Friday, February 27, 2009

Slow Posting Excuse Number 12381287231089132

Like Kellex over at Blaze of Love, I will be out of Portland for several days so posting may get slow. Unlike my fellow Blazer blogger however, I won't be soaking up any sun in a more favorable climate. No, I'm going to a place that actually has worse weather than Portland. Ugh. Clearly I am bad at making decisions.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Clearing up some Blazer myths, volume I

You may not know it by the way some people act, but commonly held beliefs are often wrong. Some are unequivocally wrong, and some are only in need of a little clarification. This is true in every area of life and the world of Rip City is no exception. Here we attempt to fix some incorrect beliefs shared by a few of our Blazer comrades. The hope is that the next time you enter a sports bar that has a patron spewing moronic garbage, which will be next the time you enter a sports bar because said patron is always there, you will be ready:

Commonly held belief: LaMarcus Aldridge is bad at rebounding. May also be described in the statements "LaMarcus is soft" or "LaMarcus doesn't get after the boards because he just hangs around the perimeter."

Truth: We will probably never see LaMarcus average double figures in rebounds for a season. We may never see him get all that close. But labeling him a poor rebounder is incorrect. Attributing this lack of boards to a preference for hanging around the perimeter on offense is even more ridiculous. LaMarcus is actually one of the best offensive rebounders in the League. He is currently averaging 2.9 a game, good enough for 10th in the NBA. That puts him ahead of guys like Chris Bosh, Yao Ming, and Tim Duncan.

Where Aldridge's somewhat mediocre rebounding average comes from is the defensive end. (For the extra curious, he is currently #58 in the League in this category, between Rudy Gay and Vince Carter.) Reasons for this are open for discussion. In fact, if you get roped into a "LaMarcus can't rebound" conversation, direct it to this area and let me know what you come up with.

Revised belief: LaMarcus is an excellent offensive rebounder, but what's up with his low defensive rebounds?

Commonly held belief: The Spanish Connection (Rudy Fernandez y Sergio Rodriguez) is fun to watch. But they can't play defense.

Truth: I want you to guess, of all the players that have received regular minutes this season, which two Blazers cause the opponent's effective field goal percentage to drop the most when they are on the court. From the context of the question I really hope you guessed Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez. That would be correct.

When Rudy is on the court, the Blazers allow an effective field goal percentage of 48.5%. When he is off, that number jumps to 52.5%. With Sergio on the court the opponent has an effective field goal percentage of 48.3%, compared to 51.5% when he is on the bench. These differences surpass that of even the much loved defender Joel Przybilla, and are important when you consider that around 2/3 of all NBA games are decided by six points or less.

So where does this idea that defense goes out the window when the Spaniards are on the court come from? My guess is a combination of many sources that run from European basketball stereotypes to many fans' understanding of defense to comments from head coach Nate McMillan.

A general American view of European ball players is that they can't play defense. Rudy and Sergio are also both slight in build, which isn't helping perceptions. Additionally, it seems that many fans think of defense in terms of 1 on 1 situations. We have all seen Rudy and Sergio exploited in these scenarios, but as team defenders they are actually adequate. Rudy especially is solid at staying active and playing the passing lanes. Finally, one of the few specific topics coach Nate McMillan is willing to talk publicly about is Sergio's lack of ability to defend the pick and roll. I would not disagree with Nate, but I think some fans take his statements and apply them to Sergio's overall defensive skills. That would be wrong. The pick and roll, while vital, is far from representative all defensive situations.

Revised belief: Both Sergio and Rudy struggle in 1 on 1 defensive situations, and Sergio gets exploited in pick and rolls. But neither is terrible in terms of team defense. Actually, opponents shoot a lower percentage when either is on the floor than with any other Blazer.

Commonly held belief: Travis Outlaw sucks, or, Travis Outlaw is awesome.

Truth: Outlaw could be the most polarizing Blazer. I have heard convincing arguments that he must be traded, only to hear an equally strong counter that he is indispensable. Whatever camp you happen to be in, know that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Outlaw supporters can point out his eye-popping athleticism and impressive length. His detractors then respond that he is a chronic underachiever for not getting more from these gifts. He is a player that has some of the best clutch stats in the League but will cost the team a game because he forgot the play they were supposed to run.

Think about what Travis contributes now. He is one of the more capable scorers off the bench in the NBA. His pull-up jumper is nearly impossible to defend. He has even become a legitimate three point threat, shooting 40% from deep with twice as many makes per game as he had last season. Anything else he does that may stay in your memory, from getting a clutch block to forgetting who he is supposed to guard, is unpredictable. The good, the bad, the unpredictable, this is who Travis Outlaw is right now.

Revised belief: Travis Outlaw does good things and bad things.

