SUMMER LEAGUE RECAP: KNICKS 71 – TRAIL BLAZERS 69: KING OF COUNTRY

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A Summer League game between the Blazers and their spiritual cousins in the East, the New York Knicks, is always a special occasion and the two teams delivered today with a 71 to 69 point defensive monolith that left everyone in the Cox Pavilion on the edge of their seats.

I am going to level with you, the readership. Will Barton wasn’t wearing a headband in this game and Bobby Brown was, so I got them confused from time to time. Maybe once or twice I was impressed with Brown when I should have been impressed with Barton, because Barton was really good in this game. 11 Points on 11 shots, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He should have had more assists: Freeland and Robinson both mucked up some really solid passes out of pick and rolls. In the game’s last three offensive possessions, Barton attacked the teeth of the defense, got them to collapse and delivered a good to a teammate who mucked up the attempt; McCollumn Missed, Freeland bricked a pretty point blank-y take at the rim, and Brown was out of bounds on a catch after Cleanthony Early (Is his name an intentional mash-up of “Anthony” and “Cleopatra?” If so, excellent choice, Mrs. Early.) missed a layup on the other end. Bad results, but Barton’s process looked good. Also had a nice midrange crossover sink in, show your kids that action on the YouTube reel someday.

McCollum also looked pretty good. He had a nice drive to the basket, looking real quick out there kind of stuff in the 2nd even if he did end up bricking the layup (The World Cup has lowered my standards for requiring a shot to go in to be impressed, apparently.). 1-4 from three isn’t ideal, but I don’t have to tell you about the sunrise, sunset nature of three point shooting. He also got 4 steals in the first half, which the commentators were quick to attribute to some kind of new defensive mindset that is going to now defines CJ McCollum, a sort of Avery Bradley of the West. But people, let’s get real. It’s great that CJ was playing heads up but the Knicks are trotting out a Summer League lineup with a marginal amount of practice time and telling them to run a triangle offense. It was a guy bringing 20 bicycles to the park and leaving them out while he went swimming in the lake: a lot of hot opportunities for theft.

The Knicks’ triangle execution got them two (2) Jeremy Tyler mid-post turnarounds that went in and 7 more shots that didn’t. So one might assume that Joel was doing a good job keeping him on lockdown out there. But Joel also had four fouls, so let’s call that a push. It also netted them a good performance from Tim Hardaway, Jr., netting 20 points on 16 shots, a ratio I will call “Summer League Efficient.”

Thomas Robinson looked good in ways you wouldn’t expect and bad in ways you wouldn’t expect. Sinking some midrange twos: good! Netting five turnovers, primarily from bad catches and making pretty cruddy attempts at the rim on fast breaks: bad!

Alan Crabbe had a drive to the basket and missed all of his other shots. Meyers didn’t play on account of shoulder trouble, he was supposed to start. Bobby Brown wasn’t productive or anything, but when you watch him, you understand what teams keep giving him Summer League slots: he doesn’t make weird mistakes or ball hog or anything like that. It’s weirdly veteranish, like a summer league Derek Fisher. Fisher was coaching the Knicks today, I couldn’t even begin to tell you anything about that except “Yes, they are running the triangle.” Summer league has a weird scoring system that the Blazer got points out of, but it’s even more complicated than World Cup scoring and my doctor has me on headache watch right now so I’m not going to get into it.

Devion Berry played for three seconds and didn’t manage to get anything into the box score. The NBA Record for fewest seconds played while still scoring points is held by Earl Clark, who somehow scored while not recording even one whole second of play in a game against the Nuggets on January 13th, 2013. Second place goes to Joel Anthony, who got fouled and sunk two foul shots in one second of play in a game against, once again, the Nuggets, on December 30th, 2013. Third place belongs to former Blazer fan favorite Craig “The Rhino” Smith, who scored in four seconds of play in a game against, and hold on to your hat here, THE DENVER NUGGETS, on March 5th, 2011. The Trailblazer record for fewest seconds played with a score belongs to Armon Johnson in a game against, HOLY CRAP, The Los Angeles Lakers, in a game on March 5th, 2011. But you thought it was going to be the Nuggets for a second there, didn’t you?

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS SUMMER LEAGUE PREVIEW, BROUGHT TO YOU BY FIELD ROAST:

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Another July, another half-hearted blockbuster Summer League roster from the PORTLAND MICHAEL BAYBLAZERS. I can’t be the only one tired of all these explosions and so called “Witty” lines and whatnot. I much prefer the prestige basketball of fall or the quirky indie college players performing to Belle and Sebastian in the early spring. But I am a basketball critic and Summer League basketball is the dominant financial engine of the industry so I am obliged to write about it, I suppose.

Because their bench is “Under-performing” and young the Blazers are bringing A LOT of NBA-players to Summer League for reps. Six of their players played for the team last year, two of them in relatively major roles. The rest of the guys are all weirdo Euro prospects, and I will discuss them as well.

DUDES YOU KNOW (In alphabetical order):

BARTON, WILL:

WHO IS HE? A dynamic guard in his third year on the Blazers. Athletic, rangy, possesses a good shot but either has been robbed of his birthright minutes by Mo Williams or too inconsistent to crack the rotation. The official position of this website is the former but I encourage people to read literature on either side of the issue.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS? Will has talked about playing point guard, which is probably not going to happen in the actual NBA, but he will hopefully get some cracks at running pick and rolls and seeing if he can make something out of it. He should also be features on defense, taking whacks at perimeter scorers and exhibiting development on that end, if he has any.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE, BROUGHT TO YOU BY FIELD ROAST BRAND SEITAN BASED MEAT SUBSTITUTES: A very jaunty headband.

CRABBE, ALAN

WHO IS HE? A three point shooter.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS? Shoot threes. Try to play replacement level defense.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE An eerie lack of accessories that make you feel unnerved by their absence. Who is this man? Does he feel? Does he sweat?

FREELAND, JOEL

WHO IS HE? A power forward/center on the Blazers who was actually pretty good at the beginning of the year, playing a brand of grinding defense that you wouldn’t expect from a gentleman of the British Isles. He had an MCL sprain halfway through the season and didn’t get back into the rotation when he was healthy.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS? Before he came into the NBA, Joel’s main selling point to any team that signed him was a tremendous pick and pop jumper. Expect to see him try and get that going again. He will also get postups because teams think that kind of thing is funny in summer league.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: A totally hilarious basketball with fire coming off of it that he has claimed he is going to get removed because of how silly it looks. It’s like if a there was a cartoon tiger who has basketball themed stripes. Hopefully he replaces it with a big-ass bulldog wrapped in a British Empire flag weeping over Queen Victoria’s grave.

LEONARD, MEYERS

WHO IS HE? A tall person who flails a lot on NBA courts. A person I’ve made so much fun of that I have dreams where he beats me up while I cry and apologize.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS? Not flail so much. Resemble an NBA player.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: An unnervingly perfect pomade structure fixed on the top of his head.

MCCOLLUM, CJ

WHO IS HE? An aspiring NBA journalist who is occasionally a small combo guard in the NBA.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS: Resemble an NBA player. CJ being injured for a lot of last year was not good for his getting used to the league, but when he did play, the results were really underwhelming for a four-year player. If he can help the summer league offense go he will go a little ways towards proving he belongs.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: A faint mustache, the sort preferred by a man trying to make love to your wife at your bowling night.

ROBINSON, THOMAS

WHO IS HE? A power forward who does hustle shit. Was regarded as skilled in college but hasn’t shown anything in that vein in the NBA.

WHAT ARE HIS SUMMER LEAGUE GOALS? Board, try and exhibit the kind of skill shit that will buy him more NBA minutes.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: A cat-like reaction to being sprayed with a bottle

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OH MAN, this has been a real work-a-day typing out all this stuff about summer league. I better take a break and have some of the new FIELD ROAST BRAND MAPLE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE. All the flavor of breakfast sausage, none of the pig. Soy and GMO free!

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DUDES YOU DON’T KNOW (And for this section, certainly the most important section, please welcome PRS Summer Leaguer James Fillmore who will be providing extra insights on players you will never think of again after these two weeks.)

The goal of every undrafted player who plays in Summer League is to attract the attention of scouts, be they NBA or D-League or European so I won’t expound on that as much in this section.

APPLING, KEITH

WHO IS HE? JAMES: Keith Appling, a smallish man by basketball standards, played point guard at Michigan State, a college in Vermont. He averaged 3.3 assists — this in college ball, mind you, where all they do is pass for 39 seconds then huck it up — and 2.2 turnovers. That’s an assist-to-turnover ratio of Lousy. He also shot .283 from the shorter college three-point line. This is better than I could do.

