mikebarrett

Sep 30

All Business at Camp

By mikebarrett
NBA training camps are so short, and things are so condensed, that practice sometimes feels like a race.  Nate McMillan is a coach who has a definite practice plan and usually has it on a piece of paper stuck into the back of his pants.  Between each drill, and each session, time is put on the clock.  Whether the team is broken into groups, or working together, the sound of the horn means it's immediately off to the next item on the list.

Once in a while Nate will yell out "take a minute," and that means the players can grab a towel or hit the Gatorade cooler.  But even those breaks are very brief, and then it's off to the next thing. 

To help get the most stuff in, in the shortest amount of time, teams are allowed two practices a day for the first few days of camp.  We're now through three days of two-a-days.  McMillan's camps are always no nonsense and intense, but these practices have seemed even more intense than usual. 

Not wanting to simply trust my own judgement, I asked Nicolas Batum after Thursday's early session if I was seeing things, or if indeed they have been grinding very hard.  He wasn't complaining, but said it has been brutal.  I then reminded him that he didn't get much time off over the summer, and just recently was playing for the French National team in the World Championships.  He agreed, and said that's certainly been a factor.  Maybe more mentally punishing than physically, he added.  But, he smiled and ended that conversation with, "I'm ready though.  Bring it on."

I've stated that it's very easy to get excited watching the practices so far, and that I can get carried away with my assessment of certain players from time to time.  But, Batum is a rising star in this league, and several scouts (two from other teams) have told me that he's going to be an all-star eventually.  That's hardly news, but it probably doesn't hurt to repeat it.  

A few random observations from camp over the last couple of days:

-Wesley Matthews has the potential to be a leader on this team.  He doesn't look like a second-year player.  He's physically imposing, very polished, and has an amazing work ethic.  He's one of those guys who they have to chase off the floor well after practice ends.  His story is so amazing and I'm not sure it's been told enough.  A year ago at this time he was an undrafted rookie who faced a tough task- convincing Jerry Sloan he belonged in this league.  One year later and he's got a very large, guaranteed contract.  I told Matthews that Brandon Roy has said the best part of having him on this team is that he no longer has to face him when the Blazers play Utah.  Matthews, without missing a beat, said, "yeah, but he still has to face me everyday in practice."  That's what you want to hear.  He'll make everyone better.  Don't be shocked to see Matthews playing some point guard, and initiating the offense at times this season.

-Despite what Rudy Fernandez said at media day on Monday, he's acted like an absolute pro since.  Wednesday he had the most impressive blocked shot of camp so far, but took a nasty fall in the process and landed right on his back.  Thursday he was back on the court, busting his tail, and even appeared to be having fun with his teammates.  He did a lot smiling, and played well.  I'm not sure how this story is going to end, but for now he's handling things the right way.

-I expected Joel Przybilla to be in good shape, and to be far along in his rehab when camp began.  But, I didn't expect to see him throwing down jams and taking part in just about everything the team is doing in camp.  But, that's what has been happening so far.  You know who that's rubbing off on?  Greg Oden, who himself had a nice drop-step jam on Thursday.  I don't know what the timeline is for either of these guys, but I can tell you that they're making progress.  Oden looked much, much better on Thursday than he did on Wednesday, and did a lot more.  As for Joel, this is the first basketball he's played all summer, and I can tell he's pretty happy with himself so far.

-Coach McMillan definitely falls in love with certain players.  He doesn't say it, but you can tell when he finds a guy who embodies what he's trying to teach.  It's early, but rookie Armon Johnson is potentially one of these "Nate guys."  Johnson is vocal, physical, and competes extremely hard.  Oh, and he plays tough D.  Always necessary if you want to be on Nate's list.

-The best dunker on this Portland team?  Ask the players, any of the players, and they'll give you one name without pausing to think about it- Eliot Williams.  Eliot told me a story today about how he went up for a dunk last year in a college practice and cut his head on the rim.  I said, "oh, you pulled yourself up and banged your head?"  Uh, no.  He said he went after a lob pass, lost track of where he was, and hit his forehead while catching the ball (keep in mind he's not quite 6'5").  McMillan said "it's scary" how high Williams gets up.  Brandon Roy said after practice that Williams is going to eventually have about three pages of YouTube highlights.  Williams though is already tiring of answering questions about his leaping ability.  He handles it well, but wants to show that he's got more than just that. 

The Wells Fargo Fan Fest is Friday night at the Rose Garden.  Don't take your eyes off Williams during the layup drills.  You'll see what we've all been talking about.  Yes, he knows we're all expecting to see his stuff.

See you at the Fan Fest.  Should be interesting.


Next Story: Courtside Recap

75 Comments

  1. MB, thanx for keeping us excited and current.

    by DowntownVinnie on 9/30/2010 10:13 PM
  2. Mike: I was just reading everything on the Blazers and found out you wrote a new blog: Anyway thank you for your update on the practices.

    I am glad Nic is ready and waiting. Oh have I told you he is becoming my favorite player, along with BRoy, LMA, GREG, and although Dre is the starting PG (sorry Vinnie). I am getting excited about ArmonHammer. Not to mention Williams, Babbitt, Dante, and WESTLEY.

    BTW, I read that ARMONHAMMER is going to show everybody at Fan Fest that he is the number one dunker on the team, Not JBay or Elliot. I'm going to miss Fan Fest; it is on the wrong day and wrong time. Nevertheless, I will be waiting for your update and filling me in.

