Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wal Mart Rose Garden

It's times like these that I like being a small market. I read in the Oregonian yesterday about new moves to try and find a sponsor for the Rose Garden. Their goal is to have the Rose Garden under a major corporation for the 2013-14 season.
That Rose Garden logo won't be like that forever.

Just like the Pepsi Center, Staples Center, or American Airlines Arena. It feels so cold and lame. The "Rose Garden" name will stay but it will be like the TD Garden for Boston. It will become something like the; "Wal Mart Rose Garden", or the "Netflix Rose Garden". It's going to be so cheap sounding but will bring the all mighty dollar for the Rose City.

I hate to see sponsorship come to the Rose Garden, but if it means more money in Paul Allen's pocket, thus, more money for the Blazers, thus a better chance at winning a championship, eh, I guess I wouldn't mind having a championship banner hanging in the "Chase Rose Garden." Heaven forbid it's named that.

Selling a piece of our soul to get closer to the ultimate prize is something we'll have to face. It's business. Don't take it personally. It's just business.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Jared Jeffries Release and Possible Moves This Offseason

As was expected, Jared Jeffries was cut yesterday. It's possible if he doesn't have a job when training camp rolls around, that the Blazers would resign him to sit the bench and fill in in case of injury which, lets be honest, will probably happen. But with JJ's, Babbit's, and Nolan Smith's contracts coming off the books, (we will see if any of those 3 are re-signed) the Blazers cap space could be up to 12 million dollars. There are few superstar talent players in this years free agent class, but that isn't what the Blazers need. They need interior defense, veteran help off the bench, and a bench that can SCORE. There are a few moves that I think could greatly benefit the Blazers, but we will see if it works out.

Nate Robinson

The guy is literally instant offense. He can score in many, many different ways and can play off the ball as well. He is undersized, but I feel like size at the guard positions is overrated if you can do your job. Nate's job would be come off the bench, put up around 15 points a game, and bring boundless amounts of energy to a lack luster second unit. 

Kyle Korver

The guy makes shots. Plain and simple. You can run him off screens, spot him up in the corner (remember James Jones in the corner after B-Roy drew the double?) He can bring shooting and offense off the bench, and you can create easy offense for him because he is so efficient at running off screens and reading his defenders. 

Tiago Splitter

Splitter brings solid defense to a really poor interior defensive team. Anyone who has played for Greg Poppovich knows how to play defense and play it efficiently. He's limited offensively, but can rebound well, finish around the rim, and plays very solid defense. Which is everything that the Blazers need in a big man off the bench. Chris Kaman brings a little more offense, but he's not as strong defensively as Splitter.

The Blazers have options which is what is important. But the big thing for this offseason is acquire VETERANS. Not more young players. We need experience not youth, we already have plenty of that. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

3 Positive Things and 3 Negative Things About The Season and the Future

A season like this is hard. Seeing your team fold towards the end of the season and knowing it's probably for the best is hard. But the future is far from bleak. That being said, all is not well. There are plenty of places to improve, and to BRING IN VETERAN HELP. PLEASE. Here are my top 3 reasons to be optimistic and top 3 reasons to be worried.

The Good

1. Damian Lillard 

The obvious brightest star in the Blazers universe is Damian Lillard. He is the run away, no questions asked ROY. He set the single season record for 3 point shots made for the Blazers and showed his best against the best teams including the Kobe Bryant lead Lakers, who called Lillard "The real deal." He is the most promising prospect since Brandon Roy and his healthy knees (May they rest in peace.) I had doubts about him a few weeks before draft day and thought that they could be making a huge mistake taking another guard especially with Aldridge's spotty health. After I mentioned that to my co-worker he told me to watch some of his YouTube highlight reel. I was sold from then on. The only question seemingly was his playmaking ability but I had no question about it. He had to score for his team they didn't really have the greatest talent at Weber State, so Lillard had to shine. Next for him is to cut down on turnovers next season, and increase the assist numbers just a tad. Make no mistake, he is the future and will take the NBA by storm in the next few years. 

2. Batum's Emergence as a Stat Sheet Stuffer

Wants and expectations for Batum were always too high in my opinion. He finally reached what I think will be his niché. He has improved tremendously as a passer, and has become much more aggressive on the boards. He has the potential next year to really become a lock down defender. He has all the physical attributes and he has come a long way with the mental part of playing in the NBA. The biggest thing to look for next season is if he takes on the responsibility of guarding the best player every game next season. If he continues to increase his numbers like he has the last 3 seasons and cuts down on the turnovers next season, he could put up Andre Iguodala like numbers. 

