Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Evening Linkage

Joe Freeman tears it up with a great feature on Nate McMillan.

With R&B music humming in the background, McMillan pulls his SUV off the freeway and heads downtown for an appointment with his barber. At a red light, he warns that parking is hard to come by so he might have to drive around the block a few times.
Suddenly, McMillan spots a car pulling out of a space on the street to the right.

"Ah, see, you gotta be patient," he says, grinning, before waiting out traffic, veering across two lanes to turn right and easing into the spot.

It's as if McMillan were lecturing himself. Patience was vital as the Blazers navigated through a top-to-bottom roster makeover and the forgettable seasons that accompanied it. But even though the rebuilding is in the final throes, McMillan says patience is needed more than ever while his players develop into winners.
Casey Holdahl posted a sweet collage of Greg Oden pictures over at his blog. Check it out here and post a comment for him.

Quick Chat from last Thursday, in case you missed it.

Ball Don't Lie is putting the Blazers at 44 wins for the season:

Please, Blazers fans. Don’t be shook by my win projection. It hardly means that Portland isn’t well on its way toward dominating the NBA for the next 11 seasons. It’s going to happen, but I don’t see the big step forward happening this year.

Why? Because your team is super-young, and played over its head last year. Hypothetically, the Blazers without Greg Oden, five years from now, could be a 60-win team as everyone hits their stride; but in 2007-08, that team should not have won 41 games. A few fewer than 41 is more like it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

And this year, even though Oden is going to be sickeningly good, they’ll probably only improve by a few wins. Last year’s team was shockingly injury-free, the team looked the same on opening night against the Spurs, in mid-winter during the 13-game winning streak, and in early spring as things were winding down. That doesn’t figure to repeat itself. People are going to miss games.

And in case you missed it on Wednesday, Channing Frye wants you do download his widget.

Blazers Pick Up Some Options

This just in via Yahoo Sports:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The Portland Trail Blazers exercised fourth-year options Saturday on the contracts of forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guards Sergio Rodriguez and Brandon Roy.

The Blazers also said [sic] exercised their third-year option on center Greg Oden, who missed last season following microfracture surgery on his right knee after being selected No. 1 overall in the NBA draft.

The moves, announced by general manager Kevin Pritchard, keep all four players under contract through the 2009-10 season.

The Trail Blazers acquired Aldridge, Rodriguez and Roy in 2006 draft-day trades.

Good to see the Blazers locking up the big three, and hopefully extending Sergio's contract will give him a big confidence boost. It appears we should be locked, cocked, and ready to roll for the next couple of years with these signings.


PS--Just threw the [sic] in there to show that the error is theirs, not mine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Linkage

It's a fine Wednesday morning and as you're waiting for tonight's game against the Clips, here's some links to check out...

Gavin Dawson of 95.5 the Game, Casey Holdahl of, and Dave Deckard of Blazers Edge rippin' it up on the Morning Sports Page this morning. Listen here.

And speaking of Casey, he talks about Joel's injury and how cool of a dude Joel is:

You've surely heard by now that during last week's scrimmage at Cleveland High School, Greg Oden's elbow collided with Joel Przybilla's eye, resulting in a new shiner and a couple stitches for "The Thrilla." So just to recap, that's a rookie cutting a grizzled vet in a scrimmage. One could assume said rookie was going to have hell to pay.

But that's not how Joel Przybilla rolls. Rather than taking out any residual aggression on his fellow center, something more than a few veterans around the league would be happy to do, Przybilla is content to shrug it off as one of those unavoidable job-related hazards.

"I’ve been cut up before," said Przybilla. "I just took an elbow to the eye. It happens."

And then there's Dwight Jaynes talking about the beast that is Greg Oden:

I guess it should have dawned on me earlier, but Blazer fans, think about this for a moment: After all these years of screaming at Shaq and Kareem and Patrick Ewing and Hakeem, you have a new reality. Your days of being the lovable underdog are pretty much over.

