Pick and Scroll, “Eggs don’t look right”

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Elliot Williams doesn’t eat pizza! Ever vigilant, Casey Holdahl engages in some investigative journalism to discover how this could possibly be. After all, Elliot Williams is American, was a college student, and a teenager, and yet, no pizza. Ever.

Pizza isn’t the only staple Williams avoids like grim death. He’s also never eaten eggs because, according to Elliot, eggs “don’t look right.”
And just for the record, Williams doesn’t swim either after almost drowning as a child. Whether or not he was almost killed by a slice of Chicago deepdish or a soft boiled egg is unknown.

Pick and Scroll, Zen and Purgatory

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Dwight Jaynes thinks that Rudy Fernandez’ recent appeal to the Blazers to “just let him go home” is a calculated and vicious attempt to lower his trade value so he can go back to Europe and make more money. Harsh, but could it be true?
  • The D-League will be trying out FIBA goaltending rules, maybe as an experiment to see how it will impact the flow of the game before considering implementing the rule in the NBA. As a fan of a team with three excellent shot blocking centers (when healthy), I am in favor of adopting FIBA’s “knock it off the cylinder if you like” rules that allow for more point saving blocks and spectacular tip ins.
  • Blazer broadcaster Mike Barrett doesn’t quite know what to think about this new and exciting stage for the Trail Blazers. Portland is no longer rebuilding, yet only a dark horse championship contender. Time will surely tell how everything shakes out, but who knows if Portland’s chances will be improved after the trade deadline? Portland has young non-core players with potential and expiring contracts, a tantalizing cocktail for teams looking to rebuild. And yet, as with the playoffs, Portland is a dark horse contender to make a splash in February.
  • Jerryd Bayless has found his “zen.” What’s yours? Mine is this. Reading and writing about basketball is what I do. Life is difficult; and complicated, and beautiful, and basketball is all of that in an artificial microcosm. In some ways, basketball is a defined game where players meet at a specified place and time and follow defined rules. However, between the buzzers, between the games, between the seasons, so much happens. Basketball is simple enough to be “understood,” but nebulous and complex enough to always be fascinating.
  • The Oregonian’s Jason Quick reports that Andre Miller and Brandon Roy were not BFF’s last year, but they’re working on it.
  • Sean Meagher of OregonLive.com has video and tidbits from Portland’s practice session. Please, someone, catch Elliot Williams dunking on video.
  • The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman takes a look at how a stable starting five will affect training camp.
  • Also at The Oregonian, Mike Tokito reports that the Blazers will focus on defense, just like they have for the last three training camps. Hopefully, with the additions of Camby and Matthews and more minutes for Batum, this time the message will stick. It’s still mind-blowing to me that some journalists thought that the Trail Blazer defense was a strength and the offense was a weakness. I guess that goes to show who actually pays attention.
  • Greg Oden says that he is not a bust. Trey Kirby of Ball-don’t-lie agrees.
  • Seth Johnston of Bust-a-Bucket has your Tacho links!
  • Tom Sunnergren of ESPN TrueHoop Network sister site Philadunkia has penned (keyed?) a great article on why Andre Iguodala is better than Carmelo Anthony. Co-signed, so hard.

Pick and Scroll, Oden has tendinitis, Rudy is homesick.

