Miller was a mistake, LMA isn't a championship #2, Firing Nate isn't easy, Mike Rice is annoying

What is happening to the blazers? I decided to examine several areas within the blazers. Please understand that I just wrote this straight so I'm sure there are plenty of grammatical errors so bother calling me an idiot for my mistakes. Apparently, as some have pointed out I've messed up alot of sentences that I'll try and fix.

Brandon Roy:

-          Something doesn't feel right. I keep thinking of Dwayne Wade's 07-08 season where everything dipped a little before he went back to being Wade. Of course he was coming back from an injury and Roy is not. Roy is still having a great season but he isn't making the big shots as much this season as he was the last.

-          Last season anytime anyone would ask me who my favorite blazer was I would always say Roy. That's not common. The common answer for most people is their favorite player on their hometown team is never the best player (i.e. Birdman in Denver, Josh Smith Atlanta) but in Portland how could Roy not be your favorite player, he did everything and said all the right things last season. This season he doesn't come off as likeable as he did the previous. When you are that good I'm sure it's hard to not get over confident. He got paid and has the respect as an elite player from other players in the league (but apparently not other fans, see all-star voting).  I'm sure Roy will go back to being Roy but it just seems he is having a little trouble with the next hurdle in becoming an even better player.

-          He's not always finishing at the rim and things don't seem to come as easy for him as they did last year. I understand he is being double and triple teamed but last year he still seemed to make it look easy, not so much this year.

-          I believe the quiet, and reclusive personality of Andre is having an effect on Brandon's leadership. I believe Brandon feels he has to sacrifice some leadership to the veteran Miller but Miller's odd demeanor has made it difficult. I believe that relationship has not yet fully developed between them and I'm not sure if it ever will. From everything I've read my perception of the Blazer locker room is is a social, open one and I could see how a quiet veteran might have an effect. I've heard lead with your actions on the court rather than words but relating on a social level with my teammates have only served as a benefit with my chemistry with them on the court.

-          Not enough is talked of Roy' sub par defense, he just doesn't put as much an effort as he does on offense. He steps his defense up in the fourth but it's never for the whole game. To take his game to the next level he needs to take some pride in becoming a better defender. Lebron, Kobe and Wade take pride in their strong defense while a player like Carmelo does not and it shows.

-          To his credit: still the obvious MVP of this team, contributes in all areas of the game, want to be the leader of this team (and is), isn't delusional about state of the team (knows there is  problem)

Steve Blake:

-          We couldn't expect his 3 pt shooting % going to good as last year but to dip this much, wow.

-           The turnovers are really bothering. One of Blake's strengths in the past has been his decision making but this seasons' stats speak for themselves.

-           I'm surprised Blake is still on the court at the end of games but considering the injuries I guess I understand, I mean really who else. For that 5th man I would take Outlaw, Oden, Rudy, and even Batum on the court over Blake but with them out I guess you go with Blake although a strong case could be made for Miller (This is with a assumed final five of Pryz, Roy, LA, Bayless and Blake).  

-          To his credit: doesn't get discouraged when misses, always plays hard, unselfish, high bball IQ, spreads the floor well

Andre Miller:

-         One thing I should note beforehand is that I'm not claiming to know who Andre Miller the person is,  for all I know my assessment his character could be highly inaccurate. I'm basing his personality based on information I have read from reporters who have spent time close to him. My argument is more about the importance of feeling comfortable with your teammates and part of that is creating a comfortable environment. Miller is who he is but if what I'm reading is true my opinion is that would have a negative impact on some of the younger, less experienced teammates.

-          It's just not working. He seems to shot too much, specifically I don't like how he's been taking the shot at the shot clock buzzer, that should always be Roy. Before the season started we are all about his strong bball IQ but to be honest I'm not really seeing it. He makes ill-advised passes and can rush his shot at times.

