mikebarrett

May 17

Now What?

By mikebarrett Posted in: LaMarcusAldridge
Every year it amazes me.  How quickly everything you're so locked into can come to a close in the blink of an eye. 

I heard another NBA coach this off-season simply say "you wake up, and it's over."  That's simply put, but is pretty darn accurate.  I know that as fans you go through the same stuff.  When you live and breathe something, and then the switched is flipped off, it's a tough adjustment.

It also amazes me, in couple of weeks following the end of a season, how long ago it all seems that it actually came to a conclusion.  I'm always reminded how the NBA postseason is truly the "second season."  Everything that happened in the regular season seems so very long ago, and relatively insignificant compared to the playoffs.

In other words, the playoffs act as a huge magnifying glass.  Where you're good, where you're not so good, and where you have to search for improvement, is played out right in front of you- sometimes in a hurry.  When you're bounced out of the postseason, you truly start trying to pick up the pieces, and try to figure things out.  We've all done that, right?

It always seems to take a few weeks, at least, to accurately assess things.  The emotion has to fade a little bit for any proper perspective to be applied.  That's the way I am, at least.  And, unfortunately, we could have a long time to figure all of this out. 

Even though we're not calling games now, we are still working.  For me it's attending pre-draft workouts, hosting Courtside, filling in on an occasional radio talk show, and hosting an occasional TV show on Comcast.  And yes, it's a chance to see the family, attend to matters around the house (I'm getting to the garage tomorrow, I promise), and get some vacation time.

Nate McMillan is in somewhat the same situation now.  His family (like all of our families) is very understanding during the season.  And, like all of you, I know he's spent a ton of time lying awake at night reflecting on the season, and the playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks.

McMillan joined us on Courtside this week, and we got a chance to catch up on several things and find out what he's been up to- besides watching the playoffs continue, without his team.

To listen to the interview, click here.

I asked him the question that we've all probably asked ourselves at times in the past few weeks- has watching Dallas have success since their series with the Blazers make you feel any better about what happened in the first round?  I try not to spend much time on this because it almost sounds like you're searching for a moral victory.  But, at the very least, it had to at the very least validate some things that happened in that series.

Mostly though, after watching Dallas steamroll the Lakers in the second round, it feels like an opportunity lost.  There's no guarantee Portland would have had the same kind of success the Mavericks had, but it does feel a bit like the Lakers were ripe for plucking, and the Blazers certainly could have had a good chance to get to the conference finals.  Who knows.  It's probably a waste of time to overthink that.

During this time of reflection, what stands out to you as perhaps the best memory of the past season?  What was a turning point?  What was the biggest victory, and biggest loss?  I expect a variety of answers here.  I know that when I think of that stuff, I usually get stuck on a few different answers, and they vary by the day.

I'd love to get your thoughts on that, along with your opinions on what should be done to improve this roster.  The popular format is to go player by player and grade each position.  Do that if you want.

I look forward to reading your responses.

Late in the season, one of our media relations heros, Jim Taylor, brought a camera on a road trip and did a behind-the-scenes piece on what a road trip is like.  Behind the Mikes is what he has called this, and it could turn out to be a four or five-part series.  I've seen the first few, and they'll be released one by one on this website.  So, watch them, give me your thoughts, and check back often as the "documentary" will keep getting longer and longer.

Click here for Part One, and again, check back often as the saga unfolds.  I get asked the question a lot, "what is Rice like off TV?"  Well, you'll find out watching this series, that when I say "he's the exact same dude you thought he was," I mean it.

I'll be around, and will post again soon.  For now, take care, and fire away with the comments.

 


75 Comments

  1. Glad you asked Mike. Really glad. Let's get to it. I'm with you on how this was a huge missed opportunity. You could give all the credit to the Mavs if you want, but deep down, we SHOULD have beat them, however we underperformed by a lot. Only person that deserves a round of applause is Andre Miller. His reaction after Game 4 shows he wanted it more than anyone on the court, but no one can do it alone as we know, and once again the Blazers looked like they didn't want it as much as the Mavericks.

    Let's be real, the Lakers dropped the ball. They didn't play at all like they did last season. Had that been the case, it'd be the much anticipated OKC vs Lakers in the WCF. No doubt about that. The Lakers fell. ANYONE except NOH could have beat them. Heck, the Kings nearly did once they had a 19 point 4th quarter lead. If Portland played seriously, the Blazers would be going against OKC, with great chances of advancing to the Finals. Seeing as it's the Bulls and Heat, two teams we could beat as well, I'd love our chances.

    But, Game 1 defined the series. Both teams came out flat, but Dork Nowitzki was the only big free agent to stay with his team. Imagine that, the hero and must loyal gets rewarded. It's a cinderella story the NBA needs. Heck, 24 FTs tonight? Against the Thunder who get ALL the ref help they need to be in the Western Conference? We all know that's a bit head scratching.

    So, to sum it all, it was a huge missed opportunity, and the Blazers blew it. Here's why.

    -Aldridge was on empty
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -Wallace, Mathews, and Batum were inconsistent
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -We took far too many jumpshots, and didn't make them
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -Refs screwed us in Game 1
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -Nate can't coach in the playoffs
    -We should sign Rick Adelman

    Something else I'd like to add is it's a new era. Seein the Lakers and Celtics get manhandled, they're done. The new top dog? Is it the 4 teams remaining? I doubt it.

    OKC has never had to face adversity. Dallas is an aging team as well. Heat.. maybe. Bulls? I saw them flying under the radar, and their best game was when LeBron and Wade underestimated them.

    We'e got a bright future. We need to resign Oden. We need Roy to understand he's got to be a scorer and nothing else. We need LaMarcus to improve. We need Batum to, with all due respect, grow some balls. We need Wallace,Mathews, and Batum to develop better Chemistry, and last but obviously not least, we need a coach that doesn't let the media control what he does on the court, or the fan base. We need a coach that feels confident with his decisions, something Nate never did in the past 3 playoffs, and we need him to trust his teammates. Honestly, I don't see him doing that. I like Nate, he took us far, but I said he can't coach in the playoffs, and he can't. He's drove us to the base of the mountain, but he can't hike up it. We need to explore our options with coaches. I'll be disappointed, and I won't see my expectations past the first round if he's still a Blazer in 11 months.

    by Herr on 5/17/2011 8:53 PM
  2. I agree about (re)hiring Rick Adelman but unfortunately that's not gonna happen.

    No matter how much anyone thought the Blazers should have beaten Dallas, the fact is that Dallas was the better team. At least we have the consolation of being the only team to win a playoff game against the Mavs, so far.

    Did anyone else notice that Dallas had trouble shaking OKC tonight even though Dirk and Barea played out of their minds? Had Westbrook had a decent shooting game, it could easily have gone the other way. Dallas better not overlook this OKC team...
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/17/2011 9:02 PM
  3. I don't think that it is Nate. We need some peices and I am hoping that Cho can put it together. So many questions and so few answers from me. I'll just await developements.
    Thanks for the note Mike

    by Ancientone on 5/17/2011 9:21 PM
  4. I think the Blazers problems this past year (mainly in the postseason) have less to do with personnel and more to do with what transpired during the season as well as some of the decisions made down the stretch. The Blazers have the potential to be a top notch defensive squad with:
    Marcus Camby - who is no longer the defensive presence he once was, but he is still an above average defensive center
    Lamarcus Aldridge - who has all of the tools to become an elite defender, I would just like to see him play a little better perimeter defense when switched against guards and maybe bend his knees a bit like Joakim Noah does so well against guards, but that's nit picking.
    Gerald Wallace - who is one year removed from all-nba defensive honors and still can play defense at an elite level. (and as an aside, many critics have questioned whether Gerald can fit in with our team, which I believe is ludicrous. Give the guy a training camp to really grow into his own with our group and give Nate a chance to develop an offense for him. I think we will be seeing an even more effective Gerald Wallace next season, but that's just me).
    Nico Batum - Has the length and athleticism to bother even the most prolific scorers and a guy who can guard and guard and forward in the game is invaluable. My one knock on nic defensively is that while he is plenty fast, he is not very quick. I never noticed this until I watched Wesley play defense and it became apparent almost immediately that if Nic was even almost as quick as Wesley that he would make that next step into an all-nba defender.
    Wesley Matthews - He is quick and just a hard-nosed defender. Many fans love what he did this year, but it is easy to somewhat forget just how good he was early in the season. He faded to an extent late in the season, and particularly in the playoffs, but that was almost certainly because he was absolutely gassed. People have been talking about how tired LA was at the end of the year, but they overlook that Wesley was equally if not more exhausted. He is a second year player that played less minutes at Utah last year and obviously played significantly less in college. Furthermore, he had never been looked to to be a scoring threat with the Jazz like he was with the Blazers and it makes a big difference when you are expected to play both ends of the court for 35 minutes a game rather than mainly just defense for 25 like he did in Utah. If you still don't believe that Wesley was completely cashed out by the time the playoffs came around think about how many times Wesley would bail the team out late in the shot clock early in the season by driving to the basket with the sole intention of getting to the line. In the playoffs (with the exception of the 4th quarter of game 6 when our team was playing for their lives), how many times did Wesley attack the way he used to? 4 maybe 5 times per game at most. And if you need statistical evidence look at Wesley's rebound, assist and steal numbers in the playoffs: 1.2 rebounds per game, 1 assist per game and .7 steals per game in an average of 34 minutes per game. He didn't have his legs under him at all and hopefully that won't be the case moving forward. (That's probably also why every three pointer he took seemed to be short). But that's enough dwelling on that.