    Reading about Greg and Joel taking more and more part in the practices are very exciting. I know it doesn't mean they will be released to play any sooner, but getting their rhythm, getting in BB shape, and comradeship is very important and will add to their worth when they are released to play.

    BTW, you haven’t mentioned Camby or Dre much, I know they are old hats but they are going to be very important for our team in short term play and long term development of our young player; do you think Camby can hold down the fort until Greg and Joel gets back. I know he has Jeff and LMA to back him up, but Jeff is young and LMA has his hands full at PF.

    It sounds like I am going to have to re-arrange my fantasy line-up and put Matthews at PG instead of BRoy. That is ok with me as long as we can have short looks at BRoy, Nic and Matthews on the floor at the same time.

    I am not leaving JBay out of my picture; I just don’t know where he stands in the line-up. If Matthews is that good and plays PG behind Dre, maybe JBay can go back to backing up the 2 guard, pending on Rudy.

    Everybody knows that I am down on Rudy, but never because of his playing ability, but because of his trouble making attitude. That is because I am afraid he is too much of a distraction to the rest of the team. Maybe he just wants the attention from the media and doesn’t care if it is good or bad. Nevertheless, I have been preaching patience when it comes to how far we can go and the development of the team, so I best practice what I preach and develop patience with Rudy.

    Ancientone, have you eaten your sandwich yet?

    Let the Games begin starting with Fan-Fest tonight.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/1/2010 4:04 AM
  3. Beyond the Beat talks about last years"Vinnies Choice"
    http://www.beyondthebeat.net/20100928575/2010-articles/september/dante-cunningham-is-ready-for-an-increased-role-with-portland.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/1/2010 6:26 AM
  4. Vinnie:

    Great article on Dante. He is one of the players that you are always glad he has your back

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/1/2010 8:11 AM
  5. MB, Thanks for getting some words from Batum--believe me, I am right there with you on Nicolas becoming a star in the NBA. Obviously, we're not alone on this. I just caught the OLive video from media day...

    http://videos.oregonlive.com/oregonlive/2010/09/trail_blazers_media_day_nicola.html

    ...and it looks like he's keeping a cool head about his rapidly growing reputation and maintaining his focus on defense. Of course he's working on being more aggressive on offense, but he recognizes that "D" is his calling card and he shouldn't abandon that now that he's getting a little more of the spotlight.

    I am so excited for FanFest, I'm about to jump out of my skin. I picked up my ticket yesterday and I plan on lining up a couple hours early. Between this, the pre-season opener, and the season opener, I'll be going to three events this month! That seems crazy to me after a summer where the only news had to do with the front office, and three international players. It really does get started in a hurry.

    by 500Dogs on 10/1/2010 8:36 AM
  6. Hey again Mike - Great post.

    Gotta love that attitude, as you said, that Wesley Matthews showed in that interview - going to be really exciting to see what he does on the court for us - albeit, it'll be highlights for me early in the morning here in Europe :-( Can't wait til December - when I'll be home and to catch a game (it's been more than a year since I've watched a game properly, if you don't count watching on the 'net.

    Armon - good to hear that he plays tough D. I always think, if we don't get a basket, we have to at least make up for it with good D, especially late in games and also, after tough D, you gotta score on the other end, so hope we make improvements in both those dept's.

    Oooo, can't wait to see the dunks from Eliot. I hope there will be some highlights floating around afterwards that I can access.

    As always, thanks Mike and to the rest of the fans, peace from a Portlander in Prague (last year!).

    by Anees on 10/1/2010 11:47 AM
  7. Nice post MB. Could Nate see some of himself in AJ ?
    Can't wait to see AJ and EW at fan fest today !
    Go Blazers !!!!

    by Kim~ on 10/1/2010 12:30 PM
  8. Good to see Rudy has a decent attitude and Oden looks very very happy.

    by Herr on 10/1/2010 1:44 PM
  9. Predictions for Rudy at fanfest... cheers or jeers,whadya think?.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/1/2010 2:00 PM
  10. Cheers. Portland fans aren't too cruel. Rudy has some plans, but as long as he is wearing a Portland uniform and playing his heart out, I'm sure Portland fans will be okay with that.

    I'm starting to think he'll play this season, prove himself to other teams, and go before the trade deadline. He looked good in photos and videos of the training camps, so I think he'll play well and have fun.

    by Herr on 10/1/2010 5:11 PM
  11. Nooooooo! I just made a large comment and got a error posting it!

    Ok, try again.

    MB,

    It is easier on Batum in the respect he has played during the summer so is in shape at least.

    You posted exactly what I said in my last comment in your last blog about Rudy and how well he's been playing and how's he's been very professional on the court and with his teammates.

    I got cable internet Monday and what a great time to get it! I watched a 47 min video from practice with interviews and in the background Babbitt and Wesley going at it shooting 3s. While Wesley did surprisingly good considering he's suppose to be a defensive stopper, Babbitt had the best of him many times hitting 6 or 7 in a row.

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    I think I'll copy this one just in case that happens again!!

    by mgb on 10/1/2010 5:32 PM
  12. Good think I copied that because I got the same error a few times in a row. Made a feedback comment about the bug and now it works.

    I'm happy to say Rudy got mostly cheers, some rudy's, and a couple boos.

    Funny, most they ask how did it feel to be back in camp, but not Rudy. :)

    Nice seeing all the practice before the game.

    by mgb on 10/1/2010 5:34 PM
  13. Okay, so Fan Fest was entertaining, but a little longer than I expected. My kids drove me NUTS!