CORBIN: A 6-1 point guard guard who played at Michigan State. His DX profile is not terribly kind: the word “Vanilla” is involved. It does compliment his defense, though. In this Youtube video, the ESPN YouTube guy calls a move he made “Nasty,” but he just kinda dribbled behind his back without any particular flair and drove to the rim. College basketball types: raise your standards for nastiness!

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: A wristband on his left hand. This probably indicates that he is left handed, which would be VERY useful if he were a baseball pitcher.

BERRY, DAVION

WHO IS HE? JAMES: Davion Berry can shoot, which is nice for him, because he is 6’4” and 185 lbs, just about the worst possible size a professional American basketball player can be. Like Damian Lillard and Jack London, Berry is from Oakland, a town that could pass for Baltimore in the second season of “The Wire” (the one with boats) and is known for its tough-as-nails point guards such as Lillard, Payton, Kidd, and London (“The Sea Wolf” would be a cool NBA nickname, or maybe “C-Wolf”). Like Lillard, Barry also played at Weber State, so the two can reminisce about doing beer bongs in Utah. He looks, in photos, like a very nice young man who should probably give up basketball already, since he is the wrong size, yet I can’t judge. I was pretty confused at 23, and maybe Barry could use basketball to live in Poland. The Blazers might sign him for the Idaho squad, because he can shoot, but Poland is better, Davion. Really.

CORBIN: A Webber State product who went undrafted this year. Statistics and height (Real GM lists Six-Four, DX suggests he is six-two and a alf without shoes) suggest a that he is a guard by trade. He doesn’t have a DraftExpress profile. Played at Cal State Monterey for two years before transferring to Webber.  Here is a highlight package. Probably got the slot because of his connection to Lillard, which is fine and the way things work.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: Had dreads when he was a younger man.

BRACKINS, CRAIG

CORBIN: WHO IS HE? A 26-Year old forward, height-ed Six-Ten. Drafted in the first round by OKC in 2010, then traded to the Sixers where he didn’t play much for two years. This makes him one of many people (see also Evan Turner) who thirst for Doug Collins’ sweet, sweet blood because he ruined their careers in some way or another. He deserved to lose that medal for the mid range shooting he enabled later in his life. Played in the D-League for a while, spent last year in the Polish League, doesn’t seem like he played so great or so much (1.9 rebounds a game, yeesh.). A man on a mission for a new European home.

JAMES: Craig Brackins, a largish man by any standard, played forward at Iowa State, where they helped invent computers and nuclear bombs (not while Brackins played there). He shot three-pointers better than the ostensible point guard Appling, at .292. He had a handful of games with the 76ers, did time in D-League, went to Israel, Italy, and Poland. The Polish city he played in sounds totally friggin’ awesome. His D-League minutes (yes, there are people who record such things) went down every year. So hopefully he likes Poland. I would.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLEA rubber band on his leg.

BRYAN-AMANING, MATTHEW

WHO IS HE? CORBIN: A 26-year old, 6-9 British forward, whose mother was self-assured enough that she insisted on a hyphenate. Played college basketball at the University of Washington, the school the other author of this blog attended. In an interview conducted over Twitter dot com, Joe said that all he does is dunk off screen and roll action.  Was on Britain’s hilariously slapdash, Luol Dung led Olympic team. Last played in France, I think? 20-ish MPG, respectable numbers. Here is a highlight mix.

JAMES: Matthew Bryan-Amaning is from Surrey, England, and has two last names, meaning he certainly grew up on a diet of Roasted Peasant and stayed warm in his huge drafty castle by reading histories of the Punic Wars by fireside. He ended up playing in America after a tragic duel in which he wounded the future Earl Pearl-Monroe (who turned out to be his own illegitimate half-father) and to flee the estate. He went to college in Seattle, was undrafted (athletic, tall, can’t shoot, it’s not uncommon), D-Leagued it, then landed in Turkey, Serbia, and most recently France, where a team website lists his position as “Interieur” and says he “est un joueur actif tant en attaque qu’en défense” AKA not very good by NBA standards at anything, but probably an interesting chap, life-story wise. Just don’t use the wrong salad fork or say the queen should “sod off” in his presence.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: Polo with an undershirt, a Washington State staple if there ever was one

BROWN, BOBBY

WHO IS HE? CORBIN: My favorite basketball player ever.  A Six-Two, 29-Year old point guard coming off a stint with the Dongguan Leopard of the Chineese Basketball association. Cal Fullerton product. Played for four NBA teams between 2008-2010. Has he played in Summer League before? You’re goddamn right he has, he’s played in Summer League every year since 2007. This man is a Summer League animal. His job on the team will be to teach the young, non-NBA level guns, how to conduct themselves if they want to attract the attention of the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers.

JAMES: Bobby Brown was named after a vicious Frank Zappa song (not the vicious R&B singer) and is a living testament to how this undrafted-to-Europe-to-NBA thing sometimes, against all odds, can happen. He went from Cal State-Fullerton to Germany to four years in “The Show,” getting decent minutes for indecent teams. Then he restocked his SIM card and had bad stretches in Poland, Germany, and Italy, a good stretch in Greece, and scored 74 in a game for the Dongguan Leopards in southeast China. If you think I’m going to try and decipher his stats from that website, you think highly of my abilities and I thank you for this but you are wrong. He is a point guard who will be 30 by the time the NBA season begins and he will probably not be part of that season.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: An infectious smile!

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CARNEY, RODNEY

WHO IS HE? CORBIN: A 30-Year old, Six-Seven small forward. Played in the NBA from 2006-2011, was last on Sporting Al-Ryhad Beirut, like the Beirut in Lebanon. Here is a video of him dunking on Dwyane Wade.  He logged a 21.83 PER with Memphis in two games played in 2010-2011, which is pretty funny. He was kind of a crummy shooter in the NBA. Will be interesting to see if he has developed on that end to get back into the league. This is his first Summer League since 2007.

JAMES: Rodney Carney is the Crash Davis of Portland’s Summer League squad, drafted way back in 2006. Another wrong-sized guy, he had some success as a defender at the 2/3 for the Sixers, before getting traded to Minnesota, the kiss of death for any NBA career. After a few more seasons bouncing around the NBA, he actually wound up in Beirut (that had to be deflating, but fascinating), and has the single most depressing Wikipedia user edit I’ve ever seen:

“On May 28, 2014, he was played for Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters as an import replacement for Othyus Jeffers who had a problem on his NBA contract. Carney first game as an import for the texters was not easy due to not enough rest for almost 24 hours He scored 13 points . But On his Second Game Against San Miguel Beermen (Philippines) He Scored 28 points and 9 rebounds . And They Win Over the San Miguel Beermen (Philippines)”

There’s more about the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters on Wikipedia. A lot more. All written, I suspect, by the same really enthusiastic aide for the team owner (his page is huge, too.) Or simply by a Filipino basketball fan who could put your meager Blazer fandom to shame. TO SHAME.

To sum up, Rodney Carney IS Crash Davis. He’s seen it all, man. If you have a chance in Vegas, meet this person. And convince him to start writing his book.

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: Modest facial hair.

GIBSON, JONATHAN

WHO IS HE? JAMES: Jonathan Gibson graduated from New Mexco State in 2010, and since then has the world tour down to a science, whirlwinding it through China, Italy, Israel, Iran and Turkey (Turkey being the toughest international league, according to Jonathan Gibson) In college he majored in General Business, a first for any athlete anywhere. He grew up in West Covina, CA, part of the indeterminate Los Angeles megapolis. So we know he can drive a car. But can he drive the lane? Flourish as a creative passer? Well, these too are skills one learns driving LA freeways, so I’m hazarding the answer is “yes.” In regards to NBA basketball, most likely “no.”

CORBIN: 26, Guard, Six-two. Played college ball at New Mexico State. Scored… HOLY SHIT 32.46 POINTS PER GAME for the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association last year. (That team also featured FORMER BLAZER LEGEND Chris Johnson, out there snatchin 11.39 rebounds per game.That’s American power, flexing its mighty muscles in China.) Will his INSANE SCORING PROWESS translate to the NBA Summer League? Watch and find out!

TRADEMARK SUMMER LEAGUE STYLE: Points, he scores so many of them that he just wears them on his body. So many goddamn points, guys.

