Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving laziness: Repurposing old posts written by other people

Happy Thanksgiving. I would say we Blazer fans have a whole lot to be thankful for. I'm too lazy to come up with anything myself, so I figured I'd reuse a post sent in by Goonerluke last January. It works, and now we could add even more to the list. And Goonerluke, whatever happened to you? I miss you man, come back. Original post here.

Today we take a look at those often overlooked individuals who made our current Blazers team possible and to who we all owe a debt of gratitude.

Isaiah Thomas, New York Knicks, GM

Never shy of tying another huge anchor around the neck of his ever-sinking Knicks franchise, Isaiah made the move that he thought would put his ESPN fantasy team over the top, he acquired Zach Randolph from the Blazers. A move that, if not putting the Blazers “over the top,” at least got them over a hump. (I call the other hump “D Miles”) To my friends I often describe Zeke’s skills as a general manager as the double inverse of his skills as a player. (Exception: Unless Zeke’s skills as a general manager are considered in the context of ESPN fantasy league basketball, in which case he is a borderline genius) The Blazers have overachieved this year, while the Knickerbockers are hopelessly bad, with or without Zach. How some Knicks fan hasn’t lit himself on fire in the middle of Times Square, I’ll never know. But it looks like that is what it’s going to take. Brutal, brutal legacy to leave, Zeke. Big ups for helping us with Z-Bo though, I promise I’ll never boo you. (Except for when ESPN classic shows the ’90 Finals, then I have to boo.)

Microsoft Corp.

While not really an individual, Microsoft is a corporation, which is a business that gets the same rights as an individual, or something like that. Regardless, the success of this Washington company has been very good to us Oregonians as well, as Paul Allen’s $18 billion (thank you MSFT!) makes the NBA salary cap and over the cap penalty more of an annoyance than anything else for Portland GMs.

Phoenix Suns ownership

Is majority owner Robert Sarver eating Shrimp Flavor Cup o’ Noodles for lunch? I hope so. I think the Suns post Nash/Hill era would look a lot brighter with Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, and the new Jim Jones. Sarver’s personal fortune is only 2.22% of Paul Allen’s, which means that his GM has to worry about the salary cap. Lucky for us, Phoenix’s strategy for fiscal responsibility involves jettisoning young talent to the Rose City. I toast my Sangria to you, Mr. Sarver. Ole!

Jim Paxson, Chicago Bulls, GM

In the 2006 NBA Draft, aka “The Kevin Pritchard coming out Party,” Jimmy P. gambled on upside and completely ignored fundamentals and polish when he traded LMA for TT and The Wolverine (Viktor Khryapa). I knew there had to be a good reason why we retired Paxson’s number – so that one day we could use it as a psychological edge and make him bend to our will.

Danny Ainge/Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics/Minnesota Timberwolves, GM/GM

Grouped together because they both passed on BR7 and I’m lazy. In reality, Danny Ainge deserves a way bigger shellacking on this because he basically traded the #7 pick for Telfair and a bit of cap relief = Theo’s contract

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Appreciating Brandon Roy: Shot Distribution

It is obvious to most what Brandon Roy means to the Blazers franchise. Around this blog we like to call him Everything. His actions on and off the court have affirmed his status as a budding superstar. Roy possesses that rare combination of talent, work ethic, and awareness that leads speculators at sports bars throughout Rip City to summarize him as one who "just gets it." No disagreement here.

His resume certainly seems to be steadily building towards greatness. Year one; rookie of the year, Year two; All-Star. So far year three has Roy performing at his best level yet, and he seems likely to steer a very young team into the playoffs.

Yet Roy is rarely the player that has the tongues of Rip City wagging. We can blame a combination of factors for this. There is a lot of excitement surrounding newer Blazer arrivals, the immediate production of Rudy and constant monitoring of Oden's progress seem to be more intriguing at the moment. Roy also has a steady and quiet type of game, sort of how Joe Johnson or Tim Duncan seem to kill softly. Only the most brilliant and immediate heroics occasionally refocus our attention on Roy, and even then it is fleeting. Roy's greatness is becoming so consistent and familiar, we sort of take it for granted.

There are a great many ways to appreciate Brandon Roy: for his leadership, his growing ability, or what he means to a community that so greatly missed players that were both talented and decent human beings. Today I'm focusing on a small, very focused thing.

Brandon Roy's Shot Selection

Take a quick look at Roy's shot distribution over at 82games:

Jump: 65%
Close: 31%
Dunk: 2%
Tips: 1 %
Inside: 35%

Nothing surprising, but look how Roy's distribution changes in the clutch. Clutch statistics are defined here as the 4th quarter or overtime, less than five minutes left, and neither team ahead by more than five:

Jump: 46% = -19 change
Close: 42% = +11 change
Dunk: 4% = +2 change
Tips: 8% = +7 change
Inside: 54% = +19 change

Roy shifts his shot selection dramatically in clutch time. Only 65% of Roy's shots are jumpers overall, which is pretty low for a two-guard. (For comparison: 81% of Joe Johnson's shots are jumpers, 83% for Richard Hamilton, and 74% for Mamba.) Yet in the clutch Roy is even more determined to get to the rim. In these situations over half of his shots come from inside! No surprise he is fourth among guards in total free-throw attempts.

To further illustrate the uniqueness of this aspect of Roy, we can compare him to a player with a similar overall shot distribution, and with whom Roy is occasionally compared to, Dwyane Wade:

Jump: 63%
Close: 27%
Dunk: 9%
Tips: 2%
Inside: 37%

Now lets look at Wade in clutch time:

Jump: 75% = +12 change
Close: 13% = -14 change
Dunk: 13% = +4 change
Tips: 0% = -2 change
Inside: 25% = -12 change

While they share similar overall shot selection, in clutch time the Roy and Wade divert dramatically. Wade, even with his renowned ability to finish and/or draw fouls around the rim, attacks even more from the outside.

Which is better? Conventional wisdom of FG% would seem to favor Roy's approach. But a look at Wades FG% in the clutch, even from the outside, argue against that. It seems to me that the approaches of both of these players are working quite well for them.

What I take away from this is that Roy gets inside shots off at an exceptional rate for a guard, especially in the clutch. Yet it seems to me this facet of his game goes relatively under appreciated. Perhaps this is because his finishes are less likely to be punctuated with an electric dunk or an impressive acrobatic layup than those of his colleagues.