    So.....Kassandra, I think you are going to find that Wesley Matthews is the real, straight-up deal. I know you want to see it with your own eyes, but trust me...we are all going to be very happy with him. He put BOTH Nico and Brandon through it tonight. His defense is something else, but when he started off hitting THREES and just kept racking up points, my oldest started going, "WHO is THAT guy?? I want HIS jersey!" I think it says something about his moxie that he went out, first time as a Blazer in the RG, and got MVP, with the most points on the winning squad. Brandon just kept shaking his head in the first quarter when Welsey hit shot after shot over him. Seriously, he is going to make Roy and Batum better players....and that's saying something.

    Brandon looked great out there. Smooth, quick....NATURAL. It was nice to see him back in good form, and not having the ball in his hands all the time. I don't remember seeing much ISO, so that was nice. Even with Wesley all over him half the time, he still managed to bang out the 2nd most points.

    Elliot Williams was a total surprise. I mean, we all knew about his vertical, but who expected him to come out and have so many points and rebounds? He was great! He was a little sloppy, but that might have been nerves. His dunk is SWEEEEET!

    LAMARCUS played an INSIDE game, and was the top rebounder. Now, he was the tallest guy out there, but still....he looked good, and the new stuff in the post wasn't just talk. His defense even looked a tiny bit better, which I thought was impossible. He just looked more confident, more sure of himself. What did someone say the other day? Like a MAN. Yep, that's it. And I LIKE the beard!

    It was a lot of fun, when I tuned out my kids and just watched. I tried to be analytical, but was just so happy to be in the RG again, cheering for our guys. Luke has a sweet three, such a smooth shot, and his defense wasn't half bad. Armon was super fun, and I didn't even notice JBay play. Dre was also kinda invisible. Nico looked smooth as glass, and had some killer moments on the break. His ball-handling is much better, and you can see it. Pendy did his hanging on the rim dunks, which are always fun and didn't commit too many dumb fouls. And yes, Rudy was mostly cheered, and did his 3-point thing. Glad he figured out which side the bread is buttered on. Oh, and Dante looked strong, sharp, and seems to have expanded his range on that sweet jumper of his. Also, his hustle is great to see. He actually dove to the ground after a loose ball and slid a few feet, as if it really meant something!

    Man....I love this team. I know a lot of other teams got better this offseason, but you know what? SO DID WE!! And guess what else? THE BIG GUYS WEREN'T EVEN ON THE FLOOR!!!

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by EowynAmarie on 10/1/2010 9:52 PM
  14. i'm so jealous of all of you who saw fan fest. i would have been there if i weren't down here at school.

    it sounds like the rookies were very impressive. from everything i'm reading and seeing, they're hungry. i like hearing of the huslte of guys like Brandon, Dante, LaMarcus, Nicolas and, yes, Wesley. i haven't heard much lately about Andre, Marcus or Jerryd. i'd be curious to hear an update on those guys.

    a while back on the blog, i had stated my gut feeling that either Joel or Greg would be ready for the season opener. at this point that sounds like Joel. he's already as active as he is and this is three-and-a-half weeks before the first game. am i being overly optimistic?

    i'm interested to see what's going to happen with the bench rotation of Jerryd, Wesley and Rudy. toward the beginning of the season, i think Dante will get most of his minutes at pf, basically becoming LaMarcus' main backup. that would seem to clear some minutes at sf and sg. however, when we get Joel and Greg back, the rotation is going to change. if Welsey and Rudy play as well as they seem to have been the past week, i think it's going to difficult for Nate to distribute minutes.

    EowynAmarie: yes, i am waiting to see for myself how
    Wesley does. i like what i'm hearing as to his work ethic and physical conditioning.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/1/2010 11:41 PM
  15. As a fellow blogger with EA I know one thing is for sure, she doesn't lie. I was excited after reading this blog Mike, now I'm even more excited after reading EA's comment! I can't wait for the Blazer season to start.

    One thing that concerns me is our post presence. As much as LMA sounds improved (I'm going to call him LMA whether he likes it or not. The initials LA are too evil to call a Blazer I love), we still have a lot of problems if we don't have Greg Oden or Joel Pryzbilla. The only real problems being... we don't have a gift since we are already blessed with Camby.

    Late January could hurt our chances at getting 2nd seed, where so many people predict us to now be at. Or, it could help us, by having a surprise attack.

    One thing that caught my eye in this blog is hearing All-Star and Batum in the same sentence. Batum is great, but All-Star great? That already passes my expectations, and I believe he could do it. The kids got potential, heart, and talent. I always thought he could be like a LeBron James (without the stupidity), but no more than LMA being a Rasheed.

    We've got an exciting season to look forward to, but one thing is all I want right now, and that's the playoffs. 82 long games until a 7 game series determines if our goal is accomplished or not.

    by Herr on 10/2/2010 2:49 AM
  16. Eowyn Amarie:

    Thank You for your update and terrific run down of all our players. I am glad to hear that most of the players did great.

    I hadn't read much on Batum, I am glad you made mention of him.

    Again thanks for being my eyes at the Fan Fest.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/2/2010 3:42 AM
  17. Although I have shown my dissatisfaction for Rudy, I am glad the fans at the RG showed class and cheered his introduction.

    From all the reading, it sounds like we are in for an exciting season.

    One of the commenter on Or-Live said he was upset seeing Greg with Ice packs on his knee. With patella tendonitis that is a must so I don't worry about that.