-          I'm a strong believer of locker room chemistry and I think his personality is having a negative effect on some of his teammates. It's important for a teammate to feel approachable and he just doesn't come off as approachable. This may be intimidating his teammates and as a result might have them second guessing their decisions which results in poor play. Are team is still very young and an intimidating veteran could have negative effect.

-          For whatever reason when he need a basket it seems like Miller believes he needs to take the shot first. I don't think that is what we had in mind when we brought him over. He was brought over to get LA, Oden, Rudy and Roy open shots instead he is on path to take the most threes of his careers.

-          I understand that the injuries might have Miller thinking we needs to take on a larger role offensively but when we were close to full strength he was still shooting too much.

-          He isn't the team player I thought he would be and contrary to what he says he seems unwilling to sacrifice his statistics for wins.

-          In his mind he might think he is a star but isn't taking into account that he was a star on a low seed playoff team that gets bounced out of the 1st round. He isn't a star on what should've been a title contender

-          When times dare you to shoot don't shot every time. If Pryz did that we would be doomed.

-          *note: Wow did I buy into the Miller thing. I told anybody who would listen how great a move this, boy was I wrong. Some might argue that, hey, it's only a quarter through the season how can you call it a mistake, trust me, I've seen enough and I don't see it getting better.

-          To his credit: Despite his role has been changed many times this season he has kept a cool head (at least to the media), He might be slow but he is tough and has collected his fair share of steals, got to love a guy who gathers the time together for a discussion throughout the game. Finishes at the hoop, did I mention tough

Martell Webster:

-          He hasn't been a disappoint to me bc I've never expected anything from him.  I don't understand why people think so highly of him.

-          He so rarely puts together a complete game. Not quarter but game. He has only averaged over double digit scoring one season. He is supposed to be THE three point shooter of the team can't hit open ones.

-           Teams are almost daring him to shot the three at this point. The talk of his beautiful shot can only go so far before he has to show something.  

-          His FG% is third worst on the team with only Blake and Outlaw below him.

-          He has the least assists out of all guards and SF.

-          He cannot dribble.

-           He is predictable when going to the hope (baseline handed dunk attempt).

-          He goes for highlight dunk often.

-          Shot 47.5% in Oct, 40% in Nov.,  31.5% in Dec. His 3 pt shooting went from 50% in Oct, 36% in Nov and 32% in Dec.

-          Like it said I never thought of Webster as much but if there ever was a season where I believed Webster could flourish is was this one. He had someone weapons on offense that I knew his 3s would be left uncontested. He still couldn't make them.

-          Although his defense has improved dramatically and it's clear that he is putting out a stronge effort he just isn't a great defender. He seems to have trouble moving his feet and timing his jumps.

-          The only great game he has had this season that I can remember is against Phoenix the other night but besides that it has been an occasional great quarter every few games. Really is whole career highlights have consisted of great quarters, not games.

-          When he missed those open threes they aren't rimming out, they are missing badly

-          To his credit: He has obviously taken some pride grabbing the big rebound and credit his amazing leaping ability, it's okay for a player to have just one great quarter out of four If you are a role player but for Martell it doesn't happen enough

Lamarcus Aldridge:

-          We did overpay him. I don't believe he is a number 2 on a CHAMPIONSHIP team. Before the season started as was on the same boat as everyone else wondering why we hadn't given him the extension for so long but now I feel differently. If Roy is off you cannot count on Aldridge to step up and fill the void. He is too inconsistent and number 2 guy has to be able to deliver when needed.

-           What happened to all the potential? He is almost the exact same player statistically as he was in 07-08 except for a slight increase in FT % and slight decrease in turnovers.

-          He says he wants to be an all-star but he doesn't seem to have that fire. He looks nervous and unsure of himself at times. The guy doesn't look completely comfortable out there. Nate has said it in the past that Lamarcus thinks too much and I believe it still rings true today. He doesn't let the game come to him; his moves seem pre-determined rather then taking what the defender is giving him.

-          How many big, 4th quarter shots can you remember LA making? Not enough for a number 2

-          He also seems to give us one or two great quarter rather than a great game.