    That is 5 above average defenders that should be able to really give teams a lot of problems next year especially with a more comfortable Gerald.

    The next point I'd like to make is why does Nate seem completely intent of giving the Blazers predictable and motionless offense in the league. I don't think a single Blazer moved without the ball the entire postseason. If we weren't setting up an isolation play at the top of the key with the other 4 players standing around, the blazers were giving the ball to LA on the left block, sending a cutter past him and then having the other 4 players on the court watch as LA started 10 feet from the hoop, only to run in an arch shaped pattern into the lane only to settle for an off balanced 10 footer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't an effective offense be one where the defense doesn't know exactly who is going to shoot each time down the court? The best Blazer offensive games where the ones where we moved the ball and the defense had no idea what was coming next, and yet Nate insisted on running the same few plays every single possession.
    The Blazers do not need a potent offensive attack, especially if our defense plays at the level in which it is capable of playing, but it definitely needs to be an effective and somewhat unpredictable offense that might actually (gasp) make the defense move around a little bit and expend a bit of energy on the defensive end.

    That's all for this rant. Go Blazers!!!

    by blazerfanjosh on 5/17/2011 10:37 PM
  5. I agree with many of your points, Josh, particularly about Gerald Wallace. He needs to become the team leader next season -- it should be known as his team.

    We need Wallace's mind set to permeate the entire squad if we are to match up with the elite teams in the NBA. We need to attack the rim at one end and deny the rim at the other and do this consistently for 48 minutes.

    Getting players who can do this should be our number one priority this offseason. We know Nic Batum has the physical attributes to be a great defender, rebounder, and scorer, but his often passive mental approach raises serious questions about his future. He and LA are mostly finesse players. They both need to become more assertive on the court.

    LA showed signs of improving his assertiveness this year but his minutes were such that he was drained a lot of the time late in the season and in the playoffs. Clearly a rugged, better-than-average backup at the PF position is a top priority for Mr. Cho to acquire.

    Your comments on the offense are right on. Nate's half court offense far too easy to defend. He keeps saying he wants to run, and we have guys who have proven they can run, but it simply doesn't happen often enough. Invariably, we fall back into walking the ball up the court and either running the high pick/roll or forcing the ball into LA on the block.

    One thing that could improve our half court offense would be LA becoming a quicker decision maker in that scenario. His habit of hesitating after getting the ball too often allows the defense to force the play rather than LA himself.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/18/2011 12:30 AM
  6. Mike: I thank you for your blog.

    I watched a re-run of court-side, I watched the behind Mike and Mike, which was great, with Wheels at the end saying Mike R was just a ham and he really didn't go to that many practices.

    I am accused all the time about being to much of a homer and being to optimistic, as you know, so I am too bias to be completely objective about the season and the second season.

    The regular season as the way I see it was just to much full of adversities, changing expectation from almost every game, and changing the rotation continuously. So as we all have said a million times, we need a year with at least a reasonable average injury list. Probably the biggest adjustment was playing with out the old BRoy. Although many players stepped up at varies times, the whole team needed to step up more often.

    I am not going through all the players and rake them over the coals for what they did do and what they didn't do because they all played as well as they could at the time. Maybe that wasn't up to our expectations, nor was it up to their expected potential but at the time against a very good Maverick team they played the best they could under the present circumstances.

    by Hg on 5/18/2011 2:30 AM
  7. Same post new verse. I had to give Ancientone time to get his snack.

    I know it has been said that injury and fatigue is no excuse in the season or play-offs, but both Wesley and Batum had bad ankles, which is a too bad, but play anyway sort of thing, but it did effect both of them on defense by changing their timing and on the ball pressure. I have suspicion of Wallace and Rudy having bad backs because f fatigue or pulling a muscle or something and that will definitely change their game. LMA was gassed plain and simple, but also the Mavericks took him clear out of his game because he wasn't getting consent help on scoring from teammates.

    To go through and criticize each and every player for what they are are what we think they should be or what they are not is asinine in my book. It is almost impossible to change what you are or what you have been all your life. You can change habits, you can change scenery, but it is nye impossible to change oneself. You can hide the stripes on a skunk but in the end it is still a skunk.

    LMA and Batum both can change thier habits in games, up thier skill level, and learn consistency, but they can't change the fact that they are fenesse players. An example of that is that BRoy is a ball in hand, aggressive top scoring machine by nature, he is trying to change that skill set to something completely different, but regardless of results changing from time to time, He will realize in time that he has just got to go back to playing what is natural for him.

    Of course as I have said a bunch of times getting everybody healthy, is the number one tweak we need, balancing the team is the next, and I know that is trading players off that are no longer needed at their positions to get players that we need at other positions, but that is not because of bad play or anything. It might come down to the dicision of do we keep BRoy or Rudy as back-up two guard, because you can't give them the minutes they need in that position and still play Matthews his minutes. I don't think BRoy at this time is a bad back-up point guard, but I don't know if he will ever be a true PGOTF. That is just not natural position for him.

    It has been said that Nic is not needed anymore because of GW, but I don't find that being true. I don't feel his lack of aggressiveness is a BB problem as much as I do a type of person he is. That is being shy and not knowing how or when to be assertive. Regardless, of that Nic is just what we drafted him for, a project in the makings, and who are we to decide when that ends.

    All in all, I thought we had a great year, I am like everybody else, I wished we were still playing, and I can see places where we could have made situational changes, but the fact remains that we got beat by a better team and a better team can make the losing players look horrible.

    I am with Ancientone, I will just wait and accept what changes develope.

    by Hg on 5/18/2011 2:39 AM
  8. Trades are what's next....... Blockbusters. and as far as Nate coaching, I don't agree with all he does but he is a fine coach, our team is just missing pieces...... Trades are what's next........ Blockbusters.

    by mbmurr1 on 5/18/2011 7:17 AM
  9. Keep adding talent, talent and talent. We need more All-Stars to play along side Aldridge such as Gerald Wallace and a budding one in Wesley Matthews. I think we are one more player of that caliber away from making noise in the playoffs.

    by DHawes22 on 5/18/2011 1:53 PM
  10. Probably the biggest area where we need improvement is our bench. Dallas' bench scored 50 against OKC in game one. 50 bench points! That's huge. With better bench production, we could give LA, Camby, Miller, and the others all the rest they need to stay strong all season.

    by dgpdx on 5/18/2011 2:09 PM
  11. Watching us get beat the past three seasons in the first round has been tough. I sort of have to agree with Herr about Nate McMillan. He's a great person and has resurrected us from the depths of the "Jail Blazer" era in getting us to the playoffs. He's a GREAT regular season coach and also really good at coaching through adversity as we all know. But, in my opinion he's been out-coached the past three years in the playoffs. We had home court advantage against Houston in 2009 and we still couldn't get to the second round. Yes, we were REALLY young and inexperienced in the playoffs that season but having home court advantage cancels that out in my opinion. We stole game 1 in Phoenix last year and still couldn't even force a game 7. This year, our guys were just too tired and gassed.