This is just one small way in which Roy is a special player, "special" meaning both unique and really, really good. Go Blazers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Limited internet access gangster links post

Posting has taken so long today because my neighbors apparently no longer want to unknowingly share internet with me. Hey, its their loss, right? Right? Right.

Lack of internet forced me to load up the DeceptivelyQuickmobile and drive to a suburban business park where free wi-fi is not so endangered. Yeah, I'm that guy on his laptop in the parking lot right now. No more questions. Links!

-Game recap from last night [Blazers Blog]

-Michael Holton's gangster ballot [Bust a Bucket]

-Blaze of Love is to NBA Dancers what DeceptivelyQuick is to Finland [Blaze of Love]

-Zbo trade held up by Cat's health? [SLAM]

-Tuesday practice report [BlazersEdge]

-Henry Abbott has a question: Why do the Blazers shoot so bad when Oden is in the game? It seems to me that the offense still looks clumsy and unsure about what to do with Oden at times. They try to force things through him and give him a great deal of touches, even as he is still unsure about what to do with all of that. Things will (hopefully) get figured out. Something to keep an eye on. [TrueHoop]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading Shaq's Twitter has not yet gotten old

I admit I was probably a little too excited when news broke that Shaq was twittering away. Even worse, I have yet to get over it. It is all too perfect. Shaq and Twitter really are the true power couple of the NBA. Shaq is more than a simple basketball player. He, like the Onion, has many layers. Or like a tetrahedron, has many sides. You see. Just a sample:

Shaq quote "treat people as u expect them to be, not how u think they are"
Did anyone hear about da guy on da web dat commited suicide, my prayers go out to his family
Last nite i told greg oden , "we r not the same, i am a martian"
Did mrs clinton really take da job
Just fed 1200 peopl , bout to go feed 1,000 more, thanks mom and dad 4 raisn me right
On my way 2 da arena. I feel like the main charachter n da movie 300
Subway it is turkey n cheese um um um lol
Why is steve francis sittn on the houston rocket bench Thingsdat make u go ummmm

I love technology.

Blazers vs Kings (again), Pre-pregame (blah)

President-elect Barack Obama formally announces his transition team.

The Kings are in town. Why are these two teams playing again so soon? Because it was so fun last Friday that the Universe demanded a rematch. Meh.

One would expect an especially motivated Kings team with those memories of home-court humiliation still so fresh. Pride can be inspiring. But who knows, maybe they really are that horrible.

Kevin Martin will probably sit out again. This helps Portland, but again, hurts my fantasy team. I humbly request you send positive thoughts. Check out the previews from Bust a Bucket and Blaze of Love.

And yes, I am very happy that this game gives me an excuse to again show this picture of Kings Center Spencer Hawes just existing in his Hawesiness. Don't Hastle the Hawes?

UPDATE: According to one tipster, Oden will be starting tonight. I haven't seen anything pop up online yet, but the source is bankable.

Weakened Review, ex-Blazers on the move

You step away from your computer for just a little bit, just trying to have some sort of a life, and all of a sudden things happen.
I'll never venture outside again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Portland vs Phoenix, Pre-pregame; Von Wafer edition

Its always inconsiderate of the Universe to allow basketball things to happen while I'm away from a computer. No worries, Monday will be here soon enough. I'm off to find a cozy place to enjoy Portland vs. Phoenix, get ready for action with a Bust a Bucket game preview and some Rip City Project thoroughness.


Notice how Von Wafer has been getting minutes since the injury bug hit in Houston? Pretty awesome. Eventually, may even update his player photo. Go Blazers!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blazers vs Kings, Pre-pregame

KP is getting unusually influential these days.

It should be a win tonight. This will be the first time we get to see how this team responds to coming off a blow-out victory, which could be telling.

Anyone else notice how Spencer Hawes has not been sucking this year? Brad Miller 2.0 baby! I do love Brad Miller. No I'm serious. The rules of basketball appreciation demand that you enjoy Centers that average 5 assists per game. Kevin Martin is probably out, which helps the Blazers but hurts my fantasy team. I'm so conflicted.

Taurean Green and Joel Freeland updates

I just got an update from Rodman, and you will be happy to know that both Taurean Green and Joel Freeland are continuing to impress in the ACB League.

Freeland put up a monster performance for the win; 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 26 minutes.

Green's team also won and he contributed mightily with 14 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds in 28 minutes.

Freeland's Gran Canaria team is at the top of the league with a 7-1 record. The fact that Joel, at age 21, is becoming one of the best players on one of the best teams in the second best league in the World should not be ignored. This is looking more and more like a player we can't afford to miss out on.

The CAI Zaragoza team Green plays for is staying even with four wins and four losses. While that may not sound inspiring, keep in mind this season is their return to the top level of ACB play. They seem to not only be avoiding the cellar this time around, but are increasingly dangerous as Green continues to get comfortable.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I don't know what this is

But since everyone else is having fun with the LIFE pictures just released on Google, I figured I would too:

Awesome. Very awesome. I think it just moved. (What!?) No Blazer pics in there by the way.

Inconsequential Tales of Blazer-Fan Interaction: Zach Randolph

Due to the recent positive franchise developments, signs of rabid Portland Trailblazer fandom creeping back into the city are everywhere. You notice little things like Blazer talk on the bus and more people wearing team gear. You notice big things like people greeting Rudy Fernandez at the airport, or chanting DEE-FENSE at preseason games. Also on the rise are the number of people excitedly telling stories of their public encounters with Trailblazers past and current. Most of these are lame; "I saw Martell Webster at Cheesecake Factory!" But some, while just as inconsequential, are indeed potentially funny. Some of these tales are from my experiences, some have been related to me. All will be told in third person, because third person is awesome and I am a pussy. I'll probably add some exaggeration for your entertainment. Actually, just to be on the safe side, assume they are all fake. If you have any personal accounts that could be used as inspiration, send them in. Our first one, about a magical encounter with Cliff Robinson, can be found here.

