Friday, October 31, 2008

Weak Review: Mr. Glass edition

Another day, another nationally televised game against a veteran title contender. This time around at least our Blazers will have a little confidence boost by playing at home. Pay attention to how Roy plays tonight, last season the Spurs put some merciless shackles on him. Coming off a sub-par game against the Lakers, Roy's performance tonight could give us a little insight into his development. Anyways, lets see what has been happening around these parts...
- Obama inspired Oden icons. If Oden tried to run for president, he would have torn a ligament in his knee during the primaries.

- My favorite Blazers season preview was by the Music Editor of a Portland Newspaper.

- I was absolutely pumped for the season opener, then this happened.

- If you care about your health, refrain from Odenizing for a while.

Image "borrowed" from Blaze of Love. I'm off to go cry. Happy Halloween ya pagans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dear Rip City, Stop thinking about Oden. I can help.

There was a time when thinking about Oden was a widely accepted way of improving one's mood. Thinking of the man now doesn't quite have the same effect. I think at this time it would be appropriate for Kevin Pritchard to address the public on the dangers of Odenizing. Serious negative health consequences are a real possibility. We need to issue a moratorium on all Odenizing until he becomes the dominant force we have been hoping for.

Oden's latest injury (he is out 2-4 weeks, in case you've been living under a sagenite pseudomorph) was also terrible with its potential to cause a Rip City panic. I admit, Oden going down so soon, at a time when the lights were so bright, has given even my dog night terrors. It is the kind of news both local and national media dream of. The coverage has been inescapable.

Yesterday brought the most non-True Hoop-day views ever for DeceptivelyQuick. The masses are hungry for depressing Oden crazy talk. Things will remain this way, at least in Rip City, until Oden proves he can stay healthy and produce.

I thought maybe I should stoke that fire, give the people what they want, and keep the traffic up. Maybe I could write something crazy comparing Oden to Sam Bowie. (Another.) Then I remembered that if a million people stop by I make the same amount of money as if the lone viewer is former-intern and current super fan Spencer SweetPotato. Zero.

So instead of exploiting your fear, I want to help. Please read the following tips for avoiding depressing Oden stuff and apply to your daily life. I feel better already.
- Replace your Oden youtube searches with searches for Stig Dogg (H.T. recommends this one.)
- When you are reading a Blazers article online, hit Ctrl+F, type in "Bowie", and hit Enter. If it finds anything, stop reading. Throw your computer out the window.
- Read a book, its FREE.
- Think about how great Rudy Fernandez looked in the opener. Hey remember this! (And try not to think about this.)
- Read Mike Barrett's blog. He works for the Blazers, and shameless homerism is in the job description. No bad news allowed! Perfect!
- Try to figure this out.
- Laugh at the foolishness of Andrew Bynum. Actually, you know what, I could see Oden breaking his wrist attempting that. Now I'm depressed again. Damn.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NBA Opening Night: Blazers vs Lakers

First of all, I beg of you, do not overreact to the events of last night. That was a matchup between a team ready to make a title-run and a team of young talent still learning two important things; how to play and how to play together.

Remember that an overachieving Portland team snuck up on a lot of the competition last season. They were slept on. This year the Blazers are undoubtedly on the national scene. They will remain there thanks to the long list of compelling story lines that surround them. No one will be taking these youngsters lightly this time around. For God sakes, Oden bounties were being offered up in the preseason.

If anything, this game could be something of a blessing. The hype had gotten out of control a while ago. Think about prime-time opening night, national television, Henry Abbot live-blogging on ESPN, and playoff predictions a plenty. Hopefully now expectations will be tapered somewhat.

Regarding Oden, calm down on that one too. The Oden rants I’ve heard since last night can be classified into two broad categories; Oden can’t play and Oden will never be healthy. Addressing the former, you can’t do anything in basketball if you are out of shape. You can’t be in serious basketball shape if you haven’t played serious basketball in a year and a half. Do me one favor and reserve your evaluations of Oden’s ability as a player until the man has achieved some level of conditioning.

As for Oden’s stellar ability to rack up injuries, yes, that is terrifying. Even worse, there is nothing you or I can do about it. We can only hope things somehow improve and try not to freak out. Sort of like the economy. Crap.

Blazers opening night, I am filled with enthusiasm

I have been restless all day counting down until the Blazers game on TNT. Today is taking forever. Either my anticipation is making time seem to pass slowly or I am nearing the edge of a black hole and time is actually slowing down around me. Tough to tell.

I sense that we are in the same boat. If you want something to get lost in until tip off I recommend reading FreeDarko's preview of every game. Here are my favorite Blazer related tidbits:

Oct 28 Portland @ L.A. Lakers. Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez have a sword fight for rookie of the year honors.

Nov 01 Portland @ Phoenix. Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez constantly get confused with each other.

Jan 02 New Orleans@Portland: Chris Paul asks to address the crowd before the game to deny a report in The Oregonian which states he has demanded to be traded to the Blazers, and says that he is perfectly happy in New Orleans and he wishes everyone -- including those in Portland -- would be happy for him. He then breaks down into tears. When Joel Pryzbilla walks over to console him, Tyson Chandler rushes in to punch Pryzbilla in the nose. In a blog post the next morning, Channing Frye vows revenge.

Jan 12 Portland@Chicago: Martell Webster just realized Jarrett Jack got traded when Ike Diogu asked to borrow a dollar for the vending machine.

Jan 24 Washington@Portland: As the game slips into the fourth overtime, Eddie Jordan jokes to Nate McMillan that they should settle it one-on-one. McMillan agrees and rips off his slacks, revealing a pair of official Blazers shorts. Jordan laughs uncomfortably and walks away.

Feb 24 Portland @ Houston - Yao gives Oden his old joke books.

Feb 22 L.A. Clippers @ Portland - Angry that he wasn't traded, Travis Outlaw lets Paul Allen know that he's a Mac.