    Nate doesn't trust our young guys during the regular season, therefore he plays the starters HEAVY minutes and they get too tired and completely gassed out by the time the playoffs start. Aldridge played well against Dallas but you could tell he was ridiculously fatigued. Miller and Matthews were fatigued all series long as well. Gerald also looked like he had no gas left in the tank and he didn't even play under McMillan for a full season. It seemed like every game we were struggling to even get to 80 points against Dallas. Their defense was better than I thought, I admit that but there's no reason we should have been struggling to get to 80 points. You know why our outside shooting was terrible in the Dallas series? Fatigue. Hard to make jump shots when your legs are tired. Maybe I'm completely wrong but it's just how I've seen things the past three seasons. Unless McMillan starts trusting his young guys more and gives his starters more rest during the regular season, we'll be seeing the same exact results next year, if we even make the playoffs that is.. I've been a Trail Blazers lover since I was born 24 1/2 years ago and I really hope we figure this thing out before it's too late and end up a team that's in "rebuilding" mode again.

    Edit: I forgot to comment about the documentary. I love it, absolutely love it. I could watch behind the scenes footage for hours straight and not get bored. I've always wondered what things looked like from your guys' point of view during road trips and whatnot. Keep the documentary going!

    by Mark on 5/19/2011 12:14 AM
  12. Here are my thoughts as I review each current player. I admit I have a webpage open to look at the roster to make sure I don’t forget anyone so I’m doing it in alphabetical order.

    *LaMarcus Aldridge* MB, the moment you reported last summer that Aldridge added some pounds on him; I knew he was going to do something special that season. I admit that I had some doubts by the way he started out the season because it seemed like his mindset hadn't changed, but I guess it just took some time to finally get the confidence to use the new muscle. And I think he still should get a little bit stronger, even at the expense of losing some of his speed. I mean let’s be honest. The Blazers are a half court team and will always be one as long as Nate McMillan is the coach. I know Nate will talk about running more, but it doesn’t happen. So with more strength, more advantage in the half court game on getting rebounds and getting better low post position. Sure, LA does show from time-to-time his ability to run the court, but the fact is the Blazers don’t do it close enough to be built for it. It’s time to change your body to fit the style of the team’s game play. It’s a no brainer to keep him.

    *Luke Babbitt* I haven’t seen him enough yet, but what I have noticed so far is he’s a late bloomer so far or so it seems. Started out slow in the Summer League last summer and showed signs of potential in the Golden State game to end the season. So what that means to me is he needs the playing time to learn to become the player we hope he can. But aren’t we past the point of developing players? If Babbitt needs the time to develop, he needs to go to a team to get the chance. Trade him to a rebuilding team if there is a veteran that can help the team.

    *Earl Barron* You only keep this guy if need an extra big body around and an extra roster spot is available. Otherwise shake his hand and wish him the best. Personally I’d rather take Jeff Pendergraph back instead.

    *Nicolas (Neek-ola) Batum* I would love to see both you and Mike Rice pronounce that right as I know Nicolas would appreciate it more. Yes, you both have talked about it from time-to-time, but I would love to hear you both never pronounce his first name again American style by the time you both call games next season. Hey, you may get more time to adjust than normal with the lockout coming. With that said MB, here are my thoughts. Batum has all the physical tools to become a star in this league. The problem is he doesn’t have the mental tools. He just goes with the flow way too often. From my personal experience, you can’t teach someone to have a *killer instinct*. It’s something you need to decide to do on your own. He’s not competitive enough; he doesn’t want to win enough. I want to see more killer instinct from him, but I don’t think we will. Let’s not forget that the coaching staff keeps begging him to shoot the ball. That’s a problem. What bothered me is that Martell Webster told Batum that he wanted to see him be stronger by next season and he didn’t do it. Instead he played on the French national team. What that tells me is that he’s been at least told he needs more muscle and he doesn’t care enough to do it. I remember Nate saying that Batum wasn’t going to play for the French this summer, but then I heard on Courtside on Monday that he was and was going to play the point for the French. I’m against that. He needs to spend his team getting stronger. If not, we’ll probably see the same thing next season and his trade value will go down because of it. Teams want him now because of potential they see, not for who the player is now. If Batum is a player the Blazers don’t want to trade, they need to order him to get stronger and tell him that if he doesn’t, they’ll trade him. Again, his mentality and lack of muscle his holding him back from becoming the next Scottie Pippen. His trade value starts to go down sometime next season if he doesn’t work on his weaknesses. I say trade him if the right trade comes along.

    *Marcus Camby* He was having a great season until his knee injury. After surgery, he wasn’t the same. Some people think it was age and I believe that is part of it, but it was also not being 100% yet. He could be a valuable expiring contract if the price is right, though I would love to see him end his career in a Blazer uniform. And if we’re going to keep Greg Oden, I would like him to be around as a mentor. I know from personal experience that mentors are very valuable. Plus how many other centers are out there who have the skill to throw a lob pass to LaMarcus? Keep him unless there is a better deal out there that makes sense.

    *Rudy Fernandez* This guy hasn’t been the same ever since the Trevor Ariza incident. Even though it hasn’t been mentioned much, I do read from time-to-time that he has missed practices because of his back (while most fans never acknowledge it) and I think he missed a couple of games last season because of it as well. Rudy was a different player before Ariza fouled him and most people have forgotten that. Most people just think he just got worse and they don’t understand why. They just like to criticize him for it and ignore what I believe to be the facts. Plus his value also continues to drop. I do love his heart and hustle (most people don’t appreciate that anymore), but that’s not enough anymore. Heck, Larry Bird messed up his back from doing a manual labor job one summer and was never the same again. It happens and Rudy is a victim of that. Anyway, you got to trade this guy if possible.

    *Armon Johnson* Has a great NBA body, but still needs to work on his ball handling, passing, and shooting. Lots of potential in this guy, but I’ll ask it again; aren’t we past the point of developing players? And besides not everybody ever maximizes their potential in the NBA. It’s the same thing as Luke Babbitt. Trade him and his potential to a rebuilding team if there is a veteran out there that can help the team.

    *Chris Johnson* Needs the weight room and go on a high carbohydrate diet. I do like his skill set and his mental set so far from what I’ve seen. Now it’s time to develop the rest of the physical skills and the Blazers could have a diamond in the rough. There was a good sign during the playoffs. He didn’t have the deer in the headlights look at all. Personally I would suggest he go to Dallas to meet up with LaMarcus Aldridge and workout with him, but that’s me. I wish there was Summer League this July as he could use the work. Resign him.

    *Wesley Matthews* Who is laughing now about the contract the Blazers offered him last summer? How no other team saw what the Blazers saw is a big victory in the scouting department. Do I think he’ll improve as much from season one to season two as will he improve from season two to season three? Probably not, but I do like the guy a lot and he has the killer instinct, the competitive edge Batum needs badly. Even though Wesley is very streaky with his shooting, he’s still the best shooter on the team. Even though it sounds mean, I admit it was fun to read on the Jazz forums after every Blazer/Jazz game on how much they miss Wesley and are mad at the Jazz management for letting him go. Plus, Wesley seems to have taken a vaccination to the injury virus that is going the team and that’s important. You need to keep this guy.

    *Andre Miller* He may be getting old, but he does make his teammates better. I especially like how he makes LaMarcus a better player. Here’s the thing. Unless you can find someone else out there who is as equally for better than Miller, you pick up his option. It’s also nice to have a guy around who you know isn’t going to get hurt on a roster that seems to be plagued with injuries, even though he’s not a consistent perimeter shooter. Besides, Miller is very underrated player on his overall ability despite his perimeter shooting woes.

    *Patty Mills* Right now the Blazers have a third string point guard playing second string. I know people have criticized Nate for playing him, but what other option does he have? Armon Johnson? Sorry, but he’s better than Johnson right now, though that could change by next season if Johnson is still around. Patty did have the second highest 3-point percentage on the team last year behind Wesley at 35.3%, though that really isn’t something to brag about since the Blazers overall really struggled behind the 3-point line last year, especially since this team really relies on perimeter shooting. If we had Brandon Roy of old, I could see Patty benefitting from it as Patty is a very good spot up shooter; basically do what Steve Blake did for Roy. Overall I really like this guy as he’s a great teammate and hope he stays on the Blazers for a very long team. This team needs a personality like him. My suggestion to Patty if he hasn’t already done this is to ask Nate what he needs to work on this offseason and study game film. Hopefully he’s better next season. Keep him.