-          LA gets mad when people call him soft, well people call you soft b/c you are. He isn't the soft player the national media makes out to be and we know it but we also know he isn't that tough. Watch LA go for a defensive rebound, he just doesn't fight for it. He seems content being pushed around. At halftime on TNT Kenny Smith, a respected opinion, went as far to say that Frye and Aldridge were the same player except Aldridge is more consistent, now any Blazer fans knows this is b.s. what the fact that this is an observation from a national critic, albeit and incorrect, is still not a good sign. LA has shown signs of toughness with his post moves but he doesn't use his body enough when getting rebounds and playing. When Oden or Pryz are on the floor it feels as if they are all alone defensively, I shouldn't have that feeling but that's how ineffective Aldridge has been. What worries me is that I just don't think it's within LA to bring out that toughness...

-          I have a fear that we may be seeing L.A. at his best. He continues to improve on his strengths but has not shown much development with his weaknesses. Don't get me wrong, LA is unquestionable a starting PF and a great one at that, but he is not a #2.

-          Something else I was excitied about before the season was the new offensive Oden combined with LA. Oden's power inside game combined with Aldridge finesse outside game. Sounds like the most deadly combination, Oden get his numbers but Aldridge's numbers remained unchanged. Maybe there wasn't enough time between the two to figure it out, maybe it was the coaching, or maybe Aldridge can't make the adjustment.

-         It has ben said that Portland is too much in love with their own players and I think the LMA deal could be evidence of it. I think we could of waited till the end of the year to offer the extension. At the end of the year we could way our options (I believe Bill Simmons touched on this). One thing that would make this an issue is that this would of probably some hurt feeling from LMA going into this season and likely would of lead to an upset fan base. Remember we pushed for them to make this extension.

-          This isn't basketball skill related but man is he a terrible interview. Did he memorize the athlete handbook on how to answer questions with the same boring answer for every boring question he's asked.  Out of all the players LA seems the most removed from his real personality when answering questions then anyone else. He needs to take some lessons from Roy.

-          To his credit: he does do things better then any other PF like beating his man down the floor (I love how he runs straight down the middle of the floor, you don't see many other big men around the league do that), running the break and taking the outside shot (does any PF hit a deeper turnaround jump shot), some physical offense, he has a very smooth running hook. Aldridge has assets that no other PF has but it seems to come at the expense of skills he lacks in.

* Going back and looking at this it does seem like I'm overly critical of Lamarcus, I didn't intend for this but rather it just came out that way.

Couple of quick hits on the rest of the roster

Greg Oden

-          It's sad to say but it's clear we cannot build around Oden bc we cannot count on him being on the floor. We are going to need to learn to incorporate when he is around. I hate giving in and saying this but he is injury prone.

-          Who knew incorporating a center with offense was going to be this difficult. Before Oden went down it didn't look like we were getting any closer.

Travis Outlaw

-          Do we resign Outlaw? Has he played his last game for Portland? For all the Outlaw hating I think now that he has been gone we can see just how valuable he was especially on the offensive side if the ball

-          At this point in his career Outlaw is Outlaw. He has glaring strengths and weaknesses. I personally think we keep him. I like the idea of having a team that plays great team basketball but we have this wild card we can throw out there how is really playing is own game. The defense has to pay attention to him.

Rudy Fernandez

-          This guy is just show much fun to watch play. There is a reason is a fan favorite.

-          With all the injuries we have nobody that can hit the three and that's where we are missing him the most

-          What happened to Rudy attacking the basket? Everytime he does he almost always passes out of it. Get a little selfish Rudy! You are the same guy who dunked on Howard in the onlympics and was in the dunk contest last year right?

