Snips and clips from the Timberwolves' camp, plus:
posted by Wile E. Coyote to Canis Hoopus postgame thread
Good effort from the Wolves, but the game was pretty frustrating.
1) No answer for LMA. Darko did the best against him, but could not stop him. Love was easily scored on by LMA. Aldridge also got some easy ones on the fast break. Most frustrating thing, though, was the way the officials let him commit Shaq/Dwight Howard style offensive fouls on his "post ups". Just ram your shoulder as hard as you can into the defender and watch the defender get called for a foul. I'm not sure what else Darko could have done on a few of those. He played relatively solid, physical defense, holding his ground, and apparently fouled LMA's shoulder with his chest several times.
2) No answer for Matthews. Would be nice if Brewer actually shut him down, as is the supposed reason for playing Brewer.
3) Our guard play has been terrible all year and is still terrible. Ridnour will play pretty well on offense but then make just the most soul-crushing turnover on an inexplicable pass. Flynn looked slightly more comfortable passing but his shot is way off. Brewer was Brewer. Webster was ice cold and still moving him a Grandma with lead weights attached to her shoes. Wes Johnson was so awesome he got a DNP-CD. Ellington played probably the best of the bunch, but he bricked some wide open shots we really needed. Ladies and Gentlemen: The Wolves Draft! * * *
6) Love was very quiet early but started doing Love things late. He is kind of like a running game with a big, physical offensive line in football. Nothing about it really wows you, and early in the game it is not as noticeable, but as the game drags into the last quarter and players are getting tired, Love just keeps chewing up rebounds and put backs and getting to the line. In the end he has 20 & 15 or whatever.
7) Darko played well tonight. Scored, rebounded, and blocked a bunch of shots. Also helped perimeter guys when they got beat. He kept the Wolves in the game at times.
8) Pekovic looked pretty decent tonight. Showed his nice touch on offense. Looks like he'll struggle to rebound unless he loses some muscle mass. The guy is a tank and just can't get into the air. * * *
Big picture (to me): Wolves lost game in the late 2nd and early 3rd quarters with sloppy play. Wolves lost in general because of bad guard play. * * *
posted by TrentEdwardsHoF2018 to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread
I can't believe I scouted the best up and coming teams in the NBA...
and landed on the T Wolves.
Why didn't I see the Clips?
posted by dropstep to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread
LMA is a tough matchup for Love but he's a tough matchup for anyone.
However, if you've been watching this game, you'd know he's been up against our center (Darko or Pek) at least as often if not more than Love. Camby and Pryz have not played a lot.
posted by Simitar to Canis Hoopus gameday open thread
Amazing that tonight is only the 9th 20 point game of Darko's career.
Five of them have come this year.
by J. Steinmeyer, Howlin' T-Wolf
* * *
Despite our front court's success — Darko had a career game and Love recorded his 28th straight double-double - we couldn't match the dominance of LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers may have our number this year, but so does Aldridge. He's been able to exploit Love's weakness — any presence of a post defense whatsoever - all season long, and tonight was no different. On most Blazer games I've seen this season, Aldridge has no post game to speak of, but for some reason when he faces the Wolves, it's as if his incompetent post offense turns to a parallel world to that of Kareem Abdul Jabar's.
The most important moral of tonight's game, though, is the Wolves' inability to limit turnovers. At times they can shoot at a ridiculously high rate to make up for their turnovers, but tonight was not the case. This has been the same thing all year long, and until can limit their turnovers, this team has zero chance of improving their odds at winning predominant conference games, just like this one and others — cough, Spurs, cough. * * *
by Jerry Zgoda, Minneapolis Star Tribune
For those making marks on their mental ballots at home or on coaching staffs across the NBA's Western Conference ...
Clippers rookie Blake Griffin delivered an emphatic statement about his All-Star Game intentions with a career-high 47-point and 14-rebound outing during a Martin Luther King matinee Monday in Los Angeles.
Then Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge went out Monday night against Kevin Love and the Timberwolves and offered some of the same in the Trail Blazers' 113-102 victory at the Rose Garden.
Aldridge scored a career-high 37 points and his team beat the Wolves for the 15th consecutive time and moved two games over .500 (22-20), dropping the visiting team to 10-32. * * *
"It happens every year," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "Guys who are deserving don't make it. There's no way to avoid that." * * *
Please stop back later for more material as it becomes available...
1. Love can play, Aldridge can play.
2. Nice outing for Darko, who is coming along nicely.
3. Portland just has our number, that's all...
* * *
It's easy to define who is a Portland Trail Blazer — that's what we call the 15 guys currently on the roster who pull on the red-and-black unis, lace up the sneakers, and hit the hardwood for the home team. To this list we should add injured Big Jeff Pendergraph, too, just because it's the right thing to do. (Don't be an idiot, Cho.) But what about the guys who used to be on the roster? Are they still "Blazers"? "Former Blazers"? Are we just supposed to forget about them forever, limiting our thinking to the current crew?
