mikebarrett

Oct 10

20 Years Of Rice

By mikebarrett Posted in: mikerice, 2010trainingcamp

We’ll get back to recapping exhibition games, making too much of each individual practice, and speculating on the return dates of injured Portland players a little later.  I’ve got to switch things up for a moment.  I have to give a tip of the cap to the one and only Mike Rice, my insanely-popular partner on the TV broadcasts. 

After all, it has now been 20 years since he was hired to be the radio analyst for the team.  This will be his 21st season behind the microphone in Portland.

Maybe you know the story, and maybe you don’t.  Let me take you all the way back.

It was a tryout at the 1991 Blazers Slam n’ Jam at Civic Stadium that helped the team decide to offer the radio-analyst job to Rice.  The team was in need of a new sidekick for Bill Schonely, and four different guys each got one quarter of the exhibition game to show their stuff.  Former NBA referee Earl Strom, former Blazer assistant coach Jack McKinney, former Oregon State standout Mark Radford, and Rice, were in the running for the job.

Marshall Glickman, who was running things for the Blazers at the time, decided to leave the decision up to Schonely.

“Marshall put this all together,” Schonely told me the other day.  “Each guy had a quarter to make their case.  Radford was good, Strom was entertaining, and McKinney would have been fine choice as well.  But, Rice was clearly the best.  He’d had some experience from working at ESPN, and he was the guy.”

So, rather than coming from the very top, the decision was put entirely in the hands of The Schonz.

“Marshall came to me after the game and said ‘you name it- you pick the guy you want.’  I selected Rice and I don’t really know what happened after that.  It’s been 20 years already?  I created a monster!”

Rice packed his bags, moved out to Portland, and the rest is history.  He has worked on the radio broadcasts with The Schonz, Eddie Doucette, and Brian Wheeler.  A few years ago he made the switch to TV, and he’s about to enter his sixth season calling the action by my side.  I should probably say, I’m by his side.

Rice had started in the broadcast booth back in 1987, and worked college games on ESPN, as a regular on the “Big Monday” lineup.  He also worked women’s NCAA regional championship games, the Division II championship game, and high school all-star games.  In 1989, he also started broadcasting for SportsChannel America, as the primary analyst for the World Basketball League.

The WBL was familiar territory for Rice, as he was the head coach of the Youngstown Pride (current OKC coach Scotty Brooks was on the team), and later was their director of basketball operations.

Rice was a very successful high school basketball coach for 13 seasons, and compiled a record of 245-71 (.773).  In 1977 Rice joined the college ranks, as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Duquesne.  He was named the head coach of the Dukes the next season, and led them to a record of 62-49 from 1978-1982.  During that stint, Rice twice earned Eastern Eight “Coach of the Year” honors (having Norm Nixon on his team didn’t hurt).  In 1982, Rice moved on to Youngstown State, where he led the Penguins to a 20-win season, and twice reached the title game in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Yes, he also played the game, earning honorable mention All-America honors at Duquesne, and leading his team to a third-place national ranking.  After college, Rice was selected in the eighth round of the 1962 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons.  We’ve given him a hard time about being an eighth-round pick from time to time, but as he correctly points out, given the number of teams in the league back then, his draft position basically equates to him behind a second-round pick today.  He went the coaching route instead.
Rice’s wife, Kathy, is a former standout on the Duquesne women’s basketball team.

Mike and Kathy have a great marriage, even after all these years, and have raised very successful children.  They have two daughters, Susan and Stephanie, who both graduated from Syracuse University, and were college tennis players (one is still a tennis pro).  Their son, Mike, played college basketball at Fordham in New York, and then decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Mike, Jr. has been an assistant coach at Fordham, Marquette, Niagara, St. Joseph’s, and Pittsburgh.  He then served as the head coach at Robert Morris, leading them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, and a near upset of Villanova in the first round of last year’s tourney.  Over the summer, Mike accepted the head coaching job at Rutgers, and is about to begin his first season in New Jersey.  He’s just as competitive as his old man, and obviously has quickly made his way up the college-coaching ladder.  He had a good teacher.  My dad was also a coach, and I’m almost exactly the same age is Mike, Jr.  That’s probably one of the reasons we get along so well.

As many people know, Rice doesn’t like sitting still.  For a guy in his 70s (he doesn’t like to talk about his age so I won’t go too specific) his activity level is pretty remarkable.  He plays either tennis or golf nearly every day, despite multiple knee surgeries (nine, to be exact, on his right knee).  He’s become one of the most well-known media personalities in the Northwest, and is adored by Trail Blazer fans.

Rice has an enthusiasm for the NBA game that is practically unmatched, and a knowledge of the game that is the envy of his peers.  He’s also as intense a competitor as you will find, even if that passion has gotten him in trouble at times.  If he thinks someone has gotten the better of him, or the better of the team he loves, look out.  Perhaps it’s a mother-hen complex, I’m not sure.

 As many people know, Rice holds the distinction of being the only radio analyst in NBA history to have been ejected from a game.  He happily recounts the famous night in Indiana to anyone who asks.  Steve Javie still doesn’t care to talk about it, but Rice wears it like a badge of courage.  It’s been like 15 years since it happened.  Terry Porter was there that night and also loves to tell the story.

