Archive for the ‘Portland Trail Blazers’ Category

Nothing reunites a couple more quickly than sharing a little summer schadenfreude at the hands of a fellow NBA player. It’s like Mungo Jerry always said, “In the summer time when the basket is high, you can stretch right up and dunk on a guy, when the weather’s right, you got dunking, you got dunking on your mind.” Or whatever.

(via Hoop Mixtape)

nate-robinson-baseball

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Northwest Division: the Nuggets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Blazers and Jazz.

DENVER NUGGETS

Most Interesting New Player: Nate Robinson

I guess? Like the Mavs, the Nuggets added a whole spate of recognizable new players to their roster this offseason, and none of them are even slightly exciting roster adds. Randy Foye? We know pretty well what that dude can and can’t do by now. J.J. Hickson? The Nugs already have one frontcourt energy guy/rebounding machine, and he’s a whole lot more fun to watch than J.J. Hickson. Darrell Arthur? Don’t think there are a lot of NBA fans who watched Denver last year and thought to themselves “fun team, but would it kill them to shoot more 18-foot elbow jumpers?” None of these guys are gonna make the team League Pass must watches, exactly.

That just leaves Nasty Nate, who is at least always fun to watch on a new team — to see the respective fanbases come to terms with his strengths and weaknesses, to see him make funny friend duos with his new teammates (Shrek ‘n Donkey 4EVA!!), to see him get way too many starts when the point guard he’s backing up goes down with injury. It’s hard to see where he fits into this team that already has Ty Lawson (essentially a steadier, less-maddening version of NateRob) and Andre Miller (NateRob’s inverse in just about every conceivable way), but Nate Robinson always manages to make his presence felt by year’s end, and the Pepsi Center crowd should eat him up. He’ll look great in those Denver baby blues, too.

Most Interesting Returning Player: JaVale McGee

This feels like the fourth or fifth consecutive make-or-break year for JaVale, who has still yet to really be made or broken. He shot a career high 58 percent and posted a career high 20.9 PER last year, but proved weirdly unplayable alongside Kenneth Faried and still couldn’t manage to unseat Kousta Koufos as the team’s starting center, averaging his fewest minutes a game (18.1) since 2010. Well, not only is Koufos now gone, but so is head coach George Karl — the latter’s dismissal supposedly coming in part due to his unwillingness to give the high-upside, well-compensated McGee big minutes. It’s never been nower or neverer for old Pierre.

Amazingly, JaVale will still be just 25 years old on opening night, so the belief that McGee has remaining yet-to-be-tapped potential still remains at least slightly justifiable. And for a team that basically went through an across-the-board downgrade (down to the management and front office) in the offseason, getting that kind of level-up in production from their eternal project of a big man might be one of the only ways that the team can stay a contender in a suddenly very crowded West. Even if not, we should be getting a lot more JaVale this season, which you don’t need me to tell you is always a good thing.

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damian-lillard-holding-trophy

Well, not officially for a little bit still, but ummmm yeah.

We’ve got a big announcement to make tomorrow morning, we’ll give you one guess but you’ll only need #0

Figure it out, detectives — Damian Lillard is this season’s Rookie of the Year. And to that we say, “Duh.”

While a case certainly could be made for Anthony Davis, the fact of the matter is that Lillard led all rookies in scoring with 19.0 points per game, and that’s usually enough to win this award. In fact, if you include Lillard’s win, the leading rookie scorers from each of the past four seasons has taken home ROY. And if you throw out Derrick Rose winning the trophy over 2008-09′s leading rookie scorer, OJ Mayo, you have to go back to 2003-04 — when Carmelo Anthony outscored LeBron James by 0.1 ppg while losing out on ROY to James — for the next-most recent example of the exception proving the rule. Throw in the fact that Lillard led the entire league in total minutes played while starting every single game at point guard for an almost-playoff team in the Western Conference, and like I said, duh. (Also, Lillard won every single Western Conference Rookie of the Month this season, so again, duh.)

Luckily for Damian, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year trophy is just a piece of glass on a little wooden stand, and not anything that could be mistaken for a tiny historic statue. Things could have gotten pretty awkward at that ceremony.

raymond-felton-blazers

I’ve been to Portland a few times in the past couple of years and I’ve loved it every time I visited. It’s not too hot, too sunny or too boring and you can pretty much always find artisanal ginger ale, so I was bound to like the place.

