Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Watch people hurt themselves/others

Everyone is all over this collection of youtube dunks gone horrifically wrong, so I feel my basketball bloggers license could be revoked if I didn't link also:

20 Ways to Die Trying to Dunk a Basketball


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Telfair gets a new deal

If the NBA were the Universe, Sebastian Telfair would be lucky to be a planetesimal at this point. But if DeceptivelyQuick were the Universe, he would be a dwarf planet at least (Bassy!). His road to over hype recovery is compelling, and still has a shot at a happy ending.

Things are looking up. After what was really his first solid season in the NBA, he signed a new two year (player option for a third season) deal with the Timberwolves. While his deal is likely far from lucrative by NBA standards, he has a coach that encourages him and an opportunity for minutes. Still just 23, continued improvement over the course of this contract could make Telfair a legitimately coveted pointguard in the league. Heres to watching Bassy increase his gravity.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Headline of the day

Not at all basketball related, but I feel I have to share. From KGW Portland News Channel 8:

Police: Chihuahuas provoke baton attack on nude beach

I know KGW is where the news comes first, but this is ridiculous! Hey-Oh!

Petteri Koponen virus spreads to THE WIZZNUTZZ

If there is another American "basketblog" (har-dee har har!) that is as Finn-Friendly as DeceptivelyQuick it is none other than THE WIZZNUTZZ. They have that Finnish Intern Jaarko, although I hear he is ridiculed in the lunchroom as an affirmative action hire. Anyways, it looks like they have taken a liking to our man Petteri Koponen. Although it seems unlikely that he will join the Blazers anytime soon, immediate internet sensation status is not out of the question. Enjoy the love:

Kid Nokia played great in the Vegas Summer league, which they called in Finland MOOMINSUMMER MADNESS. Kid Nokia's first summerleague game had a TV rating in Finland of 98.7!!!!!! Thats almost the whole country watching including TVs in prisons and madhouses! Jaarko has been so busy doing the talk circuit - hes been on all the biggest shows, like "Cold Mämmi" and "Aito Sports w/ Topi Köstas" which caused a big stir on the internet when Jaarko was ambushed by Grööp Gropinggar, the bestselling author of "Tuesdays with Magnus"!!!! Grööp erupted and lost his mind!!!

The Wizz have a history of creating nicknames that stick, and they have some for Koponen that are worth looking at with your eyes. Yes, I'm a little threatened. No, this doesn't change my continued failing efforts towards popularizing The Finnagler.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Team USA squashes Canda, Canadian currecy still worth more

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A?

Team Nike USA didn't come for a Canadian Debate. They came to squash their over matched opponent, and they did. What does that mean?

Not a whole lot, Canada didn't make the Olympics after all. The two best Canadian players (Nash and Dalembert), aren't even on the national team. It is safe to say the real tests for Team USA are still to come.

In such a lopsided match up I'm not sure you can glean much analysis of how good this Team USA is right now. Because of sheer talent, they are favored to win Olympic Gold. I'm fine with that, but there are some concerns.

Back when it became clear that we need a more thoughtful approach to international basketball, there were some pledges made. More shooters, more defenders, more role players. This disjointed collection of All-Stars just wasn't going to cut it anymore!

Which is why I did a double take when the roster came out. The only shooter on the team is Michael Redd. There are three pointguards that will play significant minutes, which means an all-pointguard backcourt will be a regularity. This can be great, but can also be exploited by the better teams in Beijing.

There are other signs of weakness. Against Canada, USA got disturbingly little production out of the post. Team USA will be undersized under the basket against teams like Spain. In proud Team USA tradition, this group will rely heavily on players shooting the outside jumper off the bounce. This is all good when things are falling, but when the jumpers start missing, look out. Seems like they should have figured out how to fix that.

I like that the United States is taking a more serious approach, like requiring a three year commitment out of players. But thinking about this team, some of those historical flaws seem to still be lurking. It has been a long time since the world cowered at the sight of USA Basketball. They know how to defeat this team, and can just look at the film in case they forgot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Brian Wheeler: Koponen's Dream Will Soon Be Crushed


That beautiful man in the purple is none other than Brian Wheeler, radio voice and employee of the Blazers. In addition to play-by-play broadcasts of Blazer games, he happens to also have a radio show. His being employed by the team comes with the drawback of him basically being a mouthpiece for the organization. This is not all bad, if you sift through the wafts of PR rhetoric you can generally count on his information to be accurate.

