Merry Christmas to all who want to be wished a Merry Christmas! I trust those who don't will take that as more generic good wishes for their health and prosperity. I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you...awww forget it. Merry Christmas, OK?
We're going to use this holiday opportunity to catch up on some mailbaggery involving unusual or interesting questions as opposed to the usual ones about the Blazers. Some of theme are league-themed. Some of them are personal. Some are just off the wall. So enjoy this very special episode of the Blazer's Edge mailbag.
What do you think of Kenneth Faried saying the Blazers "disrespected" him by saying they'd take him and then passing him over [in the 2011 draft]?
You know who got disrespected? Karl Malone, left standing by 12 teams in the 1985 NBA Draft in favor of such luminaries as Benoit Benjamin, John Koncak, and Joe Kleine. He ended up playing 55,000 minutes and scoring 37,000 points in his career. Or Clyde Drexler, denied 13 times in 1983 while Steve Stipanovich, Sindey Green, Russell Cross, and Ennis Whatley went ahead of him. He played 37,000 minutes and scored 22,000 points.
Dropping from the 21st spot in the draft all the way to the 22nd? Not disrespect.
"But I got promised!" Not disrespect. It's the draft, not senior prom.
Any number of things could have happened between the time the Blazers talked to Faried and the time that draft pick was called in. He got scooped up immediately and he's doing well enough. I guess if you need the extra motivation, fine, but that's something that should loop internally.
You know what's disrespectful? Thinking that a 20-ish pick person can be disrespected based on draft position. This wasn't exactly the first pick, you know? If you don't claw your way into the lottery there's not that much respect to be dissed. Call again when you've scored between 22,000 and 37,000 points.
That said, the Blazers should have taken him.
Let's say the Kings want to dump DeMarcus Cousins after suspending him. Your thoughts in general and how he would fit with the Blazers?
My general thought is that I'm sad this is happening to the Kings, whose fan base certainly does not deserve what they've been getting. Not only do they have the off-court worries with the Maloofs, they've had one ultra-promising prospect brought low by injuries (Tyreke Evans) and now another on his way to ignominy because of attitude issues. Blazers fans know what those two experiences feel like. It's interesting, but not fun, to see the best hopes of a franchise disintegrate before your eyes.
As far as fit with the Blazers, well...he's a center, he's young, and he's talented. The Blazers need those things like french fries need salt. Plus he's cheap, cheap, cheap...no cap hit at all. Scratch the surface, however, and you see plenty of potential conflicts with the Stotts system. Cousins can't hit a jumper (even though he shoots them) and tends to hog the ball. Both of those are anathema to Portland's style of play. He's a good rebounder but he's not the kind of defensive force who's going to change this team...a definite must for a long-term center in Portland.
Note that all of those shortcomings are independent of his attitude, which apparently is not good? In general you don't want to be the second team to pick up a bad-attitude player. Things don't change that quickly. You have to get the guy when he's been through 3-4 teams and has a little age on him, when he's realizing he could lose the life he's living if he doesn't straighten up, when he realizes that winning is the only reason people end up remembering you in this league. If any team has the infrastructure to absorb (and perhaps re-define) Cousins the Blazers do. But Cousins has to want to be re-defined, which won't happen yet.
Should the Blazers take him? If they believe at all in their current system and chances of growth, then no. If they privately suspect that all the mid-lottery draft picks in the world won't take this team past the first round then this is the kind of risk you have to take despite the mismatch and long odds. The talent level is just too high to not consider it, especially if they can bid low.
My guess is no, though, despite the talent.
As I recall you haven't been that impressed with the Knicks and still weren't even with the great run at the beginning of the season. What about now? Do you believe in the Knicks yet?
A New York Fan
When will you guys stop? Look, I'm an intellectual. I support rationality and open-mindedness. This concept of "Knicks" may comfort you but it doesn't do much for me. I'm perfectly happy the way I am. I don't need your made-up fairy tales to help me interpret my life. Walt Frazier once walked the earth dropping basketball knowledge on everyone? Puh-leeze. Tell me this: if Carmelo exists and he's all that good, how come bad things still happen to people?