That is all for now, but there are many more out there. Feel free to send in your ideas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bill Bayno returns to team, warm fuzzies

I was a little sad when Blazers assistant coach Bill Bayno left town to become the head coach at Loyola Marymount. If you read this article, you would be too. The good news, as you have may have heard, is that Bill Bayno is back with the Blazers. I'm happy Bill is now in a situation that is better for his mental and physical health. I'm sure the team missed being attacked by his padded weapons American Gladiator style. Welcome back Bill.

(Assist TrueHoop.)

Greg Oden's latest injury: Everyone take a deep breath and calm down

When I first heard Oden was out due to injury once again, I wasn't going to touch on it. It was supposed to be a minor injury and honestly I have grown pretty tired of writing on the subject of Oden Owchies.

Then two things happened: Oden has been out longer than was initially thought and I have had to listen to morons call him Sam Bowie again. Both of these things are annoying.

To address the former, read Jason Quick's (secret cousin that won't acknowledge us, by the way) article, or be lazy and just read these excerpts:
"I just thought I would get some ice and get it over with," Oden said Tuesday. "It turned out to be bigger."

Or longer, to be more precise. Initially, Oden thought he would be back for the Blazers' first game after the All-Star Break. Now, there's no guarantee he will play again in February.


Oden, meanwhile, offered a glimmer of hope on Tuesday.

"It's getting better, getting better," Oden said. "It's a lot better than a couple of days ago. But right now, I'm taking my time and gradually doing a little bit more."

The injury is not on the knee that was surgically repaired in September of 2007.
So while Oden is out longer than expected, there are reasons not to drag out those tired Bowie references (although I'm now convinced there is a certain percentage of fans that love to use these, and will do so every time Oden so much as sneezes). First, it is not on his surgically repaired knee. Second, it is a pretty minor deal and Greg is just waiting until all the pain is gone to hit the court again. That is the kind of level-headed long-term approach that is best for the team. (Third, um, Sam Bowie played 76 games in his rookie season. Moving on...)

Oden has shown he can produce. We have gone over what he does when he avoids foul trouble, something he will learn to do consistently. He also leads all rookies in double-doubles (16), in spite of playing in just 46 games. Stop the nonsense.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Linksta 2/24/09:

When I'm too lazy to waste your time with my own words, the Linksta emerges...

- Paul Allen not as rich as he once was? When he sells off a battleship or two, I may acknowledge that this actually matters. --> TrueHoop. --> Blazer's Edge.

- The real scoop on why Oden has been plagued by injuries. I knew it! --> Bust a Bucket.

- Look at Portland creepin' up on Denver for the Division lead. -->

- New interview with Kevin Pritchard. I only listened to about 30 seconds, but maybe you will find it interesting. --> TrailBlazers Courtside.

- How long until Nate Robinson shows up in a Will Ferrell movie? --> SLAM ONLINE.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Travis Best still playing edition

H.T. keeps us informed on the Italian experiences of Blazer's draftee Petteri Koponen...

Virtus Bologna was basically a minute away from Italian Cup title. Unfortunately, in basketball, one minute is half an eternity. There was just enough time in the shot clock for Montepaschi Siena's Henry Domercant to score the winning basket and for Virtus Bologna to turn the ball over once. Montepaschi Siena's dominance of Italian basketball leagues continued with 70-69 Cup final victory.

Less than two months ago, Montepaschi had smacked Bologna in Italian regular season game more than 20 points. This time it wasn't the case. Even though Montepaschi Siena maintained the lead for 38 minutes, they couldn't really pull away during the game. Siena was leading 42-28 briefly in the third quarter, but Bologna just refused to go away.

Petteri Koponen started the Cup final but was benched after just four minutes of play. Petteri looked kind of lost in the court in the opening minutes and didn't get to play before the end of third quarter, when he stepped in for Earl Boykins. Petteri answered with a three-pointer just before the third quarter buzzer and opened the fourth quarter with a defensive rebound and a jumper from the free throw line, drawing roars from the hometown crowd. With five minutes remaining in the game, Petteri was pulled to the bench for good.

Petteri ended up with 5 pts-1 reb-1 as statline in 13 minutes (fg 2/3). Keith Langford had 20 points and 5 steals and Earl Boykins 16 pts-5 reb-5 as for Virtus Bologna. The game MVP was Montepaschi Siena's Shaun Stonerook, who had 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals. Henry Domercant scored 12, Benjamin Eze and Ksistof Lavrinovic 11.

In the semi-final game, Bologna ran away from Banca Tercas Teramo 98-90 with Sharrod Ford having a monster night with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Earl Boykins had 18 points and 10 assists. Petteri Koponen played only 9 minutes in the game, ending up with one missed field goal and one personal foul.

The schedule will leave Virtus Bologna no time to feel sorry for the bitter cup finals loss. Turkish team Galatasaray Cafe Crown will travel to Bologna this Wednesday for the FIBA EuroChallenge Game. This Sunday, Bologna meets Air Avellino in road game. Avellino is lead by US players Travis Best (!), Chris Warren and Drake Diener and experienced Italian power forward Nikola Radulovic.