It was February 2007 and our Fan had time to kill in the Las Vegas airport. There was still over an hour until his return flight to Portland. He had been in town for the MAGIC event, but as a basketball fan it was a happy coincidence that the NBA All-Star festivities were happening in the same place at the same time. He had already seen numerous celebrities in his week there, from Dr. Dre (who looked really old) to Shaquille O'Neal. He even got a picture with Ball Walton, who erupted with a yell of "Go Blazers!" after our Fan told him his city of origin. It had been a fun week.

Now bored but clinging to a festive mood, our Fan walked up to the airport bar. He ordered a duckfart.

"What is that?" he heard a man sitting at the bar ask him.

Our fan turned to answer the anonymous man, then noticed it was Zach Randolph. Sitting alone in all his Z-Bo glory, he was dripping in jewelry that probably cost more than our Fan could ever hope to make in his life-time. After the few seconds necessary for a human brain to process that Zach Randolph is sitting next to you at the airport, he had a reply.

"You never had one?" he asked. Z-Bo shrugged.

"Make it two" our Fan told the bartender.

They got their drinks, tapped glasses, and downed the beverages. Zach thought it was palatable, and ordered our Fan a Grey Goose & Cranberry in return.

"Not stayin for the game?" Our fan asked.

"No, headin back." Z-Bo responded.

Some more small chat and our Fan finished off his Z-Bo vodka cran, wished him well, and set off in search of a quick bite to eat. He was now fully content that he would be returning to Portland with a handful of decent anecdotes. In the coming days discussion of the scene in Las Vegas would be played out in the media. Bill Simmons would even write a weird article about it.

He got some fast-food, wandered for a little while longer, and finally boarded his flight home. He noticed Zach up in first class, who was keeping the flight-attendent busy with drink orders. Our Fan kicked himself for not realizing that he and Zach were waiting for the same flight. Had he hung around a little longer, perhaps he could have partied with Zach at high-altitude.

The flight went on, and our Fan grew tired of stalking the power forward. He fell asleep and didn't awake until landing. The plane touched down and our Fan made his way to baggage claim. He noticed a man helping Zach load his bags into the trunk of a car that featured the biggest wheels ever created by man. Bags in place, Zach's helper closed the trunk and dutifully climbed into the passenger seat. Randolph slid behind the wheel and the two took off.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rasheed Wallace reacts to FreeDarko

I'm posting this mainly because I miss talking about Rasheed Wallace. Alana G has a video posted on her blog where she enlightens Sheed on the existence of something called, a book this funny sounding group wrote, and their interesting stats on him:

And she blows Shoals' pseudonym spot, which I'm pretty sure is taboo amongst those who type on the interwebs. Beware the blog police, Alana G. Beware.

Blazers vs Bulls, catharsis

After a frustrating road loss to the Warriors, the Blazers were probably happy to be back in the Rose Garden. They decided to imbue the setting with the spirit of an old school boxing gym, and use the unsuspecting Chicago Bulls as punching bags. I can confidently say that any vestiges of frustration from the previous evening have been exercised. I could go through the trouble of an actual game recap, but there really is no point. Portland killed in every way you can imagine. It was a sublime experience of reality that got so pro-Blazer that history started to rewrite itself to reflect the mood; evidenced by the ESPN play-by-by announcer describing how Sergio Rodriguez actually decided not to play for the Spanish team in the Olympics. Works for me.

Usually blow-outs get hard to watch. Not this one, not after last night. I sat down and savored every moment of this victory. Now we have seen how this team can bounce back after a disappointing game. Equally interesting would be how they handle riding the peak of a dominant victory. We will find out soon enough.

Ron Artest will not stand for your homophobia, oh wait, he actually agrees. But wants you to leave Oden alone. Yeah!

Get ready for the strangest Blazer-related entry of the season. It all started when rapper Stat Quo opened up an interview with with this gem:

I'm just wonderin when Greg Odens gonna come out the closet man.

And then interviewer laughed because never before had he heard such a clever zinger. But Stat Quo had even more comedic genius in store:

Come on man he got a fag swag man. He like the next John Amaechi man.

The podcast is here. Stat then goes on about this new trend he sees of men dressing more feminine, one that Oden is apparently participating in. He makes some remark about how our daddies didn't dress like that. So I guess Stat's dad dressed like this?

As always when Artest gets involved, it gets weirder. Apparently RonRon is an avid HoodHype podcast listener, and is not gonna let some marginally successful rapper speak of Oden like that. His webcam reply (assist to SLAM):

Artest has never had any trouble being an intriguing person. He can make you feel sad and disturbed one moment and have you rooting for him the next. Meh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blazers vs. Warriors; immediate rage please subside into big picture appreciation

Hopes of another inspired Blazer comeback were extinguished tonight by some calls that went the other way down the stretch. This sums it up. The best way I'm finding to deal with it is to focus on the fact that Oden had his best professional game to date.

Tonight we got our longest look yet at a major piece of the Blazers future, and it was pretty good. GO crushed in 22 points (7-11 FG, 6-8 FT), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks in thirty minutes of work. It was the most we have seen him involved in the offense so far, during some stretches the team seemed determined to run things through the big man.

Keep in mind also that he is a long ways from being done developing. I'm not even talking as longterm as left handed jump hooks and slippery eels, but of things that will easily be corrected within this season. Tonight we saw the continuation of his bad habit of bringing the ball down to where humans can sometimes knock it free. He also tends to lean forward at his hips to shield himself from flying defenders, another bad habit that neutralizes much of his height advantage. These are little things that will be corrected soon and make Oden even more poised to punish opponents.

After thinking about all that, aren't you feeling a little better?

Blazers vs Warriors, pre-pregame

I'm especially excited for tonight. So excited I may actually be able to tear myself away from this. Its always fun to watch a game of Nellie-ball. Coming into the season the Warriors were supposed to be an absolute disaster, especially without Monta, but they have been a competitive team so far. They are still buzzing about a certain undrafted rookie who dropped 37 points in his first start. (Hey, it was a pretty impressive achievement, at least put a picture of the guy up on his player page.) Andris Biedrins is averaging about 17 points and 15 rebounds (damn!), Stephen Jackson is performing at an elite level, leading the league in minutes (43.4 per game!) and just got extended.

It will be interesting to see how the Blazers handle the novelty of Nellie. Get lathered up for the game by checking out 15 Thoughts at Blaze of Love.

