Who are you?(Hoo Hoo…Hoo Hoo)I really want to know.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2008 by blazersog

The Blazers are a carefully calculated team.  Oden,Roy,Aldridge,Rudy,Blake,Frye,Outlaw,Pryz,Bayless,Rodriguez.  Batum and Ike are looking solid and we all know Martell will be back in 8-10 weeks(hopefully sooner).  That makes thirteen players.  With Raef Lafrentz being hurt( and also a huge salary bonus), the Blazers have an important decision to make: Who should get the final roster spot.  So far through out the preseason, the best choices are between Steven Hill and Shavlik Randolph.



 

 

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While Randolph put some extraordinary numbers last night in the win over the Hawks, we believe that it needs to be proved on a much more consistent basis.  What worries us is the fact that Hills size and ability in the paint is too good to give up right now. The Blazers have a glut of power forwards with Lamarcus,Frye, and Ike. Whilst Randolph put up monster numbers against the Hawks, we feel that the stability that Hill brings be much more valuable in the long run….especially since he can gross opponents out with his dirty beard.  So we here at Blazersog( at least at this moment) pick Steven Hill as the player to come thru(God Please No) if Oden and Pryzbilla go down

Rooooooo!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 9, 2008 by blazersog

I finally got my but in a seat last night for the Preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. For me, this was really a chance to see two new Blazers—Greg & Rudy. And while it was sweet to see the big man on the court it was awesome seeing Rudy hustle his ass off. (I couldn’t find a clip of his sick alley oop dunk right before the end of the first half, but it will be on a highlight reel sometime soon.)

Consistent chants of ‘Rudy’ and ‘Roo’ filled the night whenever he walked on the court or had the ball. None louder than with 2:50 to go in the fourth. Watch below if you have a strong stomach. I won’t type any more on the subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnGK6PmhC5k

Honor Thy Duck

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2008 by blazersog

Has anyone else been amazed by the response of the sports and NBA community on Kevin Duckworth’s untimely passing?  We’ve read the articles and, more importantly, the comments:  the outpouring of support for the Duck has been fantastic – nothing less than he deserves.  From fellow alumni of EIU to Chicagoans who saw him play in Harvey, IL, to Suns fans who remember how Duck torched them in the playoffs, to Spurs fans who wish they hadn’t traded him away, to people who didn’t follow basketball, but knew that the big 7 foot guy who lived across the street volunteered at the neighborhood school, Kevin Duckworth is being remember, honored and memorialized by people who, like all us, saw that there was something special about this man.  There’s no question that the Duck had talents and there is also no question that on the court he had flaws.  But the simple truth that everyone now seems to realize is that Kevin Duckworth’s greatest achievements may very well have been off the court and that, unlike so many others who’ve been in his position, the Duck always found time to give back to his fans, to the City of Portland and to the Portland Trailblazers.  After Duck died, team president Larry Miller said, “Kevin will be remember by fans as one of the most popular and recognizable players to ever wear the Blazers uniform, but to people who knew him, he’ll be remembered as one of the warmest and biggest-hearted.”  See the picture below for proof.

Imagine being Kevin Duckworth for a moment.  You’ve got all sorts of talent, you work hard according to all of your teammates and coaches, and you give so freely of your time that people start to take you for granted.  But there are critics.  They say you’re overweight and lazy.  They say you don’t live up to your potential.  They say the team would be so much better if only they could have brought over that 7′ 3″ Lithuanian guy.  In spite of your 2 All Star appearances and being voted the Most Improved Player, you’re still sensitive to the jabs, jeers and insults you get when you’re on the road.  People chanting “What’s a Duck worth?” in an attempt to humiliate you.  Is it any wonder that people say Kevin Duckworth was sensitive and self-conscious?  To me, it seems like that’s the only thing a reasonable person would be in the face of constant criticism and comparison with people beyond comparison like Clyde.  Maybe what is surprising is the fact that the Duck always seemed like a normal guy, a real person, who just happened to be built like a giant.  And that’s why his story is one we can easily identify with on a personal level and one that should be remember in Blazers history.