UPDATE: More Koponen, including season stats, over at BlazersEdge. You know, no one has ever seen the "friendly Finnish Sportswriter" that contributes to BlazersEdge and H.T. at the same time in the same place. Finland, I'm watching you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weakened Pondering: Blazers vs High Scoring Teams

The Blazers currently have 34 wins and 20 losses, good enough for a four seed if the playoffs started today. Have you noticed that a whopping 13 of those losses have come to teams that are in the top 10 in points scored per game? Check it out:

Teams ranked #1-10 in PPG
8 - 13 (38%)

Teams 11-20

12-1 (92%)

Teams 21+
14-6 (70%)

You could explain a team having a lower winning percentage against the top 10 scoring teams as simply a reflection of playing higher quality opponents. That would be true as this group includes the Lakers, Boston, Orlando, and Cleveland. But the group also includes the likes of New York, Golden State, and Indiana. A lower winning percentage would be expected, but one that is 54 percentage points less than when facing teams ranked 11-20 is a bit staggering.

For all Portland's youth and length, it appears that they really don't like playing teams that run and gun. No need to freak out yet, Portland is still very young and has time to figure this out. If they don't solve this it will become a rather large weakness, especially when considering championship aspirations.

Portland Trail Blazers team won-lost profiles for the 2008-09 season []
Team Offensive Statistics for 2008-2009 []

Friday, February 20, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Brandon Jennings can't wait for the NBA edition

In an effort to improve the human condition, H.T. has selflessly provided us with updates on the development of Blazer's draftee Petteri Koponen in Italy. Here is the latest...

Italian Cup quarter-finals tipped off Thursday night at FuturShow Station of Bologna. Petteri Koponen's team, La Fortezza Bologna, faced Brandon Jennings and Lottomatica Roma in front of sold-out home crowd and the outcome was definitely crowd-pleasing, with Bologna dominating from opening tip until the final buzzer.

Lottomatica started the game pretty well with point guard Ibrahim Jaaber pressuring Earl Boykins from early on. Bologna coach Matteo Bonicinolli placed Koponen on Jaaber, trying to make playmaking as miserable as possible for the Brooklyn-born point guard. After an even first quarter, Bologna outscored Lottomatica Roma 11-2 in the first four minutes of second quarter and managed to pull an 48-32 overtime lead.

It wasn't enough, though. Lottomatica's Ruben Douglas was fantastic from behind the arc in the third quarter and Bologna couldn't get the ball moving while Lottomatica came within six points, 65-59. In fourth quarter, Bologna's Dusan Vukcevic caught fire and Bologna's strong on-ball defence frustrated Lottomatica. Virtus Bologna won the game 85-76 and proceeded to cup semifinals against Banca Tercas Teramo.

Petteri Koponen started the game for Bologna and played 18 minutes. Even though his defence was once again pretty good (Ibrahim Jaaber's field goals: 3/9), he struggled a bit on offence, ending up with 3 points (field goals 1/4), one rebound and two personal fouls.

Brandon Jennings didn't have too much to do with the game's outcome, either. In 12 minutes of play, Jennings had 5 points (fg 2/3), one rebound, one assist, one steal and two fouls. Jennings and Koponen guarded each other for a while at the end of third quarter.

For Bologna, Earl Boykins had 21 points and 9 assists. Sharrod Ford had 16 points and 7 rebounds while Dusan Vukcevic scored 15. Andre Hutson had 16 and Ruben Douglas had 15 for Lottomatica Roma.

Virtus Bologna will meet Banca Tercas Teramo this Saturday. The winner of the game will advance to the Italian Cup Final. Teramo's most notable players are Brandon Brown, David Moss, Jaycee Carroll, Giuseppe Poeta and Valerio Amoroso.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trade Deadline Day, Michael Ruffin!

With all the rumors that the Blazers have been in it would be kind of funny if their only trade ended up being Ike Diogu for Michael Ruffin. It sounded like a decent basketball deal at first, while Diogu is probably the better player the Blazers rarely play him. Portland also needed another center on the roster, especially with Oden's injuries. Then I realized Ruffin is actually smaller than Diogu. Being that Diogu is considered a bit undersized for a power forward, I have a hard time thinking Ruffin has the size to be the extra center Portland needs. I could be wrong, I really know nothing about the man other than his dimensions.

But this deal wasn't really about what happens on the court. As explained by Blazer's Edge, the Diogu/Ruffin exchange saves the Blazers about 4 million dollars. Portland also gained a $3 million trade exception, which is nice.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled trade deadline hysteria. If you want to avoid work, follow along with me. Your boss doesn't appreciate you anyways.