I know at least one Blazer is happy to be in Oakland, an environment that not only accepts his hyphy but encourages it.

Taurean Green blows up

In our last Taurean Green update it was clear that while Green was having some success with CAI Zarazoga, he had some things to learn before becoming an elite ACB player. It is worth pointing out that Green dropped his best European game yet last Sunday, although it came in a lopsided defeat. Our man posted 19 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists in less than 23 minutes. And there's highlights!

Some of you local Portland peoples might have recognized Pooh Jeter, University of Portland legend, on the opposing team. You'll be happy to know that the man is tearing things up over there averaging 17 points, 2.5 assists, and 2 rebounds.

(Thanks to mi amigo Rodman for the heads up.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

They still like Jarrett Jack in Indy

Remember the days of Jarrett Jack? Towards the end of his Blazer run it was a little sad to see fans turn on him like they did. He did contribute in important ways (he was the only player who consistently drove to the hoop that wasn't named Roy last season, that was big), but he was never going to become the player the fans so desperately wanted him to be. And those jaw dropping turnovers created by his indecisiveness made scapegoating Jack all too easy. It surprised no one when he was traded.

But things are getting better for Jack. Just look how happy he looks. In Indy he is coming off the bench and not being depended upon as heavily to perform point guard duties. Much of the time he actually plays alongside the Indy point guards. Best of all, the fans seem to like him:

Jarrett Jack has played a huge role off the bench for the Pacers to start the season. While he doesn't start, he often finishes games and does it with excess effort and intensity.


I love Jack and the role he is playing for the Pacers. The key with Jack is to not dwell on what he isn't. He doesn't have the all-around point guard game, like T.J. Ford. If he did at his size, he'd be a perennial All-Star, making max money and certainly not coming off the Pacers' bench.


Nope, Jack is simply a player filling a need off the bench much like Marquis Daniels. A utility player willing to defend anyone on the court or make a play on offense. It may not be the prettiest basketball play you'll ever see but it will be done at full speed and more times than not, will bring you out of your seat applauding the effort.

That strikes me as an excellent interpretation of Jack. We could have used some of that perspective.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A look at the Blazers, ten games in

Ten games (or 12%) into the season isn't much to go on. Whatever, we can take a look anyways. From what we have seen, things are looking very good overall. But as always, there are some concerns.

Considering Portland's strength of schedule, six wins is something to be proud of. The Blazers have victories over San Antonio, Houston, Minnesota (twice), Orlando, and Miami. The losses come from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Utah, and New Orleans. They have also won five out of their last six.

Go ahead and be ecstatic over Rudy Fernandez. Rookie of the Year may not be enough, if he continues to contribute like this and the Blazers land in the playoffs he would be in the Sixth Man conversation as well. As of this posting, Rudy is #25 in the League in PER. That is better than any other rookie, and second on the team only to Brandon Roy.

Another massively positive development has been the solid play of Greg Oden in the last two games. After all the injury-induced hysteria, nothing calms the nerves like watching Oden make solid contributions over the course of an evening. In his last two games he has averaged 12 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks in 24 minutes. If he keeps this type of production up...well, it really won't be fair for the other teams.

It is getting harder not to take Brandon Roy for granted. There is the novelty of the new guys to draw your attention, and he is so consistently brilliant you kind of just expect it. Never forget how much he does for this team. It was an amazing moment when Roy spoke to the Oregonian about how he was turning the ball over too much. You could tell it truly bothered him, as if he wasn't playing well enough. Ten games in, Roy is averaging just 2.2 turnovers per game in spite of handling the ball extensively. Roy standards are different than regular standards.

As a team, I was surprised to see the Blazers ranked third in the NBA in offensive efficiency. The bad news is that the Blazers rank 25th in defensive efficiency. They still give up more points than they score, but the opening night Lakers blow-out is still having a big influence on that statistic.

An alarming Blazer trend is that 74% of their shots are jumpers. For comparison, the Lakers are at 61%, and the Celtics 64%. Can you be an elite team if you rely so heavily on the jump shot? Conventional wisdom would suggest not. Then again, I always want to stab people when they invoke the worn out addage "live by the jump shot, die by the jump shot." We will see.

The Blazers could also have personnel issues coming up. Not the kind the franchise used to have, the good kind. The kind where you have so many good players its hard to let them all contribute. Sergio already spoke out. Martell will be returning, and he averaged 28 minutes a game last season. Do you send Batum to the bench? Make a trade that could free up minutes? Who do you get rid of? Or do you just wait and do nothing for now? I'll be waiting with you to find out the answers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blazers vs T'Wolves, Pre-pregame

Yes, the T'Wolves! Are you PUMPED?!?!?


Fine. They may lack the glamor of recent opponents, but at least the Blazers will be there to watch. I kid, the T'Wolves aren't totally uninteresting; I remain intrigued by Bassy, and it should be interesting to see if Love comes with a strong performance after his woeful display in Portland. Also, Minneapolis is a great city to explore. 16.6% of the city is park! I know a certain somebody is already out enjoying the sites.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blazers vs New Orleans Pre-pregame

Tough one at the Hive for Portland tonight. I can think of a few reasons why a win tonight would be especially impressive for the Blazers:
  • The Hornets are good
  • The Hornets just got humiliated by the Lakers and should be extra aggressive
  • The Blazers are three games into the road trip
  • Honeybees are distracting
Anyways, it should be fun to watch. CP3 is always a treasure to witness, and that Peja thing they do is cute. Przybilla and Chandler might continue that behavior where they demonstrate their distaste for each other with physical contact, which makes things interesting.

I may miss all of this, as I will be on my way to/doing things in Seattle. In fact I'm probably driving right now. The miracle of the internet.

Akeem Scott: People's Champ, People's Champ, People's Champ

From H.T.'s last Akeem Scott update, we knew the People's Champ was doing good things with the Honka Playboys. Enjoy the latest scoop from H.T., Akeem Scott for MVP! People's Champ, People's Champ, People's Champ!


First I must say that it is my responsibility to congratulate for Deceptivelyquick's new banner. It is a work of art that is quite close to the visions of new age masters such as Francis Bacon and Richard Anuszkiewicz.

