Archive for Kevin Pritchard

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.

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Blazers 2nd Round Draft 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2008 by blazersog

While the rest of the NBA world speculates on the first round of the NBA Draft, we here at the OG feel little to no time has been spent looking at the possible 2nd round picks the Blazers have.  2nd round picks are usually gamble picks, a guy you can take a chance on and possibly bring on once camp is done, or a guy you can stash away in the D-League, or Europe for a few years.  Since KP has taken over the helm of the Blazers he has used 2nd round picks to: keep on the team (Josh McRoberts), trade during the year (Taurean Green), to acquire and then quickly trade away in the same draft (James White, 2006), and on and on…..Basically the second round pick can be a gem (Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd, Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer) or a bust (Khalid El-Amin, God Shamgod).

While we own the 13th overall pick in this upcoming draft, we hold 3 second rounds picks.  All of our 2nd picks are courtesy of trades KP has made in past years.  We actually do not hold our own pick, it was part of a previous trade, but hold 3 picks from other teams (33 from the Grizzlies, 36th from the Knicks, 55th from the Suns)…funny how these things happen. 

For sake of argument lets say the Blazers use all three picks, or at least one of them.  Who would we take?  Most times GMs use the “best of the rest” principal in the 2nd round.  This makes sense since it is a gamble you might as well not draft on need as much as talent.  Former GM John Nash liked to use the “gamble on size” in the second round.  That landed us Ha Seung-Jin….thanks John no wonder you got fired the day before ’06 draft.  Whatever you plan in the 2nd round may be it is important to do your homework because you can look like a genius when you select Manu with the second to last pick in the draft.

Here are some options, assuming the Blazers take a second round pick:

Kyle Weaver SG/PG Wash. St. Sr. 6-5, 201

“Big guard withthe versatility to play both guard positions … Plays PG for Washington State and handles anddistributes the ball very well … His ability to run the point guard position at least within the rotation on the next level makes him intriguing … Very long, his wingspan gives him added length andmakes him a tough assignment on bothends of the floor … An excellent defender with a chance to get a lot better if he continues to work at it … Has a quick first step and a solid handle enabling him to get into the lane for shots or dishes to teammates … Has good vision and passing ability … Competitive, tough nosed player who raises his level of play in big games … His overall quickness and athleticism allows him to get by opponents and make plays that players his size aren’t normally capable of … Hard worker who showed a great deal of improvement in his junior season … Solid free throw shooter at 77%.” (NBA Draft.net)

Omer Asik PF/C Turkey 7-0, 220

“Consistency is his calling card as he always gives his team some points and an equal share of rebounds while being a capable shot blocker at the Euroleaguelevel (should be able to be a solid shot blocker at the NBA level as well) … Center seems to be his natural position as he loves playing with his back to the basket possessing a good assortment of moves to get his shot off … He is a tenacious rebounder going for the offensive boards as well as wiping the defensive glass … A late bloomer who has progressed considerably over the last 2 years. He possesses a good reach and good hands, and his frame appears to be able to add weight.” (NBA Draft.net)

Ronalds Zakis SF Latvia 6-9, 230

If you can speak Latvian then you can know more about this guy….http://www.basket.lv/jauniesu_izlases/speletaji/ronalds_zakis

Ryan Anderson PF Cal, 6-10, 240

“A highly versatile big man who can score near the basket or outside the three-point arc, Anderson emerged as one of the top freshmen in the country last season … paced the Bears in both scoring and rebounding as a rookie, shooting 38.2 percent from three-point range (58-152) and79.8 percent from the free throw line (103-129) … produced eight games with at least 20 points, including a high of 27 points vs. Oregon State in the Pac-10 Tournament … a member of the 2006-07 Pac-10 All-Freshman team and was honorable mention All-Pac-10 … also chosen a second-team Freshman All-American by Basketball Times … named All-District 14 by the NABC … most natural position is power forward, but was forced to play center much of his freshman campaign after starter DeVon Hardin hurt his foot in the year’s 11thgame … should benefit from increased depth at the post position this season … attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp over the summer.” (CalBears.cstv.com)

