. 'I know that's what my grandma wanted me to do, is play.'

Those are the stories we love in sport, guys making commitments to their teammates in the most trying of circumstances. It's too bad it had to be overshadowed by the Marbury circus."

Another potential "you know the Knicks are a mess when...." anecdote to add to the heap: Z-Bo is becoming their character guy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blazer Player Breakdown: Aldridge, Webster, Green

There's a cool movement in basketball to come up with increasingly better statistics that more accurately capture the contributions of an individual player. This Hollingerization has its staunch critics and its horny groupies, but I think the vast majority of us think its all sorta neat-o.

You may be wondering, how can I help? After all, you're just an obscure reader of an obscure blog. Well, I have that answer for you. I've devised a complex system (I will not bewilder you with the complex details and jargon of it all here) to accurately break a player down into his most basic and crucial components. Support my quantitative breakdowns and, dare I say, go out there and be somebody. You can apply this to your own team, boss, spouse, dog, whatever. I'm not opposed to a healthy debate, so long as it ends in your humiliating defeat and me being carried off on the shoulders of awesome people.

To get the ball "bouncing" (cause its basketball ha!), I humbly present analyses of three current Blazers. The goal is to get the whole team completed, although this is science and you can't rush science. Don't even try.

First up, we have LaMarcus Aldridge:

That length, blossoming defensive prowess, and soft-high release have reminded more than a few of us of Sheed. Of course, LaMarcus doesn't freak out as much at officials or teammates. He also does this thing where he likes working hard to improve his game (Whaaaaat?). And he doesn't become a malcontent when an offense wants him to carry a heavy load.

Next up, we have Mr. Martell Webster:

Yeah, I said it. Oh, and I know that H2O played in Detroit that season. However, I couldn't find a picture of him in a Pistons jersey shooting a basketball. I know, you probably didn't even notice that I had digitally altered the Knicks jersey into a Detroit one, or that I incorporated subtle clues to make you think he was shooting that ball from somewhere in Detroit, maybe even 8-Mile.
Anyways, don't sleep on Martell. He has the shooting touch and athleticism of a young Allan Houston. I was tempted to also subtract "knowing he's as good as Allan Houston" from the equation, but Martell has been full of confidence so far this season. With LaMarcus growing into an All-Star and Oden on the way, Martell is going to be killing teams with his shooting for many years.

Our next and final breakdown today, rookie pointguard Taurean Green:

A few nights ago I was reading something about Taurean Green, when Dia walked by and demanded to know why I was looking at pictures of D.L. Hughley. I explained that the picture in question was in fact Blazer's rookie Taruean Green, that he won back-to-back championships in college (I even did the gator chomp a few times for emphasis), that he was passed over in the draft despite his proven skills and toughness just because he's a little small.

Blank stare.

Well, he does have the same hair as D.L., and he does joke around a lot. Except reportedly, his jokes go over at a more successful rate than D.L.'s have lately. He also has the public support of Nate, who has yet to issue similar positive statements about food or water. All he really needs is more playing time, and with inconsistent backcourt play so far you have to believe thats on the horizon. A tough and defensive undersized pointguard with a shooting touch, I see evidence of a young Blaylock. A Blaylock with jokes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blazer fan to public: Kevin Duckworth saved my life

Just push play

You may have already seen this, but my Dad just sent it to me and I was blown away. In the epic, our brave balladeer details an incredible night in which he and Jason were sitting courtside at the coliseum. What happened next would change Dan Reed's life forever. After being done decked and disconnect by a ball flying into the stands, Dan was flung into a Blazer fantasy that was clearly the result of very severe post-concussion syndrome, and brought back to reality only after a subsequent fantasy Kevin Duckworth pass gone awry.

After learning of his brave tale, I had the urge to track down this virtuoso known-mysteriously-only as "Dan Reed."His band has a wikipedia and a myspace, but the man himself remains shrouded in mystery. You know artists. On the upside, he has a new album coming out in 2008, which I am hoping contains the long awaited "Bust a Bucket Remix." Assuming our paths do cross someday, I have the following questions prepared. If you know him, pass these along. They will be in my wallet everyday until this happens.