I bring all that up because last night on his radio show he divulged that our man The Finnagler (aka Petteri Koponen) will probably not join the Blazers next season. If that happens Koponen will likely sign a deal with a Euro team for at least three seasons, maybe more. This decision could very well be the end of the relationship between Koponen and the Blazers.

Wheels went on to say that he believes Batum will get a roster spot. The team would still have one slot open, but would rather keep that option than fill it with Koponen. There is a lot to chew on here, including the logic of keeping Batum who is a small forward project that would be behind current SF projects Webster and Outlaw. DeceptivelyQuick will remain in a holding pattern until the official word is released.

UPDATE: The audio from Brian Wheeler speaking on the subject is available here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: From our cousin Jason Quick: Batum has officially been signed. This means one remaining roster spot, and Pritchard loves to keep a roster spot open for trade flexibility and possible free agent pickups. Not looking good for Koponen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blazers 2008 Summer League Recap

It isn’t hard to make the case that summer league matters little in the grand scheme of the NBA Universe. There have been players that have dominated here that never amount to much in the league. Others have struggled in the summer and gone on to be All-Stars.

Why pay attention? For me, summer league is intriguing because it gives the potential to learn something new about a player. We can then take that glimpse of something and speculate whether or not it will translate to the NBA. Summer league never gives you all the answers, but this year we can say we have learned some things that can be important for the Blazers future.

Jarryd Bayless:
He has the absolutely valuable ability to attack the hoop from the perimeter (stats). When he (easily) gets by his man, he has shown an excellent knack for finishing at the rim or drawing the foul. Bayless can put points on the board. I mean, his play was worthy of this gushing.

I won’t join the chorus that is concerned with Bayless not being able to be a competent point guard. He came to summer league as the best player on the Blazers roster and was heavily relied on to provide scoring. He was excellent in this role. We don’t know enough to be concerned about his low assist numbers yet. I could just as easily see those drives ending with a dish to Oden or Aldridge when the defense leaves to protect the rim.

Petteri Koponen:
The Finnagler answered some questions this summer (stats). First off, he is big. It happens that size at the point guard position is highly valued by Nate McMillan. He was also very solid on defense, another thing Nate covets. No, he wasn’t guarding Chris Paul. Still, his ability to defend was largely unknown before the summer. In that respect, knowing that he can defend guards at the summer league level is something. Possessing qualities that are highly valued by the head coach will only help his chances of making the team this year

Koponen also performed most traditional point guard offensive duties well. Considering a summer league team is never going to run smoothly, it is hard to glean much insight from how he directed the offense. He did show an ability to put his teammates in a position to score. He was able to penetrate the defense. He was able to hit shots from outside.

Yet Koponen was shaky at times. He didn’t shoot well the last two games. He had occasional trouble bringing the ball up against pressure. At times he looked unsure as to how to attack the defense. There were spats of bad decisions and turnovers. Considering his age these things shouldn’t be all that surprising. None were consistently plaguing his game to the point of being insurmountable weaknesses.

My take away on Koponen from this summer was that he is well on the path to becoming a good NBA point guard. Obviously, gaining experience is now the priority. I’m not sure the Blazers have the minutes to spare at the moment to give Koponen that opportunity. However, losing Koponen for multiple years to a difficult to escape Euro contract may be worse than having him ride the bench for a season. If those are the options the Blazers have, I hope they bring him over this year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Darius Miles Comeback Update

I didn’t think I would be doing another Darius Miles post so soon. From (assist from this Blazers Edge thread), we get an update on Big Pun’s latest comeback attempt.

In recent weeks, Miles has had workouts -- ranging from two hours to less than 30 minutes -- with the Nets, Celtics, Suns and Mavericks, all of whom controlled the terms while asking Miles to compete against other players.

Further, the article reveals he is doing pretty well in at least some of these workouts. Reportedly, he is back to his physically capable self. When you learn he is seeking the minimum (you know, since he still has about $18 mil from Paul Allen coming to him), it starts to seem likely the 26 year old could very well be in the league this season.

Financially, a healthy Miles is an inexpensive gamble. It would be a judgment call on whether his attitude has improved enough to where he can become consistently beneficial to a team. A new outlook would be a pretty positive outcome from Miles recent tribulations. Conceivably, a veteran playoff team perhaps could rationalize that established alpha dogs on the team would keep Miles professional on the court and off.