UPDATE: It's all over now, and Portland has indeed decided to stand pat outside of the Diogu deal. I think we all deserve a nap.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A break from the trade talk, thanks Z-Bo!

Looking back at Blazer personnel moves in recent history, I rank the Blazers dumping Z-Bo below only Kevin Pritchard's legendary 2006 Draft hustle that landed Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge in terms of impact towards the team's future. (Roy is still the only player from that draft class to make an All-Star team, by the way. Hopefully Aldridge will join him soon.)

The desperate hope that the Blazers would find a way to send Z-Bo packing was one of the main reasons this blog was started. The great thing about Zach is that he keeps proving me right. Check out the latest:

Zach is one of the few players who can bounce back from an injury with a suspension. Check out his justification:
"He hopped up and got in my face and almost kissed me in my mouth," Randolph said. "I just pushed him out of my face. If I would have hit him, he wouldn't have got up off the ground."

(Assist to SLAM.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Can't Stop Giving Trade Rumor Updates: The Carter Edition

The latest hysteria from ESPN:
Meanwhile the Blazers have moved into the fray with perhaps a more enticing offer. LaFrentz's $12.7 million comes off the books this summer and Outlaw is an upgrade to the Nets situation at the three. As for the Blazers, adding Carter gives them a veteran small forward who has more playoff experience than most of the players on Portland's roster.

The Blazers also have been shopping Channing Frye, who also could be included in a Blazers-Nets trade if New Jersey added on one or two spare parts from the trio of Stromile Swift (expiring $6.2 million contract), Sean Williams (1.52M this season, 1.62M next season) and Hassell ($4.35 million player option for next season).

I'm steadily gaining acceptance of the notion that the Blazers will pull the trigger on a trade before the deadline. With the economy in the tank, a lot of NBA owners are hurting and eager to dump salary. The owner of the Blazers, meanwhile, is busy building himself a space station. That puts Portland in an advantageous position.

Additionally, Raef LaFrentz:
The hottest name at the trade deadline? A guy who hasn't played a game this season: Raef LaFrentz of the Portland Trail Blazers.

"If you asked owners in the league who they'd rather have right now, LaFrentz or Stoudemire, I think more than half of them would prefer LaFrentz," one executive told me. "That's how screwed up this thing has been. I guarantee you [Blazers GM] Kevin Pritchard has gotten better offers for LaFrentz than the Suns have gotten for Stoudemire.
With D.Miles back on the books, the Blazers will be less flexible than they hoped they would be not too long ago. It makes a whole lot of sense to take advantage of this window of opportunity before it closes. Of course, as young and good as this roster is already, standing pat by passing on a less than optimal deal would be far from a horrible outcome. In short, Kevin Pritchard has a lot of advantages. Enjoy the show.

Another Trade Rumors Update: It's almost over

I'll just throw this out there:
Meanwhile, sources confirm that the Blazers have been getting a steady flow of offers for LaFrentz, including two significant new ones Monday.

The focus for the Blazers right now appears to be at the small forward position. It appears that three players -- Gerald Wallace, Caron Butler and Richard Jefferson -- are on Pritchard's radar screen. A fourth one, Mike Miller, is also a favorite of the Blazers, but the Wolves have been reluctant to include him in a deal.

Sources say the Blazers have intensified their focus on Wallace. He's young, athletic and physical, and he doesn't need to score to be an impact player. He has four years and $38 million left on his contract, which is a lot, but given his age and production the past few years, it's not unreasonable. The problem for the Blazers is that the Bobcats want Portland to take back Nazr Mohammed as part of the deal. That could be a deal-breaker for Pritchard.
Only two more days of this. We can make it.

Tuesday Linksta 2/17/09

A bunch of links from Rip City and beyond. Because I care.

- Yeah, Oden is hurt again. I like the take over at Blaze of Love.

- To Trade or Not To Trade? [Bust a Bucket.]

- Old by internet standards, but many Blazer fans would very much enjoy this take on Kobe Bryant's 61 point game. [What Would Oakley Do?]

- An EPIC piece on Shane Battier. You will be a better hoops fan after you read it. Promise. [NY Times.]

- You know what we really need right now? More trade rumors! Dwight Jaynes speculates on Sam Cassell (!) to Portland, then calls it "intriguing." Awesome! [Dwight Jaynes.]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blazer trade rumors getting more hilarious, Luke Ridnour!

Only three more days until we can put all of this behind us. Until then, we have some more rumors to endure:

The Blazers are involved in numerous discussions with several teams, so it's difficult to pinpoint the deal they're chasing hardest, but the latest in circulation could furnish Portland with a new small forward and a new point guard: Jefferson and University of Oregon-ex Luke Ridnour in exchange for Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez and Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract.

Given the future cap space that the Blazers lost in the Darius Miles unretirement saga, sending LaFrentz's contract somewhere between now and Thursday's deadline is considered a virtual lock, since Portland no longer has the forthcoming flexibility to make the free-agent splashes it anticipated.