 

LEBRON JAMES SPURNS PORTAND

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Today, in an article in Sports Illustrated, LeBron James announced that he will be returning to Cleveland, Ohio to play for the Cavilers. This ends a years long flirtation between the king and the Portland Trail Blazers, who have long coveted James.

“Am I disappointed? Absolutely.” Portland coach Terry Stotts spoke to Portland Roundball in an exclusive interview at his North Portland home. Stotts is looking tan and rested in a seersucker shirt and cutoff jorts but was slouching with palpable disappointment. “LeBron would have really helped our defense and our shooting and ball movement and our mid-range shooting and our ability to get takes at the rim. He would have made LaMarcus a better player and also Damian and Wes and Chris Kaman.”

“When we picked up The Big-Steve-Man (Blake), I thought we were in like Flynn, to be honest.” Stotts took a sip of a homemade mint julep and readjusted his Portland Beavers fitted cap, a sweet thrift from a local Goodwill (Four bucks, man, can you believe that?), “But I suppose that the pull of his hometown and all that; you know, we were a better situation but he was aimed at a ‘higher purpose’ or somethin’. You want some quinoa? Katie (Stotts’s live-in girlfriend) just whipped some up, lemon and cilantro, the good stuff. We got a bouch’ (A slang term for Kombucha, a drink made from fermented black tea) we just finished, too, we’re living the good life out here.”

DID THE BLAZERS DO ENOUGH?

James has semi-publicly complained about not being properly compensated for his talents as a function of the max salary in the CBA. Jeff Sullivan, writing in Fangraphs yesterday, tried to construct a baseball player with as much value to his team as Lebron has to whoever is blessed to be paying him and created a player who hit 438/.527/.820 played the shortstop position as well as anyone could possibly play it and was also an obscenity of a starting pitcher, who sported a 1.67 FIP. In short, an impossible player. But Lebron still makes less money than practically any baseball player worth mentioning.

Should Paul Allen have circumvented the CBA and paid LeBron in clandestine battleships? LeBron has long held ambitions of becoming a naval power. You would have to imagine that Paul Allen making that dream come true would have outweighed his “responsibility to lead,” or “My relationship with Northeast Ohio.”

Why has Paul Allen become such a miser with the Blazers’ roster? Is it the Seahawks? Do you love them more than us because they gave you the ring? Please, Paul, look us in the eyes. We can’t take it anymore. Why didn’t you buyLeBron his ships?

SHOULD WE RESENT BATUM?

Had LeBron come to Portland, he would have taken the place of rangy forward Nicolas Batum. Should we spend the year resenting everything that LeBron could do that Nic couldn’t? Some people might say no, but I have a different position: yes, absolutely.

The next time you see a guy beat Batum off the dribble, make sure you tap your child’s shoulder and say “LeBron could have stopped that.” Batum misses a midrange shot? Groan audibly, look at your wife, and tell your wife “Goddamnit honey, why isn’t he LeBron!? It makes me absolutely sick.” Put up signs with pictures of LeBron in Batum’s yard, to let him know that you don’t appreciate his bullshit and that he will never be good enough for you or for the city of Portland. Buy him train tickets back to France. If Amtrak insists that there aren’t any trains that go directly to France buy one to Vancouver, WA, then cross out the destination and write in “Frenchytown, Paris, in France, where you belong.”

STEVE BLAKE FAQ

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WHO IS STEVE BLAKE?

Steve Blake is a 34-Year old basketball player from Hollywood, Florida. He attended the University of Maryland and was drafted with the 9th Pick in the second round by the Washington Wizards in 2003, which, considering the length of his career, is pretty impressive. He plays Point Guard. A career backup type, Steve has player for a lot of NBA teams at one point or another.

WHAT A BORING SET OF INFORMATION. WHAT DOES THAT CRAP HAVE TO DO WITH THE MODERN DAY BLAZERS?

He signed with the Blazers today, a contract worth 4.2 million over two years. The second year is a player option. Upon signing with the Trail Blazers today, he is the first player in franchise history to have three separate stints with the team. The first spanned 2005-06 and the second 2007-10.

THIS IS HONESTLY NOT GETTING LESS BORING. JUST TELL ME, YOUR SMELLY SACK OF BLOGGING GARBAGE; IS HE GOOD?

Not really. He’s never had a PER above 15, the fixed league average. Here is his shot chart from last year:

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A lot of red and yellow. Good from the left and some pretty good three point shooting, though, 37.6% on the year. He is a backup point guard.

HEY, WHAT IS THE BI ANNUAL EXCEPTION? DO THE BLAZERS GET TO KILL SOMEONE EVERY TWO YEARS OR SOMETHING?

The cap is INSANELY COMPLICATED and I am not a “Capologist” in any regard, but it’s basically an exception to the salary that is smaller than the Mid-Level exception. The Blazers used the MLE on Chris Kaman, and the biannual on Blake. This almost certainly excludes them from resigning Mo WIlliams.

IS HE BETTER THAN MO WILLIAMS? PLEASE TELL ME HE IS, THAT SHIT MADE ME CRY LAST YEAR.

Ho boy, that is a LOADED question:

Mo and Steve are pretty similar from a “Total Value” standpoint offensively. Mo had an 11.8 PER to Steve’s 11, their Win Shares per 48, .056 and, .058, are separated by a trivial amount. They came to this similar production in subtly different ways, though. Nearly sixty percent of Blake’s shots were three pointers while Mo was often content to hike up a long two almost immediately after coming off a pick. This is reflected in their nearly identical True Shooting Percentages, even though Blake’s un-adjusted FG% sat at 37.7% to Mo’s 41.7%

The Per-36 Assists and turnovers are a bit of a smoke screen. Blake played a lot of minutes for the gonzo-paced Lakers last year so that one-whole-extra-assist-per-36 is less notable when you compare their 28.8-to-26.7 assist percentage, a measurement of the percentage of baskets a player assists on. Mo turned the ball over less (21.5 for Blake, 17.5 for Mo) but that’s more a function of his midrange shot jacking than the virtue of “Caring for the ball.” Blake was a better rebounder last year but not really in any significant way and not over the course of their careers.

By these stats, it appears that the Blazers have ditched one below average caretaker backup point guard for another with almost exactly the same value who is a little older. But there is a little numbersthingy on ESPN’s big Real Plus-Minus chart worth mentioning:

DRPM is an adjusted measurement of how much better or worse your team was defensively when you played. Here is highlights that Mo WIlliams was a TERRIBLE defender last year, and Steve Blake though he isn’t Tony Allen, was hovering around “Not doing any active harm.”

So, in conclusion, he is probably better than Mo Williams. But he is older and he might get worse faster.

YEAH, 34, THAT’S KIND OF ON THE OLD SIDE FOR A PRO ATHLETE, HUH? ALSO, 26, IS A LITTLE OLD FOR A BLOGGER, GET A REAL JOB

Yeah, Steve Blake is older and the Blazers gave him a two year deal. He has been getting injured a more often in the last few years, too.

WHAT EFFECT DO VETERAN BACKUP POINT GUARDS HAVE ON COACHES, AND SHOULD IT CONCERN ME?

Coaches love veteran backup point guards more than anything. Every NBA coach’s secret dream team is five backup point guards, who are all veteran leaders and never turn the ball over, because coaches hate turnover more than anything even though they’re kind of necessary in a productive offense because they’re indicators of risk-taking.

Steve Blake is on the Blazers which is not like the worst thing that has ever happened. But he also presents an active roadblock to McCollum or Barton getting any minnutes. If he’s the backup shooting guard, like Mo was last year, it will be annoying. Then again, CJ might not be good and Barton has been a hero looking for a villain to dispose his entire career.

IS HE SCRRRRRRRAPPY!?

omg, so scrazzy

HOW DO I MODULATE EXPECTATIONS AND REALITY IN MY LIFE?

Guys, what did you think the Blazers were going to do with that money? What did you want? Luol Deng? Ariza? Sorry, those guys like money. Vince Carter would have been cool, I guess, and he might still be a possibility. I wanted Jameer Nelson in that slot, but that’s probably an underpay and he might have commanded some years for his first backup contract and he might not want to be a backup yet. It’s not like there’s just a billion dudes who play in the NBA and they’re all better than Steve Blake. Anyway, the Blazers have like a billion centers and will probably make a trade so there’s other shit to get excited about.

DOES HIS WIFE HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT?

Yes. Here is a picture she posted of Steve power washing their pool with the caption “My man loves power washing. No idea why. Looks awful to me.”

Power washing the pool. So scrappy! Look at that hustle with the wand.

CHRIS KAMAN FAQ

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WHO IS CHRIS KAMAN?

