Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blazers not exactly in danger of picking up disgusting twittering habits

In the right hands, twittering can produce priceless internet gold. But I think we can all agree that in general, it is a terrible terrible thing that is hopefully just a fad. Twitter has even gotten NBA players yelled at by tiny men who take pick-up games much too seriously

No need to worry, know that your Portland Trailblazers are safe from sharing this horrible fate. Most of the team hasn't even heard of the zany internet thing. Channing Frye, who is by far the Blazer most likely to tweet, thinks it's "just too much." Awesome.

The best quote on the topic comes from the venerable Joel Przybilla, "Pffff. I didn't even know about it until the other day and I don't really care. I think it's kinda stupid."

And just in case you were wondering, this is what comes up on youtube when you search for Pffff:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weakened Pondering: When Przybilla gets his 30...

Back in January I had an entry detailing some of Greg Oden's statistics when he gets at least thirty minutes of playing time. The man has averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds in those games. More importantly, the Blazers won 67% of those games as opposed to 61% when Oden had played less than thirty minutes up until that point.

Oden is now coming back from his latest injury. Just prior to his return Przybilla happened to be playing what could be considered the best stretch of basketball of his career. Being that Przybilla's burn inevitably will be reduced with the return of Oden, it seems an interesting time to check out what kind of impact Joel has on games when he plays thirty minutes or more.

The numbers are impressive: the Vanilla Gorilla averages 8 points and 12 rebounds in these games. Even better, the Blazers have won 75% (12 out of 16) of these contests.

This season the team has performed better in games where either Joel or Greg has played at least 30 minutes,  though they have won at a somewhat higher clip when that distinction goes to Przybilla.

For all the talk of Joel and Greg being some sort of two-headed monster (shout out to Mike Rice!), I'm not convinced that the team has figured out how to play both players substantial minutes and be as effective as they are otherwise. Actually, Portland is just 6-5 when Oden and Przybilla both play 20 minutes or more. This could just be an issue the team will figure out as they gain experience, or nothing more than statistical nonsense from a small sample size. 

If the trend continues this season and into next, it could also mean that one of these deserving players, probably Przybilla, will have to take a more limited role. That can be a hard thing for a player to accept, especially after knowing what it's like to be a major contributor. Situations like these have the potential to create all sorts of problems. This is one more thing that is worth watching as the team continues to develop. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Covertly blogging from work edition

H.T. checks in with the latest on Petteri Koponen. Now shhhhhh my coworkers are getting suspicious...

Four games in eight days? Sounds like a normal schedule for NBA team. From Sunday the 15th to Sunday the 22nd, it was gruelling reality for Petteri Koponen and Virtus Bologna. Predicting a 3 win - 1 loss or 2 win - 2 loss week would've been quite in order, but instead, Bologna went 4-0 in dominating fashion despite barely being able to catch a breather.

Bologna tipped things off Sunday the 15th playing a home game against NGC Cantù, currently 7th in Serie A. Cantù was able to make things difficult for Virtus for 25 minutes until Earl Boykins finally broke loose and took Virtus from four points down to 12 points up. Boykins finished with 17 points, 6 assists and 5 steals in Virtus' 83-72 (32-36) victory while Petteri Koponen had 3 points (fg 1-3), 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 15 minutes as a starter.

Next Tuesday (Mar 17th) Bologna flew to Germany to meet Telekom Baskets Bonn in the opening round of EuroChallenge quarterfinals. Virtus dominated the game from early on and headed home with a 76-86 (33-47) victory despite Bonn's fourth quarter run. Sharrod Ford (17/7), Reyshawn Terry (16/7) and Keith Langford (14/3ast) were Virtus' main weapons in victory over Bonn while Petteri Koponen started the game, played 14 minutes (all in the first half) and had 4 points (fg 2-2), 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 turnover.

Two days later, Telekom Baskets came to Italy to meet Virtus again in the "do-or-die" Game 2 of the playoffs. Virtus started things off slowly but didn't really have much trouble finishing Bonn 106-91 (56-44) and heading to the EuroChallenge Final Four which will be played at the end of the April. Sharrod Ford (28/6/3as/3bl), Keith Langford (17/0), Guilherme Giovannoni (16/5) and Earl Boykins (12/9as) were simply too much for Bonn to handle. Petteri, once again, started the game but played only 15 minutes, ending up with 2 points (fg 1-1), 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 turnover.