Apr 03 Portland@Oklahoma City: Want to know something cool? Raef LaFrentz and I (Recluse) have the exact same birthday. Want to know something even cooler than that? Raef is "fear" spelled backwards.
Excellent as always. And the book looks like its gonna be bananas.

Blazers season previews review...What?

Opening night has finally arrived. I'm excited. At long last, we will be spared the bombardment of season previews. We were lucky to have survived such an onslaught of suckiness.

Sports blogs must be required to issue season previews, although I have to check the bylaws to be certain. I have heard that if a blogger doesn't crap out a lame preview the Ballhype secret police show up to the basement of said blogger's moms house (where bloggers live) to destroy computers and be totally annoying. Just to be safe, I did two.

Thing is, season previews almost always suck. You read one from a Blazer-focused blog and they drone on and on about crap that you probably knew already (my specialty). Some are somewhat insightful, but take nine-million words to do it. Blah. Read more tidy previews put together by places with League-wide focus and you get the extremely obvious peppered with some frustrating inaccuracies. Yet you have to read them, because you are obsessed with this franchise and this game. It is horrible.

When I cross paths with a preview I actually enjoy I make sure to spread the word. While killing some time last weekend I picked up an issue of the Portland Mercury, a paper that covers the Portland music scene (I think). They had a Blazer preview in there. It was funny and unusually fresh, hitting all the major stuff and sidestepping the minutiae. So I declare that The Deceptively Quick award for best Blazers season preview goes to the Music Editor of the Portland Mercury (naturally). This award is imaginary and exists only in my heart and mind. But still, Ezra Ace Caraeff, I salute you. Read it here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get your hope here, Oden style

Multiple times I've touched on the rising Blazer fandom in Portland. What I haven't discussed is the rising fandom of the Obama variety. You know all those Obama t-shirts you can buy in your city? In Portland you can buy Obama socks. In Portland, you walk into an internet cafe and notice they are displaying an Obama art exhibit consisting of about thirty original Obama pieces by local artists. One Obama sign in the yard of your home really isn't enough here, if you want to stand out you better get seven to nine of those bad boys.

Which is one reason that these Obama inspired Oden logos are so perfect. Oden fits the familiar Obama rhetoric of change and hope pretty nicely too, especially in the eyes of Rip City. So enjoy these works sent to me by James Kurhaus. Use them how you see fit.

(G)Obama. Nod to SLAM for the Oden cover.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weak Review: Waived players edition

There was some actual news this week, which fortunately for you sidelined some of my more inane ramblings. Lets see what happened...
- Akeem Scott is doing Akeem Scott things
- Big Pun was cut by the Celtics
- The Biggest Story in the World (Part II)
- A bunch of McDonalds high school dunk contests, excellent for time theft
- Gotta love Ricky Davis
- Shavlik Randolph makes the team. Nickname suggestions?
In a week that saw many players cut from preseason rosters, we honor the downtrodden spirits of these players with video. Please stand, remove your hats, and solemly observe one Austin Croshere, recently waived from the Indiana Pacers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shavlik Randolph, Portland Trailblazer

Yes, Luke Jackson and Steven Hill have both been waived, leaving the final roster spot to none other than Shavlik Randolph. This was a bit of a surprise. Conventional Rip City logic suggested Hill would take the spot and buffer Oden and the Vanilla Gorilla from killing each other in practice. He would have also fit nicely as a third big seven footer to clog the lane in the event that GO or 'Billa went down to injury. So much for that.

Congratulations to Randolph. He was the only hopeful to really accomplish anything of note in the preseason. (Although really he only did it once.)

Back in his rookie season with Philly, Randolph was getting praise before his injury. He was probably the best basketball player of the Blazer unguaranteeds. Personal merit won the day over team need, which is a bit unusual as far as final roster spot decisions go.

Randolph now stands in line behind LaMarcus, Frye, and Diogu. Four power forwards? Seems like our friend Kevin Pritchard is up to something.

Ricky Davis gives monetary rewards for dunking on Oden; will always have my love

I very much enjoyed the infamous attempt at faking a triple-double perpetrated by Ricky Davis. Then he called the Blazers a "pack of roaches" and I fell in love. I am a Blazer fan, but I appreciate comedy, and that particular comment was hilarious. The next time Ricky Buckets came through town a friend and I started a solid booing effort in the Rose Garden whenever he touched the ball. He responded by jacking up a shot every time he touched the ball. KG was on fire, but Ricky was proving a point. With every make he'd leave his follow through up for about twenty seconds. He mostly missed. Sometimes it feels like the man exists solely for my own personal entertainment.

Take his recent comments about offering his teammates $500 for dunking on Greg Oden:

News that Kevin Martin won a $1,000 bet with Mikki Moore for being the first to dunk on Greg Oden must have spread like wildfire through the League. Before last night’s game with the Blazers, the Clippers’ locker room was buzzing as Ricky Davis issued a $500 bounty to Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, and Al Thornton if one of them could crown G.O.

Though DeAndre Jordan tried to up the pricetag from five bills to five K, to which Ricky told him “Get off the bus, rook,” nobody was able to get up and over Oden for a dunk.

Firstly, the extent to which Kevin Martin dunked on Oden has been greatly exaggerated. Whatever, this is still hilarious. Come on Ricky, $500?! Mikki Moore offered up $1,000 and he has fresh D-League memories. Vintage. Ricky. Buckets. Awesome. Get off the bus, rook!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Consolidated McDonalds Dunk Contests = secret sauce explosion

In the last Weak Review I included a slice of youtube delight known as the 1996 McDonald's High School All-American Slam Dunk Contest. Considering that I watched it forty-seven times it seemed like including all of the Big Mac sponsored dunk competitions available would be even better. The result may be even more delicious than the McRib. Take them in one at a time, or play them all at once and have a rapid-scrolling orgy of athleticism and clashing music.