We’ve joked on the air before that Rice has gotten close to getting tossed since then, but that’s not really true.  The fact is, from what I’ve seen, he’s got a lot of friends in the officiating business.  Some of the more veteran NBA refs, the ones who have really been around a while, always come by to greet him before games.  Bob Delaney’s usual move is to come by our broadcast position before games and sarcastically toss Rice his whistle.
While we’ve long threatened to organize a “Rice Roast,” (Wheels’ idea) and could probably sell tickets, I’m taking a different road in this blog.  The man deserves to be honored, and I just wanted to use this forum to let you guys know that he’s hit the big 2-0 with the franchise.

Despite the fact that Rice is a larger-than-life character, and certainly brings his own unique style to the broadcasts, there’s one fact that I think is undisputable- he’s a very, very good analyst.  I’ve been around the game of basketball my entire life and he still sees things that amaze me.  I’m not alone in that.

You might be surprised to know, many times over the years, I’ve seen Blazer coaches (yes, at times, the head coach) take Rice aside to get his take on things.  Former Blazer assistant Jim Lynam told me, a couple of seasons ago, that when he wants to get a scouting report on the Blazers, and wants to know what’s going on with the team, he turns the volume up on one of our broadcasts (on League Pass) and listens to Rice.

I get a lot of Blazer-related questions when I’m out in public, as you might expect, but one of the most frequently-asked questions is, “what’s it like to work with Rice?”  That’s usually followed up with, “is he same off the air as he is on the air?”  The first answer is, obviously, it’s fantastic.  The second answer- he’s exactly the same on and off the air.  We talk basketball constantly.  It would amaze you (and probably bore you to tears).  Sometimes it’s a late-night phone call out of the blue, or it’s a three-hour conversation on a long flight.

This is also true, and maybe a little odd, but he’s one of my best friends.  I know, he’s 30+ years my senior, but I’ll always regard these years working with Rice, no matter what the future holds, as “the good old days.”

Seriously, I could go on and on and on.  But, the main reason for bringing this up is to congratulate the “Wild One” on 20 years in the chair. I hope there are many more to come.

Here's a quick video of some Rice moments from the last couple of seasons.  Thanks to Jeff Curtin and John Lukrofka for putting it together.


73 Comments

  1. I enjoy rice as an announser and am looking forward to the next season with his commantary. whens one of the preseason games going to be on tv?

    by Miller on 10/10/2010 6:46 PM
  2. great clip; though i don't recall seeing any rice in that red lobster ad!

    Rice is a huge reason i have enjoyed watching my hometown blazers. happy anniversary, Mr. Rice!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/10/2010 7:25 PM
  3. rice is the man! he's a crazy die hard fan and i love it!

    by thedanman on 10/10/2010 8:44 PM
  4. Great tribute to a great Man. I have loved the wild one for the whole 20 years.

    I had a feeling you to were great friends on and off the court. That makes Mike and Mike even more precious. Let's keep it going for many years to come.

    Thanks Mike Rice for 20 years and Thanks Mike Barratt for putting up with him LOL.

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/10/2010 8:57 PM
  5. Thanx ,mike.that was great, hope to see you guys tonight vs Utah.I love the Mike and Mike "Odd Couple" pairing.You two compliment each other so well.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/11/2010 6:10 AM
  6. Nice tribute! Love listening to Rice during the games!

    by RedRudy5 on 10/11/2010 9:33 AM
  7. Mike who?

    Kidding aside, you guys make a great team and keep it real that this is more than just a team and a game.

    Thanks Senior Rice for your love of the game and that rare commodity in media today- being yourself.

    by ralphzillo on 10/11/2010 10:17 AM
  8. What a great article. I love knowing more about the crazed Mr. Rice and his background. Thanks for sharing all of this.

    by kaemicha on 10/11/2010 11:36 AM
  9. Nothing against Mike Rice. I'm sure he's a great person off the air. But his commentaries are just HORRIBLE.

    by snss94 on 10/11/2010 11:40 AM
  10. I <3 the wild one !!

    by Kim~ on 10/11/2010 2:51 PM
  11. I recall a few summers ago at a STH BBQ when I got there Rice was directing traffic. Surprise me that the Blazers had him doing that. I'm in a wheelchair and needed a spot near the event and he had one saved just for me right in front. I never had a chance to thank him, but maybe you can pass along my thanks MB.

    by mgb on 10/11/2010 4:13 PM
  12. Love the blog.


    However, I don't love seeing Rudy fined 50k for making more stupid comments.

    by Herr on 10/11/2010 4:58 PM
  13. What a class act Mike Barrett! The two of you are a great team and you both do a great job!

    by kogotch8 on 10/11/2010 6:25 PM
  14. Thanks Mike, my family loves The Wild One! I watched the video above and thought it would have been great to have seen the clip of my sister and I standing next to him with our homemade I ♥ Mike Rice shirts :-)

    by Stoopid on 10/11/2010 7:43 PM
  15. I'd wait for the new blog but I'm about to hit the pillow. Anyways, tonights game sounded awful. The refs blew their whistle every five seconds. It sounded like the NBA Finals Game 7 where the Blazers were Boston and the Jazz the Lakers. Just ridiculous. Supposedly these refs might be from D-League. . . they need to stay there, because the last thing the NBA needs is trigger happy refs.

    Honestly, after having to listen to Wheeler the second half of last season unless I got invited to a friends house, I've never seen him sound more annoyed with the refs, and this is the PRE-SEASON.

