… chose the Blazers over the Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat and will be signed through the remainder of the season. He played with the Blazers from 2004-11 before he was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats midway through last season. He played only five games for the Bobcats before re-injuring his right knee.
the addition of a highly serviceable 7-1, 260 center with outstanding character – in particular mental, emotional and physical “toughness” – to the pieces the Blazers already have on their roster:
these three individual items, in conjunction with one another, should be seen as initial indicators that all may not be doom and gloom, afterall, in Rip City this season.
Depending on the other specific personnel decisions which Chad Buchanan is eventually going to make, prior to Christmas Day, the Blazers should still be expected to field an upper echelon team in the Western Conference this year.
“I think I can fit in with Portland, “Landry told SLAMonline. “They’re in need of a big post presence down low. I’m not taking anything away from (Greg) Oden and (Marcus) Camby. I just know what I can provide. The Blazers are a good team and I know I can help.”
He’s not wrong. He could help. Landry could help just about any team in a pinch with his touch in the paint. The issue here is the presence of LMA, who came through with an All-Star season last year (even if he didn’t make the team), finishing with averages of nearly 22 points and nine rebounds on the league’s slowest-paced team (slowed pace limits your chances to pile up big stats). Aldridge is only 25, and while he isn’t a low-post demon, he is an obvious starting power forward lock that shouldn’t be dismissed.
Much less forgotten. By someone who has had to guard him dozens of times in his NBA career.
“I really like Portland,” said Landry. “I’m good friends with Greg Oden, and Wes Matthews is from Wisconsin like me. There are a lot of ties there and I have no doubt that I would blend in fine.”
Again, he’s not wrong. It’s A-OK to really like Portland, especially if you ride a bike and want to know where your dinner was raised. And Landry would blend in fine, as he would with most teams, as a top-notch sixth man, ready to drop 12 points in a second quarter.
But unless SLAM left some musings about Aldridge out, this seems like a curious oversight. And with the lockout leaving most of us filled with alternating bouts of ennui and anger, could this be the NBA’s newest passive/aggressive feud? Because, with nothing else going on, we’re ready for it.
LMA? Your turn.
It’s your turn, LMA?
KD … Evidence?
This is what you meant to say, in this instance?
How incredulous is it that several other observers – btw, who are not paid a full-time salary by Yahoo! to cover the goings-on in the NBA on a regular basis – in the comments section actually have the ability [insight?] to see CLEARLY what Carl Landry is actually talking about … i.e. the possibility of Landry joining the Trail Blazers, either:
#1. As a back-up PF, in arrears of current starter LaMarcus Aldridge/PF [i.e. with a combination of: A) Marcus Camby and Greg Oden patrolling the C position, plus B) Nicolas Batum and Gerald Wallace at the SF position]; or
#2. As a Starting PF, beside current starter LaMarcus Aldridge/C [i.e. with Camby at the back-up PF spot, Oden as the back-up C, plus Batum and Wallace at the SF position];
when the League’s free agency signing period occurs next …
and, seemingly, Kelly Dwyer does not?
Sometimes it is vitally important that certain people in this world just give their own head a darn good shake … perhaps, to dislodge the cobwebs.
This is one of THOSE times for the usually terrific editor of Ball Don’t Lie.
It may be YOUR turn, Mr. Dwyer … and, the person owed an abject apology is none other than Mr. Carl Landry, who happens to be a prototypical role player for a high-end team in the NBA.
PS. If the Blazers organization is in fact smart enough to execute this specific signing, whenever the lockout happens to end, then, Portland would create one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the entire league:
PG – Raymond Felton
OG – Wes Matthews
SF – Nicolas Batum
PF – Carl Landry
C – LaMarcus Aldridge
PG – Patrick Mills [or Armon Johnson, Elliot Williams, and Nolan Smith]
OG – Brandon Roy
SF – Gerald Wallace
PF – Marcus Camby
C – Greg Oden
PG – Noland Smith [i.e. Selection No. 21, 2011 NBA Draft]
PG – Armon Johnson [i.e. Selection No. 34, 2010 NBA Draft]
PG/OG – Elliot Williams [i.e. Selection No. 22, 2010 NBA Draft]]
OG – John Diebler [i.e. Selection No. 51, 2011 NBA Draft]
F – Luke Babbitt [i.e. Selection No. 16, 2010 NBA Draft]
F – Tanguy Ngombo [i.e. Selection No. 57, 2011 NBA Draft]
C – Earl Barron
While it might be true that Darko Milicic is properly described as being a great many different things … including, possibly, the biggest bust in the last 10 years of the NBA Draft … it should also be duly noted that he is clearly not one of these, as well:
Though the Wolves have won only one game since the 7-foot Serbian arrived in mid-February, Rambis said he has seen flashes of a player so promising seven years ago, when he was drafted ahead of [Chris] Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
“And I think he can be a lot better,” Rambis said. “As he gets in better shape and gets more comfortable and more confident, you’ll see him stretch his game.”
In fact, he’s already done that offensively. Milicic scored a season-high 16 points against the Lakers last Friday, and appeared to be more confident about taking good shots.
“The guys are learning how to use him,” Rambis said. “I’ve told him, whenever he’s comfortable, I’m OK with him shooting inside, outside, [from the] elbow, long distance. But he has to have the confidence to do that.”
For Milicic, who is still only 24 years old despite being a seven-year NBA veteran, it’s a matter of playing the way he was taught back in Serbia.
“I’m just trying to relax. I got used to playing this American way of running crazy, playing too fast. I’ve got to slow it down,” Milicic said. “When