Nicolas Batum *thanks for pointing this out

-          I recall a quick chat early in the year were the discussion of the impact Batum being out would have on this team. Quick downplayed by bringing a valid argument that the reality was Batum was a player who only averaged 18 mins a game and that his absence wouldn't amount to that strong of an impact. He was only half right about this, Yes Batum only played 18 mins but it was understated just how valuable those 18 mins were.This was clear to me during the 2nd game of the season when we faced Denver and had nobody, and I mean nobody, who could gaurd Carmelo Anthony. Anthony went for 41 points on 11-21 shooting. I decided to look up the last time Batum faced Carmelo and I found that Anthony went for only 13 points on 3-18 shooting. I looked at several other match-ups and it seemed to be true more often than not that Batum's defensive presence was important (I should note this wasn't always true, for example Kevin Durant this year)

-          Also for a team that seems to have a hard time finishing fast breaks this was never a weakness for Batum who excelled at running the floor. We have missed his ability to finish strong at at the hoop.

Joel Pryzbilla

-          This guy is so valuable. Just love him. I don't think I have anything negative to say about the guy

-          Actually I did think of something, have you ever seen a 7 footer get blocked as much as Pryz? I know your not suppose to have offense but come Joel you can at least jump when you go up for a dunk.

Jerryd Bayless

-          He needs to play. I understood Nate not playing him the previous season (he couldn't make an outside and his drives to the hope were easily stopped by opponents) but now it needs to happen. I don't even understand what is the excuse not to.

-          The shot may not look pretty but it's going in and that's all that matters. With each basket it's only raising his confidence.

-          He looks like he belongs in crunch time in the fourth

-          The guy has that kill mode that many blazers lack

-          Bayless thank you for talking a little smack, I'm not asking for the Jailblazers but do we really need choir boys? You need that swagger to win championships. Rudy has it, Jerryd has it, Roy has it, Joel has it but there rest are just too nice. You know we aren't there yet when other fan bases don't hate any particular player on the blazers (One reader mentioned Pryz and he is right, but it ends there). People might say they hate the blazers but then ask them who they hate, they will probably say they just hate the blazers now ask any blazer fan why they hate Boston and they will give you names and with good reason.

-         Bayless growth actually brings on some questions for the GM and coaching staff. Did they really evaluate Bayless as not even ready to be a backup PG this season? They watched the guy for a year and their assessment was that we wasn't going ot be ready?  If not then why bring in Miller, obviously some managment didn't believe in Bayless. Now we are stuck in a simiar Portland situation, three PG that are relatively even with each other (Jack, Sergio and Blake and now Miller, Blake, Bayless) the difference being that we are dealing with better PGs this time. It's important to note that the three PGs became an issue and it became clear somebody had to go, what makes this time around any different.

Juwan Howard

-          I'm getting exactly what I thought I would get from Howard and more.

-          No disrespect to Howard but I feel like I shouldn't ever of had to see as much of Howard as I have this season

Dante Cunningham

-          The kid is knocking down shots but I think we are going to see some games with an empty stat line. He is a 2nd round rookie so not much should be expected. Have to give credit because he was ready when is number was called.

Patty Mills/Jeff Pentagraph

-          Somebody please remind some delusional blazer fans the success rate of mid second picks... Yeah but there is just something exciting about getting a first look at a new player and it's a better feeling to believe that can be one of the few 2nd rounders who can really contribute rather than the majority who don't pan out.

Nate McMillian

-          I've always been a Nate supporter but my opinion began to change during the playoff series with Houston. The game plan didn't feel right. We seemed over coached and went away from what worked during the season. To Nate's defense Houston was just a bad match up for us.

-           Player progression: I haven't seen enough improvements, the weaknesses of Aldridge, Martell and Rudy (lack of progression in Outlaw I understand, Outlaw is Outlaw) Although strengths became even stronger I feel the players weaknesses were unchanged and in terms of a players weakness I think that area plays more on the coach for improvement than the player.

-          Where are the easy shots? We have a team filled with intelligent players yet there are many times where the ball isn't moving at all. How hasn't a more effective offense been established? Our interior defense is also extremely frustrating to watch. One example that stood out was the Hawks game. Seemingly every shot came from within the key. Oden and Pryz are too big and too good for that to happen so how does it?