The Portland Trail Blazers are a professional sports team, as we all know and that means that the tenure of this individual or that in the Rose City can be extremely short. Trades and free agency move players here and there, injuries and extreme competition for jobs can take yesterday's heroes out of the league altogether in the blink of an eye. But still, it somehow doesn't seem right for us to us to be cheering ourselves hoarse in support of a guy today and filing every record of his career down Big Brother's memory hole when the suits decide it is time to cut ties...
Former Blazer Wing Travis Outlaw's recent guest appearance in the Rose Garden got me thinking that it might be interesting to check in on all the other recent-but-former members of the Portland basketball club to see where they are and how they're performing on behalf of new teams. Who is continuing to grow in a new environment? Who is faltering? And how does this information change the way that we perceive the front office of our own team — are they clueless or astute with regards to personnel decision-making?
I am limiting this inquiry to players who played for Portland during the "Aldridge Era," beginning in LMA's rookie year (2006-07) and running through the current campaign. Players will be listed alphabetically.
RAWRRRRRRRRR!!! Let's get started with a guy that still should be in Blazer colors, at least until we get to the trade deadline...
The draft of Jerryd Bayless in 2008 was initially regarded as another Kevin Pritchard masterstroke — all he had to give up (SARCASM ALERT) was Jarrett Jack (who had and has demonstrated himself to be a very solid backup NBA PG), Josh McRoberts (a guy who has started nearly 30 games for Indiana at Power Forward this season), and the draft pick that became Brandon Rush (averaging 11.7 points for the Pacers this year). In return, KP got Bayless and Ike Diogu (now a PF in the rotation of the Los Angeles Clippers).
This year that costly investment in Bayless was cleverly flipped (ahead of the season, no less) by a new GM eager to "make a mark" and "Save Paul Allen's Money" in a swap for a promissory note for a heavily protected middle 1st Round draft pick from the New Orleans Hornets. To quote the Guinness Guys: "Brilliant!"
To be fair: Jerryd Bayless only showed flashes of what Blazer fans hoped they were getting in 2008. While his feet were quick, his perimeter defense was handsy — a big no-no in the NBA. Well regarded as a shooter in college, despite a superhuman work ethic Rex never found his shooting stroke in Portland. Throughout his NBA career Bayless has tended towards brickishness with his jumper, demonstrating true superiority only in his uncanny abilty to hit shots with one foot on the 3-point line. What Rex COULD do is drive the lane with the best of them, bowling ball style, racking up AND ONEs and foul shots on some nights, getting blocked and looking incompetent on others.
Bayless won the duel with Sergio Rodriguez, who was shipped to make room for him, but the team never really had confidence in Rex as the vaunted Point Guard of the Future, bringing in Andre Miller as a free agent to take control of the team and then shipping Bayless himself to make room for rookie (!!!) Armon Johnson (!!!!!) in a final admission of defeat.
This season Rex was briefly reunited with former Blazer Assistant Coach Monty Williams in New Orleans. His stay there was brief, seeing action in just 11 games and committing 17 turnovers in 148 game minutes. Bayless was traded for Jarrett Jack a second time, sort of, shifting along with the fat contract of the declining Peja Stojankovic to Toronto in exchange for the aforementioned Jack, David Anderson, and Marcus Banks. Fittingly, The Rex has proven himself a good Raptor thus far, averaging 9.9 points and just over 4 assists in an average 21 minutes of action as the team's backup to José Calderón.
Steve Blake is famous now, he's a Laker. I'm sure most Blazer fans are well familiar with Blake's saga... A 4-year college guy who piloted the 2001-02 NCAA National Championship team at Maryland, Blake was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft by the Washington Wizards. Blake first came to Portland ahead of the 2005-06 season as a free agent, but he was shipped after the season to Milwaukee in the deal which brought Jamaal Magloire to Portland.
The Bucks moved him to the Denver Nuggets for Earl Boykins midseason in the 2006-07 campaign and the unrestricted free agent Blake came home to Portland again after that — receiving a nice raise in the process, from $1.3M to about $4.3M. A methodical player with a secure handle, Blake was widely regarded as Nate McMillan's Bestest Friend Ever, even to the point that the Blazer boss was intent upon starting Blake over the borderline All Star talent of Andre Miller.
In order to make some room for Jerryd Bayless, the Blazers shipped Blake and his expiring contract to the San Diego Clippers of Los Angeles along with Travis Outlaw in the deal which brought Marcus Camby to Portland. Free Agent Blake then signed with the Lakeshow, who inexplicably then decided to bring back superannuated PG Derek Fisher as its starter. There you go.
A 3-point shooting specialist, Blake has generally been praised this year by the Laker faithful as a superior alternative to the departed Jordan Farmar in the backup PG role. After a strong start to the season, Blake's long ball shooting has went into a slump, with his percentage from downtown falling below .400 — still acceptable, but not good enough to wow the crowd.
Laker fans are a different sort, however, the regular season being regarded as sort of an elaborate preparation ritual for the real season, which begins in April and ends with a World Championship in June. The jury is thus still out on Blake, who is at this date averaging only 4.5 points and just under 2 assists in nearly 20 minutes of game action.
Travis Diener, a 6'1" Point Guard, was a late-season free agent acquisition of the Blazers last year. Diener, formerly a member of the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers, only saw action in garbage time of 5 games for the Blazers, going 1-for-4 from the field in a grand total of 26 minutes of game action.
