Full Court Press: Media Day Edition

One day late on the Full Court Press to accommodate the rush of Media Day coverage.  There's a ton of really good stuff out there. Be sure to scroll up and down the homepage. Plenty more from training camp later today.

Joe Freeman on Greg Oden. Dave's thoughts and discussion here.

Last year at the Blazers' media day, Oden spoke whisper-soft, in a monotone voice, and answered questions mostly in cliches. Monday, he was engaging, sometimes-humorous and honest, revealing new sense of confidence and purpose. The first thing he did when he sat down to address a throng of media was crack a joke.

As he progressed to a live radio interview, Oden mockingly pushed teammate Martell Webster out of line at a food buffet, pretending to attack the spread. This was after Oden boldly stated that his goal was to be an All-Star this season.     

Jason Quick with a fresh installment of "Behind the Blazers Locker Room Door."

"People talk about how deep we are," McMillan said earlier in the day. "But the thing is, chemistry is important. Sacrificing is important." 

But what if nobody gets that? What if Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake are more concerned with padding their statistics for their summer contract negotiations? What if Andre Miller wants to prove he was worth this summer's $7million free agent contract? What if LaMarcus Aldridge goes into the season without an extension and wants to prove that he is worth a maximum contract? 

McMillan might as well have been asked why a basketball was pumped and not stuffed. He stammered, unsure of how to answer such questions. 

"It's just ... it's just ... I mean ... it's just not an option," McMillan said finally. "Teams win. Not one guy. So it's not an option for us, not on this team. And if you don't get that, you are not a part of us. You have to get that."     

Wendell Maxey tracks down Hersey Hawkins.

Hersey, 42, actually reached out to Vice President of Basketball Operations, Tom Penn - a person Hersey's known since their college days - months ago about a position within the organization. At that point, Hersey was at a time in his life where he was interested in returning to the league having spent the last year as an assistant basketball coach for his son's team, Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, Arizona and he was optimistic the Blazers might eventually have something in store for him. When Tom called Hersey over the summer and invited him to Portland for an interview with Tom, General Manager Kevin Pritchard, Head Coach Nate McMillan and even President Larry Miller, Hersey knew it was meant to be.

The Blazers however wanted to be sure Hawkins was committed.

"A lot of guys who have played before, the one thing you wonder is, are they ready to work? These guys enjoy themselves but they do work and they work extremely hard," Hawkins explained.

"You don't put together a team like this without working at it."

Joe Freeman with another in a series of non-updates on LaMarcus Aldridge's extension.

"I didn't think it would take this long," Aldridge said. "I thought that after what we did last year, having 54 wins and after the big change that's happened ... here, I just felt like it wouldn't be this hard to get it done. But it is. I can't say that I'm happy about it."     

Brian T. Smith on Greg Oden.

Another major change was Oden's daily diet. According to Oden, he used to eat 2-3 large meals a day. Now, he's taking in 5-6 small ones, as well as consuming healthier food. The former Ohio State standout even joked about his new eating habits.

"I go to Whole Foods every now and then," Oden said.    

Brian T. Smith with some funny notes.

Greg Oden made the biggest splash Monday during the Portland Trail Blazers' annual media day at the Rose Garden. And Andre Miller created tiny ripples. But it was a united collection of Blazers that included Oden, Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake and Joel Pryzbilla who made the largest wave. What united the group? All, to a man, said or hinted they wanted to start for the 2009-10 Blazers. 

Patty Mills pops up in Australia with big dreams writes Chris Dutton

Patrick Mills will turn down lucrative offers from Europe as he attempts to force his way into the Portland Trail Blazers NBA squad.

The Canberra basketballer left the capital yesterday to fly back to the United States and edge closer to his NBA dream.

He has almost recovered from the broken foot which crippled his bid to secure a contract with the Portland franchise.

Mills will have an X-ray on October6 and is expected to be cleared to return to the court.

He will then need to bounce back to his sparkling best immediately to convince Trail Blazers coaches and management he has a future in the world's best league.

Coup from Rip City Project.

It doesn't matter who starts. Andre Miller is the better player and should be the one who finishes games. He takes more risks than Steve Blake, runs the break better, sets up his big men better and creates more mismatches with his ability to post up. The only thing Blake does better, shoot, while an important floor-spacing ability, is not as dynamic as what Miller does. The Blazers aren't going to have Miller hang out on the same wing as LaMarcus Aldridge as he posts up and as a weakside swing option he'll have room to step in and take a mid-range jumper - as a backup option. It hasn't been talked about much yet, but despite being a much worse shooter than Blake, Miller can still be more dangerous from the far corner by taking advantage of the rotating defense, getting past a closing-out defender and BOOM! There's an oop for Greg Oden.    

Bethlehem Shoals really goes after Sergio.

Most Likely Letdown: This roster's overflowing with low-risk, high-reward talent. However, I would advise everyone to just forget Sergio Rodriguez now resides here. For one, this smacks of Beno Udrih, even though more was expected of Beno, and they're different players. The point, though, is that Sergio's a foreign PG who has yet to show his game translates into the NBA, and while he might be able to get in and push the tempo a little, S-Rod is neither a solid backup nor a consolation prize for passing on Rubio. If you even get consolation prizes for decisions you make yourself.

Joe Freeman with a summary of the summer and some brief thoughts from Kevin Pritchard.

Pritchard refused to divulge any details about the behind-the-scenes happenings with Turkoglu. But the sentiment around One Center Court is that if Turkoglu truly did not want to play for the Blazers, they're glad they discovered so before signing him to a lucrative deal.

"If we took criticism, that's fine," Pritchard said. "Because the end result, I'm fine with."    

John Canzano on Greg Oden.

The season has already started, but it won't really take off without Oden. 

Consider that Roy is going to continue to be a star. And Aldridge is going to evolve into one of the top players at his position. And the competition between Blake and Miller make the team tougher. But if we're questioning what it's going to take for Portland to once again be one of the best teams in the West, what we're really asking is, "What will Oden look like?" 

As the big dude goes, so goes this franchise.     

Mike Barrett on Media Days.

The MVPs of Media Day last season (at least in the stuff that didn't involve the regular media) were Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, and Greg Oden. Outlaw is a ham, and has absolutely no ego. He always acts somewhat embarrassed. Martell loves this day perhaps a little too much, and is born for reality TV. Rudy is funny, but it's mostly unintentional humor, as he always gasps when he's handed two paragraphs in English that he has to try and read naturally. Oden last year, while in the radio sound booth, loving that he could hear his own voice in headphones, started to rap, almost like he couldn't help it.    

Kelly Dwyer rates Brandon Roy the 8th best shooting guard of the last 10 years.

Not to stir anything up, please promise me you'll take this as a pump-up of Roy's abilities more than anything else, but worth pointing out:

Brandon Roy's PER, at age 24? Twenty-four.

Kobe Bryant's? Twenty-six, surrounded by three different campaigns that saw him end with a PER in the mid-23s.

In fact, Roy's PER was just a short step behind Bryant's last season, in a year that saw Bryant mentioned (undeservedly, I might add, amongst career years from LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade) among MVP candidates.

The guy is for real. And even if last year was a fluke jump in production, his first two seasons have Roy pegged for stardom anyway. And if last year is any indication, he'll be the league's most underappreciated superstar for quite a while. Sadly, and excitedly.

Phil Miller sees a big hole for the Lakers.

Last but not least, thanks to our good friends over at Bustabucket.com for a few of these links.

Dump anything I missed in the comments.  And be sure to frequent the fanshots.

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

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