    I don't think Utah has our number, they just expose the Blazers... how do I make this sound right... inexperience? How many times did they get to the foul line compared to the Blazers? And how many rebounds did they get?

    I can't judge much, as I did not get to watch the game (obviously), but it really sounds like we're sitting there expecting the ball to land in our hands. When I play basketball, as a 6 footer, I go for every rebound even if it bounces way out of bounds. I go for it. Why can't someone getting paid money to play go for it?

    I'm not too concerned, but there is some concern, about Miller and Roy. Miller was the savior of the 2009-2010 Blazer season, yet he seems to not be there. Roy is an All-Star? From the sounds of it, Rudy is a Superstar compared to Roy.

    Again I know it's the pre-season, but it sounded like the Jazz at least had some care to make themselves look respectable, while the Blazers that are "suppose to get past the first round", are more interested picking chips of paint in the backcourt. Some more effort PLEASE.

    Just my two cents while I've got the adrenaline and frustration working.

    by Herr on 10/11/2010 9:37 PM
  16. i've some catching up to do...


    thoughts and well wishes to jeff pendergraph.

    hopefully he will not be waived!


    welcome to steven hill, even if it only is for a couple weeks.


    as for tonight's game...


    if this had been a regular season game, lamarcus could have sent millsap off with 6 fouls. aldridge was way too much for paul. if he averages anywhere near 14 fts, he'll get 20pts a game easily.

    jerryd, rudy, wesley and dante are quite the bench mob. once joel joins them, that is one heck of a hustle crew.

    elliot williams needs more PT to get the jitters out. he and luke need to get up to speed while maintaining control.

    marcus looked cat-like quick to start the game, which was really impressive.


    lastly, i vote no on erick dampier and dj mbenga.

    by reverse on 10/11/2010 10:48 PM
  17. It was a fun game to got to.a little fuzzy today:)Utah just seems to own us for some reason.MB

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/12/2010 8:13 AM
  18. MBThanx for taking time to say hello and take a pic with me appreciate it.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/12/2010 8:16 AM
  19. some more random thoughts as things move along

    there was some brief discussion of nic batum on the radio last night. batum, who frequently draws the scottie pippen comparison is still younger than pippen was entering the league. i bring this up because it wasn't until he was 25 that scottie started to play like the SCOTTIE PIPPEN that everyone remembers. nic has a few more seasons (as in 2-3 full years) to begin to arrive at such lofty expectations. his chances at getting there alongside brandon & wesley are intriguing.

    the jazz will have some interesting options moving ahead. with boozer, they were limited by his and millsap's collective lack of size. with al jefferson, fesenko and millsap at small forward, they could match-up better with gasol, bynum and artest. their propensity toward playing a center with a point and 3 wing players could be modified for the playoffs. raja bell looked active, and they could be very good this season.

    seeing DC willing to battle kyrylo fesenko was impressive. he was giving up half a foot in height, 50lbs in weight, and kept going at him. steven hill won't be getting dante's minutes;)

    and, watching wesley defend deron williams was interesting. no one can really shut williams down that i've seen, but he looked challenged by matthews. it was a good sign that he may be able to disrupt their offense when it counts.

    by reverse on 10/12/2010 12:22 PM
  20. Best Rice fans I've seen had homemade shirts that said, "Mike Rice owes my mom child support".

    Happy 2nd decade, Mike. They should give you a number when you call it quits and hang that puppy up in the rafters. It's the least you deserve for all these years of unswerving loyalty.

    Here's to what'll be your best season yet. I can smell it.

    by 500Dogs on 10/12/2010 1:41 PM
  21. i was a little surprised that Nate didn't play Luke a little longer. i thought Marcus had a nice game; seven rebounds, three steals (or was it four?) and five blocks to go with his four points (on 2-4 shooting). he only played half the game, but i think he'll be a factor when we start playing for real.

    Dante continues to impress, though it was through defense and athleticism rather than on the scoreboard. Rudy is still hitting treys. though i heard Wesley could play pg, i didn't realize he was actually doing it until Wheels mentioned it. that's something i think works much better for us on the defensive end than the offensive end.

    LaMarcus showed last night that he'll be just fine when the regular season starts; nice shooting from the line for a big guy. i'd like to see Brandon play offense in each half. yep, i'd really like to see that!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 10/12/2010 1:44 PM
  22. I just wanted to say that MB is every bit the nice guy we see on tv.He took the time to talk a little ball and stuff.And a geat pic,too.thanx again.MB, you are a class act . http://twitpic.com/2x0uh2

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 6:32 AM
  23. i didn't get to watch all of Courtside last night.

    MB,Do you think that the starters slow start is just a preseason thing.It just seems like the second unit is playing with superb energy.But the starters are playing quite pedestrian in my eyes, so far.Just curious

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 6:36 AM
  24. Allen Iverson talks turkey.http://tinyurl.com/22mm4ky

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 6:42 AM
  25. Dave echoes my questions .Chemistry? http://www.blazersedge.com/2010/10/12/1748382/yeah-theres-something-wrong-here

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 6:48 AM
  26. Welcome Steven Hill from his job bagging groceries at Whole Foods:)
    Our new 20-10 guy?

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 6:50 AM
  27. Forgot to mention the awesome accapella rendition of the Schonz before the game.Good stuff.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/13/2010 7:15 AM
  28. Yeah, I for one am tired of the preseason and ready to move on. Can't wait for the season opener and Joel's return. I have heard that Thanksgiving is a rough return time. If that's the case, we shouldn't make any moves for another big.