    In spite of my worry concerning JBay, he comes through with flying colors.

    It sounds like Mathews might be the missing piece to a championship, but that is to early to tell.

    It is going to be a great year.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/2/2010 8:11 AM
  18. Firstly, thank you blazers.com for putting a "leave a comment" link at the bottom of the page! Great step.

    EA,
    Great analysis. You are spot on about the players, and I only diverge on a couple points. I thought Luke had butterflies last night. In practice, then also during the scrimmage, he seemed to be over-thinking his moves, and was slow to pull the trigger. Now I know he's better than that--I saw the shootout with WesMath in yesterday's training camp video. All the same, my concern with him from the beginning has been that head of his.

    The second point regards the Armon/Bayless analysis. I thought in the practice, Armon was the standout of all the Blazers. He was quick as a cheetah, and had that jumper dialed in. Then in scrimmage, he kept getting ahead of himself. There were a few possessions where he lost the ball bringing it across half court, which caused the offense to stall while he recovered. Also, the jumper disappeared and he saw more rim than net. Perhaps his worst screw-ups came when he was looking to create for himself at the end of the game when Brandon Roy was out there.

    Bayless was the polar opposite, looking for teammates and pushing the ball upcourt immediately. He went 3-4, scoring 12; he snatched 6 rebounds; he dished out 8 assists. There was only one incident where he drove into a sea of defenders without a plan. Otherwise, he played some smart basketball and actually looked like a PG--a tough-as-nails, in-your-face, don't-you-dare-leave-me-open-or-stick-too-close, PG. Quick agrees...

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2010/10/after_pregame_exchange_with_mc.html

    Otherwise, we see eye-to-eye, and it was me that said LMA looks like a man. I thought the best contest of the night was between Patty Mills and Armon Johnson. They were really duking it out for awhile there, with Armon strait-up muscling Patty. He was getting pretty mean, and at a few points I was surprised the refs didn't call a foul. There was one stoppage in particular where they were waiting on an inbounds pass and Armon was just pushing Patty out of bounds over and over, putting him where he wanted him and keeping him there. It kept up until Armon got floored on a lay-up attempt and Patty helped him up. They calmed down after that. Goes to show the power of sportsmanship. I hope Armon learned a lesson there.

    Anyway, great time at FanFest, and remember: You're the sixth man, and the Rose Garden is...

    by 500Dogs on 10/2/2010 10:11 AM
  19. MGB:

    Along with putting the leave a comment at the bottom of the page, they put at the top of a page to submit comments to your E-Mail. so we are set.

    Let the games begin

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/2/2010 10:33 AM
  20. OUR HOUSE!!

    hg,

    Thanks for the heads up on the link to have replies sent by email because I missed it.

    by mgb on 10/2/2010 12:22 PM
  21. random thoughts

    missed fanfest due to a stomach virus

    interesting article from ron-ron, but other interesting info:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5639427

    hearing about wesley must give the other 2 guards in the league reason to cringe. b-roy goes out, then you get wesley. if you're jason richardson, kobe, or other, that has to be a tall order. add in nic, and then there is no way out.

    speaking of nic, keep in mind that wesley's story is similar to batum. unheralded, starting as a rookie, and then looking at a huge ceiling for yourself before others catch on. nic will turn 22 in december. imagine what batum could be at age 25 as we all agree that lamarcus is looking like a man once getting in the quarter century club.

    by on 10/2/2010 12:24 PM Edit
  22. Plus they said Wesley can play PG!

    hg,

    Looks like it just notifies that there has been a new reply, not the reply itself. :(

    by mgb on 10/2/2010 12:29 PM
  23. EMail gets up so effortlessly,like a past Blazers named Drexler.He might have to wear a helmet this year to keep from gettin a bad case of RIMHEAD.

    It's good to hear that JBAY is for real,too.
    Like i said earlier,the biggest problem is finding time for all these players.Poor Sarge!

    500....I'm sure that all the rookies will be a little green at first.I'm sure that the first time at home was bigtime pressure filled for them. I have no doubt they will get their feet under them.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/2/2010 2:18 PM
  24. Um...slight flaw in the email notification system: it just sent me four messages that said to come here to see the new comments. The point of the email deal is to allow us to see the comments in our email inbox, rather than refreshing this page.

    Thanks for working with us.

    by 500Dogs on 10/2/2010 2:31 PM
  25. NOT to go off topic ,but..............GOOOOOOOOOOOOO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    BLAZERSROCK

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/2/2010 2:41 PM
  26. i too like that the 'leave comment' tab at the bottom of the page. i also like the 'subscibe by email' tab too. i haven't seen an email yet in my inbox, but if it shows when a couople comments have been added, that's a good start.

    Vinnie ... sorry buddy, but i have to slightly disagree with you ... GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO STANFORD!!!!!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/2/2010 4:56 PM
  27. Plus they said Wesley can play PG!

    hg,

    Looks like it just notifies that there has been a new reply, not the reply itself. :(

    by mgb on 10/2/2010 5:36 PM
  28. Vinnie,

    Doubt the rookies will get much playing time this year unless, please no, injuries. I heard we might be sending them to minor league.

    I see this is sending duplicates again. I guess that's better than not posting. I've been getting yahoo msgs from groups sent a week ago.

    by mgb on 10/2/2010 5:40 PM
  29. I watched the Fan Feast Encore on CSN. I didn't really like what I saw. To me, the rookies were (way) overhyped and they looked fairly sloppy.

