Full Court Press

Another week, another batch of links.  The Draft Lottery drawing is tomorrow. I literally cannot wait.

First things first: Congratulations and welcome (back) to Mike Tokito, who is replacing Geoffrey C. Arnold as The Oregonian's NBA writer as Arnold shifts to the Portland Timbers beat.

Here's what you might have missed on Blazersedge recently...

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Dave's Season in Review: Rudy Fernandez | Jerryd Bayless

KP Gets Board Membership | What would you offer for LeBron?

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Click through for the latest on Monty Williams' head coaching prospects, what the Cleveland Cavaliers loss means for the Blazers, who will and will not be on this year's Summer League roster, various player evaluations for half the roster, the latest on Kevin Pritchard and a few draft-related tidbits.

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

Coup at Rip City Project says he prefers Nate McMillan's stubbornness to Mike Brown's terrible rotations...

What is the opposite of a thing of beauty? A thing of horror? That's what Mike Brown's rotations and adjustments were in this series. Zydrunas Ilgauskas played in Game 1, was terrible, then didn't play until being handed major minutes in Game's 5 and 6. JJ Hickson - who Cleveland didn't want to trade for Amar'e freaking Stoudemire - started 73 games, was the prototypical athletic forward that hurts Boston, and didn't play significant minutes in Game's 5 or 6. Shaquille O'Neal missed the last two months of the season and was handed the starting spot just before the playoffs despite Anderson Varejao being a better matchup with Boston and O'Neal never having dealt with defensive rotations alongside Antawn Jamison. If you want a team to make adjustments on the fly and respond to adversity, that lineup better be used to playing with eachother, and better know why each of those players is on the floor. As stubborn as Nate McMillan can seem sometimes - Steve Blake says hello - he at least understands the value of not over-tinkering.    

Dwight Jaynes sees the isolation-based offense fail in Cleveland too...

I'm telling you, Trail Blazer fans, your team is going to have to change. Portland must adapt and evolve with the league. And what's working now is dribble-drive penetration, flex or passing-game offenses, ball movement, player movement and a share-the-ball mentality. Or Phil Jackson's triangle. Some may even have to set a good screen once in a while.

Spreading the defense is now going to have to be the No. 1 priority. Heck, people are going to blame LeBron or his teammates, but the fact is, he was swarmed by the defense to such a degree, it was very difficult for him to even pass to open teammates - it's why James ended up with nine turnovers Thursday night.

Jason Quick on Monty Williams...

Williams is largely credited with developing Travis Outlaw from a raw talent into a player who received Sixth Man of the Year votes. And he works extensively with Nicolas Batum, whose progression this season was marked. 

Throughout both players' development, there were brutally honest moments that both motivated and grounded the players. Batum this season said Williams called him out before a March game at Golden State, saying that he was resting on his reputation as a good defender, when in fact he had been playing poor defense of late. And Outlaw said he was constantly humbled by Williams, who frequently reminded him that it would be the substance of his game, not the style, that set him apart. 

"In this league, the truth helps guys out," Williams said. "They know I'm not going to give them any B.S. or come at them sideways. In life, and in basketball, if you lay the truth out there, people don't have to guess."     

Williams has been mentioned in relation to three coaching positions now (Sixers, Hornets, Hawks) but appears to be on the outside looking in at some bigger, more-established names right now...

Phil Jasner of Philly.com writes about the Sixers opening...

The source also mentioned that Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams remains a wild-card possibility.

Marc Stein writes...

Sources say Johnson and Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, meanwhile, have emerged as standout contenders in New Orleans in a search that has generated seven interviews to date. Besides Johnson, Thibodeau and Casey, New Orleans has met with Portland assistant coach Monty Williams, TNT's Mike Fratello, ESPN's Mark Jackson and former New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank.

Adrian Wojnarowski tweets...

Strong candidates for Hawks job will likely include Sam Mitchell, Utah assistant Ty Corbin, and Portland assistant Monty Williams.

John Canzano on Kevin Pritchard's future...

 

 

Pritchard will draft, because it's what he does best. After that, it's anyone's guess. Theories range from Pritchard not lasting the postdraft week to him making, maybe, one more season. Maybe Allen will come to his senses, or maybe he won't. 

What's at stake is not only a terrific evaluator of talent, but franchise momentum. It's toxic, all of it. The scene is born from unhealthy internal politics, and a lack of business acumen, and it's the same stuff that always has threatened the long line of failed Allen business operations. 