    Ok, so I thought I should just put it out there that my stance on two players have come to a head (at least for now...I am woman, and exercise the will to routinely change my mind with abandon!).

    Regarding Greg Oden: I love Greg, and will be happy to see him return. Previously, I was going to wait to see how things went for him this season before making firm judgements about his status with the team. Knowing now that Joel will beat him back, and understanding that he may have tendonitis issues for the duration, I have decided to let my hopes for him go. I am not going to say he is a bust, or give up on him completely, or quit liking him. I am just saying that I am no longer willing to count on Greg's presence to bring us a ring. His game will be icing on the cake, and his presence in the middle will help us win certain match-ups, but I just don't believe the long-term game plan can rely on him anymore. I honestly think the team and the fanbase has to move on, and make adjustments to their expectations for Greg and for the type of game the Blazers are going to be able to play.

    Regarding Andre Miller: I believe the source of chemistry issues in Andre. I think that he has disrupted the core of Roy, Aldridge and Batum and their style of play. Perhaps their game wasn't going to take us far enough, but I think Miller's need to have the ball is too disruptive to Brandon's natural game, which in turn negatively affects his on-court chemistry with LMA and Batum. Sure, Brandon will be well-served to add playing off the ball and better passing to his offensive game, but I have come to the conclusion it's a mistake to ask Brandon to make all the changes and adjustments. Miller either needs to adjust his style to better match Brandon's, or move on. It's just my opinion, and I don't want to discount what Miller has done for this team, but unless this preseason is a total abberation, Miller and Roy simply don't play well together. And if I have to choose, I am going to choose Brandon.

    by EowynAmarie on 10/13/2010 10:32 AM
  29. "It's just preseason, but..."

    I don't know how many times I've read variations on this theme around the neighborhood--I've been guilty of it myself.

    It helps to remember that at the start of preseason we heard how Nate was not going to run any offensive sets (this was echoed today on BEdge). His goal was to focus on defense and let the offense come off of that. It hasn't worked out so swell. I think the idea was that by getting defensive stops, there would be opportunities to fast break. At first blush, Nate was loosening the reins. The thing is, this team has never played that way. We are witnessing growing pains, not an epidemic.

    What was made painfully obvious in the playoffs was that the Blazers offense sucks...a lot. Against one of the worst defenses in the NBA, our half-court, isolation-heavy offense was ground to a fine paste.

    In today's practice report on BEdge, they wrote that the team was playing around with more motion offense and screens, which sounds great to me. I love that the coaching staff is reexamining their offense! If this is the influence of Bernie and Bobbo, we scored by picking them up. Unfortunately, BRoy ain't too thrilled...

    "...that's not really my style...the starters will play something different."

    By "something different", I can only imagine he means "more of the same crap that got us booted". Our guy needs to get with the times.

    So yeah, it's just preseason, but...

    by 500Dogs on 10/13/2010 7:10 PM
  30. my personal view of the offense is this (btw, i wasn't going to bring this up so as not to stir it up, but since it came up...):

    (it is important to note that none of this is meant to put anyone off, or offend. this is one non-expert opinion shared for the sake of discussion, not argument or debate. discussing basketball should be fun. it is my favorite hobby. my observations are loosely based on my impressions, being fortunate enough to attend games regularly.)

    miller will continue to be the starter, but his primary role is going to be as the rudder for the 2nd team, particularly, bayless, rudy, dante, and joel/greg (as they mix back in). miller in the post against opposing back-up pgs will be a staple. andre in the pick and roll with joel/greg, and pick and pop with dante are all viable offensive options. rudy will create space for the rest to operate. the motion sets will let andre be in the "deron williams" role with the 2nd unit.

    the primetime line-up that will finish games and halves will be wesley, roy, batum, lamarcus and camby. this is the best defensive team, and also the best offensive team. further, the offense to start games, when this group of blazers are becoming notoriously flat, should be roy/aldridge dominated. they should be running a two man game to get things going early with nic and wesley spacing things.

    for me personally, there is no more brandon/andre question stylistically, the question is wesley/andre as far as playing time goes. matthews' energy/spark & defense, his longer progression/arc with batum/roy, and his overall quality of play will put him on the court for heavy minutes. he's going to play his way into the roy, aldridge, batum, oden (when healthy) discussion as being indispensable.

    none of this is reason to disrespect andre miller. he is a formidable player, and in much the way the blazers are running plays for many different players, dre is the one to direct much of this. matched with bayless and possibly rudy, miller can defend 2 guards and even some 3s in the second unit. the line where a crucial distinction is made, is in seeing the younger, faster, bigger & strong defensive edge that wesley brought against the likes of all-star, all-nba point guard deron williams.

    by reverse on 10/13/2010 11:06 PM
  31. the oden/pryzbilla comparison. while some have been critical of greg for not coming back as fast as joel, there may be other things to consider as both players are at very different points in their careers.

    in pryzbilla's first four seasons:

    '00-'01 - 33 games
    '01-'02 - 71 games
    '02-'03 - 32 games
    '03-'04 - 17 games

    in oden's first two seasons:

    '08-'09 - 61 games
    '09-'10 - 21 games

    joel played 153 games in his first four seasons after leaving college having only played two seasons. if greg clocks 71 games over the next 2 years, he will have played in as many nba games as joel while at a very similar age. 35.5 games a season in '10-'11 & '11-'12 would put oden even with pryz, not racing back from his injury while having swelling and discomfort.

    my view is that i very much look forward to oden signing a 4 or 5 year extention, knowing that once he matures into his body as a 25-30 year old, thing very well may be very different.

    by reverse on 10/13/2010 11:27 PM
  32. here's some good stuff on SSarge and Bernie B.
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/stevekelley/2013142773_kelley13.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/14/2010 6:24 AM
  33. I don't doubt that this is a good idea,but I hope we don't totally depend on the whole iso thing.Teams are hip to that now.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2010/10/i_want_the_ball_a_lot_more_all.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/14/2010 7:09 AM
  34. Well EA, as long as you aren't saying he's a bust. I still heavily think that Oden was the better pick for Portland, and I could make a 10 page paper of why I think that. To make it easy, OKC Durant is not a Portland Durant.

    As for Miller, I don't think we'll be signing an extension with him. Great guy, great point guard, but you're right, Roy has only been downgraded since Miller showed up. Miller was the savior of this team last season and got us to the playoffs, but this franchise is being built around Roy, not by Miller who's years are much more limited.

    Travisd - great post, assuming we aren't counting Gregs first season where he missed every game. Nice to finally know how many games he played his first season. 61 games doesn't seem to satisfy people. He's had two major injuries, but I'm sure Joel isn't the only person you can compare him to. Didn't Grant Hill have major injuries? Shaq did too didn't he? What about Bynum? List goes on. Only reason Oden gets hit hard is because the NBA overrates Durant and it's more interesting seeing how "useless" Oden is compared to how dominate he could be.

    by Herr on 10/14/2010 9:28 AM
  35. Vinnie: we should run the offense through Brandon; he is our best player. i looked at the story at o-live and i was shocked at all the negative backlash from people who post there. Brandon is not saying this because he is selfish or egotistical; he's saying it because he is our leader and the best option when it comes to winning.

    Herr: i agree that we probably won't extend Andre's contract (unless we happen to win the championship this year). i basically think this year is going to be a tryout/competition between Jerryd and Armon, with the thought of bringing in a top-notch pg lingering in the background. i do think that unless Jerryd outright shows he's the pg of the future, then he'll be gone, likely via trade (or sign-and-trade). we then bring in a veteran pg either to be the starter or a solid journeyman to back up Armon. anyway, that's just what i see panning out.

    EowynAmarie: i was prepared to give Greg a 'do-over' going into the season, but it doesn't appear he's been with the program. right now i'm hearing december for his return. it should not take 13 months to heal from his injury. i admired his work ethic while recovering from the microfracture surgery, but this time things seem to be lagging. i don't believe we're getting the whole story here, and Greg's recovery probably looks even worse in comparison to Joel's incredibly remarkable progress. i'm somewhat like you; i'm not prepared to write off Greg, but i no longer see him as the player it seems we drafted.

    ~ Kassandra

    ps: happy birthday to Wesley Matthews!

    by Kassandra on 10/14/2010 8:49 PM
  36. kassandra, you've got a good head on your shoulders for sure. i enjoy reading your analysis and comments.

    i too and surprised at the negative feedback about roy wanting the ball a lot more. he's our best player so why not? if it doesn't work than change but i doubt giving roy more control is going to hurt us. i'd like to see him be more aggressive earlier and maybe him having the ball more will get him going.

    i like nate mcmillan's approach in telling miller and roy to work things out between them to take advantage of mismatches against golden state. these guys are teammates and veterans. they don't need a coach holding there hand telling them every little thing. the players need to be able to read mismatches and exploit them.

    by thedanman on 10/14/2010 10:01 PM
  37. herr,

    specifically, i was noting that out of high school, joel played 1.5 seasons of college basketball (sitting out the end of his 2nd college season), and then went pro. oden played 1 college season, and then missed a year. essentially, both started playing in the nba 2 years after high school.

    in a previous post, i had said that i would go as far as to limit greg to coming back at the beginning of february, and playing the 35 games to end the season. if he were able to make it through that, and then the playoffs, the results could be spectacular. i had no idea that that number of games would match the amount that would put him on the pryzbilla pace for his first four seasons.

    no one knows of course, how many games he will or won't play, when he will come back, or if he will be injured again, and if so, how severely. it is fun to discuss different perspectives. EA is right. he won't likely become the 75-80 game a year dominant center that had been everyone's hope in 2007. in 2010 going to 2011, perhaps rich cho and his big brain can come up with a plan to help things turn out for the best. the blazer fan base does need to make adjustments and expect oden to be a yet unknown quantity & X factor.

    by reverse on 10/14/2010 10:12 PM
  38. nice article from canzano about coach nate:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2010/10/canzano_blazers_coach_nate_mcm_1.html

    if the last arrow in the quiver is nic posting-up nash, you better believe coach will let that one fly in this coming playoffs.

    by reverse on 10/14/2010 10:48 PM
  39. Kassandra and EA - I saw you two thinking Joel might be back sooner than we think. Honestly, from what I hear from GREG HIMSELF, he's probably completely healed, I just think they're being extra cautious with him. Maybe they're using his injury as an excuse, but really I think the Blazers are holding him to do what TravisD said would satisfy him - hold him until the last 35 or so games.

