Blazer Tweet Beat: All Martell Everything

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Planking in downtown Portland

The Blazers are becoming an increasingly Twitter friendly bunch. Indeed, the pull of social media and the push of resident advocate Patty Mills are difficult to resist. The Blazer Tweet Beat highlights the Blazer tweets you may have missed if you are too smart to waste all of your time on twitter. Then, for no reason, a winner is chosen. Make sure to follow us @pdxroundball.

Things can change quickly in the NBA. In 2005 the Blazers selected Martell Webster with the sixth pick in the draft. Webster was joining the NBA straight out of high school. No big deal, the team said, we believe in you and are willing to wait for you to develop, the team said. Webster remained a fuzzily defined important piece of the franchise’s future until 2010, when the Blazers reappraised his value and determined it was comparable to Luke Babbit and a Ryan Gomes buy-out.

Webster does not play for the Blazers anymore. Nonetheless, his twitter account is excellent and he still seems like a Trailblazer to me. He comes back to Portland during the off-season to plank, eat, and organize free community events. He even spent most of last season being injured, like a true Blazer. Here are some of his best tweets in recent history.

Yeah today is just one of those days. #planking http://lockerz.com/s/124282709

Urban farmers restaurant in Portland OR is the ish. The monkey fingers are tasty. Lol I’m just joking. Great restaurant none the less.

If you were throwing public picnic, would Viagra be a terrible sponsor? Its close to decision time I need to know lol. @jrd21 @maitramtran

At the zoo hanging with some wild animals and I’m just talking about my kids. But will see animals none the less

And finally:

Since Webster is unlikely to do much winning with the Timberwolves any time soon I am extra proud to call him the first non-Blazer to win a Blazer tweet beat. Whale blubber for everyone none the less.

Nolan Smith, Running Man

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Alaska Hat FTW

When I was critical of the Blazers drafting Nolan Smith, I tried (and mostly failed) to convey that my criticism was not so much meant for Smith himself. It was about the Blazers’ obsession with drafting backup point guards, a streak that now spans five consecutive drafts, at the expense of addressing more pressing needs like frontcourt depth.

I have no clue how Smith will perform with the Blazers. I’m hoping he provides more than just another data point documenting the point guard draft woes of this team, though the odds may not be in his favor. Smith is one of four players that will be eyeing the backup point guard role. Optimistically one could say that this glut will create spirited competition that ultimately benefits the team. Pessimistically, one could say that it will hinder all four of them from finding success.

I don’t know if Smith will be able to carve a niche for himself with the Blazers. Opportunities for development may be few thanks to that crowded back court. Then there are pesky questions about his ability to play point guard. Here is what I do know about Smith: the more about him I learn, the more I like him. Since the draft I have learned that he is intense enough to get ejected while coaching an AAU game, that his go to dance move is the running man, that he plays hard in charity games (I watched Smith go harder than most during the H206 charity game in Seattle last month), that he is a veteran of the NC Pro Am, that he posts pictures like the one at the top of this entry on twitter, and that when a reporter asks him why people make fun of his toe nails he deadpans “actually, ladies love my feet”.

None of the things I’ve learned help me form an opinion on how effective Smith will be in the NBA, let alone determine if he is the One the prophecies speak of who will come to Portland and finally satiate the Blazers’ appetite for drafting point guards. But he seems to have an intensity and sense of humor that will fit in well with the rest of the team. Yes, I would still have rather the Blazers went another way with their draft. But Smith seems so likable to me now that I’m hoping to be wrong.

Happy Arvydas Sabonis Day

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Even Brandon Roy looks small next to Arvydas Sabonis

The Mayor of Portland made it official: August 18, 2011 was Arvydas Sabonis Day. That afternoon legendary Blazers announcer Bill Schonely presented Sabonis with the “Key to Rip City” in front of thousands at a gathering in downtown Portland. (I hear that Sabonis is not the first to receive this honor. I hope these keys have “Do Not Copy” engraved into them, as a citizen of Rip City I’m getting concerned for my safety. Also, if one lost the Key to Rip City would they have to change all the locks and have new keys made for everybody? Sound expensive. They should look at using swipe cards. Do you want more key-related humor? No you do not.)

Later that evening the Blazers hosted a “VIP Reception” to honor Sabonis. I was able to attend despite managing to only be as important as anybody else in the humanistic sense. Really the VIP reception was just like being crammed into Pioneer Courthouse Square underneath the Sun with 2,500 sweaty people, except here you had personal space, air conditioning, could chat with Sabonis, then get a picture, then go get your steak cut exactly the way you like by a guy in a white hat, then chat about how delicious the little red potatoes cut in half and stuffed with sour cream, cheese, chives, and bacon are with Terry Porter (I have never seen so much readily available food and so few media people around to feast upon it), then get a Sabonis bobblehead to take home. And you don’t even have to feel like an elitist ass since proceeds from the fifty-dollars per head event go to the Make It Better Foundation. Now, back to work Pleb.

After posing with numerous smaller humans, Sabonis joined a panel on stage that included team radio announcer Brain Wheeler, former team owner Harry Glickman, former coach PJ Carlesimo, and former team executives Bucky Buckwalter and Jim Paxson. The panel took turns praising Sabonis and telling anecdotes. Sabonis expressed his gratitude and flashed what I will call his trademark giant Lithuanian man humor.

Here is a transcript of Glickman’s story of an early attempt at signing Sabonis:

I went to the Soviet Union to try to sign him. I’ll make a long story as short as possible, finally found somebody to negotiate with, he was the Deputy Minister of Sports and Culture. We started the meetings, he spoke very good English, and he said “My father was a contractor and he always said that Portland cement was the best, so it’s a pleasure to welcome someone from Portland.” I thought “Well, we’re off on the right track.” I thought we had a deal made. We came back, translated the contract from English into Russian, by a professor at Lewis & Clark College, that cost us five-thousand dollars, mailed the contract over there, and never from him again. But I’m glad he eventually got here.

Listen to the full Sabonis Panel discussion here. I would recommend that you listen even if I didn’t waste an incredible amount of time figuring out how to upload it. But since I did waste an incredible amount of time figuring out how to upload it, I really want you to listen. If you are like me you will clip out a Sabonis joke and make it your ringtone. I’m about to become the most popular person on the bus. Thank you, Arvydas Sabonis, and your Day.