Full Court Press

Brandon Roy holds Nate Robinson's daughter. Via tweetphoto.

In keeping with the theme of Dave's post, enjoy this great shot of Brandon Roy cuddling with the young daughter of fellow Seattle NBAer Nate Robinson (via Twitter). 

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

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Dave on Brandon Roy | Who Would You Add To This Team? | What's The Best Player Value Stat?

Rich Cho Interview On SB Radio | Blazers Can Shooting Coach | Bill Simmons Wouldn't Live In Portland (again) 

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Click through for a few excellent looks at (former Blazer) Scottie Pippen's induction into the Hall Of Fame, a brief interview with Team France's Nicolas Batum, the Blazers are hiring online folks, another takedown of LaMarcus Aldridge, thoughts on that Darren Collison trade, a must-see trick shot video, a Blazers beat writer says goodbye and some other various odds and ends as we inch closer to surviving the dog days of August.

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

Mike Barrett with a lengthy feature, full of quotes, about Rich Cho's new assistant GMs...

"I know Mike and Chad, and have great respect for what they have done," said Rosenberry. "They're young and enthusiastic. They're excited about where this team is. They helped build this team. This their baby. This team is very close, and these guys should get a ton of credit for that."    

...

"You first look at the assets, and the Blazers have plenty of those," said Rosenberry. They possess so many good young players. We'll get together, as a group, and try and find little ways to upgrade here and there. It was amazing what this team was able to do last season, and the national media never gives Portland its due. I'm a scout. I know. This is a very good team. Now that Rich is in charge, fans should be very confident that they'll take that next step."

"Rich is authentic and real," Branch added, of his new boss. "He's extremely smart. He's the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He has friendships in this league that have lasted for years. I'm so excited to be on his team, and can't wait to get to work."

Austin Burton interviews Nicolas Batum...

Dime: What did you think of the moves the Blazers made in the offseason?
NB: We didn't bring in a lot of new players, it was more staff; getting a new GM, getting new coaches. We have the same group of players and we work well together. The chemistry is right for this team.

Dime: You just have to stay healthy.
NB(Laughs) Definitely. Last year was really bad luck. It was crazy. All you can do is try to take care of your body in the offseason. But next year we will be very good if we don't have injuries.

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports writes about Scottie Pippen...

Scottie Pippen was a basketball genius, and in nearly 13 years of covering this league in written form, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "basketball genius" in any way that wasn't the opposite of sincerity.

Scottie couldn't articulate it. He probably couldn't draw it up for you, because how can you approximate momentum and attack and improvisation with a dry-erase board and pen? He couldn't tell the teammate where to go in the next dead ball, because the "where to go" and "what to do" don't matter when you're not stopping or working in a set position. You can try to run, mistake activity for achievement, but you can't hide from what's inside of you. You don't know, like Scottie knows. You don't see what Scottie sees.

There's no point in pretending that I'm on the same level as Pippen. I just saw enough of his good and bad to understand when things were to his liking, and when he was let down. What I did see, with those Bulls, was the end result of Scottie's on-the-fly machinations. So much so that when they didn't happen in Houston and Portland (often with better teammates), I could sense the disappointment. Anyone could.

J.A. Adande on Pippen...

Pippen rode shotgun for all six of Michael Jordan's championships in Chicago, as they were the only two players on hand for both the first and second three-peats. Pippen excelled in his role so much that he's still the standard for it. When LeBron James joined Dwyane Wade in Miami this summer one of the most-asked questions was "Who will be Michael Jordan and who will be Scottie Pippen?" No further explanation was needed. Pippen's brand has replaced the generic name, like Kleenex for tissues.

Pippen created the template and it has yet to be filled in. Put it this way: Kobe Bryant has come a lot closer to replicating Jordan than anyone has come to duplicating Pippen. Manu Ginobili comes to mind, but Pippen could grab twice as many rebounds as Ginobili ... and has twice as many championships.

KP2's numbers rank Clyde Drexler over Scottie Pippen...

8. Clyde Drexler, Portland Trail Blazers/Houston Rockets (score of 55.0)
Drexler was actually the first true '90s star into the Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2004. He's a bit lacking in top-end value, without a single 20-WARP season on his resume (he topped out at 18.5 WARP in 1991-92), but was consistently the league's second-best shooting guard for much of the decade. Only Jordan has a superior career rating at the position right now, though a certain Lakers legend is sure to move past Drexler next season with plenty of his career still ahead.

9. Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls/Houston Rockets/Portland Trail Blazers (score of 52.1)
Alas, the numbers aren't especially kind to either of tonight's honorees from the '90s. I think Pippen fans (like friend of BBPM. Haubs at The Painted Area) would accept him behind the top six players on this list, but Payton and Drexler seem below his league. The biggest factor working against Pippen was his relatively short prime. It took him a while to find his place in the NBA after playing at tiny Central Arkansas, and by the time Pippen got to Portland he was no longer a star-caliber player. Add injuries and Pippen had just eight years with double-figure WARP. Contrast that to Stockton, who had 16, or even Drexler, who had 11.

Two great writers went back-and-forth about whether Portland can be a #2 seed this year...

