Full Court Press

In case you were wondering: a source close to Greg Oden says the center is "upbeat" and is currently recovering at home with his family.  Oden's father flew into town to be with his son.  Oden is expected to remain in Portland to continue his rehabilitation work and likely will not be travelling with the team on any road trips this season. His next few months are expected to include "rehab and television."  Best wishes.

Lots to discuss this week, Bayless and otherwise.  Here's what you might have missed on BE recently...

Synergy on Bayless | Cavs Recap | Bucks Recap | Quick vs. Bayless | Dave on Bayless

All caught up?  Good.  Now, please give your full attention Brian T. Smith's profile of Andre Miller. I think it is his best work of the year; there's so much going on here.  

Soon, Ben Furnace was teaching Miller basketball at a local YMCA facility located a few blocks from The Forum, where the Los Angeles Lakers then played. Ben preached layups, bounce passes, defense and floor spacing - many of the key traits that define Miller's current game. And he strove to instill in Miller an appreciation of teamwork, sharing and selflessness.

"We didn't have kids where they felt they were star of the team," Furnace said. "We didn't allow that."

In addition, there were values such as independence and diligence that the Furnaces upheld, as well as rules that were made not to be broken: no disrespect and no misbehavior. Each value and every rule was passed on to Miller.

"What we did as a family then, we still do today," Furnace said. "We don't deviate. We don't have no highs, we don't have no lows."    

Click through to go around the internet.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

Dwight Jaynes writes...

Of the many things Jason [Quick] said, he predicted that Andre Miller would be in the starting lineup Tuesday night in the Rose Garden when the Blazers play host to the Sacramento Kings.

Quick also referenced some things going on behind the scenes that he couldn't expand on, including an assertion that the team was sometimes not confident that it could win when it takes the floor. It's pretty obvious, isn't it, that a lot of things are going on behind the scenes with that team? Injuries shouldn't obscure the problems that have existed since training camp.

Mike Prada from SB Nation says the Blazers are the 21st most watchable team in the NBA...

Want transition play?  Watch someone else.  Portland is the slowest-paced team in the league.  Here's a typical offensive possession for Portland: Steve Blake dribbles around for 14 seconds while getting six picks that he fails to use, then dumps it in the post to LaMarcus Aldridge, who shoots an 18-foot turnaround jumper, or gives it to Roy, who makes some breathtaking awesome move for a score.  If they miss, they usually rebound it and do it again.  Surprisingly, this works, but it's definitely not entertaining. 

Coup from Rip City Project writes...

And so ends one of the more forgettable weeks in recent Blazers history. Call it the post-Oden hangover week, or anything else to do with not having a head coach or half the perimeter stable, but the steps backward of losses to New York and Milwaukee out-weighed a sloppy win at Indiana and a pat-on-the-back effort in Cleveland.

I think the last week has taken a fair bit out of both the team and its fans. Not having Nate around wasn't going to help any with the transition to undermanned play and you get the sense that this was more of a week to get through rather than to build on. Things being that way, I'm not going to harp on the problems that haven't gone away. We know Nate has some serious thinking to do regarding the point guard situation (still and again). We know the Blazers are going to struggle getting outscored in the paint every night without anyone inside to draw the defensive attention, but they have found success doing that before. Right now it's best to be patient.

John Hollinger wrote last week...

The Blazers rank only fourth in offensive rebound rate at 29.6. While that's still an impressive figure, the drop hurts -- so much of their attack was built on second shots.

That number is likely to decrease further in Oden's absence. He led the league in offensive rebound rate a year ago and was threatening to defend his title, with only Detroit's Ben Wallace exceeding Oden's 16.0 mark among players with at least 250 minutes played....

If there's good news, it's that the turnovers are likely to diminish. Oden was one of the league's most turnover-prone players, so his absence will improve Portland's numbers in that area. So will the loss of Fernandez, who had become a wild turnover machine in his second season for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

Alas, if the decline in turnovers matches the dip in offensive boards, the Blazers won't be any better off...

Wendell Maxey writes...