    *Greg Oden* The word injury pops in my head when I see either his name or face. I really feel sorry for the guy. All I hope for right is for Greg to stay healthy. What I hope is he turns out like Zydrunas Ilgauskas. For those who are reading if you’re not familiar for with Zydrunas Ilgauskas in his early career; this guy was like Oden and eventually got past the injury bug and relatively stays healthy after the first 4 years of his career if I remember correctly about the timeline. Oden was a player I really liked watching in the 2007 NCAA tournament. I remember recalling that the team who gets the right to draft him was going to be very fortunate. You could imagine how excited I was when Portland won the draft lottery. My brother actually was one of the few who said to draft Durant during that time and likes to rub my nose in it from time-to-time. I guess I’ll never live that down unless Greg redeems himself. I say give the guy another chance.

    *Brandon Roy* He’s one of those guys that remind us of the injury bug that keeps going around the Portland roster. I seriously doubt he’ll ever be the same player ever again and that is because of the lack of meniscus in his knees. The biggest issue that plagues my mind and the mind of the other fans is his current huge contract. He’s getting paid like a superstar, but can’t bring it like one. Then there is the salary cap situation where it will be hard to add talent with that contract holding the team back and with the new CBA situation coming up, who knows how badly this can hurt the team. The next query from fellow fans that comes up is about how to trade him. The problem is the only way you trade him is to take on another bad contract back in return like Gilbert Arenas (who is a head case and has his own injury problems) because no team in their right mind is going to take on Roy’s contract without having the Blazers take on a bad contract on their team in return. So all we can hope for is for Roy to find a way to stay healthy and be productive. Having him continue to play the backup point guard is not utilizing his talents. I guess he has to stay.

    *Gerald Wallace* I never really got to see him play much because when he was with Sacramento when they were a really good team, he hardly played. And Charlotte wasn’t on TV much when he was there as well. Most of what I knew about him was mostly second hand information like many other Blazer fans. Now having him seen him play in 23 regular season and 6 playoff games for the Blazers, I really like this guy a lot. Charlotte should be ashamed of themselves for ever trading him to our beloved team. This guy has the killer instinct that I want Nicolas Batum to have. Always hustling and always doing everything he can to help the team win. My only concern is his sacrificing his body as that leads to injuries and this team has an injury virus going around, but I still don’t want him to stop as well. There is no way good reason this player doesn’t retire as a Blazer.

    *Elliot Williams* He was injured during Summer League and got injured again before Nate thought about ever putting him in a game. The only time I saw him play in Blazer black and red was during fan fest last October. So all I know is what I hear and one thing that keeps being brought up is his spectacular vertical leap. Basically there really isn’t much to write about the guy yet. Good news is he still eligible to be a rookie this upcoming season. I’d like to see him stay for now and see what he could do. Too bad there isn’t Summer League this July.

    by Shem on 5/19/2011 4:25 PM
  13. Shem: As I remember we have not always seen eye to eye on issues regarding the Blazers, but I find this as a very well thought out analysis of What Now. And I thank you.

    I agree with you as to the fact that Batum needs to be stronger or at least heavier to combat players knocking him around. But, we differ in the way we think that should be acquired. Or maybe we differ in our definition of strength.
    I feel having strength in your muscles is lighter restraints and more repetitions. Or strength in your muscles is actually building endurance opposed to big muscles. But in Batum's case he needs to work on his mass as well as keep his endurance or increase his endurance. Playing for the French National team will help him in keeping his endurance or as stated by many BB players, staying in game shape.

    My question would be, why can't he play for the national team and build mass at the same time?

    by Hg on 5/20/2011 6:17 AM
  14. Hg: I feel the 6-month+ NBA season is too hard on bodies to allow players to play essentially full-time during the summer. This applies double to those with body mass and/or stamina issues to begin with, such as Rudy and Nicola. The occasional Olympics or World Championships are OK but not every summer professional competition. These guys need time to rest and rebuild during the offseason to prevent wearing down in March and April.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/20/2011 6:11 PM
  15. Don: I could surely understand that, plus they get mentally burnt out.

    Of course, I still go for using lighter wts. and more repetitions whether then completely bulking up because I have seen to many big muscles guys that can't last over an our when working hard.

    I'll compromise with you and Shem, I can see not playing the summer league, but don't go for too much mass that fatigues you quickly or slows you down when you are in the game.

    by Hg on 5/20/2011 10:09 PM
  16. Well great. I spent an hour on my own brilliant overview, hit a wrong key or something, got hijacked away from this screen and saw it all vanish. A very short version: aim to contend for the title in 2014 by building with the young guys, Nic and Wes, draft or sign a good point guard who'll be ready to start after one year backing up Andre, get a back-up center, develop Chris to back up LA, hope Greg is finally healthy, and do not base anything on hopes that Brandon and Rudy will bounce back. It looks pretty thin here, but trust me, it was solid and convincing the way I wrote it up.

    by Islander on 5/20/2011 11:09 PM
  17. Thanks Mike for taking the time for us fans,

    Portland needs a new dimension. Realistically when I look at these guys, I see about 5-6 open roster spots. And we need them filled and this roster balanced. We already know we have good people and I truly appreciate that. Williams, Babbit, A. Johson, Barron, etc are all open spots and there are probably more. If those guys are not going to play, then they need to get better so they can play or move on. We saw a productive player in Dante Cunningham get traded and he was way better than any of those guys if you ask me. If Babbit is to be our Kyle Korver or Tyler Hanborough then we need to see production. Rookies that are NBA ready and healthy, or that can at least in the midst of their first season get out there and do something would be nice to see fora change. Everyone is getting better. If Portland doesn't get a hold on some things we will struggle to be playoff bound.

    We all want to believe in Greg Oden. Either he will come back and give us something or he won't. That's just the way it is. With or without him we have to let go of that era. If he is coming back, then surround him with the talent he needs to blossom his game and strengths. I hope he can have a successful career just for Greg's sake alone but Portland has to build as though he isn't.

    Brandon Roy is another case of the same. This guy pulled the franchise out of the lottery and brought respect back here again. Just like Greg, I know he is capable of making it back. Until Brandon says he's done or something to that affect I will never turn my back on him, that's just how it is (I wouldn't either way, he is just a great guy). So here's to hoping and praying the both of them, Roy and Oden, can get have some things go well for them, and I mean very well for a long period of time!

    Areas for oppurtunity- PG. Andre is a talented veteran. If he stays they have to get at least one solid backup of someone that can replace him as a starter. Patty Mills and Johnson really gave Miller no help this year, so it was really a mess. Patty did but we couldn't rely on him in the playoffs and that really hurt us. So I look forward to seeing some change here.

    Rudy was amazing at times and is a lot of fun to watch but this was not anywhere close to a good year for him. Bad defense, missing a lot of technical foul shots, and sometimes being transparent on the floor, it's just something that the team needs to improve. If Rudy wants to be an NBA player, he has to want it more. He has to find ways to be consistent, get into a rhythm and produce. We all know he can get the crowd going which is very good, but he has to provide more if he is going to be here or in the NBA. Hope it works out for him.

    Batum is another case. Now we have Wallace. That to me says that Nic was not putting out enough. Defensively, his length and speed are great. He has some offense. He needs to be our sparkplug. The glue of the team. Like Deng or Noah, or Trevor Ariza or Birdman. Someone that accepts their role and has the whole court to himself to impress and light it up and be stat stuffer and a game winner. HE already can be this but we need more of it.

    With Aldridge, Mathews and Wallace you have a good core. We need some depth and toughness for rebounding and protecting the paint. Camby is a solid back up but we need more offense down there too. LA needs some help. Who is going to step up to the challenge and get him one or two solid guys to play with down there? Wallace is one. Batum another but we need some talented big guys. Oden would be nice but I want to see more. I recommend an upcoming rookie or 1st or 2nd year player with mental and physical toughness that can make LA more effective and even better.