As you can see, Akeem Scott is still doing Akeem Scott things here in Finland. After almost one quarter of Finnish League regular season has been played, Honka Playboys has won 7 out of 10 games (including 5-0 at home), largely thanks to upgraded play by The Other Dream, who currently is averaging 22 points, 3,6 assists, 3,2 rebounds and 2,5 steals a game while draining 64,6 % of his 2pt shots and 82,8 % of his free throws. Akeem has also developed into a media favorite, something highly unusual for a basketball player in Finland, since sports news are filled with ice hockey, soccer and Formula 1 racing. Here you can see Akeem doing the things he does best and talking about his future:

Akeem Scott interview


Watch that video and adopt Akeem's free throw routine into your daily life. I copied his routine and now apply it to when I'm microwaving my pizza bagels.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NBA ballers should probably stop letting people record them losing to civilians

Every blog and their Mom will link to this, and should. Revealed (to me) by Skeets at BDL, the long-rumored to exist video of Jordan getting beat at a game of 1 on 1 by some random executive attending his camp for grown-ups:

I'll spare you my thoughts on grown men paying a ton of money to be pretend buddies with pro-athletes for the moment. This video is great. I like to imagine one of Jordan's kids showing him this on youtube. Knowing what we do about Jordan's competitive streak, I see him then angrily calling up John Rogers and demanding a rematch. Pretty awesome.

There has been such an amazing rash of these videos lately; first LeBron losing at horse, then Devin Harris falling for the Billy Hoyle. This one trumps them all. It would be fitting if this trend ends now, at its zenith. I imagine a lot of players would figure out that they have nothing to gain by being recorded playing basketball against average humans. Thankfully the competitive nature and boundless confidence of some, coupled with the world of youtube and cheap video recorders, will ensure that these videos will trickle out from time to time. Magical.

The Latest on Joel Freeland

For some reason (laziness) this blog hasn't written much on Joel Freeland since I stalked him down on myspace and e-mailed him a bunch of questions over a year ago. When I saw he wasn't on the summer league roster last summer, I feared the worst. It turned out he wasn't there because Gran Canaria wouldn't allow it. Understandable.

Today Portland Trailbloggers links to a recent interview with Joel at Basketball 24/7. The exciting news is that Joel's contract with Gran Canaria is up after this season. Judgement day on his Portland Trailblazer career is rapidly approaching. Joel comes off positive as always, saying he hopes for twelve to fifteen minuters per game this season.

His ACB team is currently 3-4. Joel is getting his 15 minutes a game (a reasonable amount in Europe, shorter games remember) and averaging 10 points and 4.2 boards. He is also shooting a dunkalicious 73% from the field.

Freeland is still just 21 years old. If he continues to impress in the ACB, we could very well see him in the NBA next season. Hopefully he will be another impressive young talent on the Blazers roster.

Petteri Koponen in Italy Update: I just died a little inside

Do I really need to bother coming up with a semi-clever introduction for H.T. anymore? He's from Finland. It is a lot like the United States except that they eat more fish, have a better educational system, and live longer. Oh and its cold. Here he gives us a depressing update on how our hopefully Blazer-to-be Petteri Koponen (The FINNAGLER!) is doing on his pro tour of Italy. (Previous installment here.)

In Italy, Petteri Koponen has turned from MVP to DNP. Road from semi-professional Finnish League to fully professional Italian League has been long. Koponen is one of the youngest pro players in Italy and being in the rotation behind 3 million euro man Earl Boykins is a hard task. After a stable opening game (5 pts, 2 steals, 1 assist in 12 mins), Petteri hasn't got much playing time. After five rounds of Italian League, Petteri is averaging 2,5 points, 0,8 rebounds and 0,8 assists in 11,3 minutes a game while shooting only 27,3 % from the field.

Virtus opened their league campaign with three straight victories, but after two ugly losses (65-99 defeat against Scavolini Pesaro and 71-78 against Air Avellino), head coach Renato Pasquali got fired and replaced by Matteo Boniciolli, who was named Italy's coach of the year earlier this year. Koponen was reached by Finnish news agency YLE this Tuesday and in a nutshell, Koponen stated that first two practice sessions with the new coach have been pleasant and that the whole team seems to have a new approach for the season. Koponen also wishes to see some more minutes under his new coach and the hoopheads in Finland are pretty sure that his PT increases after opening difficulties.

While we look forward to see how Koponen will perform under his new coach, here's just a brief reminder that some other Italian league newcomers have had difficulties finding their rhythm: (Oh that is cold-Ed.)

And sorry, no Finnish hip hop this time. The two-minute clip linked below is from very well known Finnish crime series "Pimeyden tyyny". No need for subtitles, all the main characters speak English:

(The Finns have mastered the art of using randomness as entertainment-Ed.)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The return of Oden

Every game has a collection of noteable occurrences. Tonight, a number of these from the Blazer side seemed more salient than Oden's impact: Rudy scoring 25 off the bench (including an alley-oop finish and a clutch time iso-fadeaway jumper), the continued ressurection of Sergio (sometimes complaining publicly is the right move), Batum tracking down Wade on a break and blocking his lay-up, Roy just being Roy, Przybilla with another solid unnoticed night (7 and 10 in 22 minutes...I really just included this because FreeDarko said some ignorant shit about the man in their new book, which is awesome overall by the way).

But most tongue's will be wagging about Oden's statistically unremarkable 16 minutes. Yes Oden returned from injury tonight. He accumulated 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, and one gigantic sigh of relief. Let it be known that it is in fact possible for the man to compete in a basketball contest without incurring some sort of injury. This should provide comfort to the psyche of Rip City, although I understand if some are skeptical to embrace it.

More importantly, it is like an anvil has been lifted from Oden's aura. I hope now, with an injury free night under his belt, his mind and body can be free to enjoy and learn the game of competitive basketball. Now he can find wind and finally get to work discovering the rhythm of the game. It is hard to have confidence in your abilities if you can't be confident in your body, you know?

Anyways, enjoy the over-coverage of Oden's outing.

Oden might play, please remain calm

When Oden went down against the Lakers it sent many Blazer fans through a rang of emotions. I know I went from frustrated, to filled with rage, to depressed, to optimistic, to cynical (where I remain).