"What exactly does 'bust a bucket' mean, and when did you know it had entered the elite lexicon of phrases to have swept the nation UNIVERSE?"

"Are you suffering any long-term health effects from when the ball done decked and disconnect you?"

"Were you given any compensation from the Blazers for the trauma you endured that night at the coliseum?"

"Clyde Drexler is noticeably absent from your Blazer Rhymes. Was this attributable to his distaste for the hip hop lifestyle and your alleged objectification of the Blazer Dancers and 80's/early 90's awesomeness?"

Monday, November 5, 2007

How to fix 0-3

Mike Barrett and Casey Holdhal both posted discussions on the Blazers 0-3 start. My take is similar to theirs, the Blazers just lost to three better teams. Still, that zero on the left can make for uneasiness. They should look into fixing that.

The most obvious and glaring Blazer weakness has been at pointguard, where we have yet to see a solid night from anyone. So what to do? Nates apparently going to start Blake and bring Jack off the bench. The non-PG related idea is starting Channing Frye instead of Pryzbilla. I would guess this one could be to prevent the lay-up fest that seems to occur when Aldridge and Pryzbilla are out of the game at the same time. But the Blake start, while not surprising, doesn't seem as easy to justify.

Play-by-Play Mike said Jack told Nate he doesn't mind coming off the bench, which gives us the option of cheering his selflessness and dedication to the team's success or suggesting he lacks the competitive edge needed to be the player we need. Take your pick.

I'm not convinced juggling a group of pointguards that individually have yet to produce consistently is the answer. Perhaps its all Nate can do at the moment. Or maybe its a chance to get noted "Nate Guy" Steve Blake into a larger role.

Jack's confidence has been known to bruise. He even has that worried look in his NBA Profile photo. This seems like an event that could do some damage. What if instead of benching the guy, Nate rallied around his third year pointguard? Let him know that he's a Nate Guy too, and that theres no sense in losing faith after a few bad games?

Don't get me wrong, Jack's play hasn't been up to standards in the very young season. But again, has Steve Blake been good enough to justify this? Can we expect a changed starting lineup with every three game losing streak? It all seems like a little much. This team is still a project, and more patience at this juncture would have a hard time hurting.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mike Barrett: Referee conspiracy whistle blower

I am a supporter of the Blazers All-Mike TV broadcasting team. They're funny, and they do a pretty good job of describing the action.

That said, as I'm sitting here watching the Blazers get blown out by the Hornets in the second game of the season, Mike Barrett's repeated "Refs hate the Blazers" act is already old. Seriously, I'm not sure I can handle another season of this. Its beginning to overshadow the many things the guy does right.

That said, here's some quick notes on the game:

  • Chris Paul had 19 points and 6 assists in less than 26 minutes. He's a great, but Jack and Blake's inability to even stay in the frame with him had me thinking of Taurean Green all night. For the record, "Nate-guy" Green has played less than three minutes this season.
  • This was the first time LaMarcus saw an NBA team that had a focus on stopping him in the game plan. He struggled and looked frustrated much of the night. After blowing over and around Duncan and the Spurs in the first game, facing Tyson Chandler may have been a little shocking.

TV can be awesome sometimes

I was flipping through the channels not expecting much, and then I see Darryl Dawkins shooting freethrows. Huh? There's Bill Walton. The Blazers vs. Sixers, 1977 Finals! The one and only Portland Championship, and the game is being shown in all its glory. Now I'm trying to figure out which game of the series I'm watching, so I log on to Comcast Sportsnet Northwest for more info. All I notice is that whoever made the site apparently thinks Sergio Rodriguez is Sergio Garcia. I included a photo of the two below to help them out:

I added arrows to emphasize differences. Mostly, Garcia wears a sweater vest and uses a club while Rodriguez wears a jersey and uses a ball. Garcia also has an unusual mustache, but I thought it'd be rude to point that out. He's a man with feelings, you know?

So anyways, the channel looks pretty cool. I'd love to say more, but Billy Ray Bates just checked in.