    I did however like LaMarcus and Batum taking it right to the whole. I also loved Brandon and Wesley going at it at the start with the 3 pointers. If Wesley is able to compete like that with Roy, I am very happy. That guy has got a bright future wearing a Blazer uniform.

    It seemed like it was just the all-star game though, so it was hard to contain my frustration of "why did he take that shot?" when it wasn't a good look. So I do hope the regular season isn't this sloppy. Also, did Camby play at all?

    Roy and Miller didn't seem to play too much either, which was disappointing since they are the leaders of the team. But oh well, it was just to hype up the season with cool dunks and plays, although some of them made me worried about expectations.

    I'm a little nervous about this season, mainly because the expectations are so high, and watching the skirmish made me worried a bit.

    by Herr on 10/2/2010 5:56 PM
  30. Kass...Wha ha happened to Stanford? I think that they were crushed under the web foot of a DUCK!!!

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/2/2010 9:26 PM
  31. d-vin,

    will a pair of old school flight goggles do for protecting e-will's head from the rim? i was thinking "helicopter williams" as a nickname even if it is a bit long. he has that freaky ability to go straight up, and keep going. the force is strong with that one.

    there must be visions in coach nate's head. he gets to start andre, brandon, and nic on the perimeter, and then bring his bench of jerryd (especially if he stays focused on on-ball pressure, rebounding & initiating the offense), wesley, and dante (and maybe some rudy). they should be able to do some very great things with pressure defense.

    also, seeing that eric williams (the only center of the camp invitees) was released signals that jeff pendergraph will get a ton of reps at center during the pre-season. camby is out (at least for a bit with a groin strain), and they surely aren't going to ride marcus hard before the season starts with oden & pryz on the mend. that all means we're going to see a ton of lamarcus, dante & jeff.

    SNAKE!

    SNAKE!

    SNAKE!

    SNAKE!

    by reverse on 10/2/2010 10:21 PM
  32. some links i thought were well done:

    http://www.blazersedge.com/2010/9/30/1723288/a-huge-thank-you-to-greg-oden

    i share that view, put yourself in his shoes at that age...

    and, some outside blazer-land perspective:

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2010/10/02/rip-city-mystery/?ls=iref:nbahpt1

    nice to see that the fanfest and the portland crowd got some run at nba.com

    by reverse on 10/2/2010 10:39 PM
  33. a message to rudy

    while the likes of jason quick have been so creative as to write an incredibly juvenile "quit crying" article about boxes of kleenex and such, i have some different advice.

    take it out on your opponents. let this be the season where you use your flashes of brilliance to destroy your opponents. portland and the trailblazers will be with you. be the spark.

    nothing cures what ails like winning!

    travisd

    by reverse on 10/2/2010 10:54 PM
  34. Travisd:

    Thanks for the links on Greg. they were terrific.

    Not bad advise to Rudy either, I hope he reads and heeds

    hg

    by Hg on 10/3/2010 1:32 AM
  35. TD....It'll be good for PenderBender's confidence to get some early time.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/3/2010 9:45 AM
  36. Blazers sounding good...cant wait for this season. Wes sounds like a multidimensional studd. I'm going to say 57 wins...and how about them DUCKS!!

    by Miller on 10/3/2010 1:43 PM
  37. mgb: there's a chance we could send one or any of the rookies down to the d-league during the season. i would think that it would never be more than one at a time, and the rest of our roster would pretty much have to be healthy at that time. i don't know how the team would determine all that, but i think it sounds reasonable.

    vinnie: i seriously don't know what happened to us in the second half last night. it seems like oregon's defensive coordinator always figures out the right changes to make at halftime. they just shut us down; that's all there is to it. no worries though, we'll just take it out on usc next week!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/3/2010 2:54 PM
  38. MB,

    I was just able to catch Courside on demand and you sure got riled about being 'homerish'. :) That was funny!

    Kass,

    You probably are right, but it would be kind of nice if a couple at least went at the same time for companionship. Plus wouldn't it be great to have all three rookies in the starting lineup? My sister lives in Boise so if that happen I'm sure she'd be going to the games.

    by mgb on 10/3/2010 4:59 PM
  39. mgb: i see, you want to see that happen for your sister! it would be interesting to see them play on the floor all at the same time, especially with Elliot's athleticism, and Luke and Armon's familiarity with each other.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/3/2010 5:12 PM
  40. mgb: i see, you want to see that happen for your sister! it would be interesting to see them play on the floor all at the same time, especially with Elliot's athleticism, and Luke and Armon's familiarity with each other.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/3/2010 5:41 PM
  41. Herr: Really? I think perhaps you ARE expecting too much at this point. Try to keep in mind that it was just an intrasquad scrimmage. I know I got pretty excited about what I saw on the floor, and commented on it right away, but I was doing that from a place that was pretty pleased with what I saw, within the context I saw it. Don't be worried. You will see, we are going to do really well. Now, since Greg and Joel aren't back yet, and Camby is a bit DELICATE, we are going to be very weak at center for a bit. But make no mistake, we only got BETTER...and you were pretty happy with how we played most of the time last season :) Oh, and the rookies played pretty good....for ROOKIES!!!

    by EowynAmarie on 10/3/2010 7:22 PM
  42. MB,

    Btw, I should have said you got riled up about being 'accused' of being homerish, not that you were. You only relayed what was told to you by LA's trainer.

    by mgb on 10/3/2010 7:43 PM
  43. That's right, MGB. Our house.