Finally, Virtus met Brandon Jennings's Lottomatica Roma in much anticipated Sunday matchup at Bologna's FuturShow Station. Virtus pulled away from Lottomatica from the beginning of second quarter and never looked back, finishing with a 89-74 (46-34) victory and climbing back to the no. 2 spot in Serie A. Keith Langford (23) and Earl Boykins (20/3/4as) were Virtus' main gunners while Ibrahim Jaaber (24) was the only Lottomatica player who was able to give Virtus some trouble.

Round 3 of Petteri Koponen-Brandon Jennings match-up ended pretty much with a tie. Petteri started the game, finishing with 6 points (fg 2-5), 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 19 minutes, while Brandon Jennings played 17 minutes off the bench and went for 5 points (fg 2-4), 1 rebound, 3 assists and 1 turnover.

This week will be much easier one for Virtus; they won't play their next game before Sunday 29th in "Derby" against local rival GMAC Bologna, currently 15th in Serie A. GMAC's top players include 2007 NBA draftee D.J. Strawberry, Greek national team behemoth Lazaros Papadopolous and everybody's favorite player, Gregor Fucka:


Friday, March 20, 2009

Akeem Scott is still Akeem Scott

And we should all be very thankful for that. Now with special effects!

If you want more, and you should, check out his love journal. Yes, love journal. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DeceptivelyQuick enters the terrible 2s

DeceptivelyQuick turned a whopping two not too long ago, which is like 373 in obscure sports blog years.

What, you forgot and didn't get me anything? That's cool, we're still friends. Just don't expect too much from me in the future. I mean, it's not like I wanted a cool cake or anything.

OK, that would have been awesome. But when you can't live up to a hamburger's birthday party, why even try, right?

Looking through the posts of the past year there seems to be a trend of this place becoming increasingly focused on a few small randomly floating objects in the basketball universe. I'm talking lots of Petteri Koponen, Taurean Green, and Joel Freeland. And we still can't get enough of Akeem "I Have A Love Journal" "People's Champ" Scott. These topics will continue, with a sprinking of stats nobody cares about and ideas people don't want to think about. Writing on more mainstream topics can be fun too, and those entries can actually pop up in interesting places from time to time.

Thanks to everyone for reading. You can commit time theft in a lot of different ways and I'm honored to be a small part of it. Thanks to the other, higher quality Blazer blogs like Blaze of Love and Bust a Bucket for linking here on the regular thus keeping the Ballhype ranking from hitting four digits. Thanks to all the people out there from Portland to Spain to Italy who contribute to the goings on around here from time to time. And of course, thanks to H.T., who is my favorite Finnish person that I've had a conversation with over Facebook...ever.

Year three is going to be interesting. I'll be living in a city that a loveable Midwestern NBA team calls home for a good chunk of it, so things could get even more weird around here. But don't worry, DeceptivelyQuick will always keep it RoyBot.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Ho You Fat edition

Confused by the extended silence of the Petteri Koponen Watch? Me too! Luckily H.T. has recently gotten back to doing what made him the international blogebrity that he is. The latest on The Finnagler!

Yeah, I know it has been quiet in the Petteri Koponen frontier these past two weeks, but I have been in a rather uncomfortable situation lately. Instead of spending my days sniffing glue, playing Backgammon and writing basketball stories for underground sports blogs (that sounds a lot better than "obscure"-Ed), I have actually been WORKING. I swear that unfortunate events such as this won't keep you from getting your weekly does of Petteri and I try to minimize the side effects with this update.

After losing the Italian Cup final against Montepaschi Siena, 
Virtus Bologna smacked Turkish League leading Galatasaray 93-77 (46-41) in their home court and managed to snatch a 65-64 away victory against Air Avellino. It was a bit alarming to see Koponen out of the starting line-up for the first time since early December. Petteri had five points and two rebounds in 15 minutes against Galatasaray and one rebound and one assist in only five minutes against Air Avellino.

The first week of March was a sad one for Virtus. Although Virtus took a 24-14 first quarter lead in FIBA EuroChallenge game against German team 
EWE Baskets Oldenburg, those pesky Germans dominated the final quarter and cruised to 73-64 win, dropping Virtus to second place of EuroChallenge Cup's Group J. Petteri kept collecting bench splinters and played only six minutes (two rebounds, on foul) against Oldenburg.