Hassan Adams, Amare





It was a little surprising that more of these weren't readily available on youtube. Shame on you internet. Shame. If you find any, email me or stick them in the comments. Oh, and James White got hosed. That is all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Biggest Story in the WORLD: Dan Dickau released!

Stop the election!

Dan Dickau has left the NBA!

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Warriors waived point guard Dan Dickau on Sunday, clearing the way for Oakland-born, Vallejo-raised DeMarcus Nelson to make the team.


Dickau played in just two of the Warriors' four exhibition games and averaged 5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2 steals in 12 minutes.

Dickau has now been released by both an Italian team and an NBA team in the span of a couple months. It is still possible he will get picked up by an NBA team, or maybe even join some Euro club. Enjoy the Dickau!

And if you haven't, you should read this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Darius Miles waived, donks vanishing into the sunset

This morning I flipped on ESPN just as the NBA crawl began. The first bit of news to scroll across the screen was that Darius Miles had been released by the Boston Celtics. As a Blazer fan, of course I appreciate that this means the contract of D.Miles will not go back on the Blazer's books. There is also a petty side of my person where residue from the frustration that was the Darius in Portland Experience lives. This side of me smiles when it hears news of this sort.

But really, Miles was well known to be an underachieving malcontent when Paul Allen agreed to pay him that fat contract. Maybe it was Rip City that was out of line for expecting 48 million dollars and 48 million expectations to change this man.

I have had quite a bit of fun at the expense of Mr. Miles. It has been therapeutic. I know him being out of the league helps the Blazers and tickles my pettiness, but there is a sliver of me that is still captivated by the Darius Miles story. I was intrigued by the idea of him coming off the bench for the Boston Celtics. I will eagerly be checking HoopsHype to see if another team takes a low cost/low risk gamble on signing Darius. If nobody in the League bites, I'm sure there are some European clubs that would be interested. Look out, Qyntel.

Meanwhile, back in Finland

You didn't actually think that just because Petteri Koponen was now working in Italy that we would forget about the Honka Playboys, did you? Never! DeceptivelyQuick has too much love for Akeem Scott and the rest of the squad to let that happen. H.T. provides an update on the goings on of our favorite Finnish endeavor...

Meanwhile in Finland, your beloved Honka Playboys has started the
2008/2009 campaign by winning two first games and losing the third.
Even though Honka has lost Koponen, the team still has ultimately best
starting five in Finnish League with Finnish national team forwards
Kimmo Muurinen and Jukka Matinen joining the American trio of Akeem
Scott, Monte Cummings and Ben Perkins. The Achilles heel of this team
is its bench, sporting the average age of whopping 18,5 years. There
is some major talent brewing in Honka's bench - even for international
leagues - but it will take a few years before those guys are ready to
make serious noise.

The main point of the team has been Deceptivelyquick's main man, Akeem
"The Other Dream" Scott, who returned to Finland declining an offer
from Ukrainian Superleague so that he could become a true floor
leader. For the opening rounds of Finnish League, Scott played
effective freestyle offense, but in Honka's last game - Finnish Cup
quarterfinal against last season's finals opponent, Kouvot - Scott
settled into a true point guard's role, making the ball move with ease
and creating shots for his teammates. Akeem finished with 15 points, 5
rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in Honka's 83-69 (35-34) victory and
showed the league audience he really could become a starting PG in big
money European leagues one day.

Akeem's stat line after first three rounds of of Finnish League:
MIN: 38,3
PTS: 26,3 (league leader)
REB: 3,3
AST: 2,7
ST: 2,7 (4th in league)
TO: 2,7
2PT FG: .759% (2nd in league)
FT: .909% (7th in league)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weak Review: Ghosts from the past

A weekly recap of the goings on here at DeceptivelyQuick...

-Hey look, DeceptivelyQuick on Ball Don't Lie!

-The outdoor game was um, outdoors.

-Qyntel Woods is still getting kicked off teams, and still getting signed by teams.

-When you write in praise of Dirk, you write on the defensive.

-Petteri Koponen gets 12 measly minutes.

-And finally, Cliff Robinson plays air bass!
Next week we have some Finland updates, another inconsequential tale of Blazer-fan interaction, possibly some Nicolas Batumage and more. Enjoy your random youtube excellence for the weekend:

LESTER EARL! Never forget!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inconsequential Tales of Blazer-Fan Interaction: Uncle Cliffy

As a consequence of recent positive franchise developments, signs of rabid Portland Trailblazer fandom creeping back into the city can be seen 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 seeing players out in public. Most of these are along the lines of "I saw Martell Webster at Cheesecake Factory!" or "Greg Oden was buying video games at Best Buy!" These stories are lame. But some stories, while just as inconsequential, strike me as potentially funny. It is these stories that will make up this space filling blog feature. Some of these tales are from my experiences, some have been told 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.

Cliff Robinson is one of a small group of players that will forever be golden in Rip City. A second-rounder, he played his first eight seasons here and was a key member of those elite teams of the early nineties. More than a few fans used to wear headbands to the games just like Cliff. At half-time they would change to a different color headband, just like Cliff. That is love.

Our fan grew up in that environment of Uncle Cliffy love. But this was far from his thoughts as he stepped into a Portland nightclub on a Saturday night in early 2008. Naturally, his mind was more on obtaining drinks and the attention of women.

He stepped into the club and noticed the usual crowd. It was that kind of young douchey top 40 club, and he fit right in. Like most young douchey top 40 clubs in Portland, most the patrons seemed to either be White or Asian, and nearly all under the age of twenty-five. He met up with friends inside and had a few rounds, catching up on very important current events issues like who had sex last night.

Once the group's thirst for imbalance was satisfied, they noticed Gucci Mane's Freaky Gurl Remix coming through the speakers. This was important. At this particular period of American History, young males had learned that this was the song to hit the dancefloor to. It was a hit with the intoxicated women and seemed to give them some type of self-fullfilling prophecy.