From the beginning this blog has been about things not encapsulated by statistics or reported on by the great journalists out there in the real media world.  This blog is about the perspective from the 300 level – where the air is thin on oxygen, but overloaded with die-hard blazermaniacs.  For some reason, I think the Duck would’ve liked it up in the 300s with us (and you).  So we’re not content to let the Duck’s legacy be forgotten – we’ve come up with these ideas of how this team and this City should honor Kevin Duckworth.  

1.  Have Greg Oden wear the number #00 for the first game of the season.  (GO strikes me as a guy who would do this and it would only be for one game.)

2.  Have all Blazers players wear a #00 in white text on a black background all season, on the upper right strap of their jerseys.

3.  Rename a section of the Rose Garden’s 300 level “Duck’s Deck” forever.  The organization could also sponsor seats in this area for local charities and schools that Duckworth has worked with.

4.  Name or rename the fountain outside the Rose Garden the “Duck Pond” and put a small plaque honor the Duck.

5.  Retire the number #00.  Seriously, other than #22, is any other player’s number as well known?

We need your support.  We can’t ask for all of these, but we think something special is appropriate for the Duck.  When this is presented to the Blazers organization, it is absolutely essential that we can show them a broad base of fan support.  We (BlazersOG) don’t care if we get credit for it – we just want to be sure it happens.  So, please, please give us your comments below and forward this to your friends so we can remember the big man who gave us so much.  If someone wants to push this forward on their own, that’s fantastic.  We’re all blazers fans and that’s what matters here.

Farewell to the Duck

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on August 26, 2008 by blazersog

I was surprised when a friend called this morning at 6am to tell me about Kevin Duckworth’s death.  While he was only 44 years old and a member of a team that is the peak of the modern Trailblazers, what surprised me most was the shock of the news and the immediate affect it had.  In the last two hours, I have had six separate people call and share this news with me.  From three different states.  Two of whom aren’t even blazers fans.  But it should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Duck and his relationship with the City of Portland, Blazer fans and basketball fans everywhere that we all felt saddened by this news.

There are many great articles about Kevin Duckworth that encompass statistical analyses, provide terrific insight into who he was and recognize his place in the pantheon of great Trailblazers (see here, here and here, for examples).  So, in keeping with the reasons we started this blog, this post won’t focus on his numbers.  Indeed, the most interesting aspects of the Duck’s career and place in Blazer folklore are the ones off the court, many of them after he retired.

As everyone knows, the Duck loved to fish (I actually have the dairy queen cup with his picture from 1992, with a fishing pole and his stats) and he remained in and around Portland throughout his tenure with the Blazers and into retirement.  What I am always surprised by is how many people I have heard talk about running into this giant of a man and being overwhelmed by his humility and kindness.  I know school counselors from Beaverton who, after meeting Duckworth at Fred Meyers, asked him if he’d be interested in stopping by their school.  The Duck didn’t just stop by once – he stopped by several times that year and continued to do so for several more years after.  He held free basketball clinics.  He was an ambassador for the Trailblazers and a regular at games.  There is something very, very special about the connection between a player like that and the city and fans he represents.  You don’t see if often, but most of the members of those 1989-1992 Blazers teams had it, including the Duck.

A terrific jump shooter with great hands who suffered tremendous pressure and insults about his weight, Kevin Duckworth (#00) somehow became my favorite player on a team filled with iconic names like Porter, Kersey, Williams and, above all, Drexler.  I even had the team/player hat, with the Blazers pinwheel up front and “#00 Duckworth” on the back.  Maybe it was because I was a bigger kid who looked up to a guy that wasn’t cut from stone like Buck Williams or David Robinson or a slender reed like Kareem.  Maybe it was the fact that Duckworth was always known as a good person, larger than life and generous to a fault.  I’m not sure.  But, no matter the reason, I will be thinking of Kevin Duckworth today, remembering the times I cheered myself hoarse when he was on the court and recognizing the example he was able to set off of it. 