This season, Diener is playing ball in Italy as a member of Dinamo Basket Sassari. The team is tied for 11th place in the 16 team league, with a record this season of 6 wins and 9 losses. Diener is averaging 11.8 PPG and 4.0 assists in nearly 30 minutes of game action per night and is shooting 47.2% from within the arc and nearly 33% from downtown.
Ike Diogu, a 6'8" Power Forward, came to the Blazers from the Indiana Pacers in the summer of 2008 as part of the deal trading up to select Jerryd Bayless in the draft. The former Arizona State collegian only played 19 games for the Blazers in the 2008-09 season, seeing just 73 minutes of game time. He was shipped out to the Sacramento Kings at the trade deadline for Michael Ruffin. Diogu later signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Hornets, but he missed the entire 2009-10 season due to microfracture surgery in his left knee.
Diogu is currently riding pine for the Los Angeles Clippers. He has only made it into 9 games this season, but has averaged a respectable 6.3 points in about 15 minutes of burn in those games in which he has made it to the floor. Ike is making about $660,00 this year on his one year free agent deal with the Clips.
I must confess that I have never quite understood the affection of some in the Blazer organization for the Portland-born, Vancouver-raised Dan Dickau. He has had his chances in a Trail Blazer uni, to be sure... The former Gonzaga PG was drafted in 2002 by the Atlanta Hawks and was first shipped to Portland as part of the Rasheed Wallace dump, which brought in veteran Big Shareef Abdur-Rahim and shotblocker Theo Ratliff. After short stints in 20 games as a Blazer, Dickau was shipped out of Portland the first time along with Dale Davis in the deal which brought the aging shooter Nick Van Exel to Oregon.
Dickau bounced in fairly rapid succession from being an unplayed trade asset of the Warriors to the Dallas Mavericks to the New Orleans Hornets of Oklahoma City — for whom he started 46 games — to the Boston Celtics. The journeyman was then sent out to Portland as part of Kevin Pritchard's big draft day 2006 machination which brought Brandon Roy to Portland.
Dickau saw limited action during his second Portland stint in 2006-07, hitting the floor for the Blazers in 50 games, included 3 starts. Dickau averaged 3.3 points and 1.4 assists in about 9 average minutes of playing time for the year.
Following his tenure as a Blazer, Dickau signed a contract for the 2007-08 season with the Clippers, for whom he played 67 games, including 8 starts. Dan averaged 5.3 points and 2.6 assists in just over 15 minutes of action in his backup PG role before being waived by the team after the season. He signed another free agent deal with the Warriors in October 2008, but was cut by the team prior to the 2008-09 season.
After his NBA career ended, Dickau made his way to Europe, briefly signing a deal with Air Avellino of the Italian league, which he subsequently terminated. In January 2009, Dickau became a member of the Brose Baskets of the German Basketball League, another very short stint. In February and March 2010, Dickau played 13 games for Fort Wayne in the NBA D-League, averaging 14.9 points and 7 assists a game.
Dickau signed with the Phoenix Suns ahead of the 2010-11 season, but was cut just prior to the regular season. As nearly as I can tell he remains a free agent looking for a gig...
Juan Dixon is best known as Steve Blake's backcourt mate at the University of Maryland's NCAA Championship team. The 6'3" Shooting Guard was drafted with the 17th pick in the 2002 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards, Dixon became a Blazer in 2005 as a free agent. Dixon started 42 games and came off the bench in 34 more for the bad Blazers during the 2005-06 season, averaging 12.3 points per contest in over 25 minutes of action.
After 55 games for Portland in the 2006-07 season, in which he averaged 8.9 points in 22.6 minutes, Dixon was traded to the Toronto Raptors for Fred Jones and cash at the deadline.
Dixon played 62 games over parts of two seasons for the Raps, averaging 11.1 PPG during the tail end of 2006-07 before being lost from the regular rotation en route to being traded to the Detroit Pistons the following year. After the 2007-08 season came to a close, the 30-year old free agent Dixon signed as a free agent with the team that had drafted him, the Washington Wizards, for whom he appeared in 50 more games (starting 6), averaging 5.2 points in just over 16 minutes.
His NBA career seemingly at an end, in the fall of 2009 Dixon hooked up with Aris Thessaloniki of the Greek A1 League, moving the following year to Unicaja Malaga of Spain. In February 2010, Dixon was suspended indefinitely by FIBA after testing positive for steroids.
We all know the saga of our favorite goofball, don't we? A 4-year collegian at Arizona, drafted by the Knicks, traded to Portland by the giggling New Yorkers along with the horrific contract of Steve Francis for 20-and-10 future All Star Zach Randolph... Yep, that's him...
A catch-and-shoot Guard trapped in a Big's body, after two sometimes exasperating seasons in Portland, Frye was allowed to walk with the expiration of his rookie contract at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Frye signed a 1 year deal with Phoenix for 2009-10, during which he emerged as one of the NBA's most celebrated 3-point shooters, going 172-for-392 from beyond the arc, nearly a 44% rate of success. Frye was rewarded with a fat multi-year deal which will pay him an average of around $6M thought the 2014-15 season. Rather predictably, his 3-point shooting prowess has fallen back to earth this season, with the squeezable one hitting 36.3% of his bombs and scoring 10.9 PPG for the faltering Suns.