Look, I'm not trying to brush you off. The Knicks have their place. I believe you can learn something from every team...Celtics, Bobcats, Hawks. Aren't they all the same when you get right down to it?
And hey, I do understand where you're coming from. Sometimes I go off alone and shoot at a hoop. It does help me think clearer sometimes. But that's between me and the rim. I just don't believe in organized basketball.
Thank you for leaving your tract in my inbox, but no, I don't believe in the Knicks and don't plan to anytime soon. Sorry.
I was re-reading one of your live chats and Timmay asked a question that you didn't answer completely. Like him I'm in awe of the amount of work you guys put into Blazersedge. How long have you been doing this? How do you keep up posting before and after every game and most days in between. Don't you ever burn out?
I suppose everybody does at one time or another. It's easier now because I have Ben and Tim to rely on. If I burn out for a week you probably wouldn't catch much. That's what makes the site great.
I've been blogging since 2005, at Blazer's Edge since 2006. That makes six, going on seven, years. That's a bunch of games. I have various motivations, I suppose. I've been a Blazer fan forever and I don't foresee that changing. If I weren't talking here I'd be talking to someone. I'm pretty proud of the site and what we've accomplished, so professional pride comes into play. I don't like putting out anything but the best possible product, which keeps me on my toes.
But honestly, the main motivation is the same now as it was when I started. I love being part of a real, live conversation about something we all love. What really keeps me excited is you guys. I love reading comments, learning new things, hearing different points of view. Everybody wants to think they do something good in life. Part of my good comes from knowing that people enjoy this place. That's something people don't understand. People want to view the site in terms of rules or opinions, define the place in that kind of shorthand way. Those things are secondary. Every time somebody makes a comment and somebody else enjoys reading it and responds, my basic mission here is affirmed if not fulfilled. Every time somebody tries to turn the site to their own purposes, makes it all about them and drives people away, it's all broken for me.
The other day in one of the threads somebody made a comment about M.O.V. and a couple other things. Another reader replied by asking what M.O.V. is. The original guy responded back, sharing that it means "Margin of Victory" and shared his opinion of its significance. Something simple like that brings out all the beauty of the site and its community. How could you not want to write in an environment like that? That's what keeps me going.
That said, it's a ton of work and you give up things. I can't remember the last time I got to sit down and just read a book for fun, at least not before 2:30 a.m. Leisure time is more stolen than enjoyed. My kid often asks me to play with him. I often have to say, "No, the Blazers are on." Not having the option to drop something and do whatever you want does make it work. Plus the beast is never fed. Just finished a brilliant magnum opus, the Grand Unified Theory of Blazers basketball, championships, life, and Voodoo Doughnuts, combining all into a glorious and heretofore-unrevealed whole? Great. So what are you posting tomorrow? (sigh)
Is writing about the Blazers one of the better things to be doing in life? Yes, it is. But it comes with a cost. Someday the Blazers will win a title and justify all that cost, right? (If not, don't tell me. I don't want to know.)
What's the best piece of blogging advice you've ever given?
I was working with a guy from our network once, kind of helping out. He said that he had two habits, neither one of which I would like. The first one was that after he finished a piece he'd sign in under an alt-account, leave a positive comment under the post, give a recommend and such. He believed that having the first comment be positive set the tone for the rest of the thread. He was also lousy at proofreading. No matter how hard he tried he never seemed to catch errors until after the fact. Eventually he just gave up and didn't re-read his work until after he posted, editing on the fly...his second bad habit.
These practices had become like superstition to him. He didn't want any directives to break or alter either. But both were time-sensitive. If he proofread first he might not get his comment in before somebody else did. But if he made the comment first then his mistakes were hanging out there for everybody to read. Given the choice between two evils, he wanted to know which he should do first.
I told him it was simple. Leaving a positive comment takes about 30 seconds. Proofreading takes multiple minutes. So after every post he should dash in, write his self-flattering comment, and then go and proofread.
In other words, rec yourself before you check yourself.
Merry Christmas, everyone!