Point guard of the future! The message boards will love this.

So if you're keeping track, according to the rumors, which are never wrong, the Blazers are in trade talks for Amare Stoudemire, Vince Carter, and now Richard Jefferson and Luke Ridnour. Can we get 1977 Bill Walton while we're at it? I know Paul Allen has a time machine.

Petteri Koponen Watch: Plus/Minus edition

Blazers draftee Petteri Koponen has been toiling away in Italy all year. For you. H.T. checks in with the latest...

In Virtus Bologna's final game in Serie A before the Italy Cup Final Eight tournament, Scavolini Spar Pesaro didn't provide much challenge for the Bolognans. Virtus used determined team defence to smother Pesaro in the 2nd quarter of the game. Bologna was leading 50-30 at the halftime and even though Pesaro was able to make a run in the fourth quarter, Bologna's victory was never threatened again. Bologna won the game 95-88 and is currently in 3rd place in Serie A.

Sharrod Ford had a monster game for Bologna with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Earl Boykins had 15 points, 6 assists and 4 steals. For Pesaro, Michael Hicks had 23 and 9 and Ramel Curry had 19 points.

Petteri Koponen once again started the game and played total of 20 minutes, sitting most of the second half. Petteri's +/- ratio was once again the highest of the team, with +10. Petteri scored three points (field goals 1-4), grabbed two rebounds, dished out two assists and stole the ball once. Even though Petteri struggled on offence, his work on defence was stabile once again; Pesaro's starting point guard Maximiliano Stanic ended up with 0 points (fg 0-3).

Next up, we will have a two week break from Serie A competition and FIBA EuroChallenge Cup. Virtus Bologna and seven other elite teams in Serie A will prepare for the Italian Cup Final Eight at FuturShow Station of Bologna. While this midseason showcase gives a perspective of the marching order of best basketball clubs in Italy, it also gives teams a chance to boost their stocks for next season's Euroleague, FIBA EuroCup and FIBA EuroChallenge Cup draw.

The quarterfinal match-up for Virtus Bologna is extremely interesting, with Lottomatica Roma - Euroleague team and current no. 2 team in Italian Serie A standings - coming to town. The teams have met once this season, with Virtus pulling away with 80-86 victory in Rome November 30th. The first round of Brandon Jennings-Petteri Koponen match-up was pretty lame, with Jennings ending up with DNP-CD and Petteri scoring 4 points in 11 minutes, but both guys are more familiar with their team's systems right now and should get decent minutes. The winner of Lottomatica-Virtus-game will play in the Italian Cup Semifinal against the winner of BancaTercas Teramo-Air Avellino quarterfinal game.

Yeah, Koponen vs. Jennings! Are you pumped? I am!!

-The Haphazard H.T.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nate Robinson can't dunk as well as a kid from Columbia River High School

Saturday night Nate Robinson won the dunk contest. He deserved it, what with the whole jumping over Superman and all. But his second dunk was lame. In case you need a refresher, take a gander:

Calm down Spike. First of all, it really wasn't that cool. It kind of seems like, you know, cheating. Worse, I saw a kid from Columbia River High School do this at the Les Schwab Invitational basketball tournament. And he did it better. Connor Oberst, this is for you:

If Connor did that wearing a Knicks jersey Spike Lee may have spontaneously combusted.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Who is Matthew Hirsch and why is he taunting me?

So you probably know that I was very much against Rudy Fernandez participating in the upcoming Dunk Contest. I think I made that clear. With my official stance on the record, I was confused at this e-mail I received recently:


With the 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest taking place this Saturday, I wanted to remind you that fans can text their vote or vote at to help choose this year's champion. Here are some new videos of Rudy Fernandez trying to win over the fans:

Rudy on the Competition:

Top 10 Dunks:

For more info, see the official Sprite Slam Dunk page:

Watch NBA All-Star Saturday Night Feb. 14 On TNT To Decide Who Will Be The 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Champion!


Matt Hirsch

360i on behalf of Coca-Cola

*Any information, assets, or exclusive online content shared in this message does not create an obligation to mention or endorse Sprite*
My original hope was that this was some auto-message that got my e-mail from But if that were the case, it seems odd that didn't send it themselves (itself?). It also seems strange that they would generate a letter that pumped up one only one contestant.

Was it a mass message to Blazer Bloggers? Does a secret Blazer Blog e-mail list exist in some corporate database? For now I choose to believe there is some sort of dark conspiracy at work against Deceptively Quick. But who? Why?!?

Anyone seen Finland around lately?

Taurean Green got waived...I think...

If I have done nothing else, I hope I have convinced some of you out there to love Taurean Green as I do. He really has had a decent season for CAI Zaragoza. There were the ups and downs as expected, but at least from the box scores he seemed like an important contributor, albeit for a team that was doing a lot of losing. After twenty games, Green posted averages of 11 points and 2.4 assists in 25 minutes per.