Chris Kaman is a 32-year old basketball player from Grand Rapids, Michigan. He plays the center position, primarily. He attended Central Michigan University. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003, played for that team until 2011 when he was traded to the New Orleans Hornets as a part of a package for Chris Paul, played with that team until 2012, when he signed with the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent, left that team in 2013, and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. He was an All-Star in 2010. He acquired German citizenship in 2008 on a flimsy pretext (he has German grandparents) to play for the German National team.

WHAT DOES CHRIS KAMAN HAVE TO DO WITH THE PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS?

On Wednesday, the Portland Trail Blazers signed the Kaman to a two year, 9.8 million dollar deal. The first year is worth 4.8 million dollars, the second is guaranteed for one million dollars.

THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY! IS HE GOOD AT BASKETBALL?

Well. Kind of. Kaman posted decent per game numbers last year: 10.4 Points on 50% shooting and  5.9 rebounds while playing 18.9 minutes per game. They even stand up to pace adjustments analysis: a 17.0 PER (15 is average), 16.6 rebound percentage (Lopez had a 14.5%, Aldridge 16.5). On offense, at least, he wasn’t terrible. But, he did only played in 39 games last year, on account of both injuries and DNPs. That second thing I wouldn’t worry too much about: last year’s Lakers were a Mike D’Antoni joint and Italy Mike preferred to crank up the pace and play lineups with only one big man.

Kaman has been a pretty good midrange shooter for most of his career, but he didn’t get a lot of tries in MDA’s threes/rim runs system last year:

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When he played in Dallas two years ago, in a flow style offense that is similar to Portland’s, he did a little better:

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He is probably not a good defender. He doesn’t have swift pick and roll destroying feet and his block percentage is a’ slippin. RPM indicates that he isn’t a disaster, though;

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The ways of RPM remain mysterious to me. It could be witchcraft and he could be as  a fiery dumpster.

Kaman was rumored to be on the Blazer’s radar last year, and it would have been a bad idea then because he probably would have started and car bombed the defense. But he isn’t starting on this team barring some VERY bizarre roster reconstruction decisions. Kaman is not a great player, at least not anymore, but you know who else isn’t a great player? Basically every NBA backup big man. If a back NBA Big man was a great player, he would almost certainly start, because the percentage of the population that is both exceptionally tall and NBA-great at basketball is so small that everyone who fulfills those conditions is an NBA starter already. But there is a 85% chance that he is still a good NBA player who will improve the bench even if he is making a little more money to do so than one might be comfortable with.

IS WHAT AMOUNTS TO A ONE YEAR CONTRACT THAT WOULD BE READILY TRADEABLE GOING TO KILL THE BLAZERS?

That question seems leading, but no! One year contracts are basically harmless. The Blazers could pay Hasheem Thabeet 20 million dollars for one year and not really mess up too much. That might even clean up the cap a little and give everyone someone to fixate all their negativity towards.

IS HE NOT SPENCER HAWES?

He is not! This is good because Hawes is deeply insufferable and would have commanded a multi-year deal. He’s also almost certainly better than Hawes, who has a worse PER and RPM.

IS HE FUN TO WATCH?

Not really. But he is pretty goofy lookin’ out there, all big and pale and bearded and stuff. He shoved Reggie Evans after Revans gave his nuts a grab and gave a pretty funny interview about it once. (h/t Brocialite)

DOES HE HAVE HOBBIES?

Hunting, which I find abhorrent but you probably don’t have a problem with. He owns a lot of guns but at least he doesn’t have President Obama’s face on toilet paper and equate taxes with living in 1983 Soviet Union despite being paid millions of dollars to play basketball. He also drives speedboats (h/t David Roth). Outdoorsy stuff! He’s going to love it here!

THERE ARE LIKE A BILLION BIG MEN ON THE ROSTER NOW, HUH?

Yeah, someone’s gonna get shipped out for some weird guard.

HEY, UNRELATED, BUT IS THERE A PLAYER YOU THINK THE BLAZERS SHOULD SIGN?

I think the Blazers should sign Jameer Nelson because he is better than Mo Williams.

 

PORTLAND ROUNDBALL MAILBAG, JUNE 19TH, 2014 EDITION

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carlisle-stotts-casey

Joe is in Columbia writing for irreputable publication VICE Magazine, so I am answering questions alone this week.

FAMOUS WRITER BEN GOLLIVER asks:

We can all agree that Damian Lillard’s series-clinching buzzer-beater in his first playoff series was the Blazers’ “Illmatic” moment. Even at 23, Lillard already holds a prime spot in franchise history on the strength of that moment alone.

My question: exactly how deep does his popularity run at this moment? If you heard that Lillard was traded this summer, how many players in the league would produce more excitement by their arrival compared to the disappointment caused by Lillard’s departure? Any?

1. “Illmatic,” for those weren’t previously aware, is an album by the hip-hop artists Nasir “Nas” Jones. Here is a video of him reading a song off the album off a teleprompter in front of a crowd of human beings.  It is like the “Live at Fillmore East” of hip-hop music, a masterpiece produced at the height of the artist’s powers. Much like “Fillmore East,” though, whose release coincided with the untimely death of legendary lead guitarist Duane Allman, “Illmatic” was a high point that Mr. Jones was never able to reach again. Hip-hop heads have pissed and moaned about every song and album Nas has put out since. I mention this only to say that if that shot was truly the Blazers “Illmatic” moment, we are in for 20 years of complaining. “When is Dame gonna hit another gamer winner?” “Lillard gotta start taking inbounds from Batum again, these new inbounders is lame.” Hopefully, Lillard’s career reaches new height after new height: a Ghostface Killah trajectory and the shot was merely his Ironman.

2. This isn’t to say that Lillard hasn’t carved out a place in our hearts, though. The Rose Shoten (A shot that happened in the Rose Garden? Cut me some slack, I haven’t noticed anyone else trying to give it a name!) was a bonding moment between Lillard and BlazerFan. It was a perfect moment: a game nearly ripped from their hands by dashing villain Chandler Parsons and stolen back with a perfect shot from the perfect location. Perfect location, by the way: if you told me Dame was going to hit a series winner, I would have pointed to that spot on the court and bet all five of the dollars I have on that being the location. There was yelling. There were tears. Babies born nine months later. Dwight Howard held his knees and looked really stressed out. Beautiful stuff.

It was a moment that blinded Blazer partisans to Damian, as a child is to their mother:

Whoever is playing backup point next year, be it Mo Williams or someone else, will never receive love from Portland faithful. Damian will leave the room and we will cry for him, panic, until the weird psychologist guy (Sotts) tells him to come back into the room. Then he will take everyone in his steady arms and we will ignore all of the other toys in the room.

So if Damian is our mother, who amongst the NBA’s population could become our SUPER mother? I consulted ESPN’s RPM tool and sorted by WARP: There were 21 players who were worth more wins than Dame by RPM (This list includes Channing Frye, which, weird.):

rpmchart

In looking at this list, I can confidently state that, even though there might be some initial pain, we would probably accept Lebron and Durant as our super mothers. Durant in particular might balm the wound of the Oden pick: the mother we were always meant to have. Then, I don’t know. Steph and CP3 are great and all, but Chris is old and has been mother to so many, and Steph is just too eerily similar to our old mom, but he shoots threes better and drives to the rim worse. If Dirk shows up, that’s a chaos on all kinds of levels – your weird German uncle who everyone likes, abandoning his family to replace your dead mom. Kyle Lowry I would find actively upsetting, like if mom turned into a giant mean dog who was kind of spotty about making breakfast. I don’t even think James Harden and Dwight Howard’s family love them all that much, Blazer fans would cry until their tears were gone and blood leaked from their eyes.

This is all to say, Durant and Lebron and no one else, even if it would make sense as a basketball move.

3. Then again, anyone would come to love Tony Allen sooner or later.

SMOKED OUT FROM THIS SLATE ARTICLE ASKS,

Dear Prudie,

Ours is the home my family and my husband’s family come to for holiday meals, and I am more than happy to play hostess. I have asked the smokers, who make up about half of the guest list, to smoke outside or in the garage. The problem is, I said my grandmother could smoke inside. She is 91 years old, and I would never ask her to stand outside in the cold. I also feel that at her age, she can do what she wants in my home. Now everyone else says they should be allowed to smoke inside if my grandmother is doing it. I have tried to explain that one smoker is different from 15 of them. Of course, the nonsmoking part of the family doesn’t want any smoking in the house. Am I being unreasonable? Should I tell Grandma not to smoke, either?