    That's all for now you are right Mike i have spent a lot of time thinking about the Blazers and honestly it just feels like we have about half of a full roster. Meanwhile i am watching Oklahoma City with all these young guys and Durant looking like a young Jordan...it's incredible and heart wrenching and Portland needs to shoot to be better than that because whether they win it or not this year, that's the future of the game in this generation.

    by Bull Frog on 5/21/2011 1:29 PM
  18. We definitely need a shooter! someone like Dirk, or Korver or Daquean Cook. SOmeone that is knock down, lights out, draws the contact, off balanced, put it on the floor, leaner, floater put the ball in the basket kind of shooter! Consistent and a threat from anywhere... Steph Curry :) That would help. I thought Rudy was gonna be that guy and Roy was for a bit but now we need that threat every night on a consistent basis. I will make mention that Mathews was very solid this year but he has other strengths that are equally important.

    by Bull Frog on 5/21/2011 1:31 PM
  19. Sorry for the typos up there everyone....:)
    Keep Nate. If he can turn the franchise around he can coach a winner and champion. Might need a better staff around him but he is not the problem. Nate was a shooter in his day, he needs a mixture of guys that can get to the bucket, big men to get on the glass and dependable shooters I think. There was way too much dribbling and holding the ball this year and taking shots late in the shot clock too.

    Again sorry about the typos and the double posting here...

    by Bull Frog on 5/21/2011 1:28 PM
  20. Hg: Roger on the lighter weight, higher reps workouts. BB players don't need weightlifter bodies, except maybe when they have to guard Dwight Howard...
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/21/2011 1:39 PM
  21. Bull Frog: I still feel BRoy can be a great shooter. He just has to readjust his mindset to being that guy. But we do need more than just one if we're thinking of someday challenging for a title.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/21/2011 1:42 PM
  22. Interesting discussion during Game 2 about the Oden vs. Durant draft day situation. It was said that Durant expected to be picked by the Blazers and had fantasized about playing with Roy and Aldridge. He was upset that didn't happen. However, it was also said that if Seattle had the first pick, they likely would have also gone with Oden, leaving Durant for the Blazers.

    Funny isn't it how things sometimes work out -- Seattle was lucky enough to win the second pick that year, Portland was unlucky enough to win the first.
    --
    don



    by dgpdx on 5/21/2011 1:49 PM
  23. Don: the main thing I have found is that increased wt to build bulky muscles, not only slows a person down, but also often the supporting muscles isn't exercised enough and you end up with broken knee caps like Greg had

    by Hg on 5/21/2011 2:03 PM
  24. Hey Mike,
    LA- Great teammate, true professional, will continue to get better, hope he develops some left hand.
    BRoy- In transition, new identity, spot up shooter, isolation when needed, become better passer, great ball player that can transform into a new role.
    GW- Muscle, rebounder, can score in open court, more good things to come.
    Dre- Smart, crafty, can score in paint, losing ground to young new point guards in league, at some point would make a great backup to a rising star at point.
    Camby- Has been great for LA and team as a whole. Big rebounder, doesn't score, backup minutes to new talent, good mentor.
    GO- On the floor all the potential, who knows ? big question.
    Rudy- Decent ball defender, moves well without ball, glasses will improve his shooting.
    Nic- How bad does he want to improve, would like to hear about his off season work other than playing national, work on penetration off dribble, add a few pounds, can be a diamond with hard work,
    Luke- He'll get better, solid role player.
    Hammer- Physical skills, gets lost, will improve with age.
    Chris Johnson- Like his intensity, cheap, keep him.
    Pendergraph- Pulling for you.
    Patty- Great teammate, keep working, can have career in basketball, keep working!
    The team- Need speed at point, more muscle inside, no need to blow up the team.

    by Divotking on 5/21/2011 8:56 PM
  25. How could I forget Wesley.- Hard to believe he is a second year player, plays beyond his years, fighting heart, great defender, solid shooter, will become a better passer, needs to work on creating off dribble.

    by Divotking on 5/21/2011 9:09 PM
  26. Did game 3 in OKC look familiar to you? Dallas and defense in the same sentence.

    by Divotking on 5/22/2011 6:53 AM
  27. don: I agree that Brandon Roy has been Mr. Clutch ofr us over time and still can be at least to some extent. I also agree that we need more than that. I just feel like we have lacked a player pretty much since we had James Jones that can put fear into the defenders eyes from just about anywhere on the court. I love watching players like Dirk or Peja that when you watch them appear to take shooting motion, the defender scrambles or just knows they are in trouble. I have always liked the inside-outside approach more than a jump shot team, but I prefer slashers and cutters that draw fouls rather than pounding the ball inside. Nate was that kind of player, kind of a spot up if you are open, tall assisting point guard like Magic and he seemed to have a lot of success with Ray Allen in Seattle, along with Collison, Radmanovich, and Fortson banging the glass, scoring on the inside. That Seattle team he coached looked very good, I believe they had an incredible record to start the year. Not saying I want a duplicate of that here, but like you said we need more if we are going to ever put ourselves in the same conversation as OKC, Dallas Miami or whomever contends in coming years.

    The Oden/Durant thing is water under the bridge. It really isn't fair to hate a winner and that's what Durant is...but we have sonmething great in LaMarcus so not all is lost. Seattle ended up very lucky but it isn't right to compare him to Oden and Greg still has plenty of time to get something going... Interesting to read what you posted there.

    Jer

    by Bull Frog on 5/22/2011 1:06 PM
  28. as i said last off-season, if we make a trade, it must make sense. in case you've missed this line over the summer: don't make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. sure, let's target the players we need and work out an appropriate deal which will make sense. it doesn't make sense to trade one of our core players to get another core player only in order to have created another hole in the roster. of course, we're going to see several trade proposals over the course of the season and i'll tell you right now: about 99.9 percent of them will be either crap, will fail to adhere to league trade guidelines or will come from misinformed sources. There are some good players to target, but we have a couple of orders of business to tend to first (i'll get to those in a moment).

    as far as free agency is concerned, we have to approach that much in the same way we make a trade. target the player(s) and offer the type of package which will attract that player(s). This worked last summer with Wesley. we presented him with a package which attracted him, and the jazz felt was not in their best interests. to successfully play the free agency market, that's what we have to do.

    first up (basically) is the draft and who to target. many say the draft is thin this year, but i think there's an unpredictability to those things when you consider the presence of international players. the bottom line is that there are a lot of players out there who will be available at picks 21 and 51. i'm sure we all have ideas of which players we could take, but it's really going to be up to Cho and his staff. the caveat to that is that i commonly disagree with the "take the best player available" approach. if we had a lot of holes on the roster, this might work. however, would we really want to select a sf when we have Crash, Nico and Luke (assuming we keep all three)? this is where we should deviate from that plan. furthermore, i think even at pick number 21, there should be some quality players available should we look to be more specific in targeting a particular position. here's a link to a blog i wrote this last night regarding the history of those particular picks:

    http://tinyurl.com/In-Kassandra-s-Words

    by the end of june, we have to make some decisions with regards to our current players. do we extend qualifying offers to Greg and Patty? we've got until june 30 to decide. do we sign Andre to what would be the final year of his contract? we've got until june 29 to decide that one. we decide those, hit the draft (which certainly could include some trades) and then have our players targeted for free agency when those talks are allowed to begin on july 1. it won't be until a week after that when we can actually start signing anyone.

    so who do we need? in order to answer that, we have to look at the positions we need to fill. we definitely need some depth up front. Chris Johnson and Earl Barron will be in training camp, but will either impress enough to earn a spot? we can't wait for training camp to begin before we answer that. provided Greg returns as a blazer, we still need to make sure we have some depth up front, especially at center. how great would it be next year if Marcus could back up LaMarcus as his primary duty? if we have Greg and a reliable backup (or two) at center, we can afford ourselves that luxury. the bottom line is that we need to be at least three-deep at both positions, if not four-deep. this may sound a little gun shy, but given what we've experienced injury wise with our big men the last two seasons, i think we have reason to be so.

    do we prioritize pg? perhaps, but i don't think that's absolutely necessary. Andre could have three more years as an effective pg (keep in mind, Jason Kidd is three years older). i've read several comments regarding Patty and Armon not being backup pg -- or even starting pg -- of the future. we should realize that neither has really had a season of consistent minutes in order to make that determination. in other words, we just yet don't know.

    is it a matter of a coaching change? there are things that Nate does well, but there are other things he needs to do differently. what i'll say about that is this: a month prior to the end of the regular season, we re-signed Nate for two more years. given that single fact, i'd say we're sticking with him. i think that's really all there is to say on the subject (why bother talking about something that just plain isn't going to happen?).

    but to answer the question regarding priorities: big men. center, backup pf. areas to avoid searching for: sf, sg and backup pf. that's just not where our needs lie. then again, i concede that Cho may have other plans.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 5/22/2011 6:55 PM
  29. I've still got faith in Greg Oden. I think he is the key to getting past the first round. I don't think we've seen enough from Wallace yet. He's got a million tricks in the tank. We saw that in Game 6. We just need a solid center. That's really it. I hope people realize that if LaMarcus doesn't have to bang down low and focus on every rebound, he'll do so much better and be so much more consistent. Without an offensive threat down low, LaMarcus does have to do that, and he'll get exhausted early. Could also help if he became more clutch. He's missed so many late game shots (all jumpers).

    by Herr on 5/23/2011 1:52 AM
  30. Kassandra:

    You are right about Nate, he is our coach not our God. He makes mistakes because he is human.