On the other hand, it isn’t too hard to see that Miles attitude probably hasn’t made a complete turnaround:

"I've been on the good side, where everything is good for you -- fans, shoe commercials, movie deals, my jersey in the top five. Then I'm on that side where I'm just labeled this criminal, this thug, this bad guy -- 'He can't be coached.' I've been on both sides and it's funny, I don't know how I went from that side to this side. I don't have a [criminal] record. I don't do anything out of the ordinary. I never had problems with my teammates. It's crazy how you get labeled.''

Perhaps we should kindly refer Miles to his Wikipedia page to ease any confusion. He has never seemed all that self-aware. He seems to think the problems that derailed him from stardom are attributable to forces far beyond his own personal control.

Total enlightenment waved bye-bye long ago, so the question is if he has improved his attitude enough to be a consistent positive team member. If a team figures he is worth the risk, his salary would go back on the Blazer’s books (although they might be able to get out of this too-- salary cap stuff makes my head hurt). Obviously this wouldn’t be a good thing, but Portland is in pretty good shape future-wise regardless. That being the case, it would be compelling to see Miles return to the NBA. I bet you would be watching, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blazers kick off summer league with a reminder of what summer league is

Blazers had their first summer league game against the Washington Wizards on Monday. The probably still incorrect box score can be found here--hey its summer, lower your standards! If I chose one word to describe the game, I would make one up, and it would be "summerleaguey." By summerleaguey I'm referring to the presence of the usual pick up ball characters; bricks, turnovers, fouls, more bricks/turnovers/fouls, and a general sense of disjointednesses.

And still, I love summer league. I'm coming to believe this is a symptom of some sort of disease. It is fun to try to get some insight into how those players dubbed as "projects" are coming along, nice to see the new guys, and equally enjoyable to watch lesser known talents scrap their heart out to get a shot at the big dream. But yeah, still ugly.

Last summer I went a bit crazy with the summer league game recaps. No more, we're scaling back (it is a recession after all). This time around, Comcast is actually broadcasting the Blazer's games on TV, so I assume more are able to watch. This is how I rationalize my laziness. Onward!

Petteri Koponen:
At long last, The Finnagler. (Fuck you all for not helping popularize that nickname, by the way.) The man that can stir lust even in grown men named Mike Barrett. Petteri has been working and waiting for his time to show the Blazers his improvement. This is a big summer for him, being left off Portland's regular season roster would mean a return to Europe with a contract that would likely be difficult to get out of.

With so much riding on these games, it is understandable Koponen came out a little shaky. Some bad decisions, lots of jumpers landing short, and getting pick pocketed by Dee Brown amalgamated into a first half a little rougher than he would have liked. But once he got loose and settled, The Finnagler was able to finagle a good nights work.

He started hitting more consistently from deep. Getting by his man got easier. He hit some nice floaters in the lane and did a very good job setting up his teammates. The rumors are true, the man can play. Very noticeable along with his skills is his size. Granted, Washington does have smaller guards, but Koponen looked gigantic next to them all. Hopefully we'll get to see Petteri minus the shaky start the rest of the summer and will find him on the Blazers roster come fall.

Jarryd Bayless:
So what of the new lottery pick? Let me paraphrase my man Sartre: He felt the heat. And the heat was actual.

Bayless is ready to score at the NBA level. He will give the Blazers what they are in need of in terms of a perimeter player who can get to the hoop and convert, and he will give it to them by the truckload.

I was happy to see that most of the night Bayless was matched up with Washington guard Nick "The City" Young. Young will be a rotational player next year, he is an explosive guard who can score. And for the most part, he looked outclassed by Jarryd Bayless tonight. This is good news.

Undoubtedly, you will hear knocks that Bayless cannot or will not pass the ball. Don't worry, Nate said in an interview Bayless was told to be very aggressive and look to shoot. Be excited that we have a player that will put considerable pressure on defenses with his ability to get to the basket and either convert, draw fouls, or both. Plainly, Jarryd Bayless was the best player on the court tonight.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Akeem Scott: Renaissance Man

Only two non-Blazer related basketball players show up on DeceptivelyQuick consistently. One is Kobe Bryant. The other, featured more prominently in this universe than Mamba, is Akeem Scott. We appreciate Akeem Scott as renaissance man for his television show hosting talents, culinary aptitude, and basketball ability. Now, recently brought to our attention thanks to the venerable H.T., we introduce another Akeem Scott talent; freestyling:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Brandon Jennings bigger than Brandon Jennings

And the American Dream strikes back. Brandon Jennings is no longer just playing with the idea of skipping a year of college basketball and playing a season in Europe, he wants to make it happen. He is the first to take this alternate approach to the NBA's age limit, but hopefully not the last.