Our fan began dancing with a pleasantly plump female patron on the edge of the crammed dance floor. She was lip synching the song's lyrics, moving well, and all seemed right in the Universe. The song concluded and the DJ threw on "Kiss" by Prince. A strange choice considering the preceding song, but not totally unwanted.

In fact hearing these songs back to back was somewhat startling to our fan. He paused and tried to gain his bearings, his mind calculating all necessary swag adjustments. Then a coat hit him. No, it was a suit jacket. He turned to see who would swing a jacket around on the dance floor so recklessly. Discovering the culprit proved more confusing to his senses than the Gucci Mane/Prince combo.

It was...Cliff Robinson? He continued to stare in disbelief. There was no doubt, you could not miss the man in such a setting. A bulky, 6'10 Black middle-aged man contrasted quite a bit. Not to mention that he had been worshiped by our fan, who was now frozen in shock.

Our fan retreated to a position where he could appreciate the scene. Cliff was rolling with a group of similarly aged male and female friends, and he was absolutely going nuts on the dance floor. Through the next three to five songs Cliff busted out the air-bass, yes, the air-bass. Air. Bass. Imagine a guy doing this (1:50 mark) without holding an actual bass. Now subtract some rhythm and picture a 6'10 guy doing it. There you go.

What would you do in such a context? Our fan left the dance floor and retreated to the bar. There he remained until closing time, but some things cannot be unseen. Upon exiting the establishment, he noticed Cliff off to left, drenched in sweat.

"Ay Cliff, shoulda wore your headband! AhhhhHAHAHA!" A random young man yells with delight. Cliff doesn't respond, opting instead to talk with a few friends. Our fan walks off into the night. "That was bullshit that Cliff never got the respect he deserved," he mutters. It sure was.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Petteri Koponen's Italian Experience: Update

H.T. sends in an update on how things are going in Italy for Petteri Koponen, the man I refuse to stop calling The Finnagler.

Italian Serie A tipped off this Monday and Petteri Koponen played the
first game of his professional career when Virtus Bologna defeated
Angelico Biella 83-72 (49-36) in the home opener. As expected, Koponen
came off the bench behind Virtus starting point guard Earl Boykins,
who played a grand total of 32 minutes. Koponen managed to score five
points (FG 2/3), steal the ball two times and dish out one assist
(with one turnover) in his 12 minutes off the bench. While these stat
numbers are modest, the official website of Virtus Bologna called this
an "optimal debut" and the writers at fan forums have already began
wanting more playing time for Petteri.

Anyway, it is certain that even though Petteri Koponen has lead Honka
Playboys to consecutive Finnish championships and Finnish national
team to Eurobasket 2009 additional qualifying round, this will be his
first full season playing against top class opponents. It is possible
that season 2008/2009 will develop Petteri quite enough for him to
become an NBA substitute point guard, but most likely he won't blossom
before he has spent at least one full season in his new team.

Virtus Bologna - Angelico Biella 83-72 (49-36)

Virtus: Sharrod Ford 18/11/4 blocks, Earl Boykins 14/1/5 assists,
Jamie Arnold 13/2.
Biella: Reece Gaines 18/1, Joe Smith 15/3/4 assists, James Gist 14/3.
Petteri Koponen: MIN 14 FG 2/3 (3p 1/1) PTS 5 AST 1 ST 2 TO 1 PF 2

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Dirk Defense

Excessive Dirk-bashing is irksome to me. There was a time when I would bring up counterpoints and confront a jackass engaging in such activities, but that got tiring. The anti-Bavarianism was simply too prevalent, the current was too strong. Which is why I have to link to Todd Spehr's solid Nowitzki write up over at SLAM. Ignorant excessive Dirk haters, please read and digest.

Qyntel Woods Blotter Update: The Italians are aware that he will burn them, give him a half-million dollars

I know, I know. Blazer fans do not like thinking about Qyntel Woods, ever. (If you really need some background on why, peruse this.) Last time we paid attention he had signed that two-year deal with the Olympiacos in Greece. This blog said something about a change of scenery being a good thing and Woods possibly getting his career on track.

Funny stuff, considering Woods apparently has some sort of phobia of being on any sort of tracks. Career tracks, train tracks, Caribou tracks, these things are not for him. I thought I'd catch you all up to date on the man. From wikipedia:
Woods signed a two-year contract with Greek League team Olympiacos on July 16, 2007.In 10 appearances in the regular season, he averaged 12.5 points per game in 26.3 minutes per game.In 2007-08's playoffs, his numbers went down (8.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, in 20.7 minutes per game).

Woods was caught using marijuana during the Greek finals, and thus committed a breach of his contract, which led to Olympiacos terminating the final year of his deal. Subsequently, he signed with the Italian league's Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna after being released by Olympiacos.
What? Did you expect him to wait until after the finals to get high? He is a human being! And of course, he was quickly signed by another team. So I babelfished some Italian sites to see what the locals were thinking of this newly arrived talent. I'll post all the rough translations and original site links below. If it is only a tidy summary of the translations you want, meet me at the bottom of this post.