I have been hoping the Blazers would not throw Oden directly into the fire when he came back. I know he is on the All-Star Ballot and all, but it would be nice if the Blazers resisted bowing to the hype, I thought. He looked slow and uncomfortable even before his injury in in Los Angeles. I figured it would be helpful to work him in slowly next time. Bring him off the bench for 15-20 minutes and see if he can get comfortable. Start him off in an otherwise uninteresting game that avoids the scrutiny of a national audience. Let him get his wind and his bearings out there. We are supposedly focused on the long-term, you know?

Well I'm an idiot apparently, because Oden may play against Miami tonight. On ESPN, of course.

In other news, Brandon Roy hurt his back and is questionable. Maybe I should add trainer Jay Jensen to the new logo. Its November, sit them both.


Yeah, Oden and Roy are both going to play. Think good thoughts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

KP & Big Pun

As you can see from the new logo up top, I am easily entertained. That picture of Kevin Pritchard is still funny to me, so I figured I needed to repurpose it. Naturally, I had to involve the infamous Darius Miles' car photo. Man I wish this really happened (click to enlarge):

Think about it Mr. Pritchard, think about it.

Greg Oden makes All-Star ballot

Three Blazers appear on the newly released All-Star Ballot. Of course Roy and Aldridge got on the list. And...Oden?!?!

Yep. Oden is on there in spite of only playing thirteen minutes so far this season. Once the NBA is determined to hype you up, they really dig their claws in deep. The prey may attempt to wiggle free with spastic body contortions or even a death roll, but there is no escape. They must submit to fame and glory. Works every time.

So how long before Blazer fans start a write-in campaign for Rudy?

Taurean Green Update: Learning his ACB's (See that? I'm clever.)

DeceptivelyQuick is kind of like the mafia. Or a gang. No, we don't kill people. No, we don't generate any kind of revenue. Actually it isn't really like those things at all, except in that once you're in, you are in forever. The only way out is in a box homie. It is quite the little Blazer club. Not that kind of Blazer club.

Taurean Green is a perfect example. He played a total of 44 minutes for the Blazers. But he was a favorite around these parts; thanks to his game, personality, and how tragically underappreciated it all was.

I refuse to accept that Taurean Green wasn't ready for the League. I instead prefer to believe that the League was not ready for Taurean Green. It was bittersweet to see him sign with Basket CAI Zaragoza. I was frustrated because him being overseas meant that his exploits would be considerably harder to follow. But since he would be playing for a team just as it returned to the elite ACB League in Spain, the situation had some romance; a scrappy underdog player to run a scrappy underdog team. At least he seemed to be getting some love over there (1 , 2).

I figured it would be a good time to check in. In his debut, Green apparently scored 18 points. Through six games, his team is staying alive with three wins and three losses. Looking at his stats, Green seems to be adjusting well. Keep in mind that the Euros are stingy with assists:


We'll check in on Green as his season progresses. I'm hating that I am limited to stats and highlights. If you have the ability to actually watch these games and want to tell Deceptively Quick how things are going, use your email devices. I may even give you an imaginary prize.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gilbert Arenas would fit in Portland

I'm referencing only the city of course, not the Blazers. That would be terrible. Anyways, you have to appreciate how well the man would fit with this city:
  • Gilbert Arenas is weird. And proud of it. So is Portland. (By the way, that is far from the strangest thing I've seen here. I'm not even sure what earns that distinction anymore. Once I saw fifty or so people walking around downtown dressed as Pirates. I asked the bartender what the reason was. He shrugged and said "Its Saturday." Christ.)
  • Adidas North American Headquarters is based in Portland. They pay Gilbert lots of money. They wouldn't even have to mail him his checks anymore! Think of the postage savings!
  • Arenas gets Obama tattoos. Portland sells Obama tote bags.
Again, I'm not advocating for him to join the Trailblazers. Again, what a horrible idea. Think about how jealous Channing Frye would get. But maybe Gilbert could live here in the off-season and enjoy our beautiful summers. And hang out with me. Yeah.

Everyone loves a road trip...

Until you get beaten in your sleep by local hillbillies, that is. Portland starts off a five game road trip tonight in Orlando, and Dwight Howard has already launched his attempt to disarm the Blazers by making them all fall in love with him.

This road trip will give us some great insight into how close this team is to converting all that exciting young potential into a serious force. The Blazers have been playing much better at home than on the road, and we all know the mark of a legitimately good team is one that finds a way to win away from their fans.

Another quality of a good team is the ability to beat-up on inferior squads, as opposed to playing down to them. The Blazers have a couple teams they should squash on this trip (Miami and Minnesota), how they perform in these match-ups could be telling.

And don't forget to enjoy the trip. You can learn a lot about yourself by traveling. Just steer clear of the backwaters.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sergio Rodriguez asks for trade

Blaze of Love links to this Spanish article that declares that Sergio's agent has asked Portland to trade the point guard (at ESPN as well).

I believed the arrival of Rudy would revitalize Sergio and that their chemistry would get him some more playing time. So far, that has been wrong as Rodriguez is getting less than 10 minutes a game. You can't really blame Sergio for seeing the writing on the wall. We could be nearing the end of the roller-coaster Rodriguez Blazer experience. Here's a quick recap of the peaks and valleys this young player (did you realize his is just 22 years old?!) has been through:

- The fans and local media went absolutely ape shit in love with Sergio. He was given the reigns in summer league to show his skills and underwhelmed.

- Was mistaken as a golfer by Comcast Cable.

- Bordered on depression after being benched in the 2007-08 season.

- Left off the Spanish National team for Beijing Olympics.

That pretty much brings us up to date. A change of scenery could be good for Sergio, assuming he lands in a situation favorable to his strengths. Watch this one closely.

Blazers vs. Rockets conclusion; dramatized narrative

So I have been geeking out on some fantasy-adventure novels recently. Yeah, I know. I need to stop. It appears to be influencing my blogging. Here's my recap of the game. Box score.

With just twenty seconds left in the battle, the young Trailblazers had fought the invading veteran horde from the City of Syrup to a draw. They had lost their significant advantage and darkness seemed upon them as the long, sleepy-eyed, battle-weary assassin probed their defenses for vulnerabilities. He rose and flung a medium range volley. A miss!

