Full Court Press

Sorry for the late start this morning. I was at the barber getting racing stripes cut into my hair. I am so cool.  You should probably join this group on Facebook.  

Speaking of, old pal Ryan White now is on Twitter and Facebook.  I will be joining/ subscribing/ twitreading/ whatever.  You should too.  All the cool kids are doing it.

New year; new ESPN.com design.  Thoughts?

Yahoo!'s Johnny Ludden has a story about Greg Oden.

But that's the thing with young big men these days: Nine times out of 10 you're paying for potential. The best prescription for Oden is the same as it was for Bynum in his first season: patience.

"It's tough," Oden said. "You want to come in and dominate right away."

Oden isn't close to dominating. He still looks mechanical and he's slow to the ball. But he's also a little more than two weeks shy of his 21st birthday and his NBA career has spanned all of 28 games. He spent one year in college then sat out all of his first season with the Blazers after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee.

How ominous does this sound? From Jason Quick.   

But behind all the glitz, glamour and publicity, there is a harsh reality that McMillan says he knew all along: The Blazers are still too young. Still too inexperienced. And still not ready to be considered a playoff team.

"A lot of things will have to go right," McMillan said, referring to his team's playoff chances this season.

Right now, not much is going right for the Blazers.

Just Tuesday night, Nate was talking about how the team was playing "playoff basketball." Back to back losses changes everything I guess.  

Ru - bi- o! Ru - bi - o! Sing it with me.

(Sidenote: JQ, if you're reading this, gotta repeat myself... click the above link, then close your eyes for about 5 seconds, then open them... what's the first thing you see?  Your headshot!!!! It's GIGANTIC. No more living in denial. You know it's true.)

Quick also does some soul-touching in this piece about the gifts Nate gave to his players.  

Joe Freeman, sans HUMONGOUS head shot, delivers a story about Steve Blake driving in the snow.

"It's really hilly in our neighborhood and we spun out," Blake said, laughing, as he recalled the moment. "We didn't hit anything, but it was kind of funny ... the car was going back and forth no matter what you did, chains or not.

That story reminds me of this.

Dwight Jaynes has a nice take on the coach/management dynamic and whether the higher-ups influence coaching decisions.

Here's what you need to understand: Unless a coach has complete job security, he's usually going to resist having to develop too many young players on his watch. Why? Because it's normally going to cost him games. And if it costs him too many games, it's going to cost him his job. Yet, for the good of the franchise, it's often beneficial to give playing time to young players - either to develop them or to find out their talent level in order to assess the possibility of trades or just letting them go.

Bustabucket witnessed a fight in the Rose Garden.  Great story.

After the drunken Blazer fan stood up in the rows below, he raised his hands in victory to show everyone he was okay. As he did this, a woman in the row right behind him, throws her drink directly in his face from point blank range. Apparently she thought he had gone down there on purpose. After throwing the drink, she starts swinging at him with closed fists. It is also very obvious to me that she too had too much to drink. I'm watching in complete awe, nearly forgetting there is a basketball game going on. As the woman is swinging, he retaliates and lunges at her. Bad move, her husband and his friend start whaling on the guy, with 2 other guys joining in. So now five people are full on punching the drunk guy while his buddy, who is a big dude, starts to go down to help his friend. security was en route so I grabbed his friend and chilled him out.    

For you Justin tvers, an interesting article from the NY Times about online piracy and the response from the major leagues.

"We never felt that the jewel in our crown, the live games, would be vulnerable," said Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel at the National Basketball Association.    

Wow, that quote sounds naive.  This link came from the comments section of Dwight Jaynes's blog.

Also from the comments section of DJ's blog, comes a link to this blog.  Possible. Serial. Killer.  Site rated PG-13 for language and psychosis. I'm only kidding (if you promise not to kill me).

Wendell Maxey talked briefly with Travis Outlaw about life on the trading block.

"I definitely hear it," Outlaw told HOOPSWORLD when asked about having his name involved in trade speculation.

"I even have people coming up to me like, 'what do you think? I like you and all but maybe that is a good trade'," the Blazers 6-9 small forward said with a smile.

"The only thing I can do is let God handle it. I can't control none of that."

Speaking of Trout, Joe Freeman's game story had a nice quote from him...

"We needed the second unit to show up, me included, and we didn't," Outlaw said.

Couldn't agree with you more.

Wendell Maxey has a look at the David Lee rumors

Sean at Oregonlive pulled together all the various takes on David Lee.  

People keep "asking for comment" about the Lee rumors.  I guess that means Blazer Nation is stoked about the prospect of getting him.  So, yeah my comment is...

That would be cool!!!!!! OMG awesome!!!! But it probably won't happen!!!! :( Plus the money needed to sign him at the end of the year.  :(

Or, perhaps you don't want to resign him and only want to rent him?  In that case we can't give up anything meaningful.... which means we probably can't get him....

I feel like we've talked this through 100 times already.  Get back at me when it's a done deal.  And when that deal doesn't involve Bayless.  Because he leaves over my dead body.

Matt Moore at Hardwood Paroxysm talks chaos in a great read.

Hooray! The Basketball Jones is back from vacation.

Loaded Orygun keeps plugging away with the Blazer game recaps.  Lots of good stuff in there!

Power Rankings

  • Hollinger -- #8 (same as last week)
  • Stein -- #12 (same as last week)
  • CNNSI -- #13 (down from #10)

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

PS I try to stay away from these things but if you made it this far you deserve a treat. Basically, I couldn't help myself.... Blaze Of Love linked to another website (rhymes with "Ron Davez") which found some scandalous pictures of a former Blazer dancer that she posted online.  Why am I telling you this story?  Because you are already on google trying to find the pictures. Also, because of the funniest part.... the current Blazers cheerleaders rallied around their former pal by de-friending Blaze Of Love on Myspace.  Is this really happening? Getting e-blacklisted by the Blazers Dancers?  Ouch.  Hilarious. 

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