Disaffection with the one superior trick of this pony has been growing in Phoenix and Frye has lately returned to the bench. He remains very capable of punishing any team foolish enough not to guard him at the arc, however.
I've got no recollection of Stephen Graham — in or out of a Blazer uniform, then or now. The consummate journeyman, Graham signed out of Oklahoma State University in 2005 with the San Antonio Spurs as an undrafted free agent. Cut by the Spurs, Graham later signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets and was cut by them, filled out 10-day deals with the Bulls and Cavs, and was claimed off waivers by the Blazers in October 2006. He appeared in a total of 14 games for Portland during the 2006-07 season, actually starting one — or so Basketball-Reference.com says. Ya learn something every day...
After his brief tenure with the Blazers, Graham played two years with the Indiana Pacers, seeing action in 74 games (6 as a starter for them). For 2008-09, Graham hooked up with the Charlotte Bobcats, starting 8 times and coming off the bench 62 more, en route to 4.2 PPG in fairly limited minutes at the Shooting Guard position. This season, Graham is playing for the New Jersey Nets, averaging 3.8 points in over 17 minutes of action for them. He's started in 14 games this year... I guess I need to start watching crappy Eastern Conference basketball teams more often or something...
A member of the NCAA National Championship team from the University of Florida and the son of a former NBA player, Point Guard Taurean Green was a late 2nd Round lucky lotto ticket selected by the Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft. Green only managed to see action in 17 games as a Blazer, shooting a Lukebabbittesque 28.0% from the field. Green tore up the D-League during a 4 game stint with Idaho, averaging over 19 PPG and 9.8 assists, but KP cut bait at the trade deadline, moving Green to Denver for Shooting Guard Von Wafer — a man who averages approximately 9.8 assists per season.
Following his stint with the Blazers, Green saw action in garbage time of just 9 games as a Nugget, scoring 10 points and dishing 3 dimes in just 30 total minutes of action. He was traded by the Nuggets to the Knicks in a draft day deal in 2008 and promptly waived by the Knicks.
Following the end of his NBA career, Green made his way to Europe. For 2008-09, he played with Basket Zaragoza 2002 of the Spanish ACB league. In 2009-10, Green signed with AEK Athens Greek A1 League. For the 2010-11 season, Green returned to Spain as a member of CB Gran Canaria, signing a 2 year contract with the club. Green is currently averaging 10 PPG and 3.6 assists in nearly 20 minutes per game in Spanish league action as the reserve PG for the club.
Juwan Howard is so old that he and Mike Rice used to play hooky together to go smoke cigarettes down at the pool hall. Howard came into the NBA when the world was young, the 5th pick of the 1994 NBA Draft. The team that chose him was called the Washington Bullets. Trust me when I say that you don't want to hear about his extensive trade-and-contract history, in short form or in long form or in medium form.
Suffice it to say that he played for a bunch of teams and made a whole bunch of money before coming to Portland as an unrestricted free agent ahead of the 2009-10 season. Howard has made approximately $150 Million over the course of his NBA career, none of which was as well earned as the $1.3 M he pulled down from Portland last season. Signed as an end-of-the-bench emergency Big, in the wake of injuries to Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, Howard was pressed into serious minutes for the Blazers, starting in 27 games and and coming off the bench in 46 more, averaging 6 points and 4.6 boards per contest.
This summer Portland didn't chase him, bad move, and the Miami Heat did, good move. Juwan is near the end of the road, of course, but he's still giving the undersized Heat about 11 minutes a night and coming up with a couple points and a couple rebounds in that interval. Don't think for a minute that the Blazers couldn't use as much out of him this year. If the Lakers can't win it all, here's hoping Old Man River gets himself a ring, because he deserves it.
As longtime aficionados of the Blazers Edge gameday open threads already know, Jarrett Jack is both a noun and a verb. The noun is the former Blazer Point Guard; the verb is what he used to do with comical regularity, which is to catch a ball next to the side boundary and to step back out of bounds before moving forward, being whistled for the turnover every single time.
Jarrett Jack attended four different high schools in three different states, so never let it be said that his secondary education failed to prepare him for his career as a journeyman backup Point Guard in the NBA. Jack was a 1st Round pick in the 2005 NBA draft, picked by Denver on behalf of Portland in a deal which sent Lithuanian shooter Linus Kleiza to the Nuggs. Don't think about that too much, it will hurt your brain. A three year player at Georgia Tech, Jack performed admirably for the Blazers for three seasons, starting 79 games for the Red and Black in the 2006-07 campaign.
Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard apparently grew weary of Jack's 9.9 PPG prettygoodness and moved him along with Josh McRoberts and the draft pick which became Brandon Rush to the Indiana Pacers for the Jerryd Bayless pick and Power Forward Ike Diogu. In retrospect, KP paid too dearly for The Rex, but as they say about lotteries, "You can't win if you don't play..."