Mario Chalmers PG/SG Kansas 6-1. 190

“A two-year starter who broke a 26-year KU record by recording 97 steals in 2006-07… Was named 2007 co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, the first year the award was selected… Has led the Big 12 in steals his freshman andsophomore seasons… Has been named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team each of the last two seasons… One of 30 players invited to try out for Team USA at the Pan Am Games in summer 2007… Will contend for postseason accolades as he received many following his freshman and sophomore campaigns… Has a great court sense and can play either guard spot.” (kuathletics.cstv.com)

Sonny Weems SG/SF Arkansas 6-6, 201

“An intriguing prospect with developing skills … A ridiculous run/jump athlete who thrives in the open floor, up tempo game … High riser who regularly converts on highlight dunks … Shows nice touch on his shot … Slashes to the basket well with long arms and good body control … Playing alongside a good point guard really enhances his strengths as he is very good at running back door and converting ally oops … A solid free throw shooter (80%) … Has really improved as a three point shooter … Shows a great deal of potential as his skills are steadily catching up to his athleticism … Quick hands and feet make him a quality on ball defender … Solid defender who gathers a good deal of steals with his long arms and anticipation … Explosive leaper who jumps better off two feet.” (NBA Draft.net)

The one to watch for: Mike Taylor PG/SG Idaho Stampede 6-2, 190

We don’t see the Blazers taking this guy since he has had major problems with the law.  But trust us, this guy will be the one guy who makes it, or the best 2nd round pick this year.  He was the best player on the Stampede last year, and the reason they won the DL Championship.  His time in the NBA DL gives him a much better advantage playing among more NBA caliber players then most 2nd round picks.  He is lightening fast, can score, rebound for his position, and will be a player in the rotation next year…mark this and remember us when you see it happen during the season (just read the link about his pre-draft workouts). 

The One To Stay Away From: DeAndre Jordan C Texas A&M 7-0, 250

Every year NBA Scouts, GMs, and bloggers get jacked up about some “promising big man with potential.”  You hear the mantra “you can’t coach size” and you see these big men fail year in and year out.  This year’s draft bust is DeAndre Jordan.  Some foolish team in the lottery is going to gamble on this guy and he will end up like Chris Anstey (oh wait we drafted that guy, good thing we traded him).  Again, mark our words and hold us to them when the season wears on you will see the truth in our words.  So, why do we mention this potential lottery pick in an entry about 2nd round picks?  Because this guy belongs in the 2nd round.  He is no better than Ha is, or was.   In the last 5 games of his NCAA career he had one DNP, played 5 minutes vs Kansas St, 4 minutes vs Kansas, 5 minutes vs BYUin the first round of the tournament, and 15 minutes vs UCLA in the second round loss.  If Mark Turgeon wont play him many minutes in important games what makes anyone think he can play in the NBA?

So, who do you think we will take with a second round pick?  Remember, we are assuming we will take one!

Lets hear it!

 

All Time Blazers Team Part 6: Point Guard

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

In two seasons KP and the Blazers brass are going to make a huge push to land either Chris Paul or Deron Williams in free agency.  The reason?  Well, its two fold: 1.  Williams and Paul are studs who can change the look of any team and 2.  Currently we do not have the prototype PG we want.  No disrespect to Blake, we all love him, but he is better suited as a backup then a starter for this team to make a serious championship run. 

When looking at any point guard in Blazer history the gold standard is Terry Porter.  His steady play, ability to run either the half court offense or fast break, and all around ability to keep Clyde, Jerome, Buck, Duck, and Uncle Cliffy happy is unparalleled in franchise history. 