The case for the Trail Blazers 
Kevin Arnovitz (TrueHoop/ClipperBlog
14 different players had their names announced as starters for the Trail Blazers during a regular season game in 2009-10. That list included Juwan Howard, who logged more than 1,600 minutes -- many of them at center. Through all the injuries, uncertainty, player movement and discontent in the backcourt, Portland managed to eke out 50 wins. There's no guarantee the Trail Blazers will return to full health in 2010-11 -- but they have insurance policies all over the floor. If Greg Oden's body can't hold up, the Trail Blazers can turn to Marcus Camby, who still influences games defensively and on the glass. Wesley Matthews can step in for either Brandon Roy or Nicolas Batum on the wing. Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph have a full season under their belts. And Andre Miller seems fully acclimated to the task of enabling both Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. Oklahoma City might be the sexy pick, and you'll never embarrass yourself predicting a 50+ win total for Dallas. But this retooled and rehabilitated Trail Blazers team has the depth, flexibility and hunger to mount a serious challenge out west. 


The case against the Trail Blazers 
John Krolik (Cavs: the Blog)

On the surface, it sure doesn't seem like the Blazers are going to lose more games than they did last year, considering how banged up they were. I "lowballed" them for two reasons: There are a lot of questions surrounding that team, and I think a lot of Western conference teams are going to be better this season. Nobody knows what Oden is going to look like, or if Roy will revert to his 2008-09 form. Andre Miller is a 34-year-old point guard without much of an outside shot -- can he keep getting it done? Is Nicholas Batum going to be as good as everyone seems to think he'll be? What's going to happen with Rudy Fernandez? Where does Wesley Matthews fit in? If everything goes right, the Trail Blazers are going to be seriously, seriously good, but I feel like we've been saying that for a few seasons now. I'm not down on this team by any stretch of the imagination. I just think the Rockets and Thunder are going to be really tough this year, and some of the teams out of the playoff race should get a lot better as well. Those extra wins are going to have to come from somewhere, and my guess is that a few of them will come from the Blazers.  

Brother Wendell Maxey says hold your horses on a Rudy Fernandez trade...

For the past couple of weeks we've heard murmurs and read headlines of Rudy Fernandez's departure from the Blazers, and "reports" that it's a big deal - maybe with Chicago; maybe with Boston. It was also believed that something was going to go down on Monday. We are still waiting.

And there is a good chance we will continue to do so. As General Manager Rich Cho rounds out his cabinet - with Cho expected to name Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry his co-assistant GMs - there could be a waiting period to consider once contracts are finalized. Once the offices of "Cho, Branch and Rosenberry" are open for business, they'll go about their plan of adjusting and finalizing Portland's roster methodically - this according to one person familiar with Portland's new front office strategy. There is a lot of time before the start of training camp. So, sit back and relax.

It may be a while.

Dwight Jaynes wonders what post-retirement role Rasheed Wallace might have with the Portland Trail Blazers...

Let's say Wallace decides to settle with his family here. How will he be received? Let's say he becomes a regular at the Rose Garden for home games - will fans boo him? Will they cheer him? How do Trail Blazer fans perceive him right now? Do they hate him? Hey, will this guy join Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Dale Schlueter as a Blazer ambassador some day? Doubt it.

For me, I'm guessing Wallace will become a fan favorite, if he wants to be.

Channing Frye has a charity kickball tournament this weekend...

What is it?

All day event including a 36 team tournament. Stage with music, food, beer garden, yard games and activities including a bouncy castle!

Who's it for?

The tournament is 18 over. This will be a family friendly event complete with a kids village for the young ones. Face painting, balloons, and a bouncy castle. We will, of course, have a beer and wine garden available for the big kids 21 and over!

Where?

Westmoreland Park.

Nathan Begley with an interesting thought: Will New Orleans's trade of Darren Collison have ramifications here?

How does this impact Portland? Well, Houston didn't really get better, but they attained more flexibility going forward. The Hornets may come-a-calling on Patty Mills since they could use a backup point guard. I don't see the win-loss column being dramatically affected by any of today's maneuvers.    

SJ from Rip City Project is less than thrilled that the impact on Portland wasn't bigger...

One can't help but think that perhaps the Blazers could have snuck into this deal a little while back. Can't help but wonder if a 4 or 5 team deal would've been the ideal setting to dump Rudy Fernandez and get some value in return. It's odd to see such a big deal go down and all remains quiet on the Fernandez front.

T-Mac on BustaBucket.com feels LaMarcus Aldridge either doesn't know or doesn't care that he should be playing more down low...

What's even more frustrating is that LaMarcus either doesn't know that he should be playing in the post, or doesn't care. Let's explore these two options:

A) He doesn't know. I love watching Dwight Howard play because at least once a game he'll get pissed off and realize, "hey wait a minute...I'm way bigger and stronger than all of these guys, why don't I just go to the rim and dunk?! What's stopping me from doing that right now? Nothing? OK, I'm doing it." It's like it never occurs to LaMarcus that he's way bigger and stronger than most NBA players, and that the paint should be were he lives. He's a chihuahua in the body of a St. Bernard. 

B) He doesn't care. This is the even more disturbing alternative, and I think it's more likely--he's just comfortable shooting jump shots. People have been telling him how great his 18-footers are for so long that he's convinced himself he doesn't even need to go inside. The last straw was him bailing on Team USA before the World Championships in Turkey. It's not just that he would be a fantastic fit for international basketball--his range is the international three-pointer, and his ability to run the floor would make Rondo, Rose and him best buddies. It's that he would have benefited more than just about anyone from that sort of hyper-competitive environment.     

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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