So, go easy, big fella and thank you.

Mr. Blazer or Mr. Paycheck?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2008 by blazersog

It was not all that long ago that we posted about our Coach and what we in Rip City thought about him.  The consensus was that Nate is doing a heck of a job, but it LMA or Roy wanted him out he would see the door. 

Last week we were hit with the news that Nate declined the opportunity to negotiate a new contract and instead wanted to “earn” it.  Since this is a slow time (between the Draft and before summer league) sports radio and the blogs lit up with the little nugget nestled in the Oregonian.

So what does this all mean?  First, it is important to note that we here at the OG support Nate and feel he is one hell of a coach.  Look at our team last year.  No one outside of Portland expected much of us after Oden went down.  And in all honestly, not many in Portland expected a .500 season.  A lot of that has to do with our team, but lets not forget that Nate lays the foundation.  So we are on record as supporting our coach.

So….why the big deal that Nate said he wants to earn his contract?  He never said he wants out, he simply said he signed a 5 year deal and he will honor that deal….good enough right?  RIGHT??  Well not really…at least for some.

Let’s not forget that Nate left Seattle on his own and was rewarded with an excellent contract.  He has shown he is not afraid to leave a comfortable place and go for the money.  If Mr. Sonic could leave the Sonics like that he could surely leave the Blazers just as easily.

Portland’s new sports radio station 95.5 The Game (which by the way provides amazing Blazer-related content ever day…thank god) was buzzing.  Every explanation was discussed, every opinion was given, and Nate himself even went on Wheels After Work to explain his words. 

Here is a quick rundown of what Portlanders think about Nate’s situation:

1.  He is holding out for lots of money

2.  He is being honorable and serving his contract and will deal with it later.

3.  He is going to bolt for another team in 2 years.

4.  He is not the coach for this team

5.  ETC, ETC, ETC

So, let’s cut through all of this and look at it from the one standpoint that has not been discussed.

First, Nate makes $5 million a year.  A top tier salary for a coach in the league.  Phil Jackson makes $10 million a year, top of all coaches.  If the Blazers wanted to extend Nate right now you would see him get a jump in salary.  Probably $2 million a year or more.  Just to be conservative and for sake of argument we will say he would get a $1 million jump per year.  So an extended contract at the minimum of $6 million a year keep him at the top of the league, and very happy.  Its hard to turn down $6 million a year.  So, we all know Nate turned down some serious cash.  Let alone the fact that the team wants to keep him…job security and money is hard to pass up.  So why do it?

Well, that is easy.  Nate wants more money.  Just like any player, or person in a job if they see the ability to make more they will go after it.  So why does this concern people?  IT SHOULD NOT.  Let’s look at this from a different angle.  If Nate were to jump at the chance to resign he would be saying a lot of things.  The loudest is the fact that he is going after job security.  If Nate were to sign a 3 year extension at $6 million a year he is guaranteed $18 million at the minimum.  No matter how good or bad the team is he gets his cash.  So passing up speaks volumes about what Nate thinks about this team.

What Nate is telling everyone is this team is DAMN GOOD.  Who better knows the team then to coach?  If Nate were to jump at the chance for job security he is telling everyone that he is unsure about the success of the team and wants to secure himself because this team may not live up to expectations.  What he is saying about not re-singing is that this team will succeed and he is in line to cash in.  No person in his position would turn down guaranteed money if the team was bad.  And no person would sign for millions less when they knew the team would blow up like expected putting them in line to get a bigger payday.  By riding out his contract he gives up security, but he also gains leverage when we start our march to a championship. 

So while the rest of Rip City freaks over this news, read between the lines, understand that what Nate said by not re-singing is music to our ears.  When our team goes above and beyond what even we expect and Nate is getting Zen like money remember this post.  Thank you Nate for showing us you believe in our team, and letting us peek behind the curtain to our assured success.

So long James..we hope we’re not making a mistake

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 9, 2008 by blazersog

The Oreonglive blog reports this morning that James Jones is ready to sign a deal with his home town team the Miami Heat for a guaranteed 8 million for two years, and an option for more cash after those two years (providing that the 3-point assassin delivers).  James opted out of his last year with the blazers for 3.2 million and it sounds like Miami will be getting our James Jones Mojo for just a 800k more. We understand that there are more factors that could create a salary cap block for our coveted future all star point guard,  __________(insert name here), but for what James is asking are we making a mistake by letting him go?

Let\'s hope the rain stays in Portland

We know that last year, our beloved Ime Udoka was taken by the San Antonio Spurs, and we were happy for the townie that got his money and also a chance to compete for the championship. However, Ime, was more of a town hero and not someone who the Blazers relied on at the 3 point range. He did well shooting, but was never rated as the #1 3-pointer in the league. Listen up Blazer fans, we are about to let James “44% from the 3″ Jones walk away. We don’t want to keep saving our money for a player that we don’t even know would look our direction (i.e. D Will). Grandma always said, a bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush. Our team looks solid right now counting James Jones in our roster spot. There is a great chemistry building in the Rose Garden and one big reason for that is James Jones. Why give that up?

We sound like we’re doubting K.P., and yes there is that doubt. But we still think a GM batting .700 is pretty amazing (count the miss on Sergio being a good point guard). As Blazers fans we need to voice our opinion even though we trust our GM. Today is the day for free agents to sign new contracts. Knowing K.P. he might have a trick or two in his sleeve and the blog might be talking prematurely. We just know that as fans keeping James Jones would be a great start to this years free agency.

BlazersOG Exclusive Interview With Russell Westbrook

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2008 by blazersog

After helping the UCLA Bruins advance to back-to-back Final Four appearances, Russell Westbrook joined teammates Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in declaring early for the 2008 NBA Draft. After deciding to be physical-only participant at the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, it’s apparent that Westbrook sees himself as a guaranteed top 15 selection. I had a chance to catch up with Westbrook just after he went through his workout at the camp. 

Woody Wommack: You were a late arrival at the camp, electing to come with the physical-only group, what do you think of the atmosphere in Orlando? 

Russell Westbrook: It’s good, I’m excited to be here.

WW: Did you know what to expect coming in because you’ve talked to former teammates who have been through the camp?

RW: A little bit, I’ve been practicing and working out so I kind of expecting what I was going to do. 

WW: How do you think you did in the non-basketball physical testing?

RW: I did alright, but we’ll see what happens.

WW: Do you think some of the activities are overrated, i.e. bench press?

RW: I mean it depends on how teams take it. I just needed to go in there and do my best I could and see from there. 

WW: In early draft projections you’re sort of all over the board, what would think if you fell to pick  No. 13 and the Portland Trailblazers?

RW: That’s alright with me, I’ve worked this hard wherever I go, whatever team takes me I’m just going to go in there and give it my best.

WW: Do you see yourself as a point guard in the NBA?

RW: Yep.

WW: What about the people that say you’re a “combo guard?” 

RW: It doesn’t matter, wherever the team needs me to go, probably at the next level that will be the point. Unless I automatically grow 3-4 inches in the next week or so, but I don’t think that’s going to happen, so most likely I’ll play the point. 

WW: Do you have any workouts scheduled?

RW: Not as of right now (Friday May 30) but we’re going to go back and look at it tonight.

WW: What have you been hearing from teams?

RW: Nothing new really, the same old stuff I’ve been hearing all year. Just lottery, that’s about it.

WW: Is it frustrating sometimes not knowing where you could go?

RW: Oh yeah, I mean you  hear all different types of things, somebody  might tell you this, somebody might tell you that. But you only know on June 26 when your name gets called so I’ve just got to keep working until then.

Woody Wommack is a freelance sports journalist based in Orlando, Fla. He covered the 2008 NBA Pre-Draft camp for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the San Jose Mercury News, the Bloomington Herald-Times and the Spokane Spokesman-Review. To see more of his work visit his journalism blog at http://woody-wommack.blogspot.com

 

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