But did he really fit? International blogger compadre Rodman sent over the link to a recent interview with Green and it seems he and Zaragoza may have parted ways. Or is it just the rough auto-transate?

- Understand your dismissal?
This is a business. Do you have to. Meanwhile, I turn down the track and continue my work with my colleagues, because to me from the club no one has told me anything about it.

- Having seen, regrets having signed for CAI?
-I do not regret. Never look back. Clear that I miss my home, my home, my country, my family and my friends, but this is a new experience, a good experience and I'm here to learn and be better. I think this year is helping me a lot for that.

So was Taurean Green actually dismissed from the team? And if he was, does the team plan on getting around to letting him know that? European Professional Basketball: Cold Blooded. Someone please give me some answers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Amare to Portland, this is ridiculous

Of course, one day after saying the Blazers offered some huge deal for Amare, CBS is going to go ahead and report that that will not happen. Duh:
The deal Portland was discussing with Phoenix involved LaMarcus Aldridge, Jerryd Bayless, and Raef LaFrentz's $12.7 million expiring contract. "That deal is dead," the person familiar with the talks said. One reason could be that Portland is really looking to acquire an elite point guard, according to an NBA team executive. That begs the question of whether Portland G.M. Kevin Pritchard was asking for Steve Nash. But according to another rival executive, the Suns have made it clear that Nash, Grant Hill, and Leandro Barbosa are "untouchable."
So yeah, I can't wait for the trade deadline to come. What is the over/under on how ridiculous these rumors can get? Steve Nash?! I want to join in the fun and spew some random trades that won't happen. Did you hear that the Blazers offered Frye, Raef, and 3 and a half shares of Microsoft for Ricky Rubio and a lifetime supply of sangria? Other sources say Kevin Pritchard is actively involved in talks to move Martell Webster's sneakers. They're as good as new!

Petteri Koponen Watch: Nothing to add edition

Where would we be without H.T.? In the dark on the progression of one Petteri Koponen. Here is the latest...

Right now it seems that Virtus Bologna has overcome the post-Christmas difficulties and once again transformed into a true basketball team. Last Saturday, Bologna stole its second consecutive Serie A victory, defeating Snaidero Udine 93-86 (39-36) in an away game.

Even though Snaidero Udine is dead last in Serie A, the team has a lot of potential. Ex-Boston Celtic Joseph Forte (23/3/4as) and Rashad Anderson (22/1) had a permission to shoot whenever they caught the ball and Udine made sure that Bologna didn't run away from them. The second half belonged to Earl Boykins (32/3/5as/4st), who put on an amazing show and sparked Virtus offence in a spectacular fashion. Sharrod Ford had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Bologna.

Against Udine, Petteri Koponen scored seven points, took two rebounds and stole the ball twice in 23 minutes. As usually, Petteri started the game as Virtus' point guard and he scored six of his points in the first five minutes of the game. In second half, Koponen primarily guarded Forte, who netted 8/18 of his field goal attempts.

This Wednesday, Virtus snatched an impressive victory over undefeated BC Kyiv in their FIBA EuroChallenge Cup additional round game. Bologna's defence in the first quarter was spectacular and after ten minutes, Bologna was leading the game 18-10. In third quarter it seemed that Kyiv would be able to frustrate Virtus with some spectacular defence of their own, but in the beginning of 4th, Earl Boykins and Keith Langford sparked Virtus to 60-52 lead.

Virtus won the game 68-64 (34-30) behind stabile performances by Langford (19/5), Boykins (15/4/6as/4st) and Reyshawn Terry (14/9). Brindley Wright and Kenan Bajmarovic had 13 points apiece for Kyiv. It's also worth noticing that Kyiv netted only 10 out of their 22 free throw attempts, practically giving away the victory.

Petteri Koponen struggled early on against Kyiv. He started the game, but played only 14 minutes, missing his only field goal attempt, turning the ball over once and having two personal fouls.

Virtus Bologna will play their next Serie A game this Saturday at home against Scavolini Pesaro, currently 10th in the League. Pesaro's prime weapons are US-Italian veteran guard Carlton Myers, point guard Ramel Curry and Panaman small forward Michael Hicks.

-The Sweet H.T.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Portland for Amare is not going away...

As I'm sure you've heard by now, Portland has allegedly offered a very sexy package to the Suns in exchange for Amare Stoudemire:
The Portland Trail Blazers have made a strong play for Amare Stoudemire, discussing a package that includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Jerryd Bayless, and Raef LaFrentz's $12.7 million expiring contract, a person with direct knowledge of the talks told Tuesday.
This could all mean nothing, but ultimately I have a hard time thinking the Suns could get a better deal than this for Amare. They get that big expiring contract with Raef, a legit future All-Star in LaMarcus, and a rookie that could actually back-up Nash and may even turn out to be very good in Bayless.

