Archive for NBA Draft

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

 

Rookie vs a Vet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2008 by blazersog

Last night two writers of this blog had a very interesting conversation about the draft.  The topic, do we take a PG like Westbrook or trade to get a veteran?

Most in Blazerland have said that we need a vet PG to take the reigns of this team and move it into a championship status.  However, the allure of Westbrook, a strong defender, solid shooter, and a guy who can play with and without the ball make an intriguing situation.  Don’t forget DJ Augustin, and waiting in the wings Petteri Koponen.

If we decide to go with a rookie, lets just say the two we would take would be Westbrook or Augustine, or bring Koponen on board we would have the benefit of our entire starting unit being young, talented, and ready to grow together.  Westbrook provides to most solid of the three, Koponen the most unknown (remember we already have one European sitting the bench). 

A vet brings all the obvious, experience, talent, steady play, etc, etc, etc.  But depending on who you get their lifespan on our team is limited.  Lots of talk has been going around about Billups, but he is old, and will he be around when Oden and company come into their own?

DJ Augustin

 

This guy can flat out fly.  He is a solid PG, will do what we need.  But will he be around at 13?  Is he worth trading for instead of Westbrook?

Petteri Koponen

Everyone in the NBA gets excited about a foreign born player.  Probably because they have the ability to become Tony Parker, or Manu Ginobili.  Is Koponen that guy?   Or is he just a fresh face that will fade like Sergi Monya?

Russell Westbrook

By far the most complete of the PGs available to us.  Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year, plays on and off the ball.  He wont be around at 13, so do we make a move?

Remember we are looking for a dynasty here….not a single championship!  So what do you think?

We have a poll going….check it out and vote!

 

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!