    Fine with me. I'd rather have Oden in the playoffs than at the start of the season. But seriously, I have him on Facebook, which he updates nearly weekly, and he seems to know what's going on better than people, and he's saying he's ready. That is why I was surprised to hear "December" instead of "October 27th".

    After all, rumors were floating that had the Blazers make it to the finals, than Oden *COULD* play. I find it strange that he needs another 6 months when he almost got the green light at the end of the season.

    So my guess is they're playing safe with him, making his knee comfortable and working on exercises to keep him healthy. If both are throwing down dunks, and from the videos I've seen, he looks ready.

    But again, what do I know, I'm not a doctor. I thought my friend that passed away looked fine, but yet he left us after 6 months of being diagnosed. Anything could happen

    by Herr on 10/15/2010 12:33 AM
  40. Brian T Smith weighs in on monday's game.I like the fact that Matthews isn't happy.That addresses the competitor in him.
    http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/oct/11/blazers-open-for-interpretation/

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 7:02 AM
  41. Where is Sudelander ,Eclectic Spider,and Phi Slamma.The site isn't the same without their interesting personalities.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 7:05 AM
  42. Here's what the blazers listen to before games.LB doesn't have an I Pod and watches TV before the game.C'Mon, how you goona represent like that?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2010/10/meet_the_trail_blazers_favorit_1.html

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 7:20 AM
  43. Yeah kass, they are pretty nasty on O-live.That's why i stray from that site.With Brandon,I'm glad he's taking a leadership role,but I don't want to fall into old habits.But he is our big gun and we should be putting the rock in his hands.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 7:24 AM
  44. Wow, Vinnie. That music link was something else. Just wait for Armon to start at PG in the playoffs after Nate finds out they both dig Patty LaBelle.

    by 500Dogs on 10/15/2010 8:47 AM
  45. I'm glad to see Brandon asserting himself finally as the leader and greatest talent on this team. I would like to see him taking the lead next game out. I think that that is what has been missing so far this pre-season. Yes I understand you need to look at the other players to see where they can fit in. Now as the season approaches it's time to get into a groove

    by Ancientone on 10/15/2010 9:47 AM
  46. zany article by the delusional bill simmons:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmonsnfl2010/101015&sportCat=nba

    i don't know everything about all those teams, but...

    he talks about needing to see wesley play again?!?
    he does indeed, let him watch #2 guard d-will.

    he wonders how portland will be able to trade matthews and his bad contract while he's only playing 10min a game.
    WHAT?!?!

    he also says that russell westbrook may be the best under 25 guard in the league, and that cole aldrich will be an impact player for okc.

    this guy drinks that okc kool-aid by the pitcher, and chases it with blazer hater-aid.

    funny how both teams had nearly equal success last season, 50 wins and 2 playoff wins, but one gets ranked #3 and the other 15 spots lower on a who to watch list.

    no secret here that portland would rather have the team to beat than the team to watch...

    by reverse on 10/15/2010 11:04 AM
  47. i just wanted to take the opportunity to say that i too want brandon to have the ball more.

    by reverse on 10/15/2010 11:16 AM
  48. IMO, Matthews will be playing beside BRoy at some point this year, not behind him. I am not starting a debate of the best PG, but which fits the playing of BRoy best.

    I still have my visions of BRoy, Matthews, Nic, Camby and Joel or Greg.

    I Also agree that BRoy needs more control of the offense and have the ball in his hands, not that he shouldn't improve his off the ball game, but he shouldn't play off the ball if it is sacrificing his game.

    by Hg on 10/15/2010 12:15 PM
  49. Travis,
    Any reason you'd like Roy handling the rock more? I'm on the other side of the fence, myself.

    What drove me nuts more than any other offense we'd run, is when Brandon would by dribbling away the clock at the top of the key while the others cleared out. He'd then drive and do one of three things...
    1. Finish with his left.
    2. Kick to Aldridge for a long jumper.
    3. Kick to the Batum for a trey.
    This was so predictable that other teams could simply double Roy, double Aldridge, and put a hand in the Batum's face. Then, if none of those options converted, we see flaming bag passes to an open Miller. I saw this offense so many times it drove me crazy.

    In an offense where Roy is playing off the ball, the team has more options because of the rules against double teaming from the weak side. Roy can come off picks, leaving him wide open in his wheelhouse (on the left). Players will have to help off of LMA and Batum to double-team Roy when he does get the ball, leaving open shooters.

    I think Roy should get as many touches as possible, as he is our best player, but I do not want him initiating the offense. He's too slow, and if he's doubled from the get-go, it limits our options offensively.

    by 500Dogs on 10/15/2010 12:17 PM
  50. oh sure,HG, start ANOTHER point guard debate.
    500,That's the Armonizers way to get playing time.Thru Patti Labelle!

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 1:49 PM
  51. we should sign this guy on name alone.
    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Longar-Longar-1199/

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 2:05 PM
  52. Ok, the last two posts fall under the "It's preseason and I'm bored category".

    We should sign this guy just so MB can say" Tweey for the Tre".