3.  The Number of Young Players They Have

The Blazers have 9 players on their roster under the age of 25. 5 of which were playing in their first NBA seasons. The only way for them to go is up. With a full offseason, full professional weight training regiment, and a full season of experience behind them, I'm looking for a huge improvement next year from Meyers Leonard, Will Barton, and Victor Claver. I was really high on Will Barton coming out of college and thought with the right weight training program and improving his jump shot, he has a chance to be a great 6th man infusion of energy. 

And it gives the Blazers the option to acquire some veteran players in exchange for some of these young players. Accumulating young players does you nothing but good. It gives you options to get some of the veterans that the Blazers desperately need. And the young only get younger with another lottery pick this year. I'm looking at you Anthony Bennett!

The Bad

1. No Veterans

While being young has its advantages, it also has its downsides. With the lack of general NBA knowledge, and under developed players (because they are young) it is tough to compete against the teams that have veterans that know their roles and are typically bigger and stronger. Veterans bring a special toughness to your team. I'd like to see the front office possibly make a move for someone like maybe a Nate Robinson or another high energy bench player to compliment Lillard.

2. Injuries, Injuries, Injuries

It's the story every year. Front page of the Oregonian is LA going down hurt, Batum going down, Matthews going down and on and on. Every year someone gets hurt and de-rails the season. You'd think they would change their trainer by now...

3. Bloated Contracts

Aldridge has a giant contract and Batum's is pretty pricey too. Batum definitely stepped up after his big contract and Aldridge has earned it, no doubt about that.  But it doesn't take away from how big these contracts are. And Lillard is going to want a new contract once his rookie deal is up and it won't be cheap. It may not be an immediate threat, but eventually they may have to make a choice on who they want to lead them into the future.  

The future is bright for the Blazers, but I feel like I have been here before. I've seen the potential with all our recent draft picks, our future stars, and our decent young players. It scares me to see all this potential because the only thing I can think of is we are one knee injury away from being right back where we started from. But I'm looking to the future. I'm looking to what we will be. And I'm optimistic for the first time since I saw Brandon Roy come off the court, never to return. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The obvious feelings I have as a Trailblazers fan during this near record setting losing streak are very negative. How in the world can this be happening to a team that "beat the Heat"? The answer is heart. You can't ask young rookies to be able to give their all during a stretch run of a losing season. They've never played this many games in their life, and to throw them out there to play more minutes than they have in their careers is an obvious wave of the white flag by the upper management of the team. The team has been in some of these games in the 4th quarter, but they've dug themselves into large holes in the process as well. Depth has been an issue throughout the season and now "injuries" to some of the vets has forced a greater role on such players as Meyers Leonard, Will Barton, Victor Claver, and Joel Freeland. During this stretch the Blazers have started 4 rookies in some of the games. Damien Lillard has performed admirably during this stretch, but where have the other players been? Lamarcus? My opinion of this guy has gone down with each and every game. It's one thing to want to be the quiet leader, but there are young guys looking up to you. Batum is not without blame either. He has been nowhere to be seen. Some might say that these guys have been injured. Sure, that's one way to put it. But I didn't hear of any career threatening injury to either of these guys. Shoulder strains and bruised elbows don't take weeks of non-contact to get better. You guys have all of the off season to heal. Show some heart, even if that means just a few plays. Show the youth of this team what it means to push through adversity. Wesley Mathews did it earlier in the year by putting up a three on a bum wheel and riding the pine the rest of the game. Win one. Get off the schneid. Next year I want results, not another rebuilding effort!!!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Veterans, we need vets!

Seven points in the third quarter against OKC? Seven? Really? Why am I not surprised? Ugh.
Olshey at a press conference. Twiddling his thumbs.
Another season nearing a much needed end. The one shining spot is Lillard. He's the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award and that's key for bringing talent to Rip City. We've got some cap space and we need to bring in some veterans. Remember when we had Andre Miller running the point? Or when Juwan Howard and Kurt Thomas would  help out the younger guys? Knowledge, not youth this off season. If we can get some mentors for Meyers Leonard (boy, does he need it) we can get something vital to basketball, a basketball i.q. I don't care how high you can jump, how much you can bench, I and the fans of basketball care how smart you play the game. Sure, Will Barton, you can jump, but why do I cringe every time you bring the ball up the court? Oh, because you have a room temperature i.q. at your position.

Get some veterans this off season, get some b-ball smarts for our young guys, get to the playoffs.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Beat L.A.

Well, what's left to say? Going into tonight's game against the Mavs the Blazers have lost 7 straight. Our 2 time All Star's been injured, as well as Batum, and the Blazers have fallen into that deep chasm yet again.

There is still one task to take care of: Beat L.A. What I would give for the Lakers to miss the playoffs. I would love to drag the Lakers into the off season abyss with us. We're eliminated from playoff contention, lets eliminate the Lakers too. 

After all, misery loves company.