You’re rooting for Goliath now. The monster is on YOUR side. How is that for changing your complete personality as a fan?

ESPN analysts predictions on the season are up and available, complete with John Hollinger breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

Hint: There weren't too many weaknesses other than youth.

Up front, they have Oden, a dominating 7-footer who should control the paint, and Przybilla, the 7-foot-1 shot blocker who held down the fort a year ago. At power forward they have two softies in Aldridge and Frye, but both players are 6-foot-11 and can create problems with their length as wing defenders in zones. Some teams don't have any players that big; the Blazers have four.

Go down the list and the size advantage gets more daunting. Small forward Webster is 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, and backup Outlaw is 6-foot-9; either can slide down to shooting guard when needed and provide an even more imposing height edge.

Roy is big for a shooting guard at 6-foot-6, 229, and what's really scary is that he is comfortable playing the point and often closed games at that spot a year ago; when he does that the 6-foot-5 Fernandez can come off the bench. Even at the point the Blazers are big: Blake, Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez all stand 6-foot-3, making them the shortest players on the team.

All that length should make the Blazers an unusually good zone defensive team, especially with Oden as a goalie in the middle and the young players on the outside gaining experience in playing NBA defense.

Hopefully you managed to catch Monday's game against the Kings, but if you didn't (or even if you did), check out Greg Oden getting Block of the Night honors over at

That's it for now, but hit me up with an email or leave a comment anytime with your thoughts.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kevin Pritchard Is Committed

Just listened to an exerpt from the Morning Sports Page with our friend Gavin Dawson. Kevin Pritchard was on the show and I went ahead and transcribed some of the stuff I liked. There's still a lot more to the interview, so head over to Casey's blog and check out the whole clip to hear more good stuff.

But without further ado, here's what KP had to say:

On Nate:

"I feel great about having him as our coach."

On the organization:

We have an a owner, a president, a head coach, and a general manager and we all line up...we know what we want and how we're gonna' get there...we have the same goal...we want to be successful the right way with the right kids.

Gavin: You're a hot of the hottest general managers in basketball today. How committed are you to the NW?

KP: I love it here...I kidded that if Mr. Allen offered me a 25 year contract I would sign it today. I'm not going anywhere. I'm emotionally connected to our coaches, to these players. I want to see us have success long term. We've built this into something that I hope is something that this community can get behind. It feels so's different around our community and I'm just proud to be a part of it....I'm so proud of it and I know we're going to go through some tough times, but I know our character is going to shine through.


Your thoughts? Should be be scrambling to pick up Matt Millen now that he's done with the Lions? Should we ink Pritchard to a lifetime contract? Or do we "wait and see?" Once a golden GM, always a golden GM? Or not?

Sound off...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blazers Dethrone Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Led by the 24 points of Lamarcus Aldridge and 21 by Brandon Roy, the Portland Trailblazers knocked off the Sacramento Kings 112-98, never trailing for the length of the Monday night preseason game.

The visiting Blazers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and stayed in front the whole way. Despite allowing the Kings to pull within one on with 3:15 left to go in the third quarter on a Williams bucket, the Blazers remained calm and regained their comfortable lead on layups from Roy, Joel Pryzbilla, and Travis Outlaw. Shortly thereafter, the Spanish duo of Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez connected for an alley-oop that left the home team groaning.

In a losing effort, Keven Martin tallied 34 points and John Salmons added 27, making the Blazers defense look vulnerable at times.

For the Blazers, the game marked the return of two injured players. Both Steve Blake and Channing Frye returned to play 27 minutes and 12 minutes, respectively. Greg Oden continued his solid play after having knee surgery last year, contributing 13 points and 9 rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

The Kings, now 1-2 at home and 1-6 overall in the preseason, look to bounce back Thursday night with a home game against Houston.

The Blazers (3-2) will continue their road trip with a Wednesday game against the Clippers and then head to Utah to face the Jazz on Thursday.

The Kings were without Beno Udriah and Francisco Garcia, both due to injury.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images