The requirement to be nineteen years of age to be eligible for the NBA always inspires a sense of ickyness deep within me. So you are going to tell a legal adult that they cannot play in the NBA? They can vote? They can go to war? But they can't play in the NBA? Seriously?

The logic used for justification of the age requirement never holds up during closer examination. The League will tell you it gives the players a chance to develop and mature. They won't give you a direct comparison of the careers of players straight from high school versus those who played in college. They won't because a whole lot of those unprepared, immature players seem to be doing pretty well. At the least, they do no worse than their collegiate counterparts.

They might tell you it gets the pro scouts away from high schools, helps these young super talents to just be "regular kids," if only for a little while longer. How noble, unfortunately that is a little detached as well. The elite levels of youth basketball are already saturated with a whole lot of seedy business that will exist as long as some of the players will eventually have NBA fame and money. Sneaker companies, wanna be financial advisers, leechers of various types, these elements are in that environment regardless of an age limit.

Additionally, you think NBA teams are content with only observing a very promising talent for their one year of college? Scouts honor? The NBA somehow knew a whole lot about Michael Beasley before he got to K-State, just like they know a whole lot about Tyreke Evans now.

Who really benefits from the age requirement? The NCAA gets a boost by having the brightest stars stop by college for a year. The NBA gets a boost as the players come into the league already known at at a national level and ready revenue generating cogs in the wheel.

The whole thing from the justification we are expected to believe to who really benefits from such a policy stinks. I am grateful for Brandon Jennings.

James Jones signs with Miami

What with his injury riddled season and all, we weren't sure James Jones would get the type of security he was seeking by opting out. You have probably heard by now he signed with Miami for five years and around four million annually. Good to see him get a pretty long term deal, sad to see last seasons NMVP go.

Jones has to be pretty happy with this deal. More and more we get the sense he saw the writing on the wall and knew Portland would prefer to give his minutes to younger players, no matter how much he helped the team.

Team wise, Miami could use Jones. His shooting will punish a lot of opponents for leaving him to double Wade. With additional players like Beasley and Marion, Jones is sure to get his share of open looks. If he is anything close to what he was in Portland, the Heat made a very good move signing him.

Jones is also from Miami, even playing there in college. His return home is marked by long-term financial security and the ability to fill an important need for the home team. Good move Mr. Jones.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sergio Rodriguez left off Team Spain?

This post over at SLAM provides a glance at the Spanish National Team for the upcoming Olympics. One Spanish Blazer is listed, one isn't. I'm still searching for the official list to verify (if you find it, please share it in the comments), but this would be especially depressing news to a guy who has been having trouble keeping his head up. Sergio Rodriguez has always been a popular topic around these parts, so hopefully we will have more to steal share soon.

I threw the question out to BlazersEdge folks. Although no official release has surfaced, three other pointguards on the team sounds like strong evidence that Sergio was indeed left off.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Darius Miles won't let you forget

Mr. Miles has presented us with another opportunity to give thanks that he has been extricated from Rip City: A 10 game drug suspension should he find NBA employment.

I was hoping to retire from Darius Miles jokes, but I can see he will not make such actions easy (the Darius Miles tag is entertaining). Everyone please start praying he ends up on the same Euro team as Qyntel Woods. That would be awesome.

Local fans and media will likely use this as another opportunity to throw some acid in the man's general direction. I maintain that anyone who tolerates douchey teens to the degree seen in the below video and doesn't punch somebody in the face is a better person than many:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy July 1st

Ah yes, time for things to really get crazy. Free agency season is here. That means lots of rumors. That means lots of bullshit. That means lots of blogging. Time to once again make sure HoopsHype is in your daily rotation of time wasting. Some early juice:

Boom Dizzle opting out.

Starbury getting waived?

Warriors offering a max contract to Arenas?

It is only day one my friends, this is going to be fun.