    For those that missed the Fan Fest and plan on making it down to the RG this season, that's the new tradition. The announcer says "You're the sixth man, and the Rose Garden is..." you say, "OUR HOUSE!". It sounded pretty cool, and I imagine on a sell out it'll be deafening.

    There was also a brief "WES-LEY MA-THEWS" chant that went up. Someday I'd love to hear "ALL-EZ NI-CO!". I've heard others call for more Timbers Army style chants at Blazer games, and I'm with 'em. Jerryd's should just be "REX!, REX!, REX!".

    by 500Dogs on 10/3/2010 9:14 PM
  44. EA: I am confident we will do good, but the center position makes me very nervous at this point. If we are to have homecourt advantage, we are going to need our centers.

    As for the scrimmage, the thing that bugged me is our rookies made some rookie decisions. We didn't see enough of LMA, Miller, or Roy besides the start. I'm probably sounding more disappointed then I am (which is close to nothing), but I'm kind of glad I didn't go through the trouble of going there with what I had to do on Friday. I just would like to see a bit more decision making.

    And why can't our defense ALWAYS be like it was during Fan Fest? All players looked like they wanted to prove themselves. I'd like to see that when it matters for the TEAM.

    by Herr on 10/4/2010 1:57 AM
  45. Herr:

    I think your question about defense is also the echo of Nate's and the whole Blazer Nation actually. Nate is practicing and preaching D this year. He said almost exactly as you did. the team would do real good on d for short spurts of some games then drift away from it.

    So maybe they will devote themselves to D this year because they are all saying that D wins championships.

    by Hg on 10/4/2010 6:38 AM
  46. I don't know how many of you have seen this,but it is the true dedication of a fan and a great son.HDAllmon,I salute you!
    He made this item from scratch. I'm trying to get it signed by for her by the team,guess I don't know the right peops:)
    DowntownVinnie.5635@twitpic.com

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/4/2010 7:09 AM
  47. One of the things that helps us play Centerless is that Dre,BRoy.Nic the Stick,LMA,,Matthews all rebound well from their position.Paint defense might be a problem,BUT,if our perimeter is better,we won;t get as much penetration into the paint.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/4/2010 7:39 AM
  48. Vinnie:

    I think you are right on our defense. If LMA plays more down low, won't he be in better position to get rebounds? Anyway, Camby should be back soon and Jeff will get more experience, also Joel and Greg will be back before you know it. I think they will both be back at about the same time.

    Joel's injury has been said to be more server than Greg’s, but that is because of the patella tendon ripped loose will be a life long injury whereas Greg can heal up completely, but they take about the same amount of time to heal, anyway that is what I understand. Maybe Ancientone can shed some light on this.

    Long, Short, I believe our defense will be highly improved this year with Batman’s shoulder healed, BRoy’s training regiment, LMA down low (ya) and of course the maturity of JBay on D and Matthews coming off the bench, That will surely help with our problem with centers.

    Also, I think LMA will have stints at the 5 at times and Dante will be in at the 4, or it was said on BE that Batman might play some four---As Outlaw did, now that he can create his shot, can rebound, learning to post up and play almost every position on D with those long limbs, Well after Pendy softens up the big centers LOL.

    What do you think?

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/4/2010 8:18 AM
  49. hg: your mind seems to lead you in the direction of playing guys out of position quite a bit. while some players might be able to play some other positions (i.e. Brandon at pg, Nicolas at pf), i thnk we have stronger options there.

    i can see Dante playing quite a bit of pf, as he did last year. rather than playing Nicolas at pf, how about we give a few minutes to Luke when we need a third stringer in there? it has been said that he can play the position (as he did in college much of the time), and it could clear out the middle when a bigger post player drifts outside to guard him this would allow guys like Brandon, Jerryd, Nicolas, Wesley and Rudy to drive inside to take advantage of that. the catch here is that we would pretty much need to have Marcus or LaMarcus on the floor for height purposes and experience. this also gives Luke some experience and playing time (hey, let's get our $1.6 million worth!).

    as to Joel and Greg; it appears to me that Joel will be ready sooner. i'm thinking very shortly after the season begins. we've got one center in Marcus, and when Joel returns we'd have two. that's what most teams run with. in that scenario, we'd definitely be able to contend with two centers and when Greg returns, we'd have our three-headed monster.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/4/2010 9:11 AM
  50. Kassandra:

    I was just mentioning that one of the comment posters on Blazer Edge said he thought Batman would play some 4 this year. I didn't think he was big enough body to play the 4 that is why I was asking. Also, as Camby the Canby man is injured as of right now, therefore until Joel or Greg gets back, LMA may have to play the 5. I was more or less wondering about who would play the 4 if that occurs. Luke would be fine with me; I just don't know that much about him. I was more or less talking about the second unit or the first unit if Camby is hurt.

    Do you Think Jeff could carry the load at center and leave LMA at the four?

    It is really not my mind that leads me into playing the guys out of position, It has been discussed that instead of using a 10 guy rotation it might be better to play 8 and use guys at multi-positions. Especially the special unit for crunch time for defense and scoring.

    I think our starting unit is fine, I think JBay at PG, Matthews at the 2 guard on the second unit, but if Rudy sticks around wouldn't Matthews be the SF, and I know Jeff will be the center on the second unit, but until we get some centers back, we need to either play rookies, which isn't Nate's thing, or play guys out of position for the 2nd unit.

