Those of you already familiar with quantum mechanics and superstring theory will already be familiar with the idea that there are a great number of alternate universes out there. For every quantum event, there are two alternate paths that split the universe into two potential—more science babble here—and you realize that there is another universe for every potential outcome.
For those reading who number among Gen-Y and are already glazed over and half asleep while you listen to your iMusic and conduct four separate chat conversations while skyping with your mom, you have yourself to serve as a metaphor. This is kind of like several different realities simultaneously existing in your brainpan.
All this to say, I have been to an alternative universe where the lockout did not happen and I have made a summary of the Blazers Edge events from there to bring back here and give everyone a taste of what they’re missing.
- Nicolas Batum is tearing up camp. He’s dunking over everyone and shoots lights-out in practice. We hear this from players because while Jason Quick has access to the building (and to the locker room), during practice they have him consigned him to the Quick Box, which is a safe room with no external views whatsoever and soundproofed to boot. (This was constructed by Paul Allen as part of an entire bunker designed in the Rose Garden to withstand the Apocalypse for himself, Kolde, and a cadre of close friends.) Quick had broken another story by snaking a mirror on a large metal pole through the ceiling duct to take a peek at a half-erasesd white-board where McMillan had been suggesting a lineup that featured Brandon Roy as point guard.
- That Jason Quick story, which broke on day 2 of training camp (after a glowing report of McMillan taking his veterans—including Felton, whose menu selection was under furious speculation by the blogosphere—out to his annual dinner and them all agreeing that championships and selflessness were good), instantly bifurcated the Blazers Edge into camps of Roy at PG and Felton at PG (flavored, of course, by the young-earth style deniers who believe that the Chris Paul trade is just around the corner and one starry-eyed hopeful named Phizbin who still thought Rodriguez was the answer). Each media session is now filled with questions about which guard brought the ball up the court, assists during practice sessions, and so forth. McMillan will only say that each of them are “doing some things.”
- Ben Golliver gets in a grocery store shouting match with Bert Kolde—it turns out that they both unwittingly share a passion for Trader Joe’s crab dip and surprised each other at a 9:00pm buying spree. This was reported by Canzano, who still lingers in strip clubs hoping to glimpse Zach Randolph and Darius Miles and was buying some designer coffee to stay awake in the corner and witnessed the whole event. This is blessedly minor news in a world where the lockout didn’t happen but it did result in some retrospective posts about KP and Zach Randolph.
- Batum doesn’t help matters by suggesting he could play point guard… but no one really takes him seriously. Even with the French accent.
- Lamarcus Aldridge is almost invisible in the media. This is because he does everything with 95% perfection, makes all of shots with seeming ease, and doesn’t make a production out of grabbing rebounds. The fans don’t mention him; ESPN doesn’t mention him; Blazers Edge seldom mentions him; and LMA is presumably happy with that. He barely makes the all-star ballot.
- In the first pre-season game, Luke Babbit becomes incensed at an unflattering comparison to Josh McRoberts and hits 8-9 three-pointers (he got fouled on the 9th but it didn’t get called because the refs hate the Blazers), capping it off with a whirling dervish dunk over Jarret Jack. Blazer Nation is in love. Calls for him to start abound. Gerald Wallace—who is out for a few days with another concussion after colliding with Felton (which did nothing but inflame the jokes about his (ballooning) weight) is not inspired to comment to the media. Canzano releases an opinion that they ought to pair up Babbit and Adam Morrison, that is if the Blazers brass had even a tiny fraction of the basketball acumen that he possesses. He is in high heaven between his reporting of the grocery store meltdown and Babbit/Morrison combo—coupled that with the unemployment rate in the Rose Garden district, he is anticipating another prize.
- Greg Oden, I’m sorry to report, is not ready for basketball related activities. I know I should lie and pretend that he is. On the good side, he has avoided keeping the image of anything but his face out of the media.
- The Blazers have not located a GM; no one seems to care very much.
- Eliot Williams has been doing great in practice, to the point where he is creating calls for Brandon Roy style minutes. He and Nolan Smith have become fast friends, creating an unholy mess of a guard situation the likes of which haven’t been seen since Sergio looked like an NBA player. McMillan plans to start Felton and Roy but substitute Williams after 3 minutes of play. Nolan Smith will enter in the second quarter for Felton. After 2 minutes in the second quarter, Batum is subbed out for Roy again, creating the necessity for Williams to drop to the Portland 3-point baseline coffin corner. His shooting percentage is a dismal 14% from 3. To give Camby some rest at the midpoint of the 2nd quarter, LMA will drop to the 5 and Felton will return. Williams plays the 4, Nolan the 3 (his turn to heave threes), Roy the 2, and Felton the 1. Some malcontents suggest defensive struggles with this lineup but they are drowned out by the Faithful. Fourth quarter minutes are unclear and unpredictable—McMillan is going with the hot hand but doesn’t seem to have an appreciation for the statistical volatility in random events with short sample sizes and his hot hand goes no further back than 2 shots. Blazers Edge, each and every day, features a Free Nolan/EWill post, quickly followed by a Veteran Savvy post, peppered with some sabermetrics on the trajectories of pre-season games and rookies. Traffic has never been higher.
- Someone writes an article claiming that an increase in Oregon’s math scores on the SAT is attributable to Ben Golliver, Kevin Pritchard, and Kevin Pelton with their sabermetric analyses. A coda suggests LSAT scores are up because of Storyteller.
- The Blazers enter the season with a pre-season record of .500. Oden is expected to play in 6 weeks. The starting lineup is somewhat in question because we don’t know who is going to start at guard and have been told the starting lineup doesn’t matter anyway. Charles Barkley excoriates the Blazers on this point, then eats a doughnut to emphasize the point. Blazers Edge is thrilled beyond measure that the season is about to start—never having been more excited at the prospect of four awesome guards all playing at the same time (with Chris Paul soon to join!) and Dave promises a t-shirt to the 2,500th post on opening night during the game.