    They want the players and coaches to man up and be responsible, but yet cannot accept the fact that we were just out manned and lost to a better team in the play-offs. This isn't the time for finger pointing; it is a time for re-grouping.
    I agree on drafting or trading for a player of need, but the one thing you left out, IMO, is a pure consistent shooter until one or two of ours can materialize. I have heard good and bad about Babbitt so he may be one of our shooters that can play more minutes.

    by Hg on 5/23/2011 4:04 AM
  31. First off, what a shock to see Rich Cho relieved of his duties. If the communication was really not that great and management was looking for a way to nip an issue in the bud, so to speak, then I guess it's a good thing they stepped up and vocalized it to the fans. As for Rich Cho, it's an unfortunate turn of events but we wish him the best. I don't think that suspending a rotation player during the playoffs when the rotation was already thinner than a lays potato chip was a solid move. To Cho's credit, we don't really know what would or wouldn't have transpired so obviously we want the best for him.

    Kassandra: A deal that makes sense. I agree with you, but you can't get something for nothing unless it's one of those Pau Gasol type deals. realistically we don't have a lot to offer other than our core. These second and 3rd year players that are very unproven need to have more value than just holding down a roster spot. I think Patty is a real charismatic and talented guy but not knowing whether he able to hold down a guard position and produce is a liability to the Blazers. I know it happens every year with the draft and you never really know who could blossom into a young star ex/ Rondo, Darrin Collison, Mike Conley, or who could go the other way. i think team like Portland at this time should have a maximum of 1-2 spots where there is developing player, unless that is, the player can give you a minimum of 8-15 mins a night where you aren't afraid of them costing you the whole game. So I think the draft and free agency are where we are going to make things happen. it's still tough to say because we are over on the salary cap.

    Herr: What kind of big man(men) are we looking at here. I want Greg out there but something tells me we won't be seeing him for more than 20 minutes a game.

    by Bull Frog on 5/24/2011 2:38 PM
  32. Lets don't forget, it's Allen's dime. If you would like to decide who is on the payroll, buy a franchise. I don't always agree with Paul's methods but I believe in his commitment to winning. Supplying a product for the sake of profit is not his motivation. Look at the body of work. Great basketball minds rarely have the perfect solutions. Paul is a computer geek trying to produce a winning team. Look around the league. Blazer fans have a good thing going here.

    by Divotking on 5/24/2011 4:21 PM
  33. Blazers are lucky to have a guy that is able and willing to shell out the big bucks. What's unlucky is that same guy's social ineptitude cost us two great managers. Honestly I'm a little embarrassed that I care about this position. After all, I'm not a businessman, just a basketball fan. But for some reason I think the two things are connected. Maybe I'm wrong. Hopefully, the dismissals of the last two GMs won't scare away talented people who need to do this job. There is no way Allen is a GM. What he needs is a guy who can grind away on the phones, work social magic, and crunch numbers without caring about whether his opinion matters.

    Allen cannot do this job. He fires Pritchard in the most tasteless way possible for unknown reasons and then shortly after cans Cho for "chemistry" problems while hiding on a trip. Allen lacks social skills, plain and simple. If he had any he'd have earned championships already. He has the resources and he has the competitive spirit but the social networking and leadership he possesses fall short.

    by thedanman on 5/25/2011 9:11 AM
  34. thedanman: It sounds as though you are bitter my friend. Maybe it is warranted and maybe it is sometimes you have to kiss a lot of toads to get your princess.

    I don't know what the problem is, but as long as it doesn't interfere with the team, I am not too concerned. In all my years of work, I think I had a hundred or so general managers, but it had very little effect on my work, so the beat went on.

    Just hang in there, I think everything is still OK as long as we have Chad, Mike and the two assistance to keep the ball rolling

    by Hg on 5/25/2011 12:45 PM
  35. Who are we to judge Allen's social ineptitude? It is mysterious that we have thrown out two GM's in two years. I agree, it's Paul's baby, I don't have that money etc...But I buy tickets and gear to support the franchise, therefore I am entitled towards an opinion. I don't think anyone plays the game for accolades and dough. I think they all want to be the best, a champion that is. It's mysterious and ironic, strange really and a lot of money lost in releasing someone under contract like that BUT this franchise is starting to look like a sinking ship. The Wallace trade made a difference but at what cost? And clearly, we are missing some major pieces here. The basketball can be stellar at times but at the end of the day we need that great basketball mind, and someone with a proven record of making decisions based on integrity for what's best for the city and the franchise. If management says that was not Rich Cho or Pritchard, I have come to learn to accept it and the one thing I do appreciate is that at least they were willing to admit that they made the wrong choice. Now, Hopefully we can make the right choice...for the sake of everyone in this organization and move forward, including fans. I know we have been here before. With our home court and these fans, I have faith if we can get a team past the first round that is well rounded in confidence, skill and drive...that we can make noise...but we need that killer instinct that we have all year in the Playoffs. The Blazers have been very exciting the past few years, I am hoping for a positive and productive all business Summer. Our owner is bound to get it right eventually. He, too has shown a great deal of patience and resilience.

    by Bull Frog on 5/25/2011 3:16 PM
  36. I do feel sorry for Rich Cho. I'm a member of the same tribe as Paul Allen and Mr. Cho, the intelligent introvert who lacks high-level social skills. We are not suited to top leadership positions, even if we happen to know more about what needs to be done than anyone else, because while we can get along very well with some people, a successful leader needs to persuade all sorts to believe in him, and follow. Our ideal job is Consigliore, not Don. (You know, Duvall, not Brando or Pacino). Cho was promoted to his level of incompetence, where he needed social skills that had not been necessary during his rise to that level. Unfortunately, his boss did not rise to his postion because of his leadership ability; Allen's the boss because he created something that earned him boatloads of money, and is therefore able to do things that interest him. It was pretty much inevitable that Cho would go sooner or later; if nothing else, our type is incapable to giving our bosses deference based purely on their position. He was sure to reveal, if only by telling silences, that he believed Allen's understanding of basketball was inferior to his own. So, one intelligent man, but a non-leader who did know a lot about basketball, has been replaced in essence by the owner, also an intelligent man, but presumably less knowledgeable about the sport or he wouldn't need a GM to begin with. And for the second draft in a row we will have no GM, so the ultimate decision-maker will again be the owner. How did that last draft go when there was also no GM? Well, we sure didn't dazzle the league with our keen grasp of the available talent. Here's one way to look at the moves the Blazers have made since Pritchard left; we went into our playoff series against Dallas with Gerald Wallace and a bench-riding Luke Babbitt instead of Martell Webster, Joel Przbilla, Dante Cunningham, and Jerryd Bayless. Someone has to be in charge, to articulate the team's goals, establish a timetable for reaching them, and then take responsibility for the moves that will get us there. I haven't really understood the logic of any of our deals since KP left, and I'm not at all confident that an interim GM and a decision-by-committee dominated by the owner will steer us through the rapids that lie ahead. Here's hoping I'm wrong again.

    by Islander on 5/25/2011 3:23 PM
  37. Islander: Wow, very well put. I feel bad for Rich Cho too. I had worked a lot of blue collar low paying in my younger days. It seemed the harder I worked, the more was expected, especially with the state of the economy. I even had a few jobs where i had to leave for different reasons and i remember the feeling I had where I felt I gave all I could give and was still let go. It was a feeling that stays with you, strangely when it has nothing to do with communication or how charismatic you are and yet you leave knowing your boss somehow unapproved of. In that aspect I sympathize greatly with Mr. Cho. But after all I have seen with the Trail Blazers in the past 3-4 years, as painstaking as some of the blows have been, I have to remember that it's not bigger or more important that life itself. And that said, has been part of my coping mechanism dealing with some things that have happened to the Blazers.