From here:

I have store clerk numerous errors within and outside of the field - it admits l' wing of 2,03, 27 years, been born to Memphis, coming dall' Olympiacos -. When they have arrived in the Nba me they are piovuti I lean too many money and I was too much young. I do not want to give to others colpe mine, but they are found to me in the wrong square. In that moment to Portland not c' it was nobody that could take to me under its wing or be a model to follow. Pippen has given many only technical councils to me but”. Woods has played to Portland, then Miami and New York. E' state been involved in ugly drug history and one, perhaps worse, than ill-treatment than dogs (trained to fight). The reputation has pushed Woods outside from the Nba not the talent. “I will not never say that in Europe I feel a step to of over of the adversaries but it is true that I have characteristics physical, athletic that are much rarer here to find that in America”. It pulls from outside with nature, it closes the contropiede as if it were Julius Erving, with elegance and coordination, plays from small wing or strong wing. But it does not have continuity and it has always the same face, l' intensity goes and comes. “E' true, of it I have spoken also with coach the Sakota. E' be before what that has said to me to Las Vegas where we are met quickly after the company. My objective quest' year is to maintain to the same level of concentration for all the 40 minuteren of every game”. Soon it will come caught up in Italy from the fianc2ee who to November will put to the world the first daughter, Queen, Queen. “I consider the Nba un' positive experience that has forged me but now not us task. In the Nba there are many money but often for players of medium level not there are the minuteren in order to play and this is the main reason for which they are happy for being here. In America people to the game applaude, ago the true tifo are involved and you here more. The tifosi of the Fortitudo are exceptional, will see to make them also to amuse

From here:
BOLOGNA - To the first from Bologna escape of its new career Qyntel Woods it has marked 26 points against Barcelona with a lot of two crushed executed receiving the ground-to-air passages of Strong Joseph. In those played c' it is all the extraordinary athleticism of Woods, un' wing at which the Fortitudo it has headed heavy in order to re-enter in the turn badge after two years of distance. “I have physical characteristics that in Europe are rare, it appeals to me to play in contropiede, I and Strong Joseph, than memory well from the times in which it played to North Carolina, we are an interesting brace. We want to win and also to make to amuse the tifosi. I was become attached to those dell' Olympiacos but in Greece from time to time exaggerates, warm but more is corrected here. In any case better thus that in the Nba where people come, applaude, it eats, it chats and it does not participate indeed ”. CAREER - Woods (contracted anniversary from 550.000 dollars) is one of the great innovationes of the championship, un' former before chosen still in the full load of the athletic resources, 27 years, with un' American experience of four seasons in which it has been to Portland, Miami and New York. To carry it in Greece it has been how much has arranged outside of the field, an arrest for drug detainment and an other for ill-treatment of animals (had entered in a stupid turn in which dogs trained themselves in order then to make to fight them in obviously clandestine encounter). To its credit it is necessary to say that Woods does not try to escape to own past. “The errors that I have store clerk make part of my history - it explains - say that they are a classic boy case who has found in hand too many money too soon. They have entered in the Nba to 19 years, renouncing to go all' university of Memphis. Portland chose me when the square did not have leadership. Rather than to find someone that it guided to me is happened the contrary. But saying this I do not want to be misinterpreted: I have mine colpe and me of it I assume the responsibility”. FORTITUDO - In Greece it has caught up the quarters of end of Eurolega and the end for the lost title Greek it with the Panathinaikos. E' state also Mvp dell' All- Star Game and has gained the contest of the crushed ones. The tifosi have made a petition in order to obtain of the confirmation, the fine club has not listened to them because to Woods season it had failed a private anti-drug control (marijuana) and not l' it has pardoned. “But to my place they have had to take Josh Childress from the Nba and it has characteristics similar to mine - he tells -. I found myself well to Atene, I would have intentional to make and to win more. I will try to make it with the Fortitudo. As soon as I have signed they have gone to Las Vegas to find coach the Sakota that it was there for the summer league. It has said to me that from me sarebe waited for continuity”. “I would not have never believed that it could come from we - says Sakota - but the circumstances of it have lowered the price. In spite of the voices he is Bravo boy who does not have costanza of yield. If l' it had would be in the Nba”. It uses it the Serb or from small wing that gives strong wing and l' it has experimented also like sixth man. Answers? Always positive: it marks, it takes the bounces, it jumps, elegant and it is coordinated. The Nba? “Not us task, many players stano making my same choice because it only gives them to the money to little stars and who earns little is not sure of the minutaggio. Some time before that the contract you want the possibility to go in field and to play”.
From here:

Qyntel Woods plays in the Fortitudo Bologna. If it is not l' more hard arrived American in Italy (will be the parquet to say it), is without a doubt an only personage. Indicted in USA because guilty to organize “encounter” between dogs, 80 hours of social services more a sum cospicua to assign in beneficence, also in its first European experience, in Greece, is not unnoticed past. As soon as arrived to Bologna, it has found the way to discuss, eufemismo, with a taxista. Here like alive l' uncertainty of not knowing when the championship of basket will leave. Woods is felt landed on Mars? “I do not understand the question well and this could carry to me to innervosirmi”. How lives an American this situation of a championship that it is unknown when he begins and with which squares? “For we it is not easiest to understand this situation and what is really happening. Introduced indeed not, true documents or less, we are not understood a lot. From that they tell to me there are pazzeschi aspects that I had not never felt before d' now. I hope comes made clarity for the good of yours basket. And also for me. Because I guarantee to you that it is hard to wait for, not to understand, not to know when it can be begun. I have wish to begin this championship. I feel the need to play seriously”. In America never it has been found in a similar situation? “Memory some year makes the lock out of the Nba, the lock out, but it was indeed an other type of battle”. How it is found to Bologna? “I am discovering and appreciating the city also through the pages of the book of Grisham " The Broker" that it is acclimatized in this city”. The problem with the taxista of some week makes? Perhaps “an error of the navigator of my Mercedes or I had typed Mars and me they are consequently imbattuto in a Martian. All resolving: I only have wants of basket and winning together to the Fortitudo. Tasks that to November my companion will render me father for the first time, of a child. And as soon as possible they will catch up to me here in Italy. If the life is made cycles, now I feel that of a new one is beginning completely. Creed is that best one”. Even, for November, a game in championship has not still played not even. “I hope or striking, because with what I am feeling in these days I could also believe to us”. In Greece the tifosi dell' Olympiacos is come down in public square in order to protest against its not reaffirmation. “The Greek tifosi are indeed outside from the world. Warm, pazzeschi, to the point to exaggerate and to go also beyond, as it happens above all in the challenges between l' Olympiacos and the Panathi-naikos. Me they are however found well to Atene but by now it is a chapter closed it, not me interessaparlarne”. It will return in Nba? “Today alive every game like a challenge, as if it were that decisive one. E' my lifestyle basket and the plan of the Fortitudo are suited to me: c' it is all to reconquer, leaving again nearly from zero. My Nba now is here. But sooner or later I would want to begin this challenge because this wait is indeed a difficult game. For we Americans the one which is happening in Italy it is own difficult one to understand”. Emanuele Righi ”. CAREER - Woods (contracted anniversary from 550.000 dollars) is one of the great innovationes of the championship, un' former before chosen still in the full load of the athletic resources, 27 years, with un' American experience of four seasons in which it has been to Portland, Miami and New York. To carry it in Greece it has been how much has arranged outside of the field, an arrest for drug detainment and an other for ill-treatment of animals (had entered in a stupid turn in which dogs trained themselves in order then to make to fight them in obviously clandestine encounter). To its credit it is necessary to say that Woods does not try to escape to own past. “The errors that I have store clerk make part of my history - it explains - say that they are a classic boy case who has found in hand too many money too soon. They have entered in the Nba to 19 years, renouncing to go all' university of Memphis. Portland chose me when the square did not have leadership. Rather than to find someone that it guided to me is happened the contrary. But saying this I do not want to be misinterpreted: I have mine colpe and me of it I assume the responsibility”. FORTITUDO - In Greece it has caught up the quarters of end of Eurolega and the end for the lost title Greek it with the Panathinaikos. E' state also Mvp dell' All- Star Game and has gained the contest of the crushed ones. The tifosi have made a petition in order to obtain of the confirmation, the fine club has not listened to them because to Woods season it had failed a private anti-drug control (marijuana) and not l' it has pardoned. “But to my place they have had to take Josh Childress from the Nba and it has characteristics similar to mine - he tells -. I found myself well to Atene, I would have intentional to make and to win more. I will try to make it with the Fortitudo. As soon as I have signed they have gone to Las Vegas to find coach the Sakota that it was there for the summer league. It has said to me that from me sarebe waited for continuity”. “I would not have never believed that it could come from we - says Sakota - but the circumstances of it have lowered the price. In spite of the voices he is Bravo boy who does not have costanza of yield. If l' it had would be in the Nba”. It uses it the Serb or from small wing that gives strong wing and l' it has experimented also like sixth man. Answers? Always positive: it marks, it takes the bounces, it jumps, elegant and it is coordinated. The Nba? “Not us task, many players stano making my same choice because it only gives them to the money to little stars and who earns little is not sure of the minutaggio. Some time before that the contract you want the possibility to go in field and to play”

Whew. That was exhausting. And to think, all of that can be summarized into four bullets. What a waste of time. I hope you didn't actually read all that garbage.
  • He now has a daughter (Congratulations)
  • He is being paid $550,000 (Congratulations!)
  • The Italians know he will at some point let them down, but are OK with it because he's like, really athletic.
  • Woods blames the Blazers for his problems, because they didn't have good leadership in place when he was drafted. Then he adds that he takes responsibility for his actions. Awesome.
So let the predictions begin! What will Woods be kicked off of this team for? What team will sign him next? I am hoping he somehow ends up in Finland with the famed Honka Playboys.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Outdoor Game! Phoenix vs. Denver

I watched that outdoor NBA preseason game the other night. This pretty much sums it up. Once the novelty wore off, I realized I was watching some horrible basketball. The highlight of the game had to be when Suns GM Steve Kerr joined the broadcasting team for a chat. I'm not sure what was said, but there was a Suns dancer wearing the tightest pants ever in the background, and she was absolutely working it. So, you know, that was nice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

That MoPed cost Monta Ellis $3 Million

News dropped that The Warriors will not be paying Monta Ellis while he rehabs from his moped accident:

The Warriors suspended the injured guard for 30 games without pay Saturday for violating his lucrative new contract by getting into a moped accident.

Ellis, who agreed to a six-year deal worth $66 million in July, severely sprained his ankle in a low-speed crash in late August. The suspension will cost the guard slightly less than $3 million.
Golden State Of Mind, feeling the pain, summed it up better than anyone:

6 years, $66 million, 1 stupid decision, 1 big lie, 1 more season down the drain.

For that $3 million Monta could have had this guy flown in to give private lessons, thus boosting his skills exponentially. He could have also built that guy a mansion, and a moped course made entirely of cotton candy where accidents would end in a delicious treat instead of ankle surgery. Perhaps that would have prevented anyone from ever discovering his secret and forbidden love affair with low powered motorized vehicles. We will never know.

Friday, October 10, 2008


With the recent spat of injuries, it appears that even the Pessimist's Preview failed capture the extent to which this team has a problem staying healthy. It is significant to note that the injury bug has spread well beyond the Foundation (Roy, Aldridge, Oden) and appears to be contaminating the rest of the squad; Blake with his hamstring, Frye with his ankle, Webster with his foot, Przybilla with his lungs, and now Fernandez with his ankle. Understandably, some fans are worried. I was terrified.

Then it hit me. A team can't possibly have this many injuries. It just doesn't happen. Clearly, there is something else going on. There is only one logical explanation.

These men are madly in love with trainer Jay Jenson. You can't blame them. The man has a sort of seductive gravity that pulls you in like the waves do a grain of sand. It should come as no surprise that people want to be around him by any means necessary. If I were a Blazer, I would probably fake both an injury and an interest in tennis to try to get as much face time with Jay as possible.

So don't worry about these "injuries." They are simply man-crushes that will pass as the season moves along. Because while Jay Jenson may be a healer of wounds, he is also a breaker of hearts. After a few tear-filled nights and a week or so of R.E.M., these Blazers will be back in action.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not Another Season Preview! 2008 Trailblazers

If there is one thing that the internet does not need at this time of the year it is more team previews. This is precisely why I have written two more, on the same exact team. I'm a big fan of saturation. Anyways, team previews generally suck because they are often wrong. Remember, at the beginning of last season the Bulls were supposed to be contending for the Eastern Conference and the Hornets were supposed to just miss the playoff cut.