But I’ve never been an out-of-shape point guard playing in front of city who is completely and totally basketball-crazed. If that were the case — and if I’d so badly underperformed that everyone in Portland thought I was a stupid fatso — then maybe I wouldn’t be such a fan of Portland. Because if that were the case I’d be Raymond Felton.

From Newsday’s Al Iannazone:

Raymond Felton said when returns to Portland tomorrow: “there are certain people there I don’t want to see and better not come near me.”

And from the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola:

Raymond Felton on the eve of his return to Portland says his brief time with the Blazers was the “worst moment I had in basketball for sure”

I don’t know what it is exactly, but something tells me Raymond Felton isn’t the biggest fan of Portland. Maybe he hates birds or beards or giant bookstores, but there’s just a certain I don’t know what that makes it seem like Felton didn’t really enjoy his time there.

Could it be that he shot worse from the field in Portland than he did in every season since his second year? Or that he scored the fewest points per 36 minutes of his entire career while he was there? Then again, it might be because he had the ninth-lowest PER among all guards who started at least 50 games during his single miserable season with the Trail Blazers, meaning he was just about as good as Gerald Henderson. Now that I think about it, the reasons why he might hate Portland seem to be piling up.

Oh, and there’s also that part of his Portland experience where he showed up extremely overweight and was photographed eating cupcakes so his nickname kind of became Cupcakes. That might have done it too. Heavy guys hate insulting nicknames. Guess he’ll just have to hang 5o on all those mean bloggers.

(via BlazersEdge)

Don’t tell Reggie Miller, but if you calculate his famous outburst’s points per second (0.89 pps), it comes in a bit behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s game-winning performance from last night (1.0 pps). Ergo, LaMarcus Aldridge is a Hall of Famer. LMA might need a belly button tattoo to lock down his induction, but the math certainly works out. Nice shooting.

Very cool Antonioni-esque long shot here, but perhaps you would prefer the more stylized reverse angle that comes along with the Blazers’ radio call of Wessy Wes’ bombs that completed the Blazers’ 13-point second half comeback. I know I did.

No matter which version you prefer, just know three things: 1) Thanks to those threes, the Trail Blazers’ crowd got as loud as last year’s Super Bowl; 2) Tas Melas couldn’t sleep last night he was so happy; 3) Wesley Matthews’ nickname is apparently “The Assassin,” I guess? Works for me.

Huge win for the Blazers. Keep Portland loud.

Almost a year ago, LaMarcus Aldridge wrecked a Ferrari and then went out and dominated the Denver Nuggets. At the time, I jokingly suggested the Trail Blazers figure out a way for Aldridge to safely wreck a luxury car before every game. Haha, jokes.

But it looks like they might have finally considered my genius strategy that was totally serious. From the Oregonian:

For the second time in the last 11 months, Aldridge on Monday was involved in a car accident on his way to the Blazers game, and for the second time, he played like nothing was awry.

Aldridge had 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to help the Blazers beat Orlando 125-119 in overtime, even though much of his pregame was spent dealing with insurance paperwork and frayed nerves from a fender bender two blocks from the Rose Garden arena. [...]

“I don’t know what it is, I keep getting hit by people,’’ Aldridge said chuckling. “I was like: ‘Not again.’ But this time it wasn’t as bad.’’

On Monday, Aldridge said he was in his 2013 Mercedes Benz – a car he purchased less than a week ago. “I don’t even have plates on it yet,’’ Aldridge said. [...]

His 2013 Benz is a special edition because it comes with a chocolate mocha paint.

“It’s the first one they made in that color,’’ Aldridge said. “That’s why I got it. Getting it repainted will be tough.’’

Though we don’t have complete collision stats for LaMarcus, going off of his performance in these two games, we can easily see that he’s averaging 28.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 5 apg, which would virtually guarantee him the MVP since those kind of numbers have only been seen six times in NBA history. And while the cost and danger of this technique remains prohibitive, we can also easily see that it’s hugely effective. At this point, teams are going to need to add “plays extremely well after car accidents” to their scouting reports, just in case there’s a lot of traffic in Portland.

Tough break about the car though. You don’t see a lot of brown Benzes and I’m guessing you see even fewer that have been through car accidents, since the people who drive them must be very careful with their investments. Lucky for LaMarcus, he’s making a cool $13.5 million this season, so he’ll be able to afford the finest car painters that money can buy. (Personally, I’d go with these guys, but I understand if he wants to stick with someone local.) And maybe he’ll get a chance to throw plates on that bad boy too. Safety first, unless you’re trying to score 30 a game.