The Blazers have also had some very solid point guards in recent history such as Rod Strickland, Damon Stoudamire, and Kenny Anderson.  Each of these players have been a shot in the arm to the Blazers when needed.  But none of them compare to the All Time Blazers Point Guard Terry Porter.  Just look at these Blazer stats:

Drafted in 1985 24th Pick overall out of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Played with the Blazers until 1995. 14.9 ppg. 6.2 AST per game.  7 triple doubles. J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winner ‘92-’93. 6th and 9th in NBA FG percentage ‘89-90 and ‘90-’91. 4th and 7th in NBA 3pt percentage in ‘90-’91 and ‘92-’93. 5th in ‘86-’87, 4th in ‘87-’88, tied for 7th in ‘89-’90 in NBA assists. 10th in NBA steels in ‘86-’87. NBA All-Star ‘91, ‘93. Team leader in 3pt field goal percentage in a game (1.000, 7-7 in ‘92). Team record for most points in a quarter (25). Team record for assists in a half (13) and a quarter (10). Scored 40 points 3 times as a Blazer, once during a playoff game. 3rd all time games played (758). Second all time in minutes played (23,978). 2nd all time in points scored (11,330). 1st all time assists (5,319). 2nd all time in filed goals made (4,101). 1st all time 3-pt field goals made (773). 2nd all time free throws made (2,555). 3rd all time free throw percentage (.846). 2nd all time steals (1,182). 2nd all time consecutive games played (198).

Terry was the Robin to Clyde’s Batman.  He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Blazer faithful.  It always seemed as if Terry was in the right place at the right time.  Either to take a charge, pick up a loose ball, or to buy the team when Allen put them up for sale.  Whatever it was Terry always has been, and always will be here for Rip City.  Of all the choices for the All Time Blazer Team, Terry Porter stands next to Clyde as the easiest.

Congrats Terry Porter All Time Blazers Point Guard!

As the team stands now:

SF:  Jerome Kersey

PF:  Maurice Lucas

C:  Bill Walton

SG:  Clyde Drexler

PG:  Terry Porter

Coach: Dr. Jack Ramsay

Next week we wrap this up with 6th man.

So what are your thoughts about Terry?  Do you have any good Terry related stories from his time in Portland?

Who is Russell Westbrook?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2008 by blazersog

Last month, John Canzano wrote a blurb on seeing Kevin Pritchard at the UCLA-Oregon game.  KP brought with him his all star cast of Blazers assistant GM Tom Penn, scout Michael Born and scout Chad Buchanan. Obviously, the Trailblazer engine was working that night to see if they like a certain player in the UCLA team. We don’t think it was Oregon native Kevin Love, but Love’s combo guard, Russell Westbrook. So what do we know about this UCLA player? Here are some facts about Mr. Westbrook:

The basics: He was born in Long Beach, California and is currently a sophomore at UCLA. He’s 6’3 and a lefty (There’s something about lefty’s that makes you think of greatness i.e. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, The Lone Ranger and the guy who invented the Dyson Vacuum)

The man is averaging 12.4 points per game, almost 5 assists and 4 rebounds. He’s comfortable playing either with the rock in his hand or playing off of it. In terms of shooting, UCLA coach, Ben Howland wanted Westbrook to improve his shot before his sophomore year, and being the obedient young man he was, Westbrook took the summer shooting enough jumpers to make 500 made baskets everyday. Wow! That’s some work ethic coming from a 19 year old.

Here’s what Fan Nation said about Westbrook’s game:

Strengths- Russell is an explosive and athletic combo guard who can get anywhere on the court he wants to.  He posesses a lethal first step and a nasty crossover.  Although his game is suited more to the 2-Guard position, Westbrook is a good passer and is very unselfish.  Gets good lift on his jumpshot and has an excellent mid-range game.  Teammates and coaches say he’s a great person to have in the locker room and is very coachable.

Weaknesses- For all of his athletic ability, Westbrook is still pretty undersized for a SG at 6-4.  He also tends to struggle when faced with full-court pressure and can become flustered. Free throw shooting might become a problem for him.  He shot 55% as a freshman but has improved a lot this year.