Which leads to another reason for writing two team previews on the same squad. One is written with pessimism in mind, the other with optimism. Read whichever one works for you, or both. If I'm as good at these things as most others, they will both be wrong.

The Pessimist's Guide to the 2008-09 Blazers

The Optimist's Guide to the 2008-09 Blazers

The Optimist's Blazer Preview

Being a Blazer fan right now is comparable to knowing you've won Powerball before the numbers are drawn. You know what you are going to buy, you know your life is about to be very sweet, you just have to wait a little bit. Pretty exciting.

It is totally understandable that Blazer fans are nearing frenzied levels of enthusiasm. Portland posted a surprising 41-41 record while being the youngest (or second youngest, depending on the part of the season) team in the entire NBA. This season they look to be even better, and the playoffs seem to be a possibility.

The young players from last season will likely have improved since last year. Their development alone seems likely to add a few wins over last season. LaMarcus Aldridge will be more of a force, as will All-Star Brandon Roy. Travis Outlaw is coming off of his break-out season in great shape and brimming with confidence. Martell Webster seems poised to establish consistency. Channing Frye will be more comfortable with the team. Kevin Pritchard even noted that he is excited with the progress of Steve Blake. Steve Blake!

In addition to the growth of the players from last season, the team will be joined by three very high potential players. Greg Oden is finally healthy and ready to man the low post. Even if he develops slower than expected, his size and athleticism alone will have a positive impact. Oden and Aldridge complement each other perfectly. Think of a high-low offense with Aldridge and his high-post jumper and passing ability, and Oden with his size and athleticism down low. As Jay-Z says, "something to watch, nothing to stop, unstoppable." Oden's arrival also means Joel Pryzbilla will now be coming off the bench. While perhaps not suited for a starting role, The Vanilla Gorilla is a very solid defensive center who will be one of the best backup C's in the League. To say the least, the rim will be well protected throughout the game.

The Blazers also obtained Jerryd Bayless in the draft, who promptly went out and took home summer league MVP honors. Bayless is a powerful and explosive guard. He will instantly provide additional ball handling help and solid defense using his size and speed to guard pointguards. He also has a knack for taking the ball to the rim, something the Blazers desperately need. All of these things he can do now, so imagine what his potential could be.

Additionally, the Blazers brought over Spanish stud Rudy Fernandez. In addition to establishing himself as one of the best players in Europe, the 23 year old proved he can compete with top NBA talent by taking it to Team USA in the Olympics. Sounds like a great excuse to revisit this clip:

Nice. Yet Rudy isn't all dunks, he can stroke the ball from deep as well. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, his skills fill a great need on this team.

All of this talent doesn't mean a thing without chemistry. While we won't know for sure until we see this team play together, we do know that these players seem to get along well. Perhaps more importantly, they understand that they could be a part of something very special.

Another sign that seems to bode well for the team is that the Western Conference hierarchy is not as concrete as it has been in recent years. Life in the West is still extremely tough, but long-time powers the Suns, Spurs, and Mavs are thought to not be as formidable as they once were, perhaps leaving the door open for a young upstart like Portland to join the post-season party.

The Blazers also have excellent leaders steering this franchise. It all starts at the very top with owner Paul Allen. Gone are the days of Mr. Allen running this franchise like a fantasy team. Gone are the days of putting the wrong people in charge. Credit the man for getting the right people for their respective jobs, and stepping away to give them room to succeed. He is performing his role as money man perfectly. And it really helps when your money man rolls like this.

Guiding this young team is coach Nate McMillan. With his emphasis of discipline, consistency, effort, and defense McMillan is a very good match for this young exuberant team. There is something very powerful about a coach who won't give minutes to a player unless he pulls his weight on the defensive end. McMillan was chosen to be a member of the Team USA coaching staff for a reason.

Of course, the Blazers also have a pretty decent GM in Kevin Pritchard. While some worry about whether all of this talent can mesh, I am confident that KP has proven he has the ability to adjust the personnel as needed. For example, many question whether Jerryd Bayless can distribute the ball and be Portland's pointguard of the future. If Bayless doesn't work with this team, wouldn't you think Pritchard would be more than capable of obtaining someone who is? KP helps Blazer fans sleep at night.

Last season provided a glimpse of what this team can be. This season we will see the young Trailblazers at full strength, deeper with even more talent. The organization seems to have the right people in place from top to bottom. Savor this Blazer fans, things are about to get very special.

The Pessimist's Blazer Preview

It is absolutely wonderful to be a Blazer fan in Portland right now. You saw the Rudy Fernandez welcoming, but there are many more subtle signs that foreshadow an imminent return to the rabid Rip City days. Things like Blazer-chatter on the bus, more pinwheel bumper stickers, and lots of guys asking me where I got my Roy shirt. (Not telling!)

This is a fan base that has been legitimately revitalized. Interestingly enough, management has achieved this without the help of a winning season. No, Portland hasn't seen one of those since 2002-03. Management regained the obsession of the fans by providing hope. Hope has been missing longer than winning seasons have.

Of course hope can only get you so far, eventually these fans will want wins. Lots of wins. Kevin Pritchard could probably be mayor of Portland right now, but that won't be the case if this team isn't contending for a title within a few seasons. Such a failure conjures up images of pitchforks and torches, perhaps tar and feathering could make a comeback. Lifted spirits come with lifted expectations.

As great as that Blazers Kool-Aid is tasting right now, there are reasons for Portlanders to stick to their microbrews for a little while longer. Lots of reasons, actually. It is my hope that seeing some of them in a single place will deter you from taking out that second mortgage to finance a season ticket package. (Want a scary thought? The way ticket prices have been rising, combined with the plummeting housing market, that sentence might not be such a stretch. Enjoy your day!)