    Allen needs a hybrid between his kind of guy and someone that can bring the kind of exciting team this city will thrive on. He may not be the basketball scholar some people criticize him for not being, but if Microsoft can be a gold standard in technology, then surely Allen and his group's dollars can bring in the 'best of the best' to manage this franchise. And for what he pays these kind of people there should be no excuse for lack of motivation or progress being made. When it comes down to the wrong end of a 50/50 ball, it is ok with a fan. When it comes down to poor management or the wrong fit, all I can say is I hope Miller and Allen, and the rest of the group making executive decisions are the correct ones as stated by islander. All the best to Rich Cho. Another Blazer saga yet again unfolds...

    by Bull Frog on 5/25/2011 8:09 PM
  38. Can our Accidental Zillionaire owner really bring in the best of the best? He's owned the team more than 20 years now and that's yet to happen. The best of the best know their business better than any one else, including the owner!

    As long as Allen continues to be involved in *every* baskeball decision and as long as compatibility with a social recluse who doesn't know the game as well as he seems to think he does is a primary job description, I doubt we'll see the best of the best in Portland anytime soon.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/26/2011 8:13 PM
  39. I don't see why not. His dollars are still just as valuable as Dr. Buss or any other owner. I wish we could just remember the game of basketball, and the Portland Trailblazers, and not think of computers and Microsoft. Sure his money funds the team, but at the end of the day it doesn't make us special or worse than any other team, it's just side drama for people to add in.

    I think that if Paul Allen is such an avid fan of basketball as they say, then after 20 plus years he must know something about it. It's just basketball not the OSI model... Just curious what the solution should be...

    by Bull Frog on 5/26/2011 9:24 PM
  40. Part of me was thinking Kevin McHale...part of me not. But he is an icon and a hall of famer which looks good on a resume.

    by Bull Frog on 5/26/2011 9:30 PM
  41. The reason I think not, Bull Frog, is that the best of the best are not motivated strictly by money. They're more into winning a championship and all that comes with that. If they don't think they will have enough control over personnel decisions (in other words, if they can't build the team their way) I seriously doubt they'd be interested.

    By the way, who are the best of the best?
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 5/27/2011 6:01 PM
  42. A few young players have impressed me so far in the playoffs but none more than James Harden. If Allen really wants to go for it, he should find out what it would take to pry Harden loose from OKC. He can play both the 2 and the 1, and, from what I've seen, he may the NBA's next BRoy (with good knees). He could eventually take over the point from Andre.

    I'm sure Scotty Brooks is thinking the same way though, so it may take too much from the Blazers to get him. Harden is nearly as good at the point as Westbrook now and he isn't the head case that Westbrook is.
    --
    dg

    by dgpdx on 5/27/2011 6:12 PM
  43. Bull Frog: i wouldn't think for one minute that in order to obtain a big-name player, we wouldn't need to part with a player or players with equal value. my point is simple. don't end up on the short end of the trade stick as has happened before. the Pau Gasol trade is a good example of that. though Marc Gasol is coming into his own as of late, for the most part, memphis got the short end of the deal. i'm hoping we don't venture down the trade trail willing to give away the ranch for a player and get virtually nothing in exchange.

    danman: while i don't agree completely with your assessment of PA, i do agree that the last two GM firings have been ... well, let's just say unprofessional to say the least. i understand that there is a business to it, but the KP firing was tasteless and the Cho firing is perplexing. we need to bring in a GM who PA respects from the get go, and let that person do his job. while PA has the money to spend, that doesn't mean portland is a huge draw for free agents. i'd even venture to say that the larger markets are a larger draw given increased endorsement opportunities and national exposure (ever notice large market teams seem to have more nationally televised games?).

    MB: thanks for mentioning my comment on Courtside last Monday. you and Tone really expanded on my idea greatly. general managers and coaches are basically hired to be fired. hopefully, our next helps bring the players to win us a couple titles ... before his firing!

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 5/28/2011 7:00 PM
  44. Kassandra: I agree completely and I don't see a lot of tradable talent here. Honestly, there's LA, Crash, Batum and Mathews. If we were to give up someone like Miller or Camby I doubt we'd get young talent in return. Free agency and the draft are the way to go. But whether we trade or not, last season told me that this group is not ready for the next level...and that is with the utmost respect and love for the team. I don't want to see them split up, but I want to see them rise into a contender, and also a little more than a 7 or 8 deep team.

    Don: Harden is impressive but being that OKC already gave up a good player in Jeff Green, I'd doubt parting with harden is in their plans. I think he's a very good player, but I believe his praise is a little overrated. As for the 'best of the best' i am unsure. i guess I was hinting at Kevin McHale but really someone that has a great record. Just because they were a great player or coach doesn't mean they would make a great GM but I tend to look at guys that have won championships and know the game well. And someone that would be loyal to the organization and fan base. I don't know, Bill Walton? Maybe i am just looking for a savior. lol
    BF

    by Bull Frog on 5/28/2011 10:22 PM
  45. what i don't get is why allen was so loyal to whitsitt but pritchard and cho were so easily expendable. that is my big beef here.

    by thedanman on 5/30/2011 8:16 AM
  46. Wow...I actually forgot about this blog for awhile. I have kind of been in a basketball hiatus, having recently been confronted with how much energy and attention it garners from me several months of the year. As a result of that confrontation, I have found my enthusiasm dampered a tad :)

    The season ending as it did was disappointing, but after we lost Game 1, not all that surprising for me. I noted during that game that Dallas appeared to have finally decided they were going to get a ring. By Dallas of course, I mean Dirk. Honestly though, when you step back and really consider all of the changes and injuries over the past season, it is an understatement to say the Blazers overachieved by making the playoffs. In light of that, I am thrilled at seeing the consistent heart, hustle, and "scrappiness" this team has displayed for two straight seasons now. And make no mistake...they would not be so without Nate at the helm.

    It is extremely difficult (well, easy for some it appears) to level much serious criticism on this team or its coach under the short-handed circumstances they have endured for two seasons. I for one, cannot do it. I am absolutely convinced that while we have seen the depths of this team's heart, we have not come close to seeing what they can actually DO on the court consistently.

    Players? Well, I do have opinions about most of them, but am not sure how valid some of them are. I will say these few things though:

    Lamarcus, Gerald, Wesley, Marcus, and Andre will all hopefully be here come training camp. These 5, to me, are invaluable. Yes, there is room for improvement for two of them, and age is a factor for two of them (though I tend to agree with Kassandra that Dre likely has much left in the tank!), but these guys are either core pieces who are going to work their tails off and play every single game for the full 48 minutes or they are savvy, experienced veterans who know exactly what they are doing and lead the team.

    Brandon. Well, we are most likely stuck with him (unless the new CBA provides some kind of out). I don't think that is a bad thing, not at all, except for the fact we are paying him what is probably too much money. Logic says BRoy's knees will never allow him to play as he used to, or even anywhere near it. But if that is so.....what the heck was the 4th quarter in Game 4? For me, I just am not capable of giving up belief in a player/person that does that. If anyone can beat the odds, I believe it is Brandon (with Wesley right on his heels)

    Nicolas gets one more year from me. Well, actually, he gets until February from me personally. If he hasn't found consistency or serious fire/gumption by then, I will no longer believe he is capable of finding either. At that point, for me, he becomes trade fodder. Realistically speaking, if the right deal came along this summer....he already is. I love Nico as a player, and think he is a fantastic person, and it is important to me that we have good character on this team. I want more than anything to see him seriously bring it next season. I will be really, really hoping he does. As for playing internationally, I think it's time for him to make a choice.

    Rudy is a done deal for me. I will be extremely disappointed with the front office if Rudy is taking up a roster spot come fall. Maybe harsh, but that's where I am at with him. Great guy though.

    The rest? Honestly, I don't care. And yes, that includes Greg. I can only handle one pipe dream at a time, and Brandon is it for now :) If any of them is still here in the fall....okay. If any of them are gone in the fall....okay.


    by SisillaRiann on 5/30/2011 3:54 PM
  47. Cho being let go was a shock, but I am in the camp that believes Allen has a right to do what he pleases with his team. If it wasn't working for some reason for him, well...there you go.

    I will be very curious to see what we do in the draft. I LOVE the few mocks that have us taking Kemba at 21. That's about the only one I get excited about. Shame it's about as likely as BRoy playing like it's 2008-09 next season :) I don't think we will do much in free agency, at least as far as big moves go. As some said above, unless we are giving up core pieces, we just don't have much to attract much in return. Besides, when it comes to NEEDS...we don't really need much in the way of Blockbuster trades, imho. A solid Center, a strong back-up banger PF, and a PG for Dre to train are at the top of my list. We'll see what's at the top of the front office's soon enough!

    by SisillaRiann on 5/30/2011 4:00 PM
  48. EA: Kemba Walker falling to us that would be about the best outcome we can expect from this draft -- unless we can trade up somehow and get one of the top bigs in the draft.

    BullFrog: You say Harden's praise is a little overrated, but consider that he was only a sophomore. Compare his play this past season with other great players' second year and I think he's right up there. OKC was able to trade for Perkins (giving up Jeff Green) because of Harden's improvement and potential for a lot more of the same.

    danman: And don't forget Patterson, he was a bad as Whitsitt!

    About the GM search in general: The team is saying there is no hurry in naming a replacement and that they are compiling a list of requirements for the position. Seems to me the requirements for a GM are simple -- put together a championship caliber team and inspire confidence in the staff, coaches, and players. Of course for the Blazers there's also making nice with the owner. That may be the number one priority for this owner...

    by dgpdx on 5/30/2011 7:11 PM
  49. Losing to the Mavs has me steaming but if we had to lose to someone I'm glad it was them. This Mav team is not the more talented team but it is definitely more balanced. I love the guts they're showing.

    by thedanman on 6/3/2011 6:20 AM
  50. how do u completely delete a double message?

    by thedanman on 6/3/2011 6:21 AM
  51. I don't know. I can delete everything but the by Hg

    by Hg on 6/3/2011 7:04 AM
  52. I took care of the doubles for you :)

    by sarahhecht on 6/3/2011 12:32 PM
  53. Thank you Sarah, is there anyway we can do it on our end?

    by Hg on 6/3/2011 3:30 PM
  54. donpdx: I agree that Harden has all star potential. i think Brandon Roy was better. Brandon has more size too which plays a role. All star potential for harden? yes. Superstar? No. Would acquiring him make us a contender? No. Is he a good piece fro a contender. Probably like a Jason Terry like piece with a little more ability to draw contact and get his own shot. I think the kid is really good, maybe i just got sick of Van Gundy having a man crush on him the whole series.

    by Bull Frog on 6/3/2011 4:35 PM
  55. Bull Frog: Yeah, I can relate to that! I know those analyst guys have to say something to fill up a certain amount of air time, but their constant use of superlatives gets old after a while.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 6/5/2011 6:05 PM
  56. @Hg: Unfortunately not. I'll keep an eye on it.

    by sarahhecht on 6/6/2011 7:56 AM
  57. I thank you Miss Sarah:

    by Hg on 6/6/2011 8:35 AM
  58. I'm still watching and listening for a deal or a move that would be a certain thing. A ureka moment. I haven't seen or heard it yet. Unfortunately. I like Rudy but I agree with Kassandra, we've tried him and for what ever reason he hasn't deliverd the promise.

    by Ancientone on 6/6/2011 6:57 PM
  59. I've read a lot about Faried. He's not as big as Pendergraf. Would he actually be an upgrade? I really liked Pendy and I don't see getting another player that is undersized for his position.

    by Ancientone on 6/8/2011 12:53 PM
  60. Help Sarah!!!

    by Ancientone on 6/8/2011 12:54 PM
  61. Got it :)

    by sarahhecht on 6/8/2011 1:55 PM
  62. I think Rudy is done in the NBA. Let him go back to Spain where his game fits far better. NBA ball is a lot more physical and Rudy seems to be too slight for it.

    by dgpdx on 6/8/2011 4:30 PM
  63. Rudy is a great basketball player but i agree that I have seen a lot of struggle with him fitting in with the Blazers. I think he can play in the NBA, I just don't think he fits with Nate's style. The guy is mad talented just way too inconsistent and instead of being aggressive he likes to play hot potato unless he has a wide open 3.

    by Bull Frog on 6/9/2011 6:38 PM
  64. Only two teams were able to take Dallas to more than five games: Miami and the Blazers!
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 6/13/2011 2:37 PM
  65. Hey gang,busy bee,So time to talk draft ,changes,whos stayin ,who's goin,?I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack:)On Rudy ,he has passed the potential thing and is in the inconsistency area....I'm thinkin he has been a sparkplug,but without his shooting.....well ,may as well look for consistency:)
    What about moving up to get Kemba Walker, that is move that would cost us Batum, more than likely,.I think Kyle Singler is intriguing ,Farried,perhaps ,what say ye ,Blazer Faithful ?
    I do like our nucleus right now and w Dre as well.

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/13/2011 4:37 PM
  66. The Mavs beat The Blazers for the same reason they won the Finals......... They know how to close......

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/13/2011 4:38 PM
  67. What is the consensus here about signing Oden?
    ........Homers?

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/13/2011 4:41 PM
  68. DowntownVinnie
    hey buddy over at Blazers Edge they have the newest on Greg, other then that who knows

    Hg

    by Hg on 6/14/2011 7:33 AM
  69. howsit my old pal hg?

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/13/2011 5:06 PM
  70. Nate says he's looking for more established guys as opposed to grooming more youngsters.
    No suprise,Nate has always had trust issues with young players anyways:)

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/14/2011 7:22 AM
  71. Vinnie:

    Kassandra has a blog going, check it out. It is pretty good and she updates quite often. She says and I agree that you don't trade for the sake of trading, but many of the fan's think it is quite boring to stay with what we have. I think a big and a ready back-up PG is our big needs.
    What do you think?

    by Hg on 6/14/2011 7:39 AM
  72. there sure is no shortage of what to talk about these days, but first, how ironic is it that on the night MB takes off from Courtside, Wheels steps in and reads questions from Vinnie and me? it's a wonderful day to be a blazer! not to mention, good question, Vin-Man!

    actually, congratulations goes out to Rich Cho, who was hired yesterday as Charlotte's GM. perhaps he'll have more "chemistry" with Michael Jordan than he did with Paul Allen (btw, the bobcats remain "my east coast team;" a moniker they earned when Joel and Dante were traded there).

    Vinnie: Kemba Walker? really? is he that good that you'd trade Nicolas for him? i'm not really sure of that one. i'm thinking the front line is a more immediate need than pg. then again, i tend to oppose the consensus and opt to fill the position we need most rather than simply going with the best player available. i certainly think that's the right move at pick #21.

    Hg: thanks for the blog plug. i try to write one at least every week. i actually started a three-part series about the current status of the blazers at each position. i posted the first one (pg's) on sunday: http://t.co/mgZs10T while part 2 (sg/sf) will be posted on wednesday, and part 3 (pf/c) on saturday.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 6/14/2011 12:21 PM
  73. I have read and commented on your latest blog Kassandra, and I thought it was terrific. My reply was a little flirtatious, or down right admiration, not sure which, you figure it out.

    I am still going with your pick at 21, Donatas Motiejunas, if he is available at 21. I think too many fans are in love with the speed and hops of players and doesn't see the rest of the product.

    I read the new hope on Greg, It sounds like at least he will be a Blazer.

    I don't get to watch courtside because I am working that time of night, but will catch the re-run soon.

    by Hg on 6/14/2011 4:37 PM
  74. Kass ,just tossin stuff around,?I wouldnt trade nic, but there is talk of moving up ,thats all.What about resigning Penderbender?

    by DowntownVinnie on 6/15/2011 5:32 AM
  75. I like resigning Pendergraf. How about a promising pure point who can shoot and may be real reasonable- Aaron Brooks?

    by Ancientone on 6/19/2011 9:19 AM
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