Archive for April, 2008

The Enforcer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2008 by blazersog

Every good championship team has that one guy, the guy who protects the star, the guy who enforces the unwritten rules of the game, the guy who puts a hurtin on the other team to let them know who owns the paint.  Come playoff time we need someone who is going to protect Roy from the hard hits he will take in the paint.  Someone to get in the mind of Kobe and put him on the floor when he tries to drive the lane.  Basically a guy who is willing to let the other team know that when you foul Roy you will be getting the same thing back…we need a hit man.

Looking at some of the great enforcers in league history we can see they come in many different forms.  Maurice Lucas of the Blazers was one who would just plain thrown down (even in the NBA Finals!).  Guys like Bruce Bowen straight up lock you down on “D” and play the dirty, cheap unseen jabs at a guy that take him out of his game.  Then you have the “instigator.”  The guy who is not really a bad ass as much as he is a fly that bothers you and makes you respond.  The greatest of all time Rick Fox.  His main goal on the court in the playoffs was to get under the skin of the best player, to get that guy to throw a punch, make a push, anything to get both him and Fox out of the game or games.  Man we hate that guy.

Let us say this off the bat, we love our team.  Everyone knows that we have a young, great, and talented team.  However, is the current team soft?  One thing that Jail Blazers had that we need is swagger.  People were scared of us when we were full of criminals.  Not saying we need to go back to a roster of thugs, but we need someone, something that will give us the punch we need.

About 5 times this year we saw teams seriously try to intimidate us,  especially Lamar Odem and the Lakers.  The world around the league is that we could be bullied.  The last game of the year saw LMA and Outlaw get in the face of Odem, but nothing was done on the court as retaliation for his hit on Roy.  With our team getting Rudy and Greg back the question must be posed: who is going to be the next enforcer of the Blazers?

Option 1:  Greg Oden

When Oden comes on board we know he will own the paint.  It is much more accepted in the NBA when a center of PF bangs someone hard then when a PG or SG does it…in a way it is expected that if you enter the paint you will get a little beat up.  But do we really want Oden being the enforcer, the guy who could potentially in a playoff series be suspended for a game?

Option 2: Joel Przybilla

The nice part about the Vanilla Gorilla is that he will now be our backup center.  Losing your backup center is not nearly as bad as losing Oden for a game or so.  We know Joel gets his fair share of hard hits.  He also kick boxes to stay in shape.  If you think about it, Joel has never played a full season in the NBA, so maybe if he gets a few suspensions for roughing up someone else his only games missed will be self imposed.

Option 3:  Free Agency

Beyond Greg and Joel our team lacks a hard nosed, bad ass who can be the enforcer.  Nothing against Europeans, but they are not know for their grit.  James, Webster, Frye, those guys are just plain nice.  When looking for an enforcer you want a guy who is not afraid to throw down, a guy who can get in the head of the other team’s star, a guy who will take a suspension for the team.  So you don’t want that guy being a star or someone who is the third or fourth option on the team.  That takes Oden out of it.  Do we have room to add this guy in free agency?  Who do you think we should go after?

So what do we need, who will be our enforcer??  Lets hear it.

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Jose?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2008 by blazersog

As far back as this season’s trade deadline, Kevin Pritchard has been rumored to be interested in obtaining Jose Calderon of the Toronto Raptors. This off season Calderon will become a restricted free agent. With the recent news of Darius Miles being cleared from waivers, the Blazers have some serious cap room for the 2009 off season. Many have speculated that with such a large cap space and a need for a premier point guard that the Blazers will make a serious run at 2009 free agents Chris Paul or Deron Williams. Recognizing these juxtapositions, Blazer fans must ask themselves: do we want Calderon now or a chance at Paul or Williams a little later?

This season has been a break out year for Jose Calderon. After TJ Ford went down with an injury 14 games into the season, Calderon got a chance to start for the Raptors and has made the most of it, averaging 11 points and 8 assists while leading the league with an amazing assist to turnover ratio of 13.00 (just for comparison the next closest player in the NBA is LeBron James with an assist to turnover ration of 8.00). Calderon has a reputation as a team player, locker room favorite and all around good guy in the community.

There is little doubt that both Paul (arguably one of the best players in the NBA) and Williams are more gifted PGs than Calderon. Williams and Paul are big names who would undoubtedly make the Blazers better if they joined the team. But getting either of them is by no means certain. Aside from having an up-and-coming team, what could the Blazers offer either Williams or Paul that they can’t get with their current or other teams? Deron Williams looks to be happy in Salt Lake playing for a team that figures to join the Blazers as one of the premier teams in the Western Conference for years to come. Paul seems to be a shoe-in to bolt New Orleans, but why would he want to come to Portland? Joining a team in a small NBA market is a death sentence for most players financially, resulting in them leaving millions on the table in potential endorsements. Moreover, with the NBA collective bargaining agreement, all teams interested in signing Paul will be offering him a max contract, thereby eliminating the chance that the Blazers could out spend other teams.