In a matter of days, Bayless went from reportedly requesting a trade, to having minutes readily available, to questioning the coaching staff as to why he's on such a short leash after the loss to the Bucks on Saturday night. The kid is obviously frustrated. And who can blame him? I'm all for Bayless staying in Portland, but if he isn't going to get the run now as one of the remaining healthy nine, when will he?

No wonder Bayless' name has become trade fodder. The Blazers may deny he asked to be traded, but they can't deny other front offices around the league continue to inquire about his availability. 

Sheed from BustaBucket.com writes...

The biggest problem at this point is the blindness of the Blazers brass when it comes to Jerryd Bayless. There is no question in my mind, that with injuries and somewhat diminishing playoff hopes, WE MUST PLAY BAYLESS. How bad could it be? Just give him a shot. Bayless is showing signs of hitting the open jumper, and if he can do that consistently, he'll make Steve Blake irrelevant on this team. Portland may as well give the young guys more run, I just don't see why they wouldn't.

Casey Holdahl looked at the brief Dean Demopolous tenure...

But for some reason, you don't often hear about players "tuning in" a coach, but it does happen. It's been happening the last three games for the Trail Blazers. With Nate McMillan back in Portland recovering from a ruptured Achilles, lead assistant Dean Demopoulos has been steering the ship through three Eastern Conference road games, with one more to go tonight in Milwaukee. Initially Demopoulos noted the players weren't trained to hear his voice during games since most of the in-game instruction comes from McMillan.

"They're trained a majority of the time through the repetition," said Demopoulos. "They're hearing Nate's voice repetitively, many, many more times than they hear anybody else's. That's just natural."    

Greg Jayne of The Columbian goes back to the Draft Kevin Durant well again (even I've moved on)...

I think, and I thought prior to the draft, that Durant is going to be one of the all-time great players and that Portland would be foolish to bypass him. I have never seen a 6-foot-9 player with arms that long who looks so smooth and can beat people off the dribble.

Certainly, nothing has transpired since then to alter that opinion. The thought of Portland with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant is spine-tingling. That would be a championship contender right now.    

Mike Barrett writes...

They don't want excuses made, and don't want the focus to be on what they don't have. They realize that help, at least in the short term, isn't on the way. They aren't feeling sorry for themselves, and realize this is what they are going forward.

Also, no one has conspired against them, and there aren't any forces of evil issuing anyone payback (trust me, I've heard all these suggestions from people).

With that in mind, can I respectfully ask one question- can this team catch a friggin' break?    

Wendell Maxey writes...

If anyone knows what Greg Oden is going through, it's Michael Redd.

When Portland meets the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the Bucks sharpshooter will return to the lineup after spending time on injured reserve after he sustained a left patella strain the second game of the season. Redd tried to return in late November but to no avail.

Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times with a great read on the triangle offense...

Flynn initially thought of the offense as a freelance system that would cater to his skills with the ball.

He was wrong. The triangle offense is based on reads and rhythm, spacing and cutting. The players, beyond the center, are interchangeable. Guards play in the post, forwards on the wing. The goal is always to take the path of least resistance - unless you are a rookie learning it.

"It's the hardest transition in any sport I've ever played," Flynn said recently.

Kellex of Blaze Of Love would like to see some changes from LaMarcus Aldridge...

Here is your basic LaMarcus Aldridge performance.  Show up in the first quarter, have your numbered called a ton to establish an inside presence.  Shoot 5-10 fadeaways.  If they drop, "Yay! My stats will look awesome at the end of the game."  If they don't drop, "Oh well, no one will blame me since Brandon has the ball at the end of the game anyway."  Second quarter starts, and number stops being called so let's just grab a couple of defensive rebounds here or there.  We'll also allow the below average player we are guarding to shoot uncontested jumpers or we'll just practice turning our head on defense so said average player can get layups instead.  Third quarter starts...same as second quarter.  Fourth quarter starts...same as second and third quarters.  Game over.  -11.    

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What did I miss?  Leave it in the comments. And please frequent the Fanshots.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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