SMOKED,

You know, Smoked, this reminds me of a something in MY life, and I think discussing it will illuminate your situation. A basketball team I follow called the “Portland Trail Blazers” are entering the free agency period soon and one of their positions of need will be backup point guard. Their current backup – an older gentlemen who we will call “Mu Wollams” to protect his anonymity – is serviceable at times, but he is an atrocious defender who has a bad habit of ball stopping even when he comes off picks. This is a problem for the Blazers because their offense thrives on ball movement, which gets all gunked up when Mu has the ball in his hands.

But he is an older man, who has had a fairly respectable NBA career, and the coach of this team – whom I will call “Terry Cloths” – affords him a lot of respect and playing time even when he is carbombing the team. It sounds like Mu is going to be declining his player option this year, and the Blazers would, presumably, have a good crack at signing him again. I wouldn’t mind if his role was reduced and there was a strict expectation that he avoid jacking up long twos, not using Lillard/Mu two guard lineups. But “Vets” like Mu are catnip for NBA Coaches; note how Derek Fisher somehow commanded minutes in high leverage Oklahoma games this year! Terry just won’t be able to help himself, NBA coaching is a sickness and veteran fetish is a symptom.

The Blazers’ problem with Mu and your problem with your grandma have to same solution: just say no. We defer far too much to our elders, and we ought to leave them out in the cold more often. Get this lady a sweater and avoid signing her to a multi-year deal, so you won’t be enabling your greedy cig huffing relatives or Terry Cloth to do something that’s just going to stink up the joint.

FROM @jandavidjansen on TWITTER DOT COM: why is Terry Sotts so dreamy?

1. Well, Terry IS very tall, and according to the “Best answer” on this Yahoo! Answers thread women are attracted to tall men because it is “part of the alpha dog thing…subconsciously we want a man to protect us.” This is scientific stuff, ask anyone.

2. A lot of people say that Terry looks like Peyton Manning, who is a symbol of power, wealth, and sex in this and every country.

3. Terry is from Iowa, where they force feed young boys corn and shoe polish until they become handsome gentlemen.

FROM NOT FAMOUS WRITER ALEX DEWEY, @DrewNO on TWITTER DOT COM: Do you expect Mo Williams to grow a second face on the back of his original face with the face of LeBron?

Absolutely.

SEND QUESTIONS TO portlandroundballsociety@gmail.com and/or @pdxroundball + @corbinasmith over at twitter dot com; they will probably get answered. You could ask about pretty much anything. It’s SHOCKING how hard it is to generate these on a week to week basis. Thanks to Caitlin Obom for editing this post: she is in the sketch comedy group Drop the Root Beer and Run, who perform in and around Seattle, WA.

TRAIL BLAZERS CRAIGSLIST ROUNDUP:

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This is a roundup of all the exciting Blazers products available on Portland-Metro Craigslist. DISCLAIMER: I absolutely would not buy any of these things. I am a very, very cheap person with a spare aesthetic design sense. My dating profiles highlight my thriftiness and value as a low cost husband prospect. Owning anything this ephemeral would really mess with my brand.

Blazers glasses – Aldridge Lillard Batum Matthew Lopez glass + FREEBIE – $45 (Kruse Way area)

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This person is selling a collection of popular drinking glasses that were given away to boost attendance at games no one wanted to go to. You can buy the whole set for 250 dollars, OR you can buy every glass individually at a different price for every player: $75 for Aldridge, $60 for Lillard, $70 for Lopez, $45 for Batum and $45 for Matthews.

Do these prices make any sense? Math will tell us! The seller in question is asking for 295 dollars, in total, for the sale of these glasses as individual units. The Blazers starting five produced, by Basketball Reference’s (Imperfect, as all broad based value stats are) measurement, 42.7 wins. I have produced a Google Docs spreadsheet that tells us how accurate this seller’s pricing is:

winsharesgraph

Not that far off! I thought that Lopez’s glass would be grossly overpriced, but Win Shares seems to agree with this seller’s valuation. Aldridge was the most overvalued player by this person’s glass-pricing model, but it is worth mentioning that Win Shares are a sum stat and he was the only member of the starting lineup to miss any time this year.

If you buy all the glasses together, the seller is also offering a poster the team gave away that features every member of the roster and also what a small, feeble, bald, old man who wearing a Blazers jersey and holding a basketball.

 00R0R_14UsMNk9BoE_600x450

Who is this man? Was it a man’s last wish  to be included on this poster or is he an apparition, captured in the computer where this poster was Photoshopped? We will never know for sure.

 

Rare 1992 Basketball Tournament of the Americas – $40

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This is a program for the Tournament of the Americas, the Qualifying Tournament for the 1992 Olympic Basketball Tournament, which was played in its entirety at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The tournament was the public debut of the 1992 US Olympic “Dream Team.” This collection of Hall-of-Famers and Christian Laettner were forced go through the indignity of qualifying for the Olympics because of the sad-ass college players we sent over getting pantsed by Toni Kukoc and the soon-to-be-dissolved nation of Yugoslavia in the 1990 FIBA World Championships. It was a frightening time, when America had very little sense of its identity. Thankfully, the Dream Team thoroughly humiliated the competition and brought a scared nation back to the brink, setting the stage for the eight-year non-stop party that was the Clinton Presidency.  (The Bush Administration’s car wreck 2004 team and Obama’s more even footed and competitive, but not completely dominant, 2008 and 2012 teams were equally symbolic.)

I included this particular to say that my mother insists that me and my family were in attendance at one of these games. Apparently my late Grandmother, who scored tickets to all kinds of big events (I went to a lot of Disney on Ices), worked some magic. I don’t remember any of it. When I was four years old,  I was in the presence of the greatest basketball team ever assembled, and all I can recall is a sort of hazy memory of red chairs and my mother, or maybe my grandmother. I’m not even sure where that little shred comes from, it might have been a Winterhawks game or something.

MGD Trail Blazers mirror – $30 (Sandy) 

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This is a tacky mirror, meant for a bar. The prominence of teal and former Blazer player Randy Generic signify that it is from the mid nineties. Randy is not remembered by most Blazer fans. He played for the team in his only NBA campaign during the 1994-1995 season. A 6-5 shooting guard from the University of Montana, Randy was born with a very plain face and unspecific features. He always wore white socks and sneakers. An early season clerical error assigned Randy a numberless jersey. He thought about trying to rectify the issue, but the problem would have necessitated renegotiating the CBA and anyway, he was very shy and didn’t want to make any waves. He rarely got on the court in games, but in practice scrimmages, no matter how hard he tried or how many shots he took, he would always score 10 points, get one assist, and net three rebounds. Once he tried not shooting at all, and he was simply fouled in the bonus five times. Eventually, this repetition started appearing in every aspect of his life: he would eat steamed broccoli and chicken breasts for dinner every night, he woke up at 6:08 and went to bed at 10:12, he stated going on the same date with the same woman with the same conversation every weekend. Then, one day, he was in the bathroom at the  C entrance in the Memorial Coliseum, when, while he was washing his hands after his ritual 4:34 pregame poop, he looked in the mirror, had a complete break, screamed, and entered a catatonic state. Some say that he saw the depths of the absurdity of the universe down to the random movement of particles, others say that he became convinced that he was a program in a computer, and still others say his soul was taken and eaten by the Basketball devil, George Mikan.

Some say, that during sparsely attended Winterhawks games, you can see a slight scoreboard mouthfunction: HAWKS 10 GUEST 4. Randy’s ritual score and his rebounds added to his assists in every Blazer scrimmage he ever played in.

 

PORTLAND 2013-14 TRAIL BLAZERS MEDIA GUIDE – $10 (Vancouver)

When I was writing this, I sent out this Tweet:

reviews

I did not get any responses and I have not myself read the media guide, so I cannot vouch for the guide as reading one way or another. If you are the media member who is selling this guide, please get in touch: we want to know why, and if you REALLY think it is worth ten dollars.

Vintage Trail Blazers Light Up Store Display – $95 (17110 N.E. Halsey Street)

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This light up display, featuring Rasheed Wallace and Scottie Pippen, was made for a convenience store display. But you should think about putting it the window of your used bookstore.

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See? Sheed was born to inspire a lifelong love of reading

PORTLAND ROUNDBALL MAILBAG, JUNE 10TH, 2014 EDITION

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Dear-diary-mailman-sure-hunky

From: Famous Writer Ben Golliver

Subject: Mailbag Question

If your goal was to go 0-82 next season, how would you configure the Blazers’ starting lineup (no positional considerations required)?