Great owner? Sure, when Allen understands that he's paying the experts he hired large sums of money to make decisions. I imagine we'd all be scratching our heads should Allen pull up alongside the Blazers bench next season, park himself, and whisper to Brandon Roy, "I'm not so sure about you Mr. Roy ... now go win games for me."     

Dwight Jaynes says KP doesn't compare to names from the past...

I'll say one other thing: I've been around this organization for a long time. I covered the Blazers when they said goodbye to Jack Ramsay and Stu Inman - the men who made the Trail Blazers' only championship possible. I saw Rick Adelman fired and Geoff Petrie resign in frustration.

And you think, with that in mind, I'm going to get all hot and bothered about Kevin Pritchard being dumped?

In an interview with Wheels at Work, Kevin Pritchard lays out the Summer League roster (transcribed by A Stern Warning)...

Jeff (Pendergraph) and Dante (Cunningham) will definitely be on the Summer League roster.

Patty (Mills) is a restricted free agent. We have his rights. I would like to see him play in the Summer League. Because we saw him in the minor leagues do some really good stuff. In the Olympics a couple of years ago he was the youngest player and led Australia in scoring so we know he can do some things and we've seen it in practice. So we want to give him the ball and let him play. (Jerryd) Bayless will not play.

Kevin Pelton says stick with Andre Miller next year...

 

 

Ultimately, the greatest testament to Miller's season was how indispensable he became to Portland in the final month of the season. The Blazers looked lost without him on the floor, and while part of that had to do with Jerryd Bayless learning point guard on the job, it also reflected everything Miller was doing for the team. He ended the season with the best net plus-minus of any player who spent the full season in Portland, with the Blazers rating 8.8 points better per 100 possessions with Miller at the helm per BasketballValue.com. Miller also narrowly edged out LaMarcus Aldridge for second on the team in Wins Above Replacement Player. Not bad for a guy thought to be a terrible fit.

At some point, age inevitably will catch up to Miller, and in the long run it will be important to find a solution at point guard, be it Bayless or someone else. For at least next season, however, Portland can be confident that it has the position filled with Miller.

Casey Holdahl looks back to Andre Miller's first start and concludes with a nice stat...

Portland's record was 7-9 when Miller came off the bench and 43-23 as a starter.

SJ on Martell Webster...

Who should Martell study to improve? Coup said that he needs to stop trying to be a young Glen Rice and try to be more like Glen Rice on the Lakers in the early 2000's. I would say he needs to look at a guy like Bruce Bowen, whose ability to play team basketball, play defense and space the floor could help him figure out what he needs to become. An interesting one that Coup came up with is that Martell needs to look at tape of Ray Allen circa right about now. Essentially they get their buckets in similar fashion: Ray comes off screens, scores in transition, gets in good position to shoot and takes layups when the defense lets him.    

Kelly Dwyer on Marcus Camby...

Because there's nothing about Camby's recent play that suggests he's ready for a forkball-style drop off. Even with that bum ankle, he still led the NBA in defensive rebound rate during the playoffs, and he had another fantastic year overall in 2009-10.

The only worry is that, out of nowhere, Camby's play will take a steep and unexpected nosedive, like Patrick Ewing's. The problem with that is, of course, there was nothing about Ewing's nosedive that should have been unexpected. Camby? He's been as consistent as ever. If he doesn't live up to his contract extension, it means something will have gone terribly wrong.

And for a franchise that has had so much go terribly wrong, finding a Marcus Camby to aid in the transition toward terribly right is terribly cool. You gotta lock that up. Good thing the Blazers did.

Nick Poust writes about LaMarcus Aldridge on Fan Huddle...

He was very aggressive at times this season, especially when it was just him, Howard, and Pendergraph clogging the middle, but overall he was nowhere near hungry enough offensively, on the boards, and defensively.

He averaged only four free-throw attempts per game. That is inexcusable. And the reasoning behind it was his inability to post up inside with any regularity. Some fans have been barking for an upgrade, possibly Chris Bosh in a sign-and-trade with Toronto. I wouldn't go that far quite yet, but though I have been an Aldridge supporter in the past, his lack of aggression has grown tiring.

Aldridge has done extremely well when he does play inside. He doesn't do it enough. That's what makes him so frustrating. This summer, he has to tell himself to live in the post more. The coaches have to tell him that, too. Asserting himself offensively inside will not only help his credibility with the fans, but it will send him to the free-throw line more, make him less predictable, and open up the floor more for shooters.

Quick Hits

Drop anything I missed in the comments.  And, please, frequent the FanShots.

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

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