-          Player substitution has been inconsistent and odd at times. Nate unwillingness to trust Bayless and pull a struggling Blake has been frustrating to watch. Even my most half-ass blazer fan friends wonder why Blake isn't pulled and why Bayless isn't playing more. Another annoyance was Nate immediately pulling Oden after two fouls instead of letting him learn to play with the fouls. Miller may not be playing well but I can see why he is frustrated, his rotation has been all over the place this season. Too many intriguing lineups are/were never used. Why didn't Nate ever put Oden and Pryz on the floor together?

-          Nate is has proven that he can build a program from cellar dweller to respectable but I question whether he can take them from playoff team to championship team. These guys may not be ready yet but they need to be given more freedom.

-          So what is the answer? The ones calling for Nate to be fired I hope you realize that would be a very controversial move. Keep in mind we have only gotten better with Nate. Although we see plenty of problems with his coaching it should be noted we would get buried by the national media. To them it would look like we jumped to gun and would look disrespectful to the coach who brought us her. If Nate did this for another team and they canned him how would you think of it? The national media was upset about the canning of Eddie Jordan in Washington and they weren't good or going anymore, imagine Nate.

-          There are a lot of different areas of discussion with Nate that this conflict isn't as easy as it seems.

Blazer Fans

-          I love how loyal Portland fans are but we are also a little delusional. For whatever reason Blazers fans tend to be very dramatic at the first sign of distress. Blazer fans treat the blazers like they are our children, the only people who can say anything bad about them is us, we think we know them better then anybody else and we tend to react more on our initial emotion instead of well thought of reasoning. I hope we are smarter then what some of the message boards say. Trade ____ and fire____ isn't necessarily the answer. There are no quick fixes.

-       To our defense it's much hard being a Blazer fan this year. It doesn't get much better than last year. I exceeded expectations and we watching a team grow from having several bad seasons to finally achieving success. We won every close game in what always seemed like come from behind victories. We were spoiled. We were underdogs, it was a win-win because either we play to our half-ass expectations or we exceeded them. I witnessed what has to be the second best year in a franchise (the best year being winning the title). Besides the title I don't know if there is anything better than watching a team that has struggle finally achieve success again.

Mike Rice

                Okay, I really don't understand why everybody loves this guy so much. Am I the only one who finds his inability to say anything bad about the blazers or compliment any play of the opposing team annoying!? I would honestly mute of television if I enjoy fan reaction (especially home games) to the game so much. Are some reasons why:

-          Whenever a call is made against us Rice always feels it's incorrect and then goes on to blame to specific official

-          Replays often prove Rice incorrect yet he still acts as if the replay agrees with his assessment

-          He calls a grown man "Blakey"

-          Often exaggerates/embellishes Blazer statistics, recent gameplay (ie "Webster has been the hot blazers the last week ." the reality being in 1 of the 20 quarters Webster had played that week he had scored 12 points while in the other 19 quarters he had scored 12 total points)

-          Often refers to the Blazers as "we" which is known as unprofessional in broadcasting.

-          Rarely gives credit to the opponents or gives backhanded compliments

-          Will often harp and whine on a previous play for several minutes

He has even begun to poison Mike Barrett's brain with the homerism. I wish Wheels could lose weight so they can put him on live tv. I'd even take Antonio Harvey/ (Steve Jones why did you leave)

*note on Mike Rice. I do understand that what a listed above are the same reasons many fans like Mike Rice so I guess its a preference.


-          People often think they're much more clever then they actually are and I'm surely guilty of it myself. I probably contradicted myself several times and likely some of my thoughts proven wrong so if you can, please do. By no way am saying that what I think is right it's just the way I feel. If anyone has any thoughts on my thoughts please share. I'm often too negative and in the minority in my line of thought but come on, someone has to agree with me on some of this.

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