CORBIN: My answer to this question begins and ends with Robin Lopez at the point. Meyers would probably be a more popular choice here, but he is pretty athletic and has at least pretended to develop something resembling guard skills (I’m gonna shoot threes this year!). Lopez is an excellent basketball player who has gotten that way by narrowing his focus to exclusively doing big man stuff. He drops back on pick and rolls to cover his limited foot speed, he boxes out, he sets screens, and he never does anything else, at all. He doesn’t even really pass from the elbows. And that’s great! But man the Blazers could really rack up some losses if they put the ball in his hands. Just think about it: Lopez gets the ball in the backcourt, takes two VERY high dribbles, gets stripped immediately, fouls whoever stripped him on the layup, hangs his head in frustration because he is knows how out of his depth he is, two foul shots, gets the inbound, repeat forever.

At your two-guard, gotta go with Mo “Maux” Williams. Mo is out here looking around at the options here and deciding that Mo WIlliams is the key to this game. Gunning for thirty every night. Coming off staggered screens, probing for a second, backing up, and jacking up a contested mid ranger with 10 seconds left on the clock. And no one is going to stop him: he’s a veteran! He’s seen the wars! Headbands command authority! The Modern NBA’s first 30 Point, 13 PER player.

Meyers Leonard is a natural losing small forward. Your ideal modern NBA three is a Swiss Army knife — passing, shooting, cutting, defending multiple positions — and Meyers is not good at any of those things. Imagine, when the Blazers need to match up with Tony Parker, and Robin just isn’t up to the task, Terry sticks a Meyers Leonard out there above the key to slow down his penetration. We’re talking about broken ankles everywhere, multiple Meyeri emerging from the original just so they can fall down on the hardwood and injure themselves. A true bloodbath.

Allen Crabbe at power forward. He is short and it does not seem like he can jump very high. He would get blasted in the post all game and be completely outmatched on rebounds. He might turn into an actual crab under the pressure.

At center: LaMarcus Aldridge. Say what, Corbin?! Lamarcus is a pretty good option at center! He has range to stretch opposing defenders, he rebounds well and is tall and strong enough to bang in the post. Yes, I say, but he just hates it so much. After the Blazers lose their first ten games, Aldridge, the leader of the team and the Blazers’ highest paid player, would justifiably become a locker room cancer. Imagine that you are the L-Train and not only is the team a nightmarish mishmash, but you’re crushed in the post all night when you would rather be playing power forward. You would LIVE in front of reporters, complaining about everything you could think of until someone traded you (The water in the cooler is too goddamn cold!). When you are building a losing team, lack of production is important, but so is the intangible badness you get from a poisoned locker room environment.

JOE: I would actually leave the standard lineup the same, but over the offseason I would bring them all to the IKEA in Renton, Washington, because the IKEA in Renton, Washington, has a restaurant at which a person get 15 delicious meatballs, mashed potatoes, some kind of cream sauce, and lingonberries, all for $4.99. Hopefully I would even take them there around the time of some Swedish holiday when the IKEA in Renton, Washington, sells some kind of fun Swedish holiday drink that tastes a lot like if you poured a Coca-Cola into a glass, put that glass in the refrigerator, forgot it was in there, then thought it was bacon grease and tried to cook something with it on the stove, then when you realized it was Coca-Cola, you put it back in the bottle and drank later to celebrate some fun Swedish holiday. The point is, Ben, the team would eat that delicious meal and realize that the pinnacle of human experience costs $4.99, and they would lay down their basketball arms to happily go 0-82 and spend their time at the IKEA in Renton, Washington. They also have a 99-cent breakfast plate which I’ve never had but I assume it’s great and there’s a Baja Fresh like a short distance away and its maybe a top-8 Baja Fresh, of the Baja Freshes that I’ve been to.

From: Dane Hansen

Subject: Question

Portland possesses the lyrical talents of Damian Lillard, and yet it’s been 15 years since Bust A Bucket. What’s up with that? Is the front office committed to bringing fans a Grammy or not?

JOE: Hello, Dane. Thank you for your questions. Before I answer them, I would like to first point out that the Blazers did, in fact, release an EP in the time since “Bust-a-Bucket.” In 1999 I believe, the Trail Blazers, in conjunction with Z100 and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Portland Metropolitan Area, released an EP titled Can I Get A Headband?, which featured the hit title track along with the b-side “It Ain’t Easy,” as well as extended mixes of both, and a fifth track simply titled, “Headband Fan’s Mix,” and for the life of me I have no recollection what that final track contained (I have a vague memory of listening to “It Ain’t Easy” and it being pretty forgettable).

Also, “Bust-a-Bucket” was performed almost entirely by someone called Dan Reed. Granted I hadn’t even begun elementary school at the time of the release and this was the early ‘90s, so weird dudes with cutoff t-shirts tucked into jeans could very well be professional athletes, but I’m pretty sure that Dan Reed was not a player on the Blazers. Therefore, not counting the choral section of assorted Blazers, the only player who truly performed on the song was Jerome Kersey, who delivers a stirring vocal solo with the commitment and gusto of a man who clearly knows his way around the Boyz II Men anthology. By contrast, “Can I Get A Headband?” is performed entirely by players, but since you forgot that one, maybe having players perform a song isn’t really the way to achieve success.

To answer your second question: no, I don’t think they’re committed to bringing fans a Grammy. They are a basketball team. They probably haven’t even discussed what’s required to win Grammys.

CORBIN: I have never heard “Bust-a-Bucket” OR “Can I Get a Headband” before I got this question, I have basically no interest in ephemeral radio-promotional music, I am afraid. I think coming to this cold gives me a fresh perspective. “Can I Get a Headband” is very bad, but it MIGHT feature the lyric “A Robot of God/Who said he was homeless”. As far as the Blazers’ stubborn refusal to bless us with a sequel to the slightly better “Bust-a-Bucket,” men like Dan Reed who wore black tank tops and sang weird fake-y rap songs over electric guitar riffs and drove the local novelty sports song economy all sublimated into gas the second Malkmus bought a house here.

From: Yoni Rapaport

Subject: Mailbag question

If the blazers were a rap crew, which one would they be? Who would be in what roles?

CORBIN: The Allman Brothers Band, circa 1971. Damian is Duane, Lamarcus is Gregg, Nic is Dicky Betts, Wes is Berry Oakley, Robin is Jai Johanney Johnson, Barton is Butch Trucks. Brandon Roy is Elizabeth Reed.

JOE: Corbin just answered the question with precision so I have nothing else to offer, except a couple runner-up analogies.

Public Enemy

Chuck D = Aldridge, Flav = Lopez, Terminator X = Lillard, Professor Griff = Matthews, the S1W = Barton and Robinson

Wu-Tang Clan

RZA = Lillard, GZA = Aldridge, Raekwon = Matthews, Ghostface Killah = Batum, Method Man = Barton, Inspectah Deck = Robinson, U-God = Mo, Masta Killa = Freeland, ODB = Lopez

A$AP Mob

Rocky = Aldridge, Ferg = Lillard, Yams = Stotts, Ty Beats = Olshey, Bari = Ben Falk, Illz = Batum, Nast = Matthews, and the rest of the Mob can be Claver, Crabbe, CJ, and Dorell Wright.

From: Douglas Corpron

Subject: Questions bout stuff?

Hey PRS,

Which Blazers are the most talented?  But not like basketball talent, u want to know about the real talents- who is the best singer, best dancer, best at writing poetry, who tells the best jokes, and other important talents.

Thanks!

JOE: If anyone with the Blazers is reading this mailbag, then this is a good time to mention that should you credential us going forward, these are the kinds of journalistic tidbits that you could expect us to uncover: who on the team is most talented in the most important ways. As it stands now, we have very little first-hand experience (I saw Meyers Leonard waiting in line at Salt & Straw once, he was very tall), so we have to speculate.

As for the speculation though, I think the obvious candidate for talents is Nicolas Batum, since he’s French. But, given that he’s French and that we still haven’t seen much, if any, of his off-court artistry in really any fields at all, I think we have to look elsewhere. For that reason, I think Victor Claver would have to be most talented. Still European so he presumably possesses the same continental flair for art history and music critique and the culinary arts, but because he’s Spanish he doesn’t fit the easy stereotype of a Frenchman, which is why we haven’t seen these talents. We haven’t been looking for them. Granted, he’s not the most talented at basketball, but he’s actually pretty good at all basketball tasks if taken in isolation, so I imagine that his well-rounded skill-set carries over into life as well. I imagine he has basic shoe-cobbling knowledge, for instance.