    I don't really know who to put where, I just ponder on it a lot.

    hg

    by Hg on 10/4/2010 10:13 AM
  51. okay, i kind of see where you're going there. i was kicking it around in my head for a bit and i've come up with a few conclusions in the event none of our centers are ready opening night/week/etc.

    1. the starting lineup as i see it would be Andre, Brandon, Nicolas, Dante and LaMarcus. the former three would play their natural positions with Dante at pf and LaMarcus at center.

    2. Jeff would be the backup center, and primary center when LaMarcus or Dante are resting.

    3. Luke comes in at times of foul trouble and general relief, and plays pf (don't even worry about him playing sf; Wesley and Rudy would have that covered). Luke would probably only be on the floor when LaMarcus is in in the game at center.

    4. if need be, and if we wanted to go very small, Nicolas could shift to pf. though he's the next logical choice, it's not where the strengths of his offensive game are. i think it would be a waste of his minutes.

    or ....

    A. we could stun the nba -- once again -- and sign Ha Sun Jin and make him Jeff's backup at center with LaMarcus starting at pf. okay, okay, maybe not Ha, but if all three centers are out, it may require us to look at other players (i'm thinking there may be a center from the idaho stampede we would sign until we get some of our big guys back).

    of course, that last option would require us opening up a roster spot ... haven't we been talking for several months now about that?

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/4/2010 1:00 PM
  52. Herr: totally get what you are saying, you just seemed really peeved :) See the rest of my comment below.

    Kassandra: EXACTLY. Today, on the twitter feed, they said the starters in practice were Roy, Miller, Batum, LMA, and Pendy, with the 2nd unit being JBay, Rudy, Wesley (at the 3), Luke (at 4), and Dante at the 5. Seems pretty close to what you were saying. I also agree with you that Joel will be back very soon, far sooner than Greg.....let's call it women's intuition :) And Camby won't be out long. I think they are just being really careful, as everyone is painfully aware of just how thin we are with the bigs. They definitely don't want him to make it worse. He'll be back by the season opener for sure. I don't think we need to be concerned about the 5 for very long, and the 3-headed monster will be in play probably in plenty of time to secure the best seeding we can.

    Has anyone looked at the schedule yet? We start off alright, with the first four games being against the Suns, the Clips, the Knicks, and Chicago (who are still competitors without Boozer). I think all those are teams we can and should beat. The rub is that two of the first 5 are back-to-backs, and only ONE of them is at home. I guess we will get to see right away if the improvements from last year's road game and b2b game stuck or not :) November's a bit tougher, as we play OKC twice, the Hornets twice (don't underestimate them!) and the Lakers, Jazz, and Nuggets (Melo will likely still bethere) once each. We have 3 b2bs (counting the one I mentioned in the opening 5 game stretch), and are home for only 6 of the 14 games that month. We do have one 3-game home stretch though to balance out the 3-game away stretch right before it! One thing's for sure....we didn't start off with a "soft schedule".

    ONLY ONE MORE DAY for REAL COMPETITION!! (sort of)

    GO BLAZERS!!!

    by EowynAmarie on 10/4/2010 1:02 PM
  53. Kass and Hg, it's interesting reading your comments on the lineups. Most likely Nate is thinking the same thing. What will decide the line up, besides who we are playing, will be how well players play different positions as the season goes along.

    I just can't wait until Oden and Joel are back!

    Oh, btw, I always tease Nate when I see him and ask him when is he going to sign Ha back to the team! I had a vision of four or five fans with Ha jerseys on in a row,,,HaHaHaHaHa.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 2:53 PM
  54. Kassandra:

    Thank you for your input, it does sound pretty good. We must remember the coaches and players doesn't feel that expedition games are as important to them as they are to us.

    I hope you are right about Joel being back close to opening. I don't think Greg is to far out either, His draw back at the moment is tendonitis, which is very painful, and comes with the territory of having a major injury, but by not pushing it too hard will it will get better soon.

    Eowyn Ameria:

    I worry about the clippers because they have some pretty good players and if Griffin (or is it Griffith? )is back then he can win many games by himself.
    I also think Chicago is tough, but like you said we are good enough to take them both. Of course Denver and NOH is always dangerous. We have a pretty good record for back to backs. So, we should be OK/

    MGB: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha sounds good

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/4/2010 3:18 PM
  55. Eowyn Ameria:

    When I responded to you, I hadn't read that Boozer broke his hand, your post makes more since now.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/4/2010 3:48 PM
  56. Sure,make us the underdog.
    http://www.hoopsworld.com/teams/Rankings.asp

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/4/2010 4:15 PM
  57. Wow, a flurry of posts! First off, that is great (terrible) news that Boozer busted a mitt. Without a proper center, he scares me.

    Okay, on the potential lineups...

    I do not want Batum playing the 4 under any circumstances. He just doesn't have the bulk and I worry about his shoulder. If he's playing out of position, I want him to be going smaller, where his length and finesse can really create problems for the other team.

    Luke Babbitt has the tools to be a good player, but they are dull tools in desperate need of honing. If any of the Blazers would benefit from a stint in the D League, it's this guy. Heck, throw him and Armon on the Stampede and they'd be undefeated. Right now, I think he'd choke. There's too much going on between his ears. I'm basing this analysis on the SL, FanFest, and practice vids, so I'm prepared (eager) to be proven wrong with a larger sample to draw from.