It is also reasonable to wonder if a player like Calderon may actually be a better fit in Portland. Both Williams and Paul are used to having the ball in their hands where they can make plays or set up the offense. They both have high scoring averages and are used to a steady diet of shots on the offensive end. The Blazers are looking for a point guard who can run the offense but is also willing to share duties with Brandon Roy who is also a skilled ball handler. The Blazers are likely looking for a point guard who can score but is willing to be the 4th or 5th option on the floor; simply put the Blazers are looking for a pass first, shoot second point guard. Both Williams and Paul are excellent passers, but would they be willing to see their scoring average drop to join the Blazers? Whereas Calderon is a wizard with the ball, almost turn over free and possesses a nice offensive repertoire which has only gotten stronger since joining the league. With a floor full of franchise players and future (or current) All-Stars, do the Blazers have room for one more?

Tell us what you think. Is Calderon the right choice for the Blazers or should they take a chance at getting the big time play of Williams or Paul? Or do the Blazers even have a chance of nabbing Williams or Paul? Post your comments and let us know.

Why is Nate the Best Coach in the NBA?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2008 by blazersog

Great article today in the Wall Street Journal, of all places.  The story breaks down how Nate McMillian has excelled as an X’s and O’s coach. Many of us complained that Mo Cheeks just didn’t have it when it came to basketball knowledge. Nate more than makes up for this and it shows in both the Blazer performances out of timeouts and wins in close games. Read the story; its nice to see the Blazers get some national coverage, even if its in a newspaper not known for its sports writing.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120846936079424371.html?mod=sports

LaMarcus, You’re Our Man!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2008 by blazersog

As the NBA season comes to a close, the league bestows upon the members of the Association a litany of yearly awards. Since the 1985-86 season, the Most Improved Player Award has been issued by the league to the player who has made “the most significant improvement” over the previous season. Recently, the Trail Blazers launched www.ripcityrising.com to lobby for LaMarcus Aldridge to win the award. But aside from an amazing web site and a much improved year, how do Aldridge’s numbers stack up against other players in the NBA in the running for the Most Improved Player Award (MIP)?

As with all awards, the criteria to win them are somewhat subjective. It is clear that the MIP award has at its heart a requirement that a player make a significant statistical improvement from the previous year. In an effort to analyze statistics of improvement in a non-bias way, we at the BlazersOG have crunched the numbers of potential nominees for the MIP award in order to compare and contrast their stats. There are an endless number of stats that can be included when analyzing a player; moreover it is always a difficult decision to decide how to judge a player’s improvement.

We at the BlazesOG feel the MIP award is first and foremost a personal award and accordingly we have chosen to analyze players’ statistics looking at the five most common categories used to value a player’s ability in all facets of the game: Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals and Blocks. Using these statistics we have compared the 2006-07 season to the 2007-08 season of the nine most likely players to be considered for the MIP Award. Taking the various improvements (or in some cases, lack thereof) made by each player, all equally weighed so as not to give one position an advantage over another, we added the players’ net increase in each category together thereby giving them what we call a Total Player Improvement Average (TPIA).

The results are below.

Player

Points

Rebounds

Assists

Steals

Blocks

TPIA

LaMarcus Aldridge

8.7

2.6

1.2

0.4

0

12.9

Chris Kaman

5.6

4.9

0.8

0.1

1.3

12.7

Rudy Gay

9.6

1.6

0.6

0.5

0.1

12.4

Andrew Bynum

5.3

4.3

0.6

0.2

0.5

10.9

Hedo Turkoglu

6.3

1.8

1.7

-0.1

0.1

9.8

Mike Dunleavy

4.9

0.6

0.9

-0.1

0.2

6.5

Rajon Rondo

4.2

0.5

1.3

0.1

0.1

6.2

Deron Williams

2.8

-0.3

1.3

0.1

0.1

4.0

David West

2.1

0.9

0.1

0

0.6

3.7

As you can see, Aldridge’s Total Player Improvement Average is tops among potential MIP nominees. Although Aldridge has not had the greatest improvement in any one statistical category, his overall improvement is the best among the nine potential nominees.

Looking beyond the numbers it can be argued that both Chris Kaman and Andrew Bynum should not be considered or at a minimum penalized for only playing 58 and 35 games respectfully. It is hard to justify giving a player the most improved award when they don’t play the vast majority of the season.

Another factor that may be considered is the effect the players’ improved status had on the overall team. To date, Hedo Turkoglu’s emergence this season has helped result in a net gain of 11 additional wins for his team. David West’s great year has helped the Hornets improve their record from last year by 17 games. Equally as impressive is Boston’s turn around with the help of Rajon Rondo, however few would argue that Rondo had little more than a cursory impact on Boston’s huge win total. Others, like Rudy Gay’s or Mike Dunleavy’s break out seasons have resulted in no additional wins for their respective teams. In comparison, Aldridge’s year has helped the Blazers improve their record by 10 games from last year.

Looking at the totality of the facts, in our opinion LaMarcus Aldridge is the most deserving recipient of the Most Improved Player Award. Aldridge’s overall game is the most improved of the nine nominees. In addition, he has played a full NBA season while helping his club achieve a .500 record with the third youngest roster in NBA history and playing in the difficult and dominate Western Conference. Unfortunately, we hold little hope for Aldridge if the voters are as inept and myopic as those recently polled on ESPN.com when their talking heads amazingly failed to even mention Aldridge as a potential MIP nominee.