CORBIN: I would say we have at least a little evidence that Robin Lopez is the team’s most accomplished writer though I wouldn’t be suprised if Wes was an on the D/L poetic soul. I was reading the Marquette University student written literary journal in 2007, where I encountered a blank verse work by “John Basketpoem” (A pseudonym; records do not indicate any Basketpoems attending Marquette at the time) that interested me deeply:

THE LIFE:

Compete everyday

And try to get better

 

That’s how you do it

How you step up and put the ball in the bucket

 

Get me on the block coach

And I will build a castle fit for basketball gods

 

Certainly SOUNDS like Wes, though I wouldn’t want to presume.

From: Brian Richter

Subject: Question

Did Bill Walton love disco?

[insert image of Disco Stu chart]

Cheers,

Brian

 cRzjXWQ

CORBIN: Probably not. I think we have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of what Bill Walton’s taste in music is and it’s mostly weedy jam-rock blues stuff. Gotta imagine he wasn’t one of those veiled-homophobic “Disco Sucks” dickheads, though. I’ll bet he would like LCD Soundsystem if someone turned him on to it, though he might think it was a little arch.

JOE: The chart is strong evidence, though I have a hard time accepting on faith that Bill Walton is purely responsible for disco sales booming in 1977. Even if the Blazers were, at some level, responsible, how do we know it wasn’t Bobby Gross, or Lionel Hollins, or even the fierce Maurice Lucas, who loved the sweet sounds of disco music? Poring over Disco Stu’s raw data would be necessary to make any statements with certainty.

From: Tim Sartori

Subject: Yo, guys

Hey, I’m Tim Sartori (@Tim_NBA on twitter, we have had some humorous interactions a few times).

Just wanted to submit a question, if you’re still taking those?

There’s been a lot of talk about those ‘you have $15 to build the best team you can’ things, and I’m basically wondering, who is on the Blazers’ one of those?

Keep up the great stuff, I’ll be looking out for this post.

CORBIN: First off, excellent job pushing your Twitter handle, this is high grade social media strategizing at its finest. I would never answer a question like this using subjective whims, so I went into Basketball Reference, looked up every position, sorted them by descending total Win Shares produced for the Blazers, and arranged them here:

POINT GUARD:

$5: Terry Porter (79.3 Win Shares)

$4: Damon Stoudamire (37.7 Win Shares)

$3: Rod Strickland (32.7 Win Shares)

$2: Dave Twardzik (21.8 Win Shares)

$1: Damian Lillard (15.4 Win Shares. Given, in two seasons. I didn’t say this method was perfect!)

SHOOTING GUARD:

$5: Clyde Drexler (108.7 Win Shares)

$4: Jim Paxson (50 Win Shares)

$3: Brandon Roy (37.5 Win Shares)

$2: Larry Steele (28.2 Win Shares)

$1: Wesley Matthews (24.9 Win Shares)

SMALL FORWARD:
$5: Jerome Kersey: (59 Win Shares)

$4: Calvin Natt: (34 Win Shares)

$3: Kiki Vandeweghe (33.9 Win Shares. Neck and neck with Calvin Natt!)

$2: Nicolas Batum (32.2 Win Shares)

$1: Bob Gross (30.4 Win Shares)

POWER FORWARD

$5: Rasheed Wallace (61.3 Win Shares, three lifetimes worth of dominance over squares)

$4: Lamarcus Aldridge (60.8 Win Shares)

$3: Buck Williams (50.4 Win Shares)

$2: Clifford Robinson (46.8 Win Shares. Cliff’s position is up for debate, but whatever, positional revolution, man.)

$1: Mychal Thompson (39.9 Win Shares. So is Mychal’s, but moving him to center wouldn’t have gotten Lucas on so I didn’t bother.)

CENTER

$5: Arvydas Sabonis (47.3 Win Shares. Pretty impressive, considering he started his NBA Career at 31 and was injured a lot.)

$4: Bill Walton (26 Win Shares)

$3: Kevin Duckworth (25.5 Win Shares)

$2: Joel Pryzbilla (20.5 Win Shares)

$1: Chris Dudley (R, Oregon. 12.6 Win Shares)

Did this method leave Maurice Lucas in the cold and suggest that Sabonis had a better Blazers career than Bill Walton? Absolutely! But science is not an affair, it is a marriage and even you you get a result you may not approve of, you don’t just take her to court and split up your beautiful family.

JOE: I would like to submit Corbin’s “objective” monetary assignments as an example of the fake objectivity and false promise of equality that are inherent in capitalism. Any list that says Jim Paxson is more valuable than Brandon Roy, while also ignoring the contributions great WORKERS like Walt Williams and Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon, is clearly the work of fascist neoliberal militaristic oil magnates and I for one will not consent to their rule. Para todos toda, para nosotros nada.

CORBIN: How dare you call me a neoliberal. I don’t need to answer to scum like you, but here is PROOF of my progressive economic bonafides:

Displaying IMG_2731.JPG

From: David Brown

Subject: Re Hi

Hai, we want u in our team!!! Thankss.

CORBIN: When Joe told me this was a spam email, I was crushed. I have always wanted to be a part of a team.

JOE: I actually don’t know for sure that it is a spam email. There was no ask for a reply, or a link, so it’s possible David Brown is an enthusiastic fan of the blog who wants us on his team.

From: e

Subject: s

Beloved Family of Ira Curry announces their donation of the sum 600,000.00 USD to you. Send

Name—

Address—

Mobile #—–

Age—–

Occupation—–

Have a wonderful day

JOE: My name is Joseph Swide and I don’t really have any of that other stuff right now. But if Ira is so inclined, I like to eat breakfast at Fuller’s, near the park blocks, so maybe he can find me there.

CORBIN: NAME: Corbin Aquamaniac Smith. ADDRESS: 1245 NE ProudToLiveInClarkCounty Circle, Vancouver, WA 98685 MOBILE #: 3604206969 AGE: 15 OCCUPATION: Very successful blogger on the topics of women and plant trellising.

From: Famous-But-Not-As-Famous-As-Ben-Golliver Comedian Ian Karmel

Subject: where my subnglasses is

 

*suglases
*sunglasses

JOE: Corbin, I don’t want to make jokes about this one. Clearly, this came from a man in crisis. We need to find this man’s sunglasses. Many comedians have dark inner lives and right now Mr. Karmel’s is a bit too brightly lit. The clues here are in his type-ohs. Let’s examine the first one, “subnglasses.”

CORBIN: Probably indicates that they are on a submarine.

JOE: Or a submarine sandwich, maybe one that was served on a submarine. Maybe the Blueback down at OMSI. Do they serve sandwiches?

CORBIN: No, but they do serve comfort food cooked by southern women who call young men, like Mr. Karmel here, “Sug.”

JOE: And a summer day in which he would wearing sunglasses might take him to OMSI, a place many summer loves have been kindled. Yet the most revealing part of this email is that not only did he start by typing his message into the subject line, but then when he made a mistake, he didn’t delete it. He just typed the correction in the message field, then made another mistake and did the same thing, again not going back to delete it. Clearly, this is a man who lives his life fast, like a meteor hurtling through the atmosphere, a fireball that doesn’t look back. So while he probably left his former sunglasses at OMSI, probably on the submarine, those sunglasses are in the past, behind him, and so they are no longer his. His sunglasses must be in front of him, not yet purchased, sitting on the rack at a 711 out towards Gresham, the ones with flames shooting down the sides, of course, just like he lives his life.

CORBIN: The life of a road comedian. Tragic stuff.

(HEY if you want us to answer YOUR QUESTION about the Blazers or whatever (Corbin know a lot about plant maintenance, for instance.), shoot us an email at portlandroundballsociety@gmail.com

 

A NOTE OF THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND SOME ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Lewandowski

Hello everyone,

 

I’ve been meaning to write a note of thanks to all of you for supporting our site over the course of this past season, so here it is: Thanks! When I took over this site in August, there had been many talented writers who had written in this space – some of whom had gone on to much cooler things – but we had just lost our ESPN affiliation and while I was happy to keep writing stuff here and see what happened, I had no idea how long it would last and honestly, I didn’t expect it to get through the end of the season. Fortunately, we were #blessed with a really fun year of the Blazers to write about, as at least my writing here soon moved from actually trying to recap games and provide serious insights to instead attempting to capture the experience of Blazer fandom (something I know a lot more about) with each game of the season as a different window into that experience. Yet even as fun as the season quickly became, I still would not have lasted running this blog without Corbin joining the cause, as well as the contributions of Grady O’Brien, Lindsay Mills, Jack Ward, Tron Burgundy, Gage Hamilton, and the Rip Citizens squad.