The ball was collected by they very man that was increasingly finding himself the scapegoat of all Rip City ills. An Outlaw, he was once worshiped by the masses. Recently he had discovered the mob enjoys tearing down the very ones they lift up. The fickle crowd had taken the adulation once heaped upon his shoulders and lavished it upon a younger warrior, newly arrived from a strange land. Now he was in trade rumors. But tonight they cheered him. With every one of his fourteen points and thirteen rebounds he hoped to recapture the flames that once burned for him. This particular story has yet to be decided, so we return to the battle at hand.

The clock now below ten seconds, he immediately gives the power to the squadron's mightiest worrier. Roy, the Everything, had performed below his standards throughout the battle. Yet as he glided down court with the orb, he knew none were more fit than he for the situation. With eight seconds remaining, he drove towards the goal.

He went right, which was never his preference despite being right-handed. His shoes were crappy, and he was being smothered by the mountain of defense known only as Ron-Ron. He had also attracted the attention of another defensive heathen. He quickly spun away from the pressure. The move sent one Rocket tumbling towards the Earth, and Ron-Ron himself stumbled to remain upright. Seeing the newly created opening, Roy elevated to launch a medium-range attack. It was a shot that he had struggled with all night. This time, it sailed through the goal perfectly. The rabid crowd that was jammed into the arena screamed in celebration of their heroes. Just one second remained, and the young Blazers lead by two.

But the veteran invaders were not done. While the masses screamed, they regrouped and hatched a scheme of their own. They wished to steal the glory of this battle for themselves. They would turn to their tallest warrior, one not from this land that was once regarded as a mere curiosity. He was now known for the deadliness of his great length. Although he had struggled tonight, this impacted him little as he remained ever confident in his skills.

He posted up and the power was easily inbounded to him. He went immediately to his turn around fading attack. This was a favorite move of his, one considered unusual for a man of his great size, but that mattered little at this moment. The orb sailed beautifully along it's arc and through the goal. The referee blew his whistle to indicate that the damage was not done. Roy had unfairly damaged the longest warrior during his attack. The Rockets would receive a charity opportunity, and capitalize.

The red invaders cackled and celebrated as only hyenas can. The crowd stood in silent disbelief. Victory had indeed been stolen from them. With less than one second remaining, the young Blazers regrouped with desperation on their faces. Not surprisingly, they would turn towards their Everything once again.

The referee handed the ball to the Blazer to inbound. Roy moved with all of his fleetness towards the passer. A look of excitement came over his face, for the sleepy-eyed one defending him had made a lapse and now lagged behind. Roy received the orb a great distance from the goal and with no time to think. With all his might his exploded into the air and launched a long-distance attack at the goal. The power soared high into the air. It landed perfectly through the net. The crowd let out their largest scream of the night, raising their arms in victory. Roy's teammates smothered him with their bodies to show appreciation for his heroics. Yes, this was going to be a good season.

The Roy Sneakers are not worthy of supporting the feet of the Everything

I, like many nerds, was pretty excited to see Roy's signature Nikes:

Those are certifiably sweet. I'd love to get myself a pair. Too bad these sneakers are actually just attractive looking piles of shit:

Turns out his new signature shoes -- which feature "BROY" embroidered on the outside and a special 7 design on the inside representing his uniform number -- had ripped apart near the back heal during the game.
Roy lamented more misfortune at practice Monday when he pointed down at his feet to show yet another ruined pair of shoes. "They busted," he said, pointing at the shoes he was wearing. "And these busted, too." It was the first time Roy had worn each pair of shoes. On Wednesday night against the Jazz, Roy again shunned his new signature shoe for the old model.

How dare you Nike. How. Dare. You. Roy is our Everything, and you fit him with a poor quality product? You, of all corporations. Your headquarters is probably within 10 miles of the man's home. Your next Roy shoe better come equipped with rocket boosters. And be available to the public. For like $20.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Definitive outline of Darius Miles ramifications

I have written about Big Pun far more than I ever anticipated. Since being dismissed by the C's, we have heard very little of other franchises expressing interest in his services. This is good, but it is still early. Right now Miles could be attractive to a team as a low risk gamble. Any team that plays him 10 games would get the added bonus of making Portland's fiscal flexibility a little more tricky. Oh the drama.

Over at TrueHoop there is a definitive outline of how Miles playing and not playing will impact the Blazers. Check it out. I'm going to bookmark that sucker. It will come in handy, although I am saddened by a hypothetical scenario of how the Blazers could get $32 million under the cap if Miles doesn't play:

They could get as far as $32 million under if they renounce all free agents, Surrey U.K.'s Joel Freeland, Petteri Koponen, and trade their 2009 #1 draft pick.

Cutting The Finnagler loose would mean this blog would lose the support of Finland forever, which would be a terrible shame. We have ties to the Invisible Finnish Hand for crying out loud. And Joel? We love Mr. Freeland and respect his talent and work ethic. Plus he was the only Blazer related person ever to actually talk to us. For this he is eternally in the DeceptivelyQuick hall of fame, which doesn't exist but would have him in it if it did. Guaranteed. Stupid hypothetical situations, how you anger me.

Blazers vs Rockets

Portland continues down the way of the ridiculously front-loaded schedule tonight with a nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets. That means Yao, T-Mac, Ron-Ron, and a gaggle of solid role players. Times are hard.

Batum looked good starting last night so hopefully we will get more of that. More of the lineup with Roy at point and Rudy at the wing would probably be good also.

Portland will be honoring Kevin Duckworth tonight.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Portland vs. Utah, CNN vs. The Sith

With that hugely historical election night behind us, we can bring our focus all the way back to the things that really matter, like early season NBA games. Finally. Actually, I want to share one thing with you from last night. I'm not sure who CNN has in charge of technology, but I'm pretty sure NASA needs to hire them. CNN could put a man on Endor. Seriously. And they use this amazing power in only the most useful ways possible. Whatever the costs to develop and use this stuff, I'm sure it was totally worth it. Seriously, it adds so much depth to their coverage.

Wow. That happened. Anyways, Portland at Utah tonight. Deron Williams will probably sit out with his bum ankle. Normally that would get me excited about Portland's chances, but the Jazz have been rolling people even without their top-tier point guard. Scary stuff. On the other hand, I have three members of the Utah Jazz on my fantasy team. Thats right, I play fantasy basketball. Make fun of me.

