Monday, June 30, 2008

Gunnin For That #1 Spot

I took in Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot last weekend. The film follows eight top high school basketball talents that have been selected to play in an All Star game held at Rucker Park. Oregon people will like that home state folks Kevin Love and Kyle Singler are both among the players profiled. Blazer fans may be interested in paying special attention to Portland point guard-to-be Jarryd Bayless, who is also featured.

This isn’t meant to be a review, but I liked the movie. It keeps it simple and entertains. Bayless comes off as a charismatic hardworking young talent. (He is anointed “Pay-Up” by game MC Bobbito Garcia). We get to see even more examples of why Beasley is a freak, with his talent and personality dominating any other players/buildings/laws of physics that happen to be around.

The movie affirmed to me that I am in love with basketball documentaries. The Hollywood stuff not so much, there are some gems but I rarely feel engrossed like I am during a documentary.

My favorite of course is Heart of the Game, with favorite #1A being Hoop Dreams. Through the Fire is also well worth your time, with those insights into that insane world of young basketball talents you get by following Bassy around. Gunnin For That #1 Spot doesn’t approach any of those movies in terms of being moving or providing some social commentary, but it doesn’t try to. It is about fun, the foundational component of why we enjoy this game so much. Crap this turned into a review.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Value of James Jones

It makes sense for Portland's NMVP to do it. It became official that James Jones would opt-out of his Blazers contract. Of course, he has said he is open to returning to Portland next season if they make a fair market effort to retain his services. The draft may have taken the focus off of Jones, but this should be a serious issue for Blazers fans.

In an above link ESPN calls Jones a 3-point specialist. Shooting from deep is definitely his strength (44% last season), but it is far from his only one. He has been willing and able to mentor the younger players on the team. He has excellent basketball savvy. He plays above average defense. He had the third highest +/- on the team amongst players that played more than 20 minutes a game. Most of the Blazers winning came when Jones was healthy and getting consistent playing time.

You Blazer fans that scream for Portland to add a veteran to the team should appreciate what is right under your nose. That veteran you seek was here all along and is slowly walking out of the building, waiting for someone to give him a reason to stop. I'm not sure it will happen.

We may have seen the last of Jones in a Portland uniform. Roster spots are still at a premium in Portland. Worse for him is that his injury history may keep teams from offering the type of contract he is seeking. The player who was Portland's best SF last season may walk away from the team with (comparatively) little to show for it. Best of luck Mr. Jones.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More draft-related fun activities to waste time with

If the 2008 NBA Draft confirmed anything to me, it would be that the whole thing would be a lot more boring for everybody if Kevin Pritchard wasn't involved. Here is my 3rd grade reading level obligatory recap:

Players the Blazers ended up with: Jarryd Bayless, Ike Diogu, and Nicolas Batum.

I have been in like with all these players. Don't sleep on Diogu, he is a good banger style scorer in the post. The fact that he's undersized won't be that big of a deal considering Portland has enough trees to protect the rim. Batum will be stashed in Europe for a while.

There is a lot to love about Bayless at the point. Local media seem to be knocking him a little, but I haven't heard or read any legitimate claims to back up the criticisms. Basically, the argument seems to be that he is not a sure thing star that we know will definitely fit in. Duh. Being contrarian is fine, do what you gotta do to pay the bills, but I would appreciate it if you were not so lazy about it. Please, come with a more solid case. Need I remind you there are, conservatively some would say, three legitimate stars already on this roster? Bayless need not be Derrick Rose my friends.

Blazers sent off: Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts were sent off to Indiana. Both can be good NBA Players, I would hardly be surprised to see them both have reasonably long careers. Both could also probably use the fresh start. Best of luck.

I would give a rundown of all Blazers transactions and who they actually you know, drafted, but there is no point. KP traded every player the team drafted, so I'll save us both a few seconds and skip all that.

Also, I know everyone is linking to this, but I could get my sports bloggers license revoked if I didn't post this years' entry from the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen. It did make me like Kevin Love a little more. Sort of somber this year, but still well worth watching:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 NBA Draft Night: Liveblogging would interfere too much with drinking

Finally. I am a draft fanatic, and finally the time has come. I'm blogging this in a library about 10 minutes away from the dive where I will be watching it all go down. From my seat, about 60% of monitors are currently watching highlights of various soon to be NBA players. I love the draft so much, I love the second round more than the first. I love the draft so much, I may get busted for "inappropriate" use of library internet. That was a masturbation joke. I could have structured it in a funnier way, but I have to get down to my bar stool and get this started. You get the point. This is my Christmas.

