A surprising amount of interesting stuff out there today. Let's get it.
In case you missed it at the end of last week, the Blazers.com podcast is back.
SB Nation debuted a new NBA homepage last week. Pretty sweet.
Kevin Pelton with a fascinating comparison of projections for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan, with a twist: what happens if Jordan doesn't play baseball? According to Pelton's projection system, neither LeBron nor Kobe will pass MJ's 1989 WARP of 27.8... although LeBron came darn close last year.
"It was the best fit and the best deal out there," Miller said. "Every player is looking for a little more security; that was the main thing. But also trying to find a decent fit. And the Blazers are a young team with a lot of talent and they had a good season last year. It was a plus all around."
Kevin Pritchard to Brian T. Smith on potential roster additions.
"Another big would be great. But I want two guys to make our team that are great people that put the team first, and that have a chance to help our team whether they play a minute or are starters."
Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World reports Greg Ostertag already has contingency plans in place on the off chance his NBA comeback doesn't pan out.
"If I don't make an NBA roster, I'll go back to what I was doing - hunting, golfing, fishing," added Ostertag, who isn't interested in playing in Europe or the NBA Developmental League.
If he doesn't make it back to the league, he'll continue to compete in one of his favorite sports: ice hockey.
Ostertag, believe it or not, competes year-round in a no-checking league in Scottsdale.
"I think I had five or six goals this summer," said Ostertag, who is a wing. "It's fun, good exercise and a way to get out of the house."
Perhaps this is Iverson's divinely chosen path. But if that is the case, he better realize why he is on it and embrace the position. Because even after his stay in Detroit melted down with his refusal to accept a role off the Pistons' bench, Iverson is being handed a shot at reinventing his game and his image. He has reached a career crossroads that offers a path that could keep him in the league for several more seasons, but only if he is willing to recognize one difficult fact.
Iverson is no longer the Man. At 34, he is now just a piece -- though still a potentially valuable one.
A Woj went nuclear regarding Michael Jordan's acceptance speech..
Worst of all, he flew his old high school teammate, Leroy Smith, to Springfield for the induction. Remember, Smith was the upperclassman his coach, Pop Herring, kept on varsity over him as a high school sophomore. He waggled to the old coach, "I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude."
Whatever, Michael. Everyone gets it. Truth be told, everyone got it years ago, but somehow he thinks this is a cleansing exercise. When basketball wanted to celebrate Jordan as the greatest player ever, wanted to honor him for changing basketball everywhere, he was petty and punitive.
Dwight Jaynes chimes in.
Man, that's so, well, classless. But what do you expect? For the latter part of his career, the man was pretty difficult to be around, by all accounts. And with so many people sucking up to him, he probably never knew what the real world was like. He's a huge failure in the NBA front office, so I guess his only choice for further attention is to make yet another comeback.
Please, Michael, come back. I'd love to see you stumbling around. You deserve it. And so many people around the NBA would LOVE to see you fail one last time.
Phil Taylor saw things a bit differently.
They didn't taunt, they didn't posture, they didn't beat their chests. They were the kind of players who let their performances speak for themselves, and you get the feeling they would be the same way today, in an era when such humility is increasingly rare. Can you imagine Stockton tweeting his every thought to the masses? Or Robinson chasing starlets and turning up on gossip Web sites? Or Jordan putting himself front and center in some cheesy reality show?
Gotta say I can relate to what Kelly Dwyer is saying here.
Number 23. The reason I'm here, essentially.
Literally, and figuratively. Who knows what I do, where I'm going, where I'm staying, what I'm thinking, what haircut I'm sporting, what shoes I'm wearing, what job I'm working at to earn the money to buy those shoes, if it isn't for Michael Jordan?
Seriously. This isn't to say he's some all-knowing presence in my life, I'm down to having to really consider him to about once a week. But you want to talk about butterflies, flapping their wings? He's the biggest butterfly there is, with me.
Other people may have guided me to be stronger, smarter, happier; their influence was more direct and way more profound and important. Let's not get out of hand. But Jordan's influence led me down a path that leaves me where I am right now. Trying to get it right.
In 15 years, which one of you will pen an article -- like this one from Johnny Ludden about David Robinson -- about Brandon Roy's arrival in Portland?
As a young NBA fan in San Antonio, already scarred by the trade of George Gervin, these were the darkest of days. The Spurs were coming off a 28-win season that, at the time, qualified as the franchise's worst. Walter Berry would soon run down a Red Lion hallway chasing Alvin Robertson with a butter knife. I didn't need another two years of David Greenwood. I needed a savior.
So I wrote my state rep, and suggested he petition the Navy to commute Mr. Robinson's service commitment. Anyone who had watched those dreadful Spurs teams would understand this was clearly a matter of civic duty.
David Robinson, former Spurs owner Angelo Drossos announced at the time, "is more important to San Antonio than the Pope."
A great photo collage from JE Skeets of the only Utah Jazz player I've ever enjoyed watching, John Stockton.
The sun will come out tomorrow? Sergio Rodriguez is receiving the least votes over at Sac Town Royalty for the poll question, "Who will be the team's whipping boy?"
Ric Bucher makes a compelling case for opening up the Hall of Fame voting.
Name a major NBA award and in most cases you not only know who is voting but what the ballot count was. In some cases you even hear directly from the voters why they voted as they did.
The exception is the most prestigious award of them all: selection to the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Which is a shame because it's one reason why the greatest -- and rarest -- honor a coach or player could ever hope to receive barely moves the public interest needle and the entire operation nearly went under several years ago.
I have a much higher rate of basketball conversations with strangers outside of Blazer territory. I noticed this phenomenon before I moved here, but it has been especially true in the Twin Cities. When it comes to the Basketball Universe, Blazer fans are en vogue. The result is that I'm actually talking to humans about basketball way more than back in hoops-head hotbed Portland. Even better, they usually just want to talk about how great the Blazers are.
Christopher Reina writing for RealGM.com has the Blazers in third place when it comes to 5 year championship windows.
Even though Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge have exceeded draft expectations and Kevin Pritchard has developed one of the deepest rosters of the current era, Portland's title hopes almost exclusively begin and end with Greg Oden's development. Simply, if he develops into 80% of what we thought of him in June 2007, I don't see how the Blazers won't win at least one or two titles; if he doesn't, I don't see how they can win any.
Unless LeBron leaves Cleveland for a situation where titles are practically gift-wrapped, the Blazers are the extremely early favorites in seasons '12-'16.
Drop anything I missed in the comments. And be sure to frequent the fanshots.
-- Ben (email@example.com)