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 2:10 PM
  53. Did I mention my disdain for ESPN's Bill Simmon's.If I haven't,let me take time now to do so.Sorry,but this guy would have to go up 100 notches just to get to idiot.
    Here's a look at his drivel.
    http://www.blazersedge.com/2010/10/15/1753157/bill-simmons-blasts-portlands-offseason

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/15/2010 2:15 PM
  54. 500,

    roy has averaged 8 attempts so far in pre-season. that is not enough for me. you'd probably agree that he should shoot more than 8 times a game. i'd like to see him double that. on the other hand, i believe that he could serve the team well by increasing his assist totals. in the same way that we all would like to see lamarcus move from the 7.5 - 8 rebound a game category and get closer to 10, i'd like to see b-roy find a way to get above 6asts and stay there.

    when roy is double teamed at the top of an iso, i had been hoping to see some plays and ball movement that attacked the top of the key zone double that he was seeing. the blazers should absolutely be practicing how to attack when roy and LA are being doubled. i'm not a coach, so i don't have a perfect answer for this, but there has to be a way to make teams pay for doing this.

    the offense that i really want to see roy and aldridge running is the 2 man pick and roll (or pop) early in games. again, not being a coach i don't know exactly how all of this works in Xs and Os, but there needs to be recognition of the fact that opposing defenses may overload this play and send 3 defenders. they should have something worked in to get baskets for marcus, nic, andre or wesley that recognizes the defensive pressure. aldridge rolling to the hoop is something i'd certainly like to see.

    i do agree that there needs to be instances of offense coming from brandon earlier in the shot clock. the flaming bag passes should start being directed to wesley, nic and rudy (if he stays around). in my view (which is obviously not definitive), andre becomes the quarterback of the second team primarily. i also don't want to trade miller or get rid of him given his value in the event of injury, foul trouble, etc.

    in all instances, these guys are going to keep figuring out how they fit together. i'm sure b-roy would happily average 18pts, 8asts and 6 rebs if it meant a trip to the conference finals or finals.

    aside from that, i'll throw one bit out there that folks might not like. andre needs to try to improve his 3pt shot, just like bayless does. 20% from 3 is pretty bad. if he got to 30% (which isn't great either) it would make this a whole different story. with his bbiq, shot mechanics and work ethic, dre could put this together. all he needs is more arc on his shot, and some coaching on technique. his 3 pt shots are always on line, they just bang off the rim because they're too flat. he's a pro, and should take it on himself to do this.

    again, i'm no expert, but this is my perspective.

    by reverse on 10/15/2010 4:07 PM
  55. if the Ws switch dorell wright on to b-roy or andre, will we get our chance to see nic post-up curry or ellis? i hope to see that early on tomorrow. the Bs need to come out like the killer Bs and swarm to an early lead tomorrow!

    the sports page headline for october 17th 2010
    attack of the killer Bs in the city of roses

    they also need to swarm david lee and keep him off the glass.

    by reverse on 10/15/2010 4:21 PM
  56. i like what nathan begley wrote this morning about the blazer offense. i too would like to see a 3rd or 4th possible outcome for the roy-aldridge pick and roll.

    and, a nice piece from dwight jaynes (whom i normally don't care for, but this one is really good perspective):

    http://www.dwightjaynes.com/about-the-whole-greg-oden-is-a-bust-stuff

    nicely done mr. jaynes.

    by reverse on 10/15/2010 4:43 PM
  57. Great article, as usual, Mike. Thanks! One of my happiest "Blazers Moments" was getting to meet you and Mike Rice at one of the season ticket holder events. You two make a FANtastic team and make watching the games on TV a real treat. Keep up the good work, wishing your team many more years doing what you so obviously love to do.

    by Pamela Porter on 10/15/2010 10:34 PM
  58. Brian T smith on BRoy.
    http://www.columbian.com/news/2010/oct/15/being-selfish-not-in-roys-nature/

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/16/2010 7:23 AM
  59. td,yeah,I'm not a big "Oddfather" fan,but it was nice to hear something good come out of Jaynes mouth for a change,especially about Oden.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/16/2010 7:28 AM
  60. TravisD:

    A great article on Greg. I read the comment section as well. I would have sworn I was reading OR-Live comments.

    I know it is a blog and everybody is entitled to their opinions, but what is the point? Purposely bashing Greg and attacking him just because his body is not up to par is horrible in my book, but that seems like the mentality of most people.

    The bottom line of all this is like Dwight Jaynes said, he is worth waiting for and regarding all comments to the contrary NOBODY KNOWS.

    by Hg on 10/16/2010 7:29 AM
  61. The blazers injury bug hes finally trickled down to the writers.Wendell Maxey blew out his ankle yesterday!

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/16/2010 7:30 AM
  62. DTV,
    Those aren't Brian Smith articles you're linking; he took a job in Utah. That last one was written by Matt Calkins.

    by 500Dogs on 10/16/2010 9:59 AM
  63. (Sandwich time, folks.)
    This is interesting... After reading Eowyn's comment concerning Greg, I've read a slew of similar comments. This seems to have sparked a number of comments (and articles) to the contrary. The question on everybody's lips seems to be: Is Oden the COTF (center of the future)?

    I think the root of this comes from the Pendergraph tragedy, now that we see how thin the Blazers still are at the center position. Of course, if everybody were healthy, the opposite is true. However, "one in the hand is better than two in the bush" as the saying goes, or translated to BBallese, "one in a uni is better than two in suits" (is it ironic that when our guys are injured, they're usually wearing...blazers?).