Also, check out DeceptivelyQuick's little stain over at the otherwise excellent What Would Oakley Do?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Get Money: Blazers buy pick 27

Next year KP might just skip all the drama and have Paul Allen buy every pick in the draft. So far this time around, the Blazers have bought pick #27 from the Hornets. Last year Portland bought Rudy Fernandez from comparatively broke Phoenix, the year before it was Sergio Rodriguez.

Hide the money y'all, there's poor people 'round!

Paul Allen was not quoted as saying.

I never have felt at ease with the fact that teams can literally buy draft spots. Then again, Paul Allen has all the money. This means the Blazers will benefit from this more than other teams, so maybe I should shut up. It is all your teams' fault for not having a super rich owner. Maybe your owner/s should work a little harder so your team doesn't fall in love with selling draft spots for cash. Yes, this thinking is working for me. Now I feel better.

At first glance it seems like KP is amassing even more resources to pull off a trade or seven. Seems likely, but don't be so sure. KP is water like Bruce Lee and I imagine there are some players at 27 the Blazers are interested in. There are still a lot of possibilities in the air. Go get a Big Gulp and some Doritos and chain yourself to ESPNews/Blogfrica, it is time to enjoy another KP draft.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mike Barrett's Finnish Crush: Petteri Koponen

We know Petteri Koponen has been in Tualatin working out with Blazers staff in preparation for summer league. Mike Barrett has been watching salivating. From his blog:

The first thing I noticed is that he has grown, or at least I thought so. Koponen wasn't sure, but it appeared to most of us watching, that he's at least 6-5 now, and has put on some muscle.
Koponen worked out Tuesday with Steve Blake, who wanted to get in a workout. Both players looked very sharp, and Koponen was impressive. He's very quick, is a great ball handler, and was sticking his outside shot from just about everywhere. This is just my opinion, but as the Blazers search for help at the point-guard spot continues, this guy could be the answer.

And from another entry of Finnagler love:

There has been talk that, depending on what happens in the next few weeks, he could be signed and claim a roster spot.

Remember Mike Barrett works for the Blazers. The organization would not let him put crazy talk up on his blog. That gives the possible roster spot speculation even more gravity. It is the first such bold endorsement of The Finnagler that I've heard from a Blazers employee.

Still, all of this is contingent on the spot actually existing. I will go out on a limb and say Pritchard is likely trying to work Jarrett Jack into some deals. It could also mean the Blazers failing to acquire any number of targeted pointguards in the league. In any case, Koponen seems to be increasing his chances of wearing a Blazers uniform next season.

(Thanks to H.T. for the heads up)

Friday, June 20, 2008

On this Barbosa business

Here is the article that has local sports radio and Blazer blogs across Blogfrica sizzling at the moment. The meat of the trade has Portland landing Barbosa for Martell Webster and the thirteenth pick of the draft.

It seems Steve Kerr, in his quest to further demoralize an elite franchise, wants to trade the Brasilian Blur. Barbosa was a great fit on the pre-Kerr Suns teams that were always a little short of breaking through to the finals. He is a horrible fit for the train wreck that looms on the horizon of the new Kerr era. He should be happy about that.

The rumor has sparked a lot of debate, and most arguments can be categorized as falling into two categories: Does Barbosa fit with the Blazers? Do we want to part with Martell?

At this point my feelings are "no" and "no." Would Barbosa fit with this team? It is possible, but doesn't seem like it would be the most natural fit. Barbosa is not known for facilitating or running an offense, or his jumper. He is known for speed, pesky defense, and an ability to get to the rim. The man is in his element in the open court with the ball in his hands. I know the Blazers enjoy talking about being a running team, but we can all admit to seeing little evidence of this idea moving beyond the concept phase. Yes, they have long athletic finishers. Yes, it sounds like an awesome idea. Ultimately though, Roy appears more comfortable and effective with a slower style. I think this should always be considered in the "running team" discussion.

Do we want to part with Martell? If it really will improve the team, of course we are all for it. Maybe you are one of the folks that think we have given Martell enough opportunities to develop and he just isn't giving what we need. For all the knocks he takes about his consistency, I would like to remind you all that Martell is 21 years old. Understand the power of that number, please. There will be many players drafted this year who are Martell's age, there will be a handful that are older. We saw with Outlaw that patience is a virtue. I'm not sure if this trade is worth giving up on Martell so early.