The obvious and most frequently cited reason for concern with this team is the injury factor. Considered player-by-layer, you can explain these injuries as simply a result of bad luck. When looked at in total, we can see that these injuries are not aberrations but part of a very disturbing trend that could easily keep this team from achieving elite status (1).

We begin with LaMarcus Aldridge. He has already had shoulder surgery and heart surgery. He also missed a handful of games last season due to a multiplicity of ailments to his wheels; ankle, toe, and knee injuries. These injuries, while seemingly minor, should be cause for concern. A second year big man having veteran big man problems so early is not reassuring.

Now consider Greg Oden, the media darling with a well publicized problem with staying healthy. In case you forget, he had wrist surgery in college. Then arthroscopic knee surgery after being drafted. By the way, remember those bad back rumors?

Finally, consider the history of Brandon Roy. Going into his third season, Roy could be the best basketball player the franchise has seen since Clyde Drexler. Put simply, Roybot is Everything. He has also achieved the rare feat of getting his knee cut into in high school, college, and the pros. Last season he struggled with groin issues, and that talus bone thing is simply not going away.

Management would have you believe that the youth of these players means they can simply bounce back to full recovery from all of these injuries. After all, Oden is only 20 years old. Aldridge is just 23 and Roy is 24. Young bodies tend to heal faster, and they have plenty of time to fully recover. I get that.

A logical counterpoint, however, is that players often incur more injuries as they age. This means a 24 year old with an extensive injury history has a fairly good chance of earning the dreaded "injury prone" label over the course of his career. It isn't like any of these players have only had one surgery or one nagging injury. These men have had multiple surgeries, multiple continuous health problems. They are all also indispensable to the future elite status of this team.

Along with the prevalence of injuries, many of our beloved shiny new Blazer pieces are still totally unproven in the NBA. I hate to rain on your Rudy parade (not really), but international success is not guaranteed to translate into the NBA. For example, Sarunas Jasikek;jflkd;asjfk;ljdsfavicious dominated the Olympics and was MVP of an elite Euro league. He then came to the NBA and gained attention for his excellent cheerleading skills.

And how will Jerryd Bayless perform? He was certainly impressive in summer league, earning MVP honors. Hey, Brandon Roy tore up summer league too. Good stuff. So did Qyntel Woods. Oh. The truth is we won't know for certain how the skills and abilities of Bayless will translate until we see him in actual NBA games against actual NBA competition.

Of greater importance than Bayless and Fernandez, the success of this franchise rests significantly on the play of Greg Oden. He's so big and athletic and hardworking and wonderful, you can just see the man out there controlling the paint on both offense and defense. He also has not played a single game in the NBA. He didn't play a complete season of college basketball either. If he becomes a player who has all the tools but is never able to apply them successfully in actual NBA contests, he won't be the first.

The efforts of management, with an assist from lady luck, have resulted in the Blazers having the deepest pool of young talent in the league. This can be quite a gift, but fans have largely overlooked that such a roster could also be a curse. The Foundational Three (Roy, Aldridge, and Oden) are not going anywhere, they will be locked up with max or near-max contracts. Unfortunately, the NBA is not played three on three. The Blazers will need more.

At some point, the young Blazers that fill complementary roles will have offers from other teams. These teams will offer them larger roles than they will have in Portland, and larger money. We already know that Travis Outlaw is aching for a offensive role that simply is not available for him on this team. Other organizations are aware of this. With the arrival of Rudy Fernandez, the role of Martell Webster has became even more uncertain. Do not get too attached to anyone outside of the Foundational Three, because Portland simply can not keep them all.

To make room for the development of this young talent, the Trailblazers let James Jones walk at the end of last season. In the long-term, it certainly makes sense. In the more immediate future, meaning this season and possibly next, the loss of James Jones will greatly impact the ability of this team to win basketball games.

I urge you to think back to the winning that was enjoyed last season. A majority of those wins, including the amazing thirteen game streak, occurred when James was healthy and logging significant minutes. He was given the Next Most Valuable Player award by this blog for his importance (very prestigious). There is not a player on this roster who has proven they can fill his sneakers.

Possibly even scarier than all of the above are concerns over how successfully all of this talent will blend together to produce wins. It was a surprise last season when the Blazers finished with a 41-41 record. Blazer fans have cited this as proof this team will only improve. It isn't. The 2008-09 Blazers are not the 2007-08 Blazers. These are very different teams.

The Blazers have not only lost James Jones but also added players that will likely demand significant minutes: Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Jerryd Bayless. This is a huge change that brings even more uncertainty to the situation. Is this the right mix of talent? Will players get disgruntled with reduced roles? What players are filling what roles? Will they even be able to fill them? Only time will answer these questions.

I know, it feels good to get excited. It feels amazing to talk about an impending Blazer dynasty. Unfortunately, this relatively brief outline raises enough points to cast reasonable doubt. Our expectations could very likely be nothing more than fantasy. Feel good and excited about what the future could hold, sure, but don't set yourself up for too large of a fall off that mountain top. This season and beyond face much uncertainty, we would be wise to relax a little bit and give this team some breathing room to develop. Rip City, please chill out for a minute.

Why did you not tell me the Portland Chinooks were back?!?!?

The Portland Chinooks of the IBL had a special place in my heart, this is documented (1 , 2). The last I heard of them was that they were folding, never to return to bless us with the divinely novel experience that is an IBL game. After a period of mourning, I slowly moved on with my life.

Oopsies. They finished their 2008 season last June. The great God Shammgod is still on the team. Nobody told me. I will be crying the rest of the day. Then I might beat up a puppy or two. Portland Chinooks, please come back for 2009, and please keep Shammgod. I will be there.

(This startling revelation came about from seeing this post on Deadspin this morning.)

A little Hibachi to hold you over

Hi, yes, its been slow around here. DeceptivleyQuick season preview(s) coming soon, promise. In the mean time, enjoy the best thing ever:

Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

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