    So it feels just like last season, when the Blazers had to turn to an aging vet to hold down the fort, with LMA trying to fill in the gaps. So "get well soon" turned into "get well now", which then became "get another center". It flat-out sucked watching the Blazers get punished in the paint last year, and none of us want to relive that. Here's the thing though: we don't have to.

    Marcus Camby is not Juwan Howard, and Joel will be back soon. So who cares about Greg Oden? I've long considered him to be a novelty, rather than a pillar. I'm thrilled to see Oden on the court, but I'll never expect it--not even if he plays 82 games for 2 strait seasons. Greg "Titanic" Oden is not the player that will bring us over the top. That role belongs to Brandon Roy. So why fret?

    The best part of the Oden situation is he won't cost us an arm and a leg to hold on to. With his contract negotiation approaching, Oden and his agent don't have a leg to stand on (pun intended). Greg is a good kid, so I don't think he'll test the market, and Cho is a good businessman, so he won't force that with a low-ball offer. I reckon we'll see a sensible contract for a player who has only suited up for one season out of three.

    So who cares about Greg? Camby/Przybilla is a fine center duo, and if the opportunity comes along to upgrade either of them, I'm sure we could get good value. For example, Turiaf could be scooped up for Camby (RealGM says it works), saving Paul Allen millions.

    To sum it up, the Blazers are just fine without Greg.

    by 500Dogs on 10/16/2010 11:02 AM
  64. Dear Darb,
    Any way we could get a "preview" option so that we can see our comments in their entirety before posting (like in Blogger). It helps me edit my comments down from novel to short story, with the eventual goal of BBall poetry.

    Coming soon to Barrett's Blog: Blazers Haiku!

    by 500Dogs on 10/16/2010 11:06 AM
  65. Just found a fun chart on ESPN.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/depth/_/type/full

    Interesting that Roddy Beaubois has moved ahead of JJ Barea in Dallas.

    by 500Dogs on 10/16/2010 11:22 AM
  66. 500..you know I thought that his style was a bit diffrent,thanx.

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/16/2010 4:25 PM
  67. Mike,
    I love reading your blog, especially this one. I always had a decent understanding of Rice's background but it was nice to hear it. You guys are a great pair. My "WE LOVE MIKE RICE JR." sign that me and my siblings made on our spring break in Phoenix made the video which was cool. Can't wait for the season to begin! Go Blazers!

    by airjim33 on 10/16/2010 11:34 PM
  68. Roy takes 4 shots in 26 min. Just sayin.

    by Ancientone on 10/17/2010 1:10 PM
  69. Yeah I'm worried about Roy. He hasn't had a good game after his surgery for his meniscus.

    by Herr on 10/17/2010 3:39 PM
  70. Yeah,Mike Barrett,What is your take on Brandon?

    by DowntownVinnie on 10/17/2010 7:12 PM
  71. I'll give you my take on Roy,,,it's preseason. I think he's just letting the game come to him and involving other players. It's not like he's tried to turn it on and is playing badly.

    by mgb on 10/17/2010 7:47 PM
  72. First everybody thought BRoy would hog the ball and run ISO's everytime down the floor if he had the ball in his hands more. Well he didn't do that he found open players and made them better, Ask Nic. He had 6 assist which was better then normal, and going in the right direction. Therefore I am in MGB, side. It is preseason and new things are being learned and BRoy is playing different.

    I think him and Dre played off each other great. Don't get the big head and say I told you so Vinnie. BRoy has always had trouble with Ellis's fast hands swiping the ball away. At one point he was practicing his post up moves, but Ellis caused a turn-over. Regardless of bad results on the one play, he and Nic posting up will give us more options until some bigs gets back.

    BRoy may make mistakes, and doesn't get to excited about Pre-season, but I trust his leadership and desire to win, so I will wait and see what happens.

    Further takes, I loved what I was hearing about Batum. I heard the crowd yell Batum chugaluga (sp) after wheels said it on a Batum dunk. It made my hair stand on end with excitement. How about ArmonHammer? He played great. Rudy again showed why he was our first round pick. To bad he won't stay and play likes that. Dante, did a fabulous job playing center and letting LMA do his thing and that is just what he did. It sounds like LMA has added a ton of moves to his offense and he got a handful of rebounds, and any for LMA is a lot. Batum also got involved with rebounding and helped control the boards with out Camby being available.

    Babbitt is coming around I think. Elliot Williams DNP. He was very disappointed according to BE.

    The Blazers has a way to go but I believe they are on the right track and both BRoy and Dre are playing team ball getting everybody involved.

    It is getting close

    Hg

    by Hg on 10/17/2010 8:50 PM
  73. Back from Ottawa, trip straight from the bowels of H*ll....glad to be home, not sure it was worth what sounds like a nice display of good basketball on Saturday.

    Missed the game tonight, too. Just really tired, hoping it went well. I flew over San Francisco last night and thought about my Blazers, and Kassandra :)

    I just want to clarify that my post about Greg was noting that my own personal expectation for him had changed. Unlike 500dogs, I DID see him as a "pillar" and have only just recently decided, based on given evidence thus far, that he is "icing" instead...that's it really. Been out of town and rarely had a FREE internet signal, so haven't read too many articles, but did catch the one by Dave on BE that spoke to the same issues with Dre I mentioned. Nice to know I am not alone in my concern :)

    GO BLAZERS!!

    by EowynAmarie on 10/18/2010 7:27 PM
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