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Posts Tagged ‘Portland Trail Blazers

NBA Franchise Power Rankings: #23 – Portland Trailblazers

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LaMarcus Aldridge playing with the Portland Tr...

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Previous rankings:

#30 - Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction)
#29 - Phoenix Suns
#28 - Denver Nuggets
#27 - Detroit Pistons
#26 - Milwaukee Bucks
#25 - Philadelphia 76ers
#24 - Houston Rockets

#23 – Portland Trailblazers

Total Trade Value Ranking: #23 (Feb. 2011 ranking: #18)

Managerial Grade: C

Financial Grade: C

Best assets: PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge (legitimate all-star), SG Wesley Matthews (legitimate starter), SF Gerald Wallace (older legitimate starter), SF Nic Batum (borderline starter), , 2012 1st, PG Raymond Felton (expiring legitimate starter), RFA C Greg Oden (Mr. Glass), SF Luke Babbit (young, looked like a bust last year), C Marcus Camby (expiring legitimate starter), SG Elliot Williams (young, borderline NBAer), PG Patrick Mills (young, borderline NBAer), PG Armon Johnson (young, borderline NBAer)

Bad contracts: SG Brandon Roy (4 years, 61.7 mil guaranteed)

Draft picks indebted: 2013 1st to Charlotte (top 12 protected through 2015, unprotected in 2016)

Overall synopsis: If this list was done just in mid 2009, after Greg Oden’s rookie season where the team had a marvellous 54 W campaign and Brandon Roy‘s best, borderline MVP candidate season – the Blazers would’ve legitimately been ranked in the top 3 or 5 on the ladder. Perhaps even #1. It takes some seriously spooky forces to drop a team this heavily down from that point. Greg Oden and Brandon Roy’s careers all but being ended by injury, the latter just after a maximum contract had been given out, is that spooky force. What’s left is LaMarcus Aldridge realizing the star potential as a post player he may have always had – But not a ton else. Read the rest of this entry »

Dirk vs Aldridge, Hakeem vs Malone in ’95 and where the rubber meets the road in the playoffs

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Dirk Nowitzki playing with the Dallas Mavericks

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Two games into the Dallas-Portland series, Dallas has 2 Ws. Despite Dallas winning 57 games to Portland’s 48 in the regular season, Portland became the popular upset choice with their play after the Gerald Wallace trade and the overall “meh” feeling about the Mavericks roster. So far Dallas has proven the pundits wrong.

Both teams have played similarly. Dirk Nowitzki (30.5ppg) and LaMarcus Aldridge (25.5ppg) have scored a ton, the rest have been limited to ok shooting %s, due to strong defense on both sides. Both games were dead even at the start of the 4th, with a 61-61 tie with 10 minutes left in Game 1 and a 78-76 lead for Dallas with under 9 left in Game 2. Then the gap between Dirk and Aldridge became apparant. In Game 1 Dirk scored 15 points in the last 10 minutes while Aldridge scored 6. In Game 2 Dirk dropped 13 points in the last 9 minutes, Aldridge 3. Dirk assassinated the Blazers in both 4th quarters.

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Written by jr.

April 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

The Gerald Wallace trade and the importance of big picture thinking

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Gerald WallaceOne of the most universally praised moves of the trade deadline is Portland acquiring Gerald Wallace for two late 1st round picks. Yes, no doubt the Blazers acquired the all-star Wallace at a cheap price. The Bobcats’ desire to clear Wallace’s contract (2 years, 21 million after this season) lowered his trade value to this level. This doesn’t mean it’s a smart move for the Blazers.

The value Wallace brings to a team is in the next 2 and a half seasons. After this he will be both an unrestricted free agent and a veteran over 30. As Wallace’s game is extremely reliant on athleticism, one can expect his production to fall off when his legs do. He’d thus be a great acquisition for a team like Dallas or San Antonio team trying to win a title in the next 3 seasons.

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Oden’s Day was full of woe

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So, Greg Oden.  Out for the year.  Again.

A million pundits have chimed in about this, giving their own eulogy for Oden.  Zach Harper called it a “Basketball Tragedy”, distinguishing it from it from “real life tragedies” because no one died, and I think that’s a good description, but it does it get at the crux of what I feel for Oden.

It’s one thing to have one big, bad thing happen, and then have to deal with your dream just not being a real possibility any more.  Personally, I think what Oden’s gone through is far tougher.  He’s essentially the modern Charlie Brown, having the football yanked away from him just before he’s about to kick it, again and again.  I think about how it would be for me in that situation.  Surgery is not fun.  Months of rehab is not fun.  And the added negative vibes that comes down on Oden each time there’s a setback for  him despite him doing nothing wrong…man.  This is a recipe for some serious depression issues.

Sports fans tend not to see it from that angle, and tend not to take the idea of millionaire athletes getting depressed seriously, but they should.  We saw in September Denver Bronco Kenny McKinley take his life after incurring a career-threatening injury.  Often times, doing well in their respective sport is the primary source of identity for an athlete, and when that gets taken away, look out.  With that said, people seem to be on their best behavior right about now.  While Oden’s often been butt of jokes these past few years, he’s mostly getting sympathy now.

What’s bugging me right now, is the idea that there’s a lesson to be learned here.  To be fair, the people I’ve heard debating this in the recent aftermath haven’t been that bad, and I doubt I’d feel the need to rant on this if it weren’t for what came before.  Because the 2007 draft had 2 superstar prospects in it, Oden and Kevin Durant, and because Oden has struggled while Durant’s become a superstar, it’s presented a natural opportunity for hacks to say “I told you so”.

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Written by Matt Johnson

November 19, 2010 at 2:28 am

Some thoughts on the first week

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It’s only one week.  I’m trying hard not to rush to any judgments, because I know it can often take teams a good dozen games or so to really show their true colors, but that doesn’t mean what I see isn’t weighing on my mind.  So here’s some thoughts on a few different teams so far…

Miami Heat

Personally, when LeBron announced he was moving to Miami, my main reaction was excitement.  Not because of any fandom bias, but simply because we rarely get to see this kind of “What If?” experiment.  Will the team of dreams actually be a Dream Team?  Will it happen right away?  How will the team grow over time?

What we’re seeing so far is mediocre offense and absolute lock-down defense, which is about the least discussed result possible.

Take 3 offense-first stars put them on a team, the thing you’d most expect is that the offense would improve.Instead, we see an offense full of guys who don’t really know how to multiply their games together.  It’s either the LeBron show, the Wade show, or the Bosh show.  Funny how that works.  Certainly it speaks to the team aspect of the game, but let’s remember that offenses don’t always take time to work together.  Steve Nash went to Phoenix, and the offense went to GOAT levels overnight.  Does Miami’s struggles say something damning about the Thrices ability to really play team basketball?  Eh, let’s give them more time before saying that.

Meanwhile the defense has been extraordinary, something along the lines of the Garnett-infused Celtics of ’07-08.  Now, there’s things we can point to to fit this in with a larger pattern.  While Kevin Garnett is a fantastic defender, he wasn’t capable of creating a defense like that on his own – the bigger factors were probably the extremely hyped up motivation of the Celtic crew (of which Garnett was a big part) and the fantastic team-oriented defensive scheme that guru Tom Thibodeau drew up.    Well the Heat already had a strong defense last year (much better than their offense), and I think we can all agree now:  The members of the Heat, led by the 3 stars, are hyped to within an inch of their life.

Los Angeles Lakers Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

November 1, 2010 at 11:56 am