For the Blazers pulling off this trade would mean breaking up the nucleus of youngsters that seem to have a very bright future. However you feel about that, we may have to invent a "Largest testicles in the Universe" Award for Kevin Pritchard if this happens.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Awesome Blazers garbage on Ebay: Volume I

As Blaze of Love pointed out, there really is some awesomely horrible Blazers crap available for purchase. But what about second hand Blazers crap? That, my friends, is a treasure trove awaiting your arrival. Here are some of my favorites currently available on Ebay:

- What could be better than a Jarrett Jack bobble head? A Jarret Jack bobble head AND a Jamaal Magloire bobble head! The fact that such an object as a Magloire bobble head exists has me searching for new answers on life.

- Everyone remembers those rad Dairy Queen Blazers Glasses. You can buy the whole set. For some reason when I was younger a glass featuring Clyde Drexler laying in a net converted into a hammock spinning a tennis ball on his finger seemed totally normal. If my parents got rid of our family collection of these you will find me bidding on this auction shortly.

- If you can explain what that picture is in front of the TRAILBLAZERS type please tell me. So far I think I make out an axe.

- A somewhat disturbing Clyde Drexler Dream Team t-shirt.

- A Blazers pinwheel belt buckle.

- And my personal favorite, a genuine Bud Light 1987 Blazers Playoff Cap. With laser inscribed autographs! I plan on bidding on this and am really, really hoping it has one of those elastic band things around the back for maximum comfort.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

About all this LaMarcus for Stoudemire talk....

Some people seem to be confused about why I haven't touched on all this Amare for LaMarcus talk. Yes, I've heard about it over and over again just like you. But the fact that we've heard about it so much most likely means it won't happen. But those rumors won't let us move on:
Sources told that the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers are among the many teams with whom Phoenix has exchanged trade concepts, with the Bulls and Heat believed to be pursuing Stoudemire hardest at this early stage.

Almost every team in the league has some degree of interest in Stoudemire, but sources close to the process maintain that the Suns will only part with the 26-year-old in a deal that delivers at least one decent-sized expiring contract along with younger talent and/or draft considerations.

So yeah, this fits:

I have to respectfully disagree with my neighborhood blogging associate over at Blaze of Love that this trade would somehow be a wash. While LaMarcus and Amare share the same lack defensive prowess, Stoudemire is a potential Hall of Famer while Aldridge seems likely to top out at All-Star. I am a LaMarcus supporter, but can you ever see him making an All-NBA squad? At age 24 like Amare did?

Then again, watching Amare struggle (for him) in the Shaqtastic Phoenix offense gives me some hesitation. Would he be able to be the monster that he is in a mostly plodding and stagnant Portland system? It would not be the best fit for him, but he would surely see the ball more than he does out in the desert.

Mostly likely, none of this matters. If you are Portland, why take the risk? The team is still young and developing. Things look bright, and no one can be sure what this team may or may not need to earn a future championship. It is an exciting rumor, and fun to ramble about. But yeah, let's move on.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bonzi Wells dropped from Chinese Team, one step closer to IBL

Remember how awesomely random it was when Bonzi Wells signed a contract to go play in China? As a petty Blazer fan it brought me great joy to know that the League (and Europe, apparently) finally appreciated the value of Bonzi. It seems they have figured out Mr. Wells in China as well, because his contract has been terminated after he failed to return to the team on time.

I am happy as this brings Bonzi one step closer to playing in the International Basketball League. Watching him play in a high school gym would bring the most satisfying type of closure I could imagine. Then again, they may not want him. Maybe they haven't heard of Wells' issues in Antartica yet, do they have a team?

(Assist SLAM.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday Linksta 2/5/09

A collection of links to keep you occupied from doing any actual work today. Because I care.

- Brandon Roy interview. Roybot graduated from the Clyde Drexler school of vanilla.

- More from Hoops World, an article about how the Blazers won't be looking to make any deadline trades.

- Blaze of Love found a D.Miles interview. He seems like such a great guy, a player that really has his head on straight. Excuse me while I go vomit.

- Bust a Bucket blows up some message board lamers. I like it. I vote for the BaB Crew to shine their light on internet forum ridiculousness on a regular basis. (Feel free to start here.)

- Dwight Jaynes is grumpy as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore. Also, get off his lawn and he's keeping your football that landed in his yard. Haven't you seen Gran Torino?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Designer Jeans edition

Finnish consultant H.T. continues to improve the common good of Blazer fans by providing us with another update on Petteri Koponen's Italian journey with Virtus Bologna...

After a couple of underachieving performances, Virtus Bologna got right back on track defeating Armani Jeans Milano 70-60 (36-23) in Serie A regular season play. Determined Bologna defence absolutely smothered Milano and it could be said that the game was already over after the first half.