Something interesting to watch for will be how the Blazers respond to the physical style of Utah. This young team got muscled and intimidated by that style at times last season. Handling it well could be a good indicator of positive team development. Go Blazers! (And Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, and Ronnie Brewer.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting is fun

Pretty historical day today. Or not really. It depends on the outcome of the vote, I guess. Stats geeks think it will be a monumental evening, which is encouraging. I recommend you vote today, although if you happen to be in Oregon you probably already voted, because we vote by mail because we're awesome. And if you are a Finnish citizen you probably can't vote in our election because 1) You have to be a United Statesian to be eligible and 2) American voting systems aren't equipped to understand your vote by fish methods.

Whether you voted or not, I recommend going to your nearest Ben & Jerry's and telling them that you did, because they will give you free ice cream. I'm giddy. My election night plans are as follows:

1) Pick up girlfriend.
2) Purchase burgers and fries from Five Guys.
3) Get free ice cream.
4) Watch results come in.

Oh yeah, and one more time, the Oden icon...

Outlaw for Conley rumors...

Much to my delight, Dwight Jaynes has been blogging his ass off over at his cozy interwebs property. Good things over there, check it out.

Here he points out this report from Sam Smith saying that the Blazers have offered Travis Outlaw for Mike Conley. From the Smith report:

After seeing the Grizzlies in Chicago Saturday, I can't believe they won't make a deal with pointless Portland. This seems a natural with the modest Greg Oden, likely in a depression now as he's hurt again amidst amazingly huge expectations in the community, likely yearning for his old, aggressive buddy Mike Conley, who though starting doesn't seem the favorite of coach Marc Iavaroni, who seems to favor Kyle Lowry. Sources say the Trailblazers continue to only offer Travis Outlaw.
I've never been as big on Conley as the scouts have, but they know more than me. Also, I'm not so sure Memphis would trade a crowded point guard situation for a crowded lanky-athletic small forward situation. We'll see.

What makes this trade rumor so intriguing to me is that it brings up a lot of debates and the evolving perceptions of this Blazer team.

First, the Blazer need for a "pointguard of the future." This discussion gained huge momentum last season and refuses to stop. I initially dismissed this talk as way too preliminary. Steve Blake isn't glamorous, this is true. But he has been a competent. Fans seem to want an entire team of All-Stars. This has become increasingly odd to me as not long ago the Blazers were Exhibit A for why such an approach doesn't work.

Remember, when it matters most Brandon Roy is the pointguard. And for the last time, teams have won titles without stellar pointguards. I am very weary of people who seem to think this team needs more stars. That being said, Conley would be an upgrade in terms of talent.

Secondly, it is interesting that much of Rip City has turned on Travis Outlaw. There was a time when he was the regarded as the loveable up and coming talent. Last season his flaws were acknowledged, but Travis was prized as a valuable offensive weapon off the bench. This year is different. The new verdict on Outlaw is that his development has plateaued, that he needs the ball too much to be an effective team player, and that he settles for the jump shot too often. Making things worse for Travis, Nicolas Batum has already managed to capture the fan's imagination.

I agree that Travis is limited. He is also probably close to his ceiling considering his distaste for working on his game in the off season. With the arrival of Batum and Fernandez, his role has been reduced. It would make sense to trade him while his value remains high.

The trade makes some sense, but I have my reservations. I'm scared that it is far too early to be talking about all of this. The team is still very young, as is the season. We haven't even seen the squad at full strength. It is still unknown what the Blazers really need to become elite, maybe the ingredients are already on the roster and just need some time to come together. The best moves can be the ones that aren't made. Patience Rip City, Patience.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rudy's first three games

I intended to throw all of this in the Weakend Review but it just didn't feel right. The first three games of the Rudy Fernandez Trailblazer experience deserve a standalone post. So far the hype seems to be right, the man has been awesome.

Coming off the bench and averaging 27 minutes a game, Rudy has been impressive statistically. His PER is good for twentieth best in the NBA. You can't put too much stock in early season stats (Walter Herrmann currently leads the league in PER, after all) but you have to appreciate this a little. He has the highest PER on the team, and the second highest of any rookie.

Rudy has shot the ball very well so far (48% FG, 40% from three). His only game shooting less than 50% was against San Antonio, when he made just one of his six shot attempts. With his shot not falling, Rudy still made an impact. He grabbed eight rebounds, four of them offensive. It evokes the old basketball adage, a good player finds other ways to contribute when his shot is not falling.

And if you only care about highlights, he has put up a good one of those as well. And his widget picture is one of those trippy negative images. That has to be worth something:

If Rudy manages to maintain his performance somewhere near this level, teams will begin considering him in defensive schemes. How he will respond to special attention is still unknown. We also have that rookie-wall thing to keep an eye on. It is way to early for any conclusions, but it could get hard to hold back the love fest. Maybe we should just start the Rudy for Sixth Man/Rookie of the Year campaign.

Weakend Review: Don't you feel better? I feel better.

After the heavy dose of depression that was the Blazers vs. Lakers on opening night, I entered the weekend searching for some salvation. Luckily the games against San Antonio and Phoenix brought a little of the warm fuzziness back. Here's some tidbits...

Portland 100, San Antonio 99 (box score):

-This team will be tough at home all season, a rabid Rip City crowd seems to help the young'ins attack with confidence. The Spurs found that out the hard way as the Blazers held on for the narrowest of victories.

-Nicolas Batum played an absolutely stellar first half. Blazers management raised some eyebrows when they decided to keep Batum on the roster after his lame summer league performance. His play proves once again that Kevin Pritchard knows more than we do.

-The Spurs put some brutal shackles on Roy last season. It was hard to watch. This game, Roy was awesome against San Antonio's defense. His success was probably due to a combination of his continued growth and a Spurs team that is a year older. I prefer more of the former.

Phoenix 107, Portland 96 (box score):

-Portland lead at the half and played competitively throughout at Phoenix. This is encouraging considering that reports of the Suns death have been greatly exaggerated.
-Rudy Fernandez was great in this game. Teams aren't really considering him in defensive schemes yet, but they will have to if he continues to play like this. It really is not fair that the Blazers continue to get awesome young talent. Sorry NBA.

Blog Archive