    Pendergraph impressed me in the FanFest, but I'm hesitant to disregard his disappointing SL showing. If Camby is still hurt, I'm initially drawn to the lineup featuring LMA at 5 and DC at 4. The thing is, Pendergraph will do a lot more to keep the paint clean than the LMA/DC tandem. So I'd be willing to take a chance--especially with Kaman coming to town, who is a pretty dang good center. All the same, Snake better show some restraint, because we all know what happens to centers who get in early foul trouble under Coach Nate...

    by 500Dogs on 10/4/2010 4:32 PM
  58. 500Dogs,

    One encouraging sign with Luke was that he played a lot better in his last game than he did in his first. That showed improvement in a short period of time. He might be able to do the same at the NBA level though as you said a stint in the minors might help him out. One problem he has, just like Dante, is he's a tweener. Not a true SF or PF, but somewhere inbetween. He's going to have problems with the stronger PF and the quicker SF. Of course he should have advantages over both as well. Watching him have that shoot out with Wesley in the 47 min practice vid though has really got me excited to see him playing in games. Unfortunately we probably won't see much of him unless there are injuries. So maybe I should say fortunately we won't see much of him.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 4:56 PM
  59. Btw, in the first sentence of my last reply add 'summer league games'.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 4:58 PM
  60. Vinnie,

    Reading the comment he rank us with the injuries we have, but if we get healthy we might finish second behind the Lakers. I don't think that's to unfair.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 5:01 PM
  61. From Ben @ BEdge...

    "The starting lineup for tomorrow night's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Clippers will be: Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jeff Pendergraph. Nate McMillan anticipates using a relatively normal rotation, but it's the preseason. "We'll probably play a lot of guys tomorrow," McMillan said."

    by 500Dogs on 10/4/2010 5:02 PM
  62. "I want to win," Nicolas Batum said. "We all want to win. And we know what we need to do. If we can play defense and stay together, as 15 guys, then we can do something great this year."

    ...From Joe Freeman's recent article.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2010/10/trail_blazers_add_inspiration.html

    by 500Dogs on 10/4/2010 5:54 PM
  63. I thought it was interesting that Nate said on Courtside he like the combo of Wesley, Rudy, and Bayless I believe it was off the bench.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 7:15 PM
  64. 500Dogs: i don't want nicolas to play pf either. i think he's best at sf. however, at least for some preseason games, we're going to have to go with what we've got, and that makes Nicolas the fifth guy in the pf/center rotation. if we get into foul trouble, we may not have much choice but to put Nicolas in there at pf. and you know what, i don't want to hear one word about trading for ... whatever his name is.

    hg: i don't really care much about exhibition games either. in fact, i see them a chance for us to see some of the younger guys who might not play too much. if we lose the bulk of the preseason games, but accomplish the things Nate wants to accomplish, i'd be fine with that.

    EowynAmarie: the only real difference is Dante starting at center. i think it's a stretch to ask that of him. then again, it'd be nice to see what we have in the event of an emergency. of course, it still sounds like Nate will use the LaMarcus-Dante-Jeff-Luke rotation at those two positions. it should be interesting to watch (that is, if i could actually watch it!).

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/4/2010 7:17 PM
  65. I thought it was interesting that Nate said on Courtside he like the combo of Wesley, Rudy, and Bayless I believe it was off the bench.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 7:31 PM
  66. Fine, Kassandra; I won't say his name. I'll refer to him as You Know Who. Better, I'll go with the French translation: Vous Savez Qui, or VSQ.

    VSQ would definitely help us out here, and thanks for bringing him up--I'd almost forgot. Honestly though, I haven't seen him play so I don't know if he'd be an upgrade over PenderBender at this point. I think he's probably the real deal, but he is on the small side of Center, just like Jeff, but minus the year of pro experience.

    All the same: Rudy for VSQ! Pull the trigger, RiCho!!!

    by 500Dogs on 10/4/2010 7:34 PM
  67. I thought it was interesting that Nate said on Courtside he like the combo of Wesley, Rudy, and Bayless I believe it was off the bench.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 7:50 PM
  68. Nature called before I could finish my thought on the last comment.

    With those three in together one of them are going to have to play SF. Rudy I think can do it and Nate said Wesley can play both guard spots and SF so he can play SF as well.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 7:53 PM
  69. Nature called before I could finish my thought on the last comment.

    With those three in together one of them are going to have to play SF. Rudy I think can do it and Nate said Wesley can play both guard spots and SF so he can play SF as well.

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 8:01 PM
  70. mgb,
    I guess nature hit redial.

    Buuuuuurrrrrrnnnn!!!

    by 500Dogs on 10/4/2010 11:26 PM
  71. Man, are my posts the only ones that get duplicates? I know I'm good, but enough is enough!

    by mgb on 10/4/2010 11:38 PM
  72. Urban word of the day has recognized the Blazer fans.
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=boom%20shakalaka&defid=135425

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/5/2010 6:38 AM
  73. What radio station is the game on?95.5?

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/5/2010 7:11 AM
  74. 500Dogs: i have no idea what your codes for what's-his-name mean, but i would not be opposed to a trade, Rudy for him. my only concern with what's-his-name is that we don't expect too much from him. he might make an adequate backup pf while LaMarcus and Jeff play at center.

    mgb: i've had some duplicate posts as well. i've found that if i post a message, then a few minutes later press 'refresh' then it will post the message again. oh, next time, tell nature to text!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/5/2010 8:02 AM
  75. Kass,

    Thanks for that bit of info. I do refresh once in a while, but I didn't make the connection.

    by mgb on 10/5/2010 8:13 AM
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