When you look at Petteri Koponen's stat line in the Milano game – 14 minutes, 2 points, 2 assists – you might not be impressed, but Italian newspapers picked Koponen as the best player of his team in the game. Koponen was all over Milano's leading scorer David Hawkins, who shot dreadful 5-14 from the field and was terribly out of rhythm in the first half. Coach Matteo Bonicinolli kept Koponen on the bench for the whole second half while Bologna cruised to victory.

Sharrod Ford had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 steals for Bologna and Earl Boykins finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. Milano's best player was Lithuanian Mindaugas Katelynas with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Virtus Bologna is currently fourth in Serie A with a 10-7 record.

This Tuesday, Bologna played yet another FIBA EuroChallenge Cup game, this time against German Bundesleague leading EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Bologna dominated the game early on but couldn't pull away because of poor rebounding – Oldenburg stayed in the game mostly because of second chance shots. In the final two minutes, Oldenburg grabbed five offensive rebounds and finally won the game 81-82 with Je'Kel Foster's last second three pointer. Bologna also shot terribly from the free throw line, netting only 13 of their 22 attempts.

Petteri Koponen played 29 minutes and finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Petteri's wrist was rusty this time, he only drained one out of his five three point shots. Keith Langford had 20 and 5 for Bologna, Sharrod Ford finished with 18, 7 and 5 blocks and Earl Boykins scored 13 and dished out 8 assists. Oldenburg was lead by Jasmin Perkovic (19/8), Je'Kel Foster (18/4 assists), Rickey Paulding (16/5) and Ruben Boumtje Boumtje (13/12, field goals 6/6).

Virtus Bologna plays its next Serie A game on the road against the bottom team of the league, Snaidero Udine. Udine has recently acquired former Boston Celtic Joseph Forte into their roster. Udine also has two other former NBA players in the roster, ex-Houston Rocket Oscar Torres and NBA journeyman Jermaine ”Motown” Jackson.

In FIBA EuroChallenge Cup, Virtus Bologna will fly to Ukraine to play against the yet unbeaten BC Kyiv next Wednesday. Kyiv's key players include Clay Tucker, Scoonie Penn and Manuchar Markoishvili.

-The Lovable H.T.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Did you know Rebecca Haarlow blogs too?!?

Yet another Paul Allen employee is blogging wonderful things about your Portland Trailblazers, sideline reporter Rebecca Haarlow. Take the link, it feels like you're at the spa!

We no longer have to wonder about what she does when she isn't staring deep into the eyes of the players and shouting questions at them. She is praising them and using inspirational quotes from basketball coaches! I smell a new revenue stream opening up for a certain someone.

We all enjoy getting a little more Rebecca Haarlow in our lives. But why not enable commenting Rebecca, don't you want to get to know us, too?

Oh well, check it out sometime. It is far from the most disturbing thing you will find in the Blazers blogosphere.

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, I was late to this discovery. Scooped again!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mandatory Super Bowl Entry: Steve Patterson is where? Doing what?

"The booty. It''s...beautiful."

We can never be certain that Steve Patterson was actually such a greasy weasel executive. But we can be confident that he gave us the impression that he was, time and time again.

His job with the Blazers was not easy; it was Patterson that was in charge of digging the franchise out of that stinking pile of Whitsitt. It is not hard to appreciate the thankless nature of such duties. Whitsitt at least got to win a lot of games and make deep playoff runs with his teams. The problem was that those rosters happened to be full of expensive, combustible, and non-sustainable talent. Enter Patterson.

The team lost a lot of games in his time, true, but if his primary goal was to slash payroll and get the team positioned for a successful future, he did his job. He endured the sort of heat that winning prevented Whitsitt from rightfully taking.

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel that bad for Patterson. He took the George W. Bush approach to dealing with the media and anybody else with opinions other than his own. He frustrated a lot of media people and insulted the intelligence of the fans on a pretty regular basis. When it came to cutting payroll, Patterson might have been competent enough. When you consider things like relating to others and providing leadership, the man was so terrible it hurt. I touched my wallet every time I saw him smile on TV, just to make sure it was still there.

So why am I drudging up memories of these painful times on such an important American Holiday? Because it all came flooding back to me after reading Canzano's latest article. John was (hilariously) attending Kim Kardashian's Super Bowl Party. While he was leaving, this happened:
At the Kardashian bash, I was looking for an exit and found myself squishing past the dancers, and the tiny dresses, and the Cirque performers were juggling hula-hoops with their feet on a stage. And just before I broke into the clear, I passed next to a tall gentleman with wavy hair who was passing through the crowd, bopping his head to the thumping house music.

The sight stopped me cold.

It was ex-Blazers President Steve Patterson.

Whaaaaaat?!? How is that for an image difficult to construct in your mind? I suspect I will need to revisit this at some point. As of now I'm off to begin my over eating.

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