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Dwight Jaynes Reports that Oden has patellar tendinitis. On the plus side, patellar tendinitis, or jumper’s knee, is not a diagnosis that typically requires surgery as long as no bone spurs are present. On the downside, it does require rest to heal. It’s easy to get tendinitis in an area that is being rehabilitated, all that direct work to strengthen the muscles in Greg’s knee can be hard on a tendon. If the Trail Blazers are careful, and to the outside observer it appears they are being exceedingly so, this doesn’t have to be an injury that persists throughout Oden’s career.
  • While Oden’s knee may be behind schedule, The Oregonian’s Jason Quick reports that Greg Oden is getting his head right. Oden has reportedly stopped drinking alcohol and going out to clubs.
  • At Fanhouse, Tom Ziller says Oden STILL has more potential than any big man in the league.
  • While Oden may be mentally prepared for the season Jason Quick reports that Rudy Fernandez is not. As you could plainly see from the video Andrew Tonry recorded at yesterday’s media event, Rudy Fernandez is homesick. What can you do?
  • Casey Holdahl reports that Nicolas Batum is pleased with the Wesley Matthews signing and glad to have the help defending the perimeter. Batum’s swagger is already in mid-season form as if to say “Competition for minutes? Ha.”
  • Speaking of Matthews, Mike Tokito of The Oregonian gets Matthews’ thoughts on retitring his mother and playing against the new-look Jazz.
  • At Beyond-the-Beat, Travis Margoni wants to see improvement from LaMarcus Aldridge. Give Aldridge a healthy center to play beside and enough healthy teammates to make opposing defenses pay for doubling him and Mr. Margoni might just get his wish.
  • Sebastain Pruiti at TrueHoop Network sister site NBA Playbook takes a look at how the very best shoot free throws.
  • Marc Normandin at Basketball Prospectus looks at the worst value contracts of the summer. The owner’s are going to have a hard time defending such free-spending ways while asking the players to take less money when ticket sales are skyrocketing.
  • Basketbawful has some thoughts on the NBA 2k11 demo. I agree that the demo is really terrible. I mean, the game play itself is fine, graphics are sharp and all that. However, it feels unfinished, there is a total lack of options, it’s very short, and even though I’m going to buy the game when it comes out, I still feel a bit resentful. One thing that irritates me about 2K NBA games is the dunk or layup animations that are basically unblockable. I can be in perfect position to ace a shot right into the stands, but if the opponent has entered an animation, my avatar will either totally forget how to block a shot and lamely swipe at the ball, or the opposing character will simply time-shift the ball through the outstretched arm of the defender. Both outcomes are incredibly annoying, even if I’m winning by 60.

The Boys Are Back In Town: Media Day 2010

|

It begins. And while the general goals and expectations are eerily similar to 2009-10’s Lost Year (win the division, advance beyond the first round in the playoffs) there were a few new threads, faces, tattoos, and stories at this afternoon’s Media Day.

The most dramatic—and perhaps meaningless—goes to Rudy Fernandez, who was rumored earlier to be considering skipping out on the day’s event altogether. The Spaniard showed, however, and what transpired was sort of sad.

Fernandez said his heart wasn’t in the NBA—it’s in Spain. He misses his family, his friends, his country, and feels like his game is better suited for the European style of play. It’s not even a matter of a trade, he said. He wants to go home. And when his NBA contract is up, that’s exactly what he intends to do.

Teammate and captain, the always jovial Brandon Roy said he realized that the team had left Rudy “on an island” in the team’s social world. Roy vowed to try harder at incorporating Fernandez into that world this season.

And while Nate McMillan also showed some sympathy for Fernandez, he stopped short of bowing down. McMillan is a no-nonsense dude, and one who still finds strength in the style of “Sarge.” He sees the NBA as a great opportunity, and only the hardest of the hard-working players will make it. And first and foremost, they’ve got to want it. Rudy doesn’t.


To a more familiar tragedy now, the travails of Greg Oden and his brittle bones. Oden still has no timetable for return. Pre-season is out. Starting the regular-season is out, barring a miracle. But the Blazers are through jumping the gun, hoping for the best or pushing for anything. Oden will be out until his knee has fully healed, undergone rigorous testing, and then probably a two week grace period enforced by fear and rightfully so.

That said, The Elephant—yes, that’s what we’re calling him—was in good spirits. He seems determined. But we’ve heard this song before. And as far as I’m concerned, he’s not playing ‘till he’s playing, and he’s not a factor on this team until he becomes one and sustains it, statistics and projections be damned.

The tissues, bones and tendons of Joel Przybilla, on the other hand, don’t strike that same fear in me, even if the doctors and PR staff have taken a page from the Book of Oden. Przybilla’s got his own, less injury-prone DNA. Still, there is no concrete timetable for his return.

Przybilla said it felt good to be back in a Blazers uniform and looked eager to play. Despite rehab-ing all summer, the seven-foot center isn’t quite healthy enough for full-contact basketball. He says he can do just about everything else.

Pryzbilla’s right knee still showed signs of surgery. I got a quick glimpse of it in the video while he’s describing what’s going on. Przybilla also talked about what it feels like to hear his name and contract mentioned in possible trades.

