Archives For Portland Trailblazers

Loveback

Good to have you back, sir.

I’m still trying to parse my thoughts on his surprise return and what it means for the team. I think we’re in for some awkwardness over this road stretch. The Wolves will basically have one practice in between about four games. There isn’t a ton of opportunity to get Love and his teammates back on the same page and they’ll all have to re-learn what’s going on in the system. You know, assuming they can run their system. The Wolves are going to be a pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop heavy team until they’re closer to full strength. Love can thrive in this environment but how does everybody else manage to do it?

Kirilenko looked stagnant in the second half of the Nuggets game and the Wolves just can’t have that. He’s a smart player and he’ll quickly learn how work off of Love. But it’s probably more important he figures out how to have a two-man game with Nikola Pekovic while Love is drawing so much attention on the strong side of the ball. A quick reversel to Kirilenko in the high post should allow him enough space to get a quick pass to Pek when he has position.

Until Rubio comes back, we’re going to see a lot of forced offense by everybody on the floor. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it just means the games will be a bit harder on offense. The nice thing is the Wolves have enough talent this season to make it work, as long as the defensive effort keeps up.  Continue Reading…

35 minutes per game, huh?

Brandon Roy mentioned his goal was to become a 35-minute per game player and Twitter seemingly exploded with incredulity. Personally, I didn’t get what the reaction was because it seemed like he was pretty clear in how he shaded the situation:

“I think, even before I had any knee problems in the NBA, me and coach would always sit down and talk about minutes. It’s a long season and you want guys to be fresher down the stretch. I’m sure it’s something that me and coach will talk about. My goal is, yeah, I would still love to be around that 35 minute mark. Really, whatever the team needs. I don’t want those situations where coach has to say, ‘We’re in a tough game but you’re at your minute limit.’ That was something I had to deal with in my last season in Portland. That was really hard. Physically I feel good. I want to play as much as possible but at the same time be smart because it’s a long season and we want to be at our best down the stretch.”

Sometimes people hear numbers given as goals and latch onto those numbers. We’ve become less about comprehending the context of what someone says and would much rather misquote them. Maybe it all stemmed from Charles Barkley being misquoted in his autobiography, maybe it’s the product of an ever deteriorating education system in this country, or maybe people were always like this and it’s just more prevalent now because we have much more communication on a global scale. Whatever the reasoning is, we often freak out over things out of context.  Continue Reading…

Regardless of whether or not Nicolas Batum ends up on the Wolves or stays in Portland, he’s going to get paid $45 million over four years (with the possibility of bonuses). Let’s just pretend the contract is going to be four years and $50 million because of the bonuses. That puts Batum’s annual salary at an average of $12.5 million per year.

Is Nicolas Batum worth $12.5 million per season?  Continue Reading…

Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweeted that Brandon Roy has come to a decision regarding his comeback.

It has since been confirmed by a lot of reporters and the figures are out. Brandon Roy is signing with the Timberwolves for two years and $10.4 million. It sounds like a lot for a player who recently retired due to his knees being unfit for court time, and possibly it is. Personally, I don’t think you can have bad contracts if they’re two years or shorter. Two year deals are a risk worth taking because the reward for a player like Roy regaining even 75% of his form for half of the time he was used to playing per game is immense.  Continue Reading…

Do you remember the Wolves-Lakers game in March from last season?

The Wolves didn’t know it yet, but they were in the early stages of a 15-game losing streak to end the season and clinch the worst record in the NBA. What stood out that game was Wes Johnson went off against Kobe Bryant. He scored early and he scored often, totaling 29 points on 11/21 shooting. Kobe had an off night, partly due to Wes’ defense on him, scoring just 18 points on 7/16 shooting. It was a beacon of hope at the end of a tumultuous season.

Then this season happened and Wes has been so bad shooting the basketball that people (myself included) wonder why he’s even out there. His confidence has seemed shot and he wasn’t attacking the basket like he promised before the season started.  Continue Reading…

It’s funny how the schedule works out sometimes. Kevin Love has been engaged in a heated battle with LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin for the past month over an All-Star spot. Now that he’s been named to the team, he has to face them both before Sunday’s festivities. How’s that for congratulations?

Well, let’s ask LaMarcus…

“First of all, I have nothing against Kevin Love, he is a really good player. But I thought All-Star was about making your team better, making your record better. But now I know: It’s about stats, not record.”

How’s that for passive aggressiveness? It’s disappointing that his ire wasn’t directed towards Tim Duncan, an actual undeserved candidate, but then again, his bewilderment with Kevin’s selection was equally understandable on this night. Not only did the Love and the Wolves starters go scoreless for the first eight minutes of the contest, LaMarcus nearly outscored our entire team in a first quarter where we could only muster 14 points to his 11.

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It's a shame about knees. Photo by Paul Cole

If you never watched any NBA basketball games besides those played by the Minnesota Timberwolves, this is what you would think: LaMarcus Aldridge is the tallest man in the world;  LaMarcus Aldridge is more like a physical force than a human–like gravity, like radiation; LaMarcus Aldridge is a genius at basketball. (You might also wonder if there was some kind of new rule prohibiting you from guarding three-point shooters. But we’ll get to that.)

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