As far as his character, he sounds like a Trail Blazer already. We would love to see a player with the aggressiveness that takes him to the basket (not named Brandon Roy). Jarrett Jack has the ability, but finishing is not his strength. If you haven’t seen Westbrook finish, here a little clip:

Analyzing his weakness, his size would be an issue as a two guard, but we really don’t need a 2. We need a point guard who can handle and distribute the ball well. We need somebody who can run the pick and roll with fluidity. If Westbrook struggles with defensive pressure, we might as well stay with Jack who knows our offense and has been proven in the NBA.

Bottom line: Westbrook could be another Monta Ellis, and with our lack of fastbreak points, he would be a breath of fresh air. So what do you think? Would Russell Westbrook be a great addition to this soon-to-be championship team?

All Time Trail Blazers Team Part 3: Coach

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2008 by blazersog

In the search for the All Time Blazer Team we also have to think about the coaching staff.  Instead of selecting a staff of 5 coaches, we will select the one Blazer coach who we feel deserves to coach this elite team of Blazers.

The Blazers have had 12 different coaches throughout their years two of which served with the interim coach: Stu Inman, and Kevin Pritchard.  Both of these men served for the same reason, the coach was fired mid season and the front office wanted to get a look under the hood to see what really needed to be done to fix the stalling team. 

Inman took over for the first Blazer coach Rolland Todd who amassed a career record of .297 during his two plus years.  Inman replaced Todd with Jack McCloskey who did not fare much better during the 1972-1975 seasons and a winning percentage of .293.  The Blazers turned to future Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens in 1974 and his reign at the helm of the Blazer ended after two season and a little better percentage of .457.  Wilkens was let go after the ’75-76 season.

In the destined season of ’76-’77 Jack Ramsay broke onto the scene in Portland.  During his first of 10 full seasons as the coach Ramsay led Walton, Lucas, and the other Blazers to Portland first and only Championship.  During his time with the team Dr. Jack amassed a career record of 453 wins and 367 losses good enough for a winning percentage of .552.  His career playoff percentage is .492.  Dr. Jack has become the beacon in which we judge all coaches of the Blazers.  His attitude, tenacity, and dedication to the Blazers during the championship run is unmatched in the history of the Blazers. 

After Ramsay gave up the helm, the Blazers hired Mike Schuler, who after three years of mediocre basketball was replaced mid-season by his lead assistant, Rick Adelman.  Adelman coached the team for 5+ seasons and has a career winning percentage of .654 in the regular season and .522 in the playoffs.  Adelman’s strong Xs and Os and ability to teach the game was one reason the Blazers of the late ’80s and early ’90s were so successful and feared across the NBA.

Since Adelman’s departure the Blazers have had a string of coaches who were good enough to keep us in the playoffs, but not good enough to bring another championship to Portland.  The wrecking-ball named Mo Cheeks blew our team up, and now we have a bright, strong, and powerful coach in Nate McMillian.

When looking for a coach of this All Time Blazers Team two names stand out:  Dr. Jack and Rick Adelman.  Adelman has the better career stats in wins, both in the regular season and the playoffs.  However, Ramsay has a ring.  It can be argued that Ramsay had less talent to coach, but Adelman had a tougher NBA (Jordan) to compete with.  If Adelman had won a championship with the Blazers he would be a shoo-in for this award. 

When looking at the success of the Blazers under different coaches it is clear that Jack Ramsay is the All Time Blazer Coach.  His understanding of the game, his ability to do more with less, and ability to teach the game unlike any other Blazer coach makes him the rightful recipient of the award.

Congratulations Dr. Jack the All Time Blazer Coach!

The All Time Blazers Team currently stands as:

Coach: Jack Ramsay

SG: Clyde Drexler

SF: Jerome Kersey

The hardest positions are still to come with Center, Power Forward, Point Guard, and 6th man.

So what do you think…do you think Dr. Jack is given more praise then he needs for winning a championship?  Do you think that Adelman with his better record in both the regular season and playoffs is better suited for this award?  Let’s hear it!