In the next game Bologna travelled to play against Solsonica Rieti, currently the dead last team in Serie A. Petteri was entered back to the starting line-up, but the game was by far the worst Virtus has played this season. Rieti smacked the Bolognese right out of town, winning 80-55 (37-30) and dropping Virtus to fourth spot in 
Serie A. Petteri played 19 points, but only finished with six points (3pt shots 1/6), one steal and two turnovers.

This Tuesday, Bologna seemed to overcome their difficulties as they traveled to Ukraine to play against Ukrainian 
Superleague leading BC Kyiv in the final game of FIBA EuroChallenge Cup regular season. Virtus played impressive defence and smothered Kyiv 69-57 (34-26), earning a home court advantage for the upcoming EuroChallenge Cup quarterfinals. Petteri played 23 minutes against Kyiv and finished with 15 points (3pt 4-8), one rebound and one steal. Virtus coach Matteo Boniciolli praised Petteri in basketcentral.it, stating: "With Petteri playing in this level, it's hard for anyone to beat us."

Virtus will meet German Bundesleague team 
Telekom Baskets Bonn in the best-of-three playoff series tipping off next week. Bonn is a pretty typical German team, with seven players getting most minutes are born in the U.S. (Ken Johnson, E.J. Rowland, Winsome Frazier and Brandon Bowman), to name a few. Here are the four quarterfinal match-ups in EuroChallenge Cup:

BC Triumph (Russia) - Ural Great (Russia)
Telekom Baskets Bonn (Germany) - Virtus Bologna (Italy)
Proteas EKA AEL (Cyprus) - EclipseJet MyGuide (Netherlands)
Cholet Basket (France) - BC Kyiv (Ukraine)

I'm waiting for Virtus to meet 
Cholet Basket in the upcoming rounds, because it would be kind of a dream come true to see Petteri play against this fellow.

More to come!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weakened Pondering: Helping to increase your LaMarcus Aldridge appreciation

The stats of LaMarcus Aldridge this season are nearly identical to his 2007-08 campaign. Some of the similarities are sort of startling: his field goal makes and attempts are the same to the tenth decimal place.

But we are interested in more than Aldridge's curious replication tendencies. Despite a rabidly interested fan base he remains relatively misunderstood in Rip City. Often labeled as soft because he has a jumpshot, or derided as a mediocre rebounder even though he is among the League's elite in offensive boards, we at DeceptivelyQuick feel a call of duty to promote the truth.

In December of 2007 I was all excited and linked to this video collection of highlights featuring LaMarcus throwing all kinds of sweet passes. I was convinced that he possessed passing skills that were uncommon in a power forward. For whatever reason we didn't seem to get to see these particular talents displayed too often. He has never even averaged two assists per game, which doesn't exactly help my case.

Enter new basketball statistics. The people I steal from constantly, 82games.com, have created a different way to quantify passing skills. It starts with the classic assist to turnover ratio, which is commonly accepted as an indicator of how effectively a player can pass. Except that turnovers include all sorts of things besides passing. For example, if a player is whistled for travelling or gets the ball stolen while driving to the hoop a turnover would result. So the 82games.com geniuses started tracking something called assist: bad pass turnover. Yep, only turnovers resulting from passes are used, creating a stat that we can safely say is more related to how effectively a player passes the basketball.

Where does LaMarcus Aldridge rank in this category? Are you ready to have your mind blown? Then click here. I'll let you take that in for a second.

The Blazers power forward has the highest assist to bad pass turnover rate (7.1) in the entire NBA. This is freakish, and you need to appreciate that. There are no other power forwards or centers in the top 10. There are only three amongst the top 20. The four players immediately following Aldridge are Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Tayshaun Prince, and Jose Calderon.

LaMarcus Aldridge: Respect the game.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DeceptivelyQuick interviews "Rudy Fernandez"

DeceptivelyQuick doesn't do interviews very often, but when it happens they are Earth shattering. Great journalists the World over are still talking about how everything changed when it was revealed that all Akeem Scott wants in life is good money, a couple houses, and two beautiful women to live with.