So big thanks to everyone – you/them/us/everyone on Twitter for joining in our nonsensical in-game conversations/the people that linked to our stuff (Blazer’s Edge, Ball Don’t Lie, Willamette Week for including us on the list of 26 Reasons to Love Portland, etc.) – for allowing us to find, survive, and grow in this fun weird niche of the Blazers mediasphere.

 

As for the offseason, we’ll be doing our best to keep it all going through the draft, Summer League, and not to mention the upcoming revolution spearheaded by Corbin Smith that y’all will find yourselves so enveloped in so very soon. My presence might get a little sparser around these parts, as I’ll be working on a separate project for most of June and into July (and no, contrary to several reports, it is not the proposed site within ESPN.com in which Corbin and I write semi-fictional accounts of us playing Subbuteo with various historical dictators). Then at the end of July, I’m moving to New York to go to graduate school, so while I’ll still be around here, hopefully still running the site and writing periodically, I won’t be able to write nearly as much as I did this past season which brings me to my last announcement…

We need some more writers! If you like us or don’t like us and just like writing stuff about the Blazers, please email me at the portlandroundballsociety@gmail.com address. If you have clips, send those too. If you don’t have clips, no worries, email me anyway. And don’t feel the need to be funny or weird or caps-locked or include dragon references or anything else, we’re just looking for talented people who can write in whatever way comes naturally to them, so long as it’s interesting and engaging and vaguely related to the Blazers. Unfortunately we can’t pay you in anything more than smiley emoticons, but once you get beyond the rookie phase in which Corbin stands over you and shouts random obscenities as you try to compose paragraphs while I glare a Sheedian glare at you through Skype dressed in a full Walt Williams outfit complete with high socks—after that phase—you will have so much fun! I promise!

GAME 5, SPURS 104 – TRAIL BLAZERS 82: KING OF COUNTRY

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curtain-call-baseballcurtain-call---wikipedia-the-free-encyclopedia-4tocrrvj

OH GOD THEY LOST OH NO THE SEASON IS OVER WHAT DO WE DO NOW YOU MEAN WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO TURN OFF OUR TELEVISIONS AND INTERNET MACHINES AND SPEND TIME WITH OUR FRAMILIES EVEN THE HAMSTER IN THE PLASTIC BALL BUT CMON THE PLASTIC BALL IS SUCH A PHYSICAL BARRIER IN OUR RELATIONSHIP AND A CLEARLY ANTISOCIAL LIFE CHOICE HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT US HOW CAN WE BRING HIM INTO OUR LIVES WHEN HE WOULD RATHER LIVE ALONE IN A PLASTIC BALL AND WHAT ABOUT MY EARL WATSON PAPER MACHE EFFIGIES I SUPPOSE WE HAVE TO GIVE UP CRAFTING NOW TOO IS THERE ANYTHING IN OUR WORLD THAT CAN STAY OH SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP I DON’T WANNA HEAR ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS OR YOUR UNHEALTHY PAPER MACHE FIXATION WITH EARL WATSON I JUST WANNA YOLO BLOW THIS THING OUT FOR ONE LAST TIME FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOOD TIMES AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE JOURNEY AND FOR THE SAKE OF WILL BARTON ALLOWING US TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH HIS KALEIDOSCOPE EYES WORD TO RAY HUDSON AND FOR THE SAKE OF LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE GOING ALL REVERSE PETER PAN AND CUTTING LOOSE FROM THE SHADOW OF POTENTIAL AND FOR THE SAKE OF ALL OF US DIPPING OUR SOULS IN THE EXCEPTIONALLY WET AND HOLY WATERS OF THE RIVER DAMIAN LILLARD FOR A MAGICAL 0.9 SECOND CLEANSING AND FOR THE SAKE OF THE LATE DOCTOR JACK RAMSAY.

RATHER THAN FOCUS ON THE BLAZERS COMPLETELY FALLING APART IN THE SECOND HALF AT THE HANDS OF A SPURS SIDE SANS TONY PARKER OR THAT THE SPURS’ TWO LEADING SCORERS WERE DANNY GREEN AND KAWHI LEONARD FOLLOWED BY PATTY MILLS WHO SPENDS MOST OF HIS OFFSEASON TIME PLAYING LUTE IN A MIDIEVEL THEMED BEYONCE COVER BAND CALLED “SERF BORED” OH GOD TWO HORRIFIC PUNS IN THE SAME JOKE DELETE DELETE DELETE IS IT DEAD YET DELETE DELETE MOVE ON QUICKLY SO ANYWAYS INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON ALL THAT STUFF LET’S ENJOY THAT WE GOT TO WATCH KAWHI DO SPECTACULAR THINGS ON A BASKETBALL COURT AND SEE SOME FINE PERFORMANCES FROM THE BLAZERS LIKE NICOLAS BATUM HAD 12 REBOUNDS AND LILLARD HAD 10 ASSISTS AND UH WAIT GIMME SEC UH SCANNING THROUGH HERE UH IS 5-19 THREE-POINT SHOOTING GOOD UH HOLD ON UH WELL ANYWAYS WHO CARES ABOUT ONE GAME ANYWAY IT WAS AN AWESOME SEASON SO LET’S JUST CELEBRATE THAT INSTEAD I MEAN HOW MANY OF YOU GUYS THAT WATCHED LAST SEASON OR EVEN SUMMER LEAGUE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED THAT THE BLAZERS WOULD WIN A FIRST ROUND SERIES AND THEN WIN A SECOND ROUND PLAYOFF GAME AGAINST THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS BEHIND A FANTASTIC GAME FROM WILL BARTON AND REMEMBER EARLIER IN THE SEASON WHEN THE BLAZERS WERE THE BEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE OH MAN LET’S JUST TAKE A MOMENT ON THAT ONE AND IMAGINE EACH OTHER IMAGINING IT LIKE WE’RE ALL LOOKING UP AT THE SAME MOON.

I WILL END HERE BY MAINTAINING MY STANCE THAT THE CITY OF PORTLAND SHOULD HOLD A PARADE FOR THIS TEAM BECAUSE PARADES SHOULD NOT BE RESERVED ONLY FOR CHAMPIONSHIPS BECAUSE CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE AN UNFAIR CAPITALIST DECIDER OF SUCCESS BECAUSE SUCCESS SHOULD BE MEASURED BY FULFILLING POTENTIAL AND CREATING JOY AND CONTENTMENT AND MAN OH MAN THERE WAS MORE JOY AND CONTENTMENT AROUND HERE THIS SEASON THAN THE LAST TWO SEASONS COMBINED BECAUSE WE GOT TO WATCH A BASKETBALL TEAM FINALLY BLOSSOM INTO A BEAUTIFUL ORCHID FLOWER OF ENLIGHTENMENT AFTER YEARS OF FRUSTRATING CULTIVATION SO YEAH LISTEN UP MAYOR WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE MAKE BIG FLOWER FLOATS OR ANYTHING THIS ISN’T THE ROSE PARADE BUT IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU GOT SOME CONVERTIBLES OR BICYCLES OR EVEN THE PLAYERS COULD JUST WALK DOWN A STREET AND WE COULD APPLAUD THEM AND THEN WE COULD ALL GO OUT FOR FROZEN YOGURT AFTERWARDS AND REMINISCE ON THE SEASON AND IF YOU OPPOSE THAT IDEA THEN YOU ARE A TROPHY ELITIST AND AN OPPRESSOR OF THE NATURAL SYMBIOSIS OF BASKETBALL AND FROZEN YOGURT BECAUSE AS THE BLAZERS SHOWED THIS YEAR YOU DON’T NEED A SUPPOSED FROZEN YOGURT EXPERT TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO YOU CAN GO INTO THAT BAR AND BLEND FLAVORS HOWEVER YOU WANT THEN SHOWER THE BOWL WITH ANY MIX OF TEDDY GRAHAMS AND SPRINKLES AND CRUMBLED OREOS AND FRUIT AND EVEN THE WEIRD SYRUPS AND WHATEVER ELSE BECAUSE IN FROZEN YOGURT AS IN BASKETBALL AS IN LIFE IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOUR CONCOCTION YOU’RE THE ONE EATING IT SO ONLY YOU NEED TO ENJOY IT and just like that the clock ran out and we all turned into pumpkins.