Brandon Roy spent the summer being a “couch potato,” as he put it, with his family. He put in the time so when the season finally rolled around he could shift full focus to the team. Asked about his goals, Roy said he’s no longer using the term—an illusion, perhaps, to the Lost Year, and the Blazers being in basically the same place. Instead of “goals,” Roy inserted “preparing.” He is “preparing” to win the division, and “preparing” to move deeper into the playoffs.

LaMarcus Aldrige wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s throwing out the goals. But he was careful not to get himself into trouble as he did the year before by placing so much weight on making the All-Star team, which of course, he didn’t.

Aldridge talked about chilling out at home in Texas, watching tape, working on new moves with special attention to becoming stronger in his legs and core. Looking slightly thicker and sporting a new beard, Aldridge says his new weight training regimen helped him add a few pounds. (It has also come to light, via 955 The Game, that Aldridge skipped working with Team USA to be with his mother who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer this summer.)


Jerryd Bayless had a new look, and I’m not referring to the wispy goatee. He’s now sporting a big biblical tattoo on his left shoulder. It’s his favorite bible verse (see video for tattoo and explanation).

I asked Bayless how it feels to come into the season knowing he’s got a place on the team as back-up point guard. He said it didn’t feel different, in that playing time isn’t guaranteed. I pressed him, checking if he was just being humble or what, but the tone didn’t change.

Unlike Rudy Fernandez, who has trouble opening up, becoming comfortable in America and dealing with the media, Nicolas Batum couldn’t be more easy, likable and charming, not to mention a formidable force like a pterodactyl with range. After spending time this summer soaring through the lane on the French national team, Batum did some traveling. In fact, it seems like Batum’s taken full advantage of the fruits provided by the NBA lifestyle. He put forth a lengthy list of the countries and continents he’s visited. Check the video and see which Blazer Batum plans to bring along with him back to Paris once this season wraps (next time I’ll frame it better).

I didn’t get an opportunity to speak with Andre Miller, Marcus Camby or new Trail Blazer Wesely Matthews. Ezra, however, asked Miller about his (non-existent) training regime that’s led him to become the NBA’s leader in consecutive games played. The quiet but wry Miller remarked that he was miffed why nobody on a team so wrought by injuries last year asked him for his secrets.

Finally we get to Nate McMillan, who seemed fed up with all the questions about Fernandez’s discontent. He talked about goals, the starting lineup (Roy, Aldridge, Miller, Batum, Camby), the ongoing injury problems at center (the team was not pursuing trades or new players, and that Jeff Pendergraph would fill in until Oden and Przybilla were ready) and more.


I also asked McMillan about what he’s been working on with the new members of his coaching staff, Bernie Bickerstaff and Bob Ociepka and Buck Williams.

Pick and Scroll, Rudy on Strike?

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

Blazers Announce Training Camp Roster

|

Check back in Monday afternoon when our season coverage kicks off in earnest—it’s Media Day. We’ll be clocking in with video, thoughts, and all the rest.

In the meantime, check out the latest editions to the Training Camp Roster:

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Trail Blazers have announced their 2010-11 training camp roster with the expected additions of Dwight Lewis, Patrick Mills, Raymond Sykes, Seth Tarver and Eric Williams, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

Portland will tip-off its 41st training camp Monday with media day, followed by practice Tuesday morning.

The 2010-11 Trail Blazers return 12 players from a team that won 50 games and reached the playoffs for a second straight season. The lineup is bolstered by the additions of swingman Wesley Matthews and three rookies – Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson and Elliot Williams – who were selected in the 2010 NBA Draft and figure to compete for playing time this season.

In four seasons at USC from 2006-10, Lewis (Guard, 6-5, 215) averaged 11.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 30.6 minutes. The Metairie, La., native posted career highs of 14.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in leading the Trojans to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a junior in 2008-09.

A Trail Blazer during the 2009-10 season, Mills (Guard, 6-0, 175) posted averages of 2.6 points, 0.2 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 3.8 minutes in 10 games. Portland selected Mills with the 55th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft out of St. Mary’s (CA), where he was named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team in each of his two seasons.

Sykes (Forward, 6-9, 220) played 47 games last season for Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 23.9 minutes. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Sykes played his college ball at Clemson, notching averages of 4.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 15.5 minutes in 102 games over three seasons from 2006-09.

The Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year last year, Tarver (Guard, 6-5, 210) played four seasons at Oregon State from 2006-10. The Portland native and Jesuit High School graduate posted career averages of 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.38 steals and 25.8 minutes in 128 games for the Beavers.

Williams (Center, 6-9, 280) spent last season with Pesaro of the Italy-SerieA league, where he averaged 14.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 26.7 minutes in 24 contests. He was a third-team All-ACC selection in his senior year at Wake Forest, where he posted career averages of 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 26.8 minutes in 129 games from 2002-06.

Pick and Scroll, no love from Melo.

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

Single Game Tickets Available Friday

|

I’m still distraught that the only way folks can get single-game tickets to the Lakers or Heat is through buying some bogus 11-game package, full of dead weight. Ugg.

Take it away, press release:

INDIVIDUAL GAME TICKETS GO ON SALE MONDAY AT NOON

Members of iamatrailblazersfan.com are eligible for Friday pre-sale

PORTLAND, Ore. – Tickets for individual 2010-11 Trail Blazers games go on sale Monday, Sept. 27 at noon, exclusively on trailblazers.com.

Fans with a registered account on the team’s social media site, iamatrailblazersfan.com, are eligible to participate in the pre-sale Friday, Sept. 24 at noon on trailblazers.com.

The 2010-11 regular season gets under way Oct. 26 at the Rose Garden, as the Trail Blazers face last season’s first round playoff opponent, the Phoenix Suns.

Although tickets will be limited for some games, fans will have a wide selection of seating and pricing options to choose from. Fans can guarantee seats to high-demand games such as the new-look Miami Heat (Jan. 9) and the defending NBA champion L.A. Lakers (Feb. 23, April 8) by purchasing season tickets or one of four 11-game quarter-season packages.

Tickets to the Trail Blazers preseason return to the Memorial Coliseum – Oct. 11 vs. Utah – are currently available, ranging from $20 – $30. The game is one of three games during the 2010-11 season that will feature the alternate ‘Rip City’ jerseys, which debuted last season. Tickets to the Trail Blazers’ other three preseason games at the Rose Garden are also currently available.

Pick and Scroll, Training Camp is almost here!

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

Pick and Scroll, 1.) Make sure Oden is healthy 2.) ??? 3.) Profit!

|

Your daily (Mon-Fri) roundup of links from around the blogosphere, typically Trail Blazers related.

  • Chad Buchannan is lowering expectations for Greg Oden. BlazersEdge has a transcript and 955 The Game has the audio. Basically it boils down to Oden’s long-term health and ability to play basketball. Though I am not a doctor, I would venture to guess that Oden could likely play opening night, but he isn’t going to. Why not take just a bit more time and make sure that the bone is as healed as it can be? So what if Greg misses 17-22 games to start? He may not be selected as an all-star, but he’ll be healthy, rested, and ready to do damage in the playoffs. See, making the playoffs isn’t the goal anymore, it’s required. Portland is a playoff team, it’s somewhat irrelevant what happens in the regular season as long as Portland is healthy for the playoffs. Call it the “Spurs Model” if you like, get to the playoffs and do your damage there, don’t worry about be counted out, worry about being in when it counts.
  • Trail Blazer GM Rich Cho gets a little love in J. Michael Falgoust piece in USA Today.
  • Sean at Rip City Project says no to even hinting at trading for Carmelo Anthony.
  • Ryan Schwan of TrueHoop Network sister site Hornets 247 is bummed out that Rudy Fernandez didn’t want to come to New Orleans.
  • DJ at the Wages of Wins blog doesn’t think that Maurice Lucas was the best Blazer power forward ever. It’s ok though, because they’re still using a box score based metric and thus are incapable of capturing much of what happens on the court and that can impact the game. Of course, John Hollinger’s PER is a pace-adjusted boxscore based stat that is a helpful way to compare players from different teams that play different positions, but Hollinger doesn’t typically say “this is the metric to view players by, this is the gold standard, all other metrics are inferior.” No, like a good scientist, John Hollinger knows that PER (like W.o.W.) is useful, but flawed. That’s ok, PER wasn’t really designed to tell the ultimate truth about basketball, it’s a tool to aid player comparison. The moral of the story is “Don’t get all high and mighty about your pet stat if its boxscore based. The boxscore is flawed to start with.”