At this moment the recent actions of one Trevor Ariza (Boooooo!) have got the whole interwebs vibrating. There is no better time than now to check in with the Blazer on the receiving end of Ariza's rather interesting strategy for blocking a shot. We e-mailed Rudy Fernandez some questions, and he was kind enough to take time out from giving sneakers away and answer. OK, so it wasn't exactly Rudy Fernandez, but more like "Rudy Fernandez," of the brilliant El Ilusorio Blog de Rudy. Enjoy.

What are your current thoughts on the Lakers game?
As is known, my mates and I rolled with steam over the Lakers in our recent match. Stars were aligned. The crowd was raucous. And Brandon Roy had just got a steal and passed to me for a dunking. 

The foul itself was a blur. I now find myself reflecting back to the moments afterwards, while I lay incapacitated. (I count luck is my mistress that I was not significantly injured.) The crowd chanted my name, but when I did not arise, they descended first into a fearful state and then into an overwhelming collective anger. This was manifested in much cursing, boos, and promises of violence upon the Lakers’ heads. Finally, as I was wheeled off the floor, the Rose Garden masses gave way to depression.

Strange to say, but it shows that they cared. It also shows the stages of a Trail Blazer fan’s coping: Jubilation, shock, hopefulness, rage, depression, and then, with our victory, jubilation. Repeat cycle!

We have a lot of younger readers, so do you have any advice for kids growing up these days?
Ru-dy! Ru-dy! (I am sorry. What was the question?)

What are your impressions of Portland as a city so far?
I know that Phil Jackson has inveighed against the rainy weather and “depressing faces” in Portland. As to the latter, I can see his point. As I was wheeled out of the Rose Garden with my neck in a brace, I had a commanding view of the Lakers bench. It was a motley assortment of downcast faces. All miens were of a depressing nature, with the exceptions of Jordan Farmar (gently solicitous) and Didier Ilunga-Mbenga (gently solicitous in a thoroughly frightening fashion).

What happened at the dunk contest?
It is an unknown. Pau has mocked me by asking if he can ask Trevor Ariza to be my slam dunk partner next year. His humor is suspect for more reasons than one! As Pau says about the judges, [Rudy] was screwed this year. So you can be screwed once, but if you can avoid it and prevent it, don't get screwed twice.”

Who is the most fashionable NBA player?
Steve Nash is so indifferent to fashion’s dictates, he transcends them with his own casual appearance. That is style. As to most fashionable, I am unsure. I can state that Steve Blake is the least fashionable on our team; he appears ill-at-ease in anything but a Blazers uniform.

Speaking of clothing, how tight is too tight?
If one can see the outline of the Euro coins in a mate’s pocket, the pants should be purchased in a larger size.

Whats up with Greg Oden?
He is most eccentric. And large. I have learned that Greg is a Shakespeare aficionado, and enjoys employing lines from Hamlet in his conversations. As to his injury, methinks Greg should refrain from joining the court’s fray until such time as his joint’s recuperation is complete. (That Elizabethan dialogue is most contagious!)

Many gratitudes for the kind inquisition! I hope you see me on the court soon.

Monday, March 9, 2009

It is a good night to hate the Lakers

Even though the game of the year is over I'm still basking in the glow of the box score. And why ESPN thinks Rudy is a forward, I have no clue, but send your good thoughts his way.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weakened Pondering: Blazers production by position

Have you scoped out the NBA Team production by position breakdown over at 82games.com? I could try and explain it myself, but they do a much better job:
With over 4,000 pages of updated content per season, you might have missed the Production by Position numbers we create for both teams and individual players.

On the team side, this data is meant to showcase the kind of performance the team is seeing at each position (PG, SG, SF, PF, C) in a variety of stats -- Points, eFG%, Free Throw Attempts, Shot Selection (Inside Shot%), Rebounds, Assists, Turnovers, Blocks, and Fouls. We also show a variant of John Hollinger's PER, which allows for easy single-number comparisons and analysis of an overall production measure.
Cool indeed. Portland is among only six teams in the entire league that are getting top 5 production from more than one position. Here is the list of those teams, as well as their respective ranks at each spot:

Boston- PG: 2 , SG: 4 , SF: 2 , PF: 6 , C: 20

Cleveland- PG: 22 , SG: 5 , SF: 1 , PF: 3 , C: 9

Denver- PG: 3 , SG: 24 , SF: 5 , PF: 25 , C: 5

Lakers- PG: 24 , SG: 2 , SF: 12 , PF: 10 , C: 2

Philadelphia- PG: 4 , SG: 19 , SF: 3 , PF: 20 , C: 16

Portland- PG: 17 , SG: 3 , SF: 11 , PF: 4 , C: 14

Some quick impressions:

-Nice to see Portland on that list. Fans that say the Blazers have some dire need for more production from the PF position should probably stop talking for a while. (If only.) Anyone else surprised that Portland is so high at the SF position? Outlaw haters, respect the numbers on this one.

-Interesting to see Denver getting so much elite production, especially considering they have yet to get much respect as a legitimate power from the talking head collective of the basketball world.

-Another stat suggesting that Boston is still insanely good.

-Philly! The only .500ish team on the list. It would be interesting to get some thoughts on this from some 76ers fans.

Looking over this list brings the old team-sports cliche you're only as strong as your weakest link to mind. I got curious which of these teams have the best average rank across all positions. It seems like that could be an interesting indicator of how balanced a team's production is:

Boston AVG: 6.8

Cleveland AVG: 8

Portland AVG: 9.8

Lakers AVG: 10

Denver AVG: 12.4

Philly AVG: 12.4

Looking good Blazers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Do you remember where you were the first time you read Gary Payton's Twitter? I do. And while this guy is swearing that the whole thing is a farce, I could absolutely not care less about it's authenticity. Actually, if it is not the real Glove behind this twitter, the whole thing somehow seems even more impressive.

Whatever the brilliant forces behind the account, I feel the need to share some of my recent favorites. Popular recent themes are Tyler Perry, insult comedy, and Pepsi:
Ahmad walking around in just his undershorts. He always doing that these days since he started them man aerobics. Cover it up A-RHAD!!!

JJ R don't let the haters get you down -- "Confidence Counts", it's a book and a lifestyle!! Smell the Glove.

lights 2 damn hot in here. i need 2 go on air w/ jacket no shirt like Lorenzo Lamas or a man who tame lion. I rock that look shock that rook

Pat Ewing I love you like a brother but r u on the chris tucker diet? pass the peas like they used to say . i got CWebb laughing now

Bacon is nature's alarm clock

Gary chill in OK city when Tyler Perry wins Oscar

pepsi got tha new logo. its all same 2 me. they want 2 chng it chng the can from blue. but they cant cuz red=coke & all other colors =fruits
There is so much more, go check it out immediately. I wish I could get a feed of GP's twitter running down the side of DeceptivelyQuick. Smell the glove!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What a shock: Oden to miss a bunch more games

Greg's injury that was described as very minor by Portland management now has him missing another 7-10 days.

The ESPN video in that link not surprisingly drags out another Sam Bowie reference, which got old a while ago. I mean, Sam Bowie played 76 games his rookie year. Oden has been plagued by far more injuries up to this point in his career than Bowie was during his early years. With that in mind comparing Oden to Sam Bowie is actually kind of insulting to Sam Bowie right now. That was the most depressing sentence to ever exist on this blog.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shaq may be getting out-twittered by the Glove

I really thought Twitter was something annoying that I wanted no part of. That all changed when I started reading Shaq's feed. I then realized that Twitter, while annoying and often popular with people I find annoying, can be an outlet for hilarity in the proper hands.

I am proud to announce that there is a new twitterererer in town that may even surpass Shaq in the categories of incoherentness (not a word) and randomness. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Gary Payton:
Drive 2 OAK 2 fly ATL 4 TV. Got tapes 2 study but I bring DVDs 2. Planes never got no movies 4 a black man 2 watch. No horror no Van Peebles
GPs on twitter! Sweet tweets sez Mel Gibson lol
Still not impressed? Then know that Gary Payton also linked to a song by...Gary Payton. In said Yay Area rap we get some classic lines and insight into the life of 1994 Payton with versus like these:
I be rollin' to the bank with a smile on my face
Hammer sayin "Mr. Payton, have a nice day"
Yeah, and that's real, we all know the deal
And for those who criticize I'm not tryin to beat Shaquille
A song from 1994 that is relevant to 2009? Gary Payton: Visionary.

(Assist SLAM.)