Jack has missed just 6 games in his 5-1/2 year NBA career. After averaging 13.1 PPG for the Pacers for the last year of his rookie contract, JJ signed a new deal with the Toronto Raptors, who inexplicably started him over José Calderón for a time before throwing the baby with the bathwater this year in a trade to the New Orleans Hornets for....... wait for it ....... Jerryd Bayless. Jack is averaging 14 PPG off the bench for the Hornets and KP is looking dumber and dumber on this one...
Gresham, Oregon-raised and University of Oregon-educated [sic.] swingman Fred Jones came to Portland in a 2007 trade deadline deal with the Toronto Raptors, a swap which sent Point Guard Dan Dickau to the Great White North. Jones saw action in 24 games for the Blazers that year, starting 3, before being shipped out to the New York Knicks as part of the Zach Randolph dump in the off-season.
Jones started 26 games for the Knicks in 2007-08, coming off the bench in 44 others. He scored an average of 7.6 points for the long-suffering Madison Square Garden faithful, playing in an average of over 25 minutes a contest. A free agent at the end of the season, Jones signed with the San Diego Clippers in December 2008 but was waived in January. This decision was then effectively reversed a few days later when Jones signed a 10-day deal with the Clips, later extended as a veteran's minimum level contract for the rest of the 2008-09 season.
In the summer of 2009, Jones signed with Pallacanestro Biella of the Italian league. For 2010-11, Jones signed a deal to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, but he was waived earlier this month and is currently a free agent.
Before Nic Batum was around to "Play the Portland" for Nate McMillan, standing unattended in the corner to bury wide open treys, there was James Jones. Jones came to Portland from the always obliging Steve Kerr of Phoenix, who was just happy to be rid of his salary — a toss in in the sale of the Rudy Fernandez draft pick. Jones earned his $2.9 Million well, hitting from downtown at an unbelievable 44.4% clip. Jones did his thing off the bench for the most part, seeing action in 58 games, starting only 3 of them. Jones left as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2007-08 season, hooking on with the Miami Heat.
Jones played two full seasons with the Heat, being cut at the end of the 2009-10 campaign as part of the process of clearing cap room so that You Know Who and You Know What could be signed. After the smoke cleared, Jones was brought back to the Heat on a 3 year deal which pays him a fraction of the $4 Million which he had been previously earning.
Jones has played in all 42 games so far this season for the Heat, averaging 6.7 points per game in 21.8 minutes played — numbers approximately equal to his career totals.
Raef LaFrentz, a 6'11" Big who played collegiately for the University of Kansas, was the beneficiary of a massive 7-year contract courtesy of the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks moving into the 2002-03 season. Cuban soon thought better of this decision, however, shipping LaFrentz and the first round draft pick that eventually became Delonte West to the Boston Celtics in a deal bringing Antoine Walker to Texas. LaFrentz was then shipped by the Celtics as a zonk attachment to a big trade of a lottery pick that was ultimately converted into Brandon Roy — with handgun fan Sebastian Telfair and disaffected Center Theo Ratliff heading East in the deal.
Paul Allen ended up spending $36.5 Million in salary on three years of Raef LaFrentz, a guy who ended up limited to just 66 ineffective games in a Blazer uniform due to injury troubles. Although the illusory value of the "Raef LaFrentz Expiring Contract" ("RLEC") captivated the Bedge community for two years, Paul Allen ended up cashing the insurance checks for the physically-unable-to-perform big man without the Blazers using the RLEC as trade filler.
Raef LaFrentz retired as a Blazer at the end of the 2007-08 NBA season. He ended up cashing a total of $84.1 Million in paychecks during the course of his 598 game regular and postseason career — a total of $140,635 per game played. By way of comparison, Kobe Bryant has made a total of $137,517 per game played over the course of his NBA MVP, 5-time World Championship team leading career.
Isn't America a great place?!? Thank you, Mark Cuban, for making a 14.1 PPG player's financial dreams a reality!
Six-foot-eleven Center Jamaal Magloire played all of the 2006-07 season for the Portland Trail Blazers, in which he started 23 games, averaging 6.5 points and about as many rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Magloire arrived in the Rose City from Milwaukee as part of a deal that sent Steve Blake and Brian Skinner to the Bucks. At the end of the '06-07 season, Magloire headed out of town as an unrestricted free agent, signing a non-guaranteed deal with the New Jersey Nets for 2007-08. The Nets cut him and he played in Dallas briefly before signing a contract with the Miami Heat prior to the 2008-09 season.
The big Canadian remains a member of the Miami Heat, although he has had difficulty staying heathy, with various injuries limiting him to 55 games in 2008-09 and just 36 games in 2009-10. In this current season, Magloire has seen the floor in just 7 contests, with modest averages of 1.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 6 average minutes of game action. With his 33rd birthday approaching, Magloire's days in the NBA seem limited.
One of the ex-Blazers who can be said to have "Got Away," was 6'10" Power Forward Josh McRoberts. McRoberts was drafted by Portland in the 2nd Round of the 2007 draft — the same draft which brought Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez to Portland. McRoberts came into the NBA a 20-year old kid with just two unremarkable years at Duke University under his belt, during which he averaged less than 11 points per contest.