We know Kevin Pritchard and his staff are good at making trades. I assume they like making trades. With all the young talent and draft picks, there is certainly ample resources to make moves. The more interesting challenge might end up being one of patience.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Im in ur emailzz, stealing ur monies

Here is some random hilarity. A DeceptivelyQuick reader let me know he received a scam email from Jack Brown of this here blog giving him some get rich internet scheme. This amuses me. First, I think we all know I'm not exactly a profitability wizard. Also, the abject obscureness of this blog only makes it funnier.

For future reference, you should know that all my authentic emails are signed with a tuba.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As good a time as any for some Stig Dogg

Hm, it really has been a while since we last checked in with our good friend and Finnish rap kingpin Stig Dogg. Globetrotter H.T. recommends this classic:


Friday, June 13, 2008

Petteri Koponen touches down in Portland

Was there really a Josh McRoberts headline on this blog for like five days? Terrible what I did to you there.

Luckily I got an email from H.T. letting me know the Finnagler himself will be in Portland Sunday to workout and get ready for summer league. The Finnagler and the Blazers, together again. Petteri should be excited to show off his growth as a player, coming off a Finnish league title and MVP. The Blazers are also excited, hoping he brings some sweet Nokia phones that haven't been released in the States yet.

I'm excited for summer league, but things have the potential to be depressing on the Koponen front. Last summer, he got very little opportunity to play pointguard. Hopefully his development will warrant an honest chance at running the team this time around. Finnaglerphiles should be hoping the Blazers don't draft any pointguards.

Also, the esteemed H.T. interviewed Koponen, which can be found achieving its manifest destiny over at Blazers Edge. If this interview is any indication, H.T. is becoming a major player in the Finnish Underground and with the darker Invisible Finnish Hand. I suggest you all click that link and read the text with your eyeballs.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Post-Duke Career of Josh McRoberts

Ah, the journey of Josh McRoberts. When he was at Duke, people naturally hated the guy. But being hated isn't so bad, it is acknowledgment of existence and probably relevance.

Then, after getting drafted in the second round, Josh McRoberts entered a new and exciting phase of his life: irrelevance. The guy had been known on the basketball scene since high school, so the sudden relative anonymity must have been strange.

Little NBA playing time, little D-League dominance. (Role player for D-League Champion just doesn't seem to grab people, wadayagonadooo?) Now you can't really discount the argument that his most positive contribution to the team is being Greg Oden's friend. Although I still like some of his potential as a player (remember all these nice things I said?), the basketball universe has seemingly made its final judgment that he doesn't matter after all. Its up to him to battle that.

All of this is brought home in Oden's recent workout clip for ESPN. Here, McRoberts plays the role of anonymous workout partner to perfection. Watching the first couple scenes, I actually was wondering who that white guy was working out with Greg. He looked kinda tall, I wonder if he plays basketball? I believe this is a sign that Josh should do all he can to maintain this friendship.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Terry Porter got the Suns job? Rudy is coming? Someone should blog about that...

I have no business blogging right now. Seriously. I'm in a cave somewhere frantically pounding my keyboard with bloody stubs that used to be fingers, gasping for one last wave of vigor as I dig my way through a sea of inconveniently close deadlines.

Apparently I don't control the timing of many things in life. This includes juicy Blazer developments that are just begging to be tossed around in this desolate space.

For example, Terry Porter getting the Suns coaching job. Wow. Really. You know we wish him well.

And then Rudy making it official that he will be coming over. That isn't especially surprising, but an eerily familiar pattern seems to be emerging here. Remember when the tornado of Sergio hype touched down in the Portland area? That was a ride.

Rudy is better prepared and in a better position to succeed than Sergio was/is, but I have really been hoping local media folks would wait at least two seconds before giving the guy an insane amount of hype. I took the picture below of the front page of the Oregonian today while on my morning Poptarts run. Sheesh people:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I love Blazers fans

Despite what you have been reading on here lately, I do not actually hate Blazer fans. I mean, you tell somebody to eat poo one time and all of a sudden you're the bad guy. I am a Blazers fan, did you notice the blog? Anyways, Its good to support your team, and Blazer fans definitely do it. So good for us.