It is our sincere hope the various voters make Mr. Aldridge the third Blazer to win the Most Improved Player Award along with Kevin Duckworth (1987-88 ) and Zach Randolph (2003-04), thereby tying Washington with the most players to win the award (Pervis Ellison (1991-92), Don MacLean (1993-94), and Gheorghe Muresan (1995-96)).

Here’s hoping for you, LaMarcus.

The All Time Blazer 6th Man: Geoff Petrie

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2008 by blazersog

Last week we asked for your input on who should be named the All Time 6th Man.  The votes are in, the comments are in, and we are proud to name Geoff Petrie to the All Time Blazer Team!

Here are some of your comments:

“…You can forget Larry Steele because his numbers just aren’t up there with some of the others. In my mind, Petrie definitely takes this. I love Sabas and Buck, but you’ve got to consider Petrie’s time with the Blazers, both as a player and in management. It’s too bad that he didn’t stick with the team longer (and a big part of why Adelman left…), but the guy is Portland, through and through.” Devin

“In my opinion it is Petrie…It seems sometimes he is the forgotten Blazer. The guy could stroke it from anywhere…played above average defense, and was a damn good passer.”  Juan

There is no doubt that Petire would be one of the best three point shooters in Blazer history if they actually had a 3 point line when he played.  He could play either guard or forward, could score with the best of them (2 51 point games which is second all time to Damon’s 54 point game).  Petrie was one of those “glue guys” that are quickly becoming a rarity in the NBA.  He calm demeanor and willingness to play an all around game was respected by teammates and opponents alike.

Congrats Geoff Petire All Time Blazer Sixth Man!

Here is how the All Time Blazer Team looks after our 7 week debate:

SF:  Jerome Kersey

PF:  Maurice Lucas

C:  Bill Walton

SG:  Clyde Drexler

PG:  Terry Porter

Coach: Dr. Jack Ramsay

6th man: Geoff Petrie

American (Blazer) Badass

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2008 by blazersog

This past Tuesday, our Blazers had a victorious battle against the Lakers. It’s just satisfying to beat Kobe and co. This was the second time though, that Lamar Odom took it to one of our players and try to intimidate the team. Last time he did this, we ended up losing the game, but the Blazers were able to keep their cool this time and finish with the win. It was also great to see the Trout and LA step up to Odom and pretend like they were going to throw down. Watching this moment during the game, we got to thinking, where is our “intimidator”? where is the guy that you send in, just to mess with the Lamar’s of the NBA? This year’s draft could have a great freshman class with Beasley, Rose, Love and others. These guys are great scorers or defenders or have some awesome basketball IQ, but do we need more young superstars? Why don’t we pick for toughness or trade our pick for a badass in the league? Someone who can go in the game just plainly kick some ass and throw the opposing team off, taking their focus out of the game. Someone like a Bill Laimbeer or a Dennis Rodman. We think a championship team also needs one of these kind of players. Derrick Rose might be able to handle the ball well, but he won’t be able to if he’s getting banged up inside, by some a$$hole who’s not really looking to make a play on the ball, but on his head. 

 

 

Shopping with Oden

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by blazersog

When it comes to celebrities, we as a society disect every aspect of their life.  What they wear.  Who they date.  Where they shop?  So it was with no shame that this story was thrown on our desks and we immediatley had to report.  The witness asked that his real name not be used.  He just wanted to go by “Malone

     “I was walking home on Thursday, April 3rd.  It was around 10:30 at night.  The Blazers had just lost to the Lakers , so i was feeling a little pissed.  As I made my way up SW 10th avenue past the Art Museum, I realized that I needed to buy a few things at the Safeway.  I went inside, grabbed a basket, and proceeded to peruse the aisles.  As I turned the corner, into the frozen foods section, I noticed a large shadow had enveloped me.  I looked up and found myself face to face with none other then Greg Oden.  Now I don’t need to tell you how remarkable the size is of this soon to be Hall of Famer, but being up close and personal was a leeetle bit different than seeing him on TV.  It took me a few moments to remind myself not to stare. I stepped back, nodded, and side stepped Mr. Oden.  As I passed him, it occured to me: What do 7 foot NBA centers shop for at Safeway.  I hurridley glanced into his basket and was suprised to see nothing but Crystal Light bottles, some water and a Wok.  Could this multi-millionaire really have nothing more than the bare essentials.  Then It dawned on me.  He’s still only twenty.  When I was twenty, I lived off nothing but a packet of Top Ramen a day.  I went on with my shopping and eventually checked out.  Mr Oden was getting into his brand new Candy Apple Truck.  I waved, knowing we’d meet again.”

Remarkable.  This brief encounter with a Greg made us here at BazersOG curious.  What other incidents are there of random fan interaction.  Did you bump into Clyde at the Ringside.  Did you stop Rasheed for possesion of Marijuana.  Let us know!