It was clear that the raw and somewhat awkward McRoberts was Not Ready for Prime Time during the ensuing 2007-08 season, during which he rode pine — seeing action in just 28 minutes of garbage time spread out over 8 games. On draft day 2008, McRoberts was packaged with boundary-crossing Point Guard Jarrett Jack and a later draft pick in the deal which brought Ike Diogu and the Jerryd Bayless draft pick to Portland.
The same team which so kindly relieved the Blazers of having the trouble of finding playing time for Jermaine O'Neal showed similar patience with the young draft day toss-in. During the 2008-09 season, what would have been his college Senior year, McRoberts saw only limited action in 33 games for the Pacers. The next season, as a 22-year old, the man from Indianapolis found his way into 42 games, starting 3 of them, and averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in about 12.5 minutes of game action. This season? McRoberts has started 29 games for Indiana at Power Forward, averaging 6.3 points and 5.4 boards in just over 21 minutes. McRoberts has only seen action in 2 games in January 2011, however; I'm not sure if he's tweaked or has fallen out of the rotation.
In any event, Bigs being the scarce commodity that they are in the NBA and the Blazers' current situation being as dire as it is, it's a shame that McRoberts and his comparatively minuscule $885,000 contract are now an asset of some other team.
Drafted by the Blazers out of high school in 2003, the gangly Small Forward Travis Outlaw was a polarizing figure in Blazerdom. On the one hand, Outlaws was celebrated as a freakishly athletic player capable of leaping out of the gym to get his shot over anyone. He was also frequently rebuked for his lack of defensive acumen and for a propensity to dribble around before launching low probability jumpers rather than getting to the rack or passing the ball. Outlaw was shipped along with Steve Blake to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the deal which brought Marcus Camby to Portlandia in February 2010.
Outlaw became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2009-10 season and found a team to "pay him to the moon," in the New Jersey Nets — who delivered to the angular Southerner an astounding and altogether baffling $35 Million deal covering the next 5 years. Given the keys to the car as a starter, Outlaw has far underperformed not only his contract, but basic levels of NBA starting Wing competence, averaging 10.1 points per game in 31.6 average minutes, the product of shooting a paltry .371 from the field and .297 from distance. The natives are restless in Newark. One wag recently called him "Tragic Outlaw."
One of the most popular Blazers in recent memory on the Bedge due to his accessibility, Shav Randolph first came to the Blazers as a free agent in October 2008, where he served as the team's 15th man. The 6'10" Randolph got into just 10 games during his first Blazer stint, seeing only 37 minutes of garbage time action. Shav subsequently signed an unguaranteed free agent deal with the Miami Heat for 2009-10, but he was waived in December 2009. Randolph then did a second stint in a Blazer uniform, signing an unguaranteed contract, from which he was waived and later re-signed to a 10 day deal.
Shav hooked up with the Heat in April 2010 for the remainder of the 2009-10 season. He remained on the Heat roster during training camp this summer, but was waived by the team in October 2010 during the cut to the 15 man limit. He is currently out of the NBA.
No introduction is needed for Zach Randolph, formerly a linchpin of the Trail Blazers during the team's "Jail Blazer" period. Dumped off to the Knicks for pennies on the dollar for reasons of "team culture" and in order to clear playing time for a kid named LaMarcus Aldridge, Z-bo was later traded from the Knicks to the Clips and from there to the Memphis Grizzlies. As well all know, he was named to the 2010 NBA All Star team as a reserve Power Forward.
Now an expiring contract, "Statbo" continues to put up All Star caliber numbers, averaging 20.1 points and 13.1 rebounds per game for the Grizz this season. It is unclear as of this writing whether the Grizzlies will bring him back next season or will be forced to wave good bye to the unrestricted free agent for financial reasons.
Who the hell is Jeremy Richardson? Ya got me... I didn't have any recollection of the guy — and I thought I was paying pretty close attention.
Here's your answer: Jeremy Richardson is a 6'6" Wing who was signed to a 10-day contract by the Blazers in March 2007. He wound up seeing action in only 1 minute of 1 game, taking no shots, creating no assists, stealing no balls, and garnering no rebounds.
Richardson subsequently played briefly with the Grizzlies, Spurs, Hawks, and Magic. The MVP of the 2008 D-League All Star game, Richardson last played in the NBA in the 2008-09 season. In the summer of 2009, Richardson took his talents to Greece, joining Aris Thessaloniki, for whom he averaged 12.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. This season he is playing out a one-year contract with the Spanish team Power Electronics Valencia.
A brilliant ball handling, fancy passing court genius? A whining, shot-chucking, self-important turnover machine? Fast developing Point Guard of the Future? Thoroughly useless player blocking emergence of Point Guard of the Future? Vote now, please...
Sergio Rodriguez was one of the most polarizing players in recent Blazer history — people loved him or they hated him. I was a Bayless guy, myself, but honest people may differ on this topic, I realize.
The Spanish magician came to Portland in the 2006 NBA Draft that brought LaMarcus Aldridge to Portland along with some SG or another from the University of Washington. Blazer owner Paul Allen put $3 Million into the pocket of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for the Sergio pick, which was lauded by Blazermaniacs as a major Pritchslap™ — a missing piece in the quest for Portland to escape from ranks of NBA's laughingstocks...
Sergio was all about the assists. During his rookie season, Sr. R averaged an impressive 9.1 dimes for every 36 minutes he was on the floor — a figure which would never again be equalled in his NBA career. People who watched him work his tricks that year tended to fall in love. Despite his limited playing time, the kid was only 20 years old and seemingly was The Answer to a lingering great question for the team. Combined with fellow countryman Rudy Fernandez, Sergio was clearly brilliant, the long awaited salvation at the PG position. Others dissented, strongly critical of his, ummmm, somewhat challenged shooting ability and apparent sense of entitlement.
Long story short: the petulant Spaniard was flogged off for pennies on the dollar, including yet another Paul Allen check, to the Sacramento Kings so that the Blazers could move up in the draft a couple of slots to grab themselves a Eurostash, while the Kings ended up with the guy KP should have taken, Omri Casspi. Ugh.
Sergio saw action in just 39 games in 2009-10 as a Sacramento King before being shipped to the wide open offense of Mike Dantoni's New York Knicks. He started 8 games for the Knicks, shot damned near 50% from the field and lived happily ever after... Except, for Sergio, happily ever after meant a return to Spain.
This summer, Sergio Rodriguez signed a 3 year contract with Reál Madrid. You guessed it: Sergio is once again a reserve player, averaging 6.5 points and 2.9 assists in about 19.1 average minutes in Spanish League action, 7.2 and 3.6 in just over 22 average minutes in EuroBasket. I wonder if he's regarded as the Point Guard of the Future or an impediment to the emergence of the Point Guard of the Future for Reál Madrid...
Michael Ruffin came to Portland from the Sacramento Kings in a February 2009 trade for Ike Diogu. Clearly nearing the end of his NBA career, Ruffin saw action in garbage time of just 11 games, scoring a total of just 6 points in 35 minutes of action.
Michael Ruffin's NBA career came to an end with the 2008-09 season. In 2010 he became coach of the Colorado Kings of the American Basketball Association, but decided to resume his professional hooping in Spain, inking a deal with the Spanish second division club Obradoiro Clube de Amigos do Baloncesto of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Ruffin is currently averaging just 1.5 points per game as a reserve for Obradoiro CAB.
Luke Schenscher, a big 7'1" Aussie, saw action in 11 games for the Blazers in the 2006-07 season. Schenscher averaged 1.7 and just under 1 rebound per game in about 11 minutes of action per contest.
After the end of the 2006-07 season, Schenscher returned to Australia, where he hooked up with the Adelaide 36s of the National Basketball League. Schenscher is currently playing for the Townsville Crocodiles, for whom he is currently averaging 13 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in about 24 minutes of action.
I suppose he's most notable at this point for the following "sponsorship" ad of his page at Basketball-Reference.com:
Boo Schenscher!! sponsors this page.
Effective in one game out of every six. In the rest? Can't score, can't pass, can't rebound, can't defend (his man, the basket, or the pick-and-roll) and slows the team to a crawl. Boo! Booooooo!!! — Perth Wildcats fan, 2010
Former Portland State University Small Forward Ime Udoka made the 2006-07 Blazer roster out of training camp and wound up starting 75 games for the team. The free agent averaged 8.4 points and 3.7 rebounds, contributing solid defense and hitting over 40% of his shots from beyond the arc — a career high. In light of the team's logjam at the position, Udoka was not pursued in free agency and wound up signing as an unrestricted free agent with the San Antonio Spurs, for whom he played two years as a bench player. The 2009-10 season saw Udoka moving to the Sacramento Kings, where he started just 2 of the 69 games in which he played.
Udoka signed a free agent contract with the Spurs in November 2010. After having played limited minutes in 20 games, Udoka waived by the team on January 5 of this year. The 33 year old remains a free agent at this time.
Although his time in a Portland uni was short, "The Red Baron," Von Wafer, was a bit of a cult hero amongst bored Bedgers — a bench warming Shooting Guard, emphasis on the SHOOTING, not so much going on with the GUARD part. Actually, Wafer never met a shot that he didn't think he could make, and he tried them all. Passing to teammates? That was a violation of the Ninja Code or something...
Before coming to the NBA, Wafer attended the Ron Artest School of Hair Design, from which he received a Certificate of Universal Mastery. He told people he attended Florida State though and wound up being drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2005 NBA Draft by Your Los Angeles Lakers, who used him during garbage time of 16 games. Laker brass decided that The Baron's me-first-me-second offensive style wasn't particularly well suited to the team and he was waived at the end of the 2005-06 season.
The next season Wafer hooked up with the Clips on a 10 day contract. He only saw action in one minute of one game — just long enough to chuck up a 3-ball. He missed. Cut by the Clips, he signed on with the Denver Nuggets, playing in 21 games for Karl & Ko. before being flogged off on Kevin Pritchard for Taurean Green in an attempt by each to pull a fast one on a Divisional foe. The Red Baron saw action in 8 games as a Blazer, averaging 3 shots in 8 minutes, which is doubtlessly the metric best loved by Wafer himself. Wafer ended the season a .279 shooter, a marked improvement over the .158 he had shot as a rookie.
After leaving Portland, Wafer signed on as a free agent with the Houston Rockets for the 2008-09 season, for whom he astonishingly started 11 games, coming off the bench in 52 others. Against all odds, Wafer shot .447 from the field, averaging 9.7 PPG in just under 20 minutes per game. He was not afraid to shoot, in other words.
The money boat came in for Wafer in the summer of 2009, when he signed a 2 year, $10 Million deal with Olympiacos Piraeus of the Greek league. Wafer shot .364 from the field for Olympiacos, averaging 3.0 points per game. It took the team until December to realize that perhaps it had not made the best of investments, and Wafer was cut.
Returning to the NBA, the intrepid Red Baron signed a 10 day deal with the Dallas Mavericks to keep himself in cookies and beer. He was never used in any of the six games in which he was eligible.
For 2010-11, Wafer has found a team in the Boston Celtics, for whom he has played in 33 games, averaging 2.5 points a contest. He will be making nearly a million bucks this year, money which is now fully guaranteed.
Hmmm, where have I heard that name before?
All right, I'm not gonna say much about this abject catastrophe of front office failure. A Seattle kid, Marty Blazer was drafted out of high school by the Blazers, who sacrificed the Deron Williams pick to get him. Bonus prizes, as near as I can make out, were the Jarrett Jack pick, which was later flushed for the Bayless pick, and the Joel Freeland pick — which has netted nothing. By the transitive property of General Manager idiocy, this means the Blazers traded Deron Williams for next year's heavily protected 1st Round Hornets pick plus the rights to Joel Freeland, who may never play in the NBA.
Have a nice day.
I've sung Marty's praises and will do so again in the future. Never forget the idiocy of this salary dump... I'm happy he's found a home with the Wolves, for whom he is averaging 12.2 points and 3.5 boards in an average 25.5 minutes of game action. The stat guys hate Marty's career .409 shooting percentage, but I'd still be rolling dice on a 24-year old kid with his body and shooting stroke for at least another 3 years yet. You'll see, you'll see... Chalk one up to the Vulcan idiots.
Yeah, I know, the comment section below will be filled with remarks about how dumping Marty's salary made Wesley Matthews possible. It actually didn't, it was a straight money dump which had nothing to do with the midlevel exception.
So I will end this article as it started: RAWRRRRRRRRR!!!
1. I initially thought this was going to be a quick little piece about 10 or 12 former Blazer dudes. Ha! It turns out that there are TWENTY-SIX guys that have left the Blazers' tent (not counting Pendergraph) since the arrival of Franchise Player-Designate LaMarcus Aldridge less than 5 years ago. That mass of humanity is pretty mind-blowing, if you think about it.
2. We all know that the Blazers have been far too cavalier about the vaunted depth of their roster, which took several years to develop and approximately 12 months to blow to hell through salary dumps and stupid trades. Despite the turnover, it is difficult to fault more than The Usual Suspects — the ill-timed Bayless dump and the ill-advised Webster dump. Certainly, the Sergio dump was epically lame as well, ultimately netting the team a satchelful of nothing. \
3. The team has cut ties to a couple decent reserve PFs in the persons of Josh McRoberts and Ike Diogu. Alternatively, the Blazer brass probably would have been best advised to keep Juwan Howard around for one more hoe-down. Water under the bridge at this point, but it's still plenty annoying.
4. One would hope that the ongoing Point Guard fiasco is brought to a successful conclusion sometime this decade.
* * *
Bad teams make tense games
Lose to the worst and you are
Tonight, bullet dodged
Here's some more wackiness from the twisted tongue of goofy Uncle Mike...
Nic partially blocks Love at the rim...
MB: "He might have got a little wrist there, too..."
Rice: "Well, when you block a dunk you've gotta get a little wrist."
The camera catches a sign in the crowd: "MIKE RICE IS THE WOW FACTOR."
MB: "What's that, I don't even know what that is..."
Blazers' record is now 22-20, the Wolves are 10-32.
I've got more bullets in my bandolier than the Frito Bandito, baby...
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: The Adicts "Viva la Revolution" (music video, 1981) LYRICS
"Numbers" (audio only)
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Here's the LINKETY-LINK for a heaping helping of popcorn machine goodnes...
A. Even first half and then the Blazers ran away.
B. The Wolves made a little 9-2 run in the 4th Quarter. The reinsertion of Nic Batum seems to have coincided with that little flurry coming to an end.
C. The Portland starters seem to have pretty much clocked the Timberwolves' starters.
D. LMA 37 points, Wesley 23 points — say no more.
Finally, let's gather round for another install ment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?
The next issue of TBJ will appear here a s soon as it's available.
Here's the Monday episode of TBJ in case you missed it...
The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.
"Didn't You Used to be a Blazer?" Credits:
Storytellers Contracts website. www.storytellerscontracts.com/
Associated Press, "Former NBA Player Banned after Steroid Test." Via USA Today. Feb. 13, 2010.
Jim Eichenhofer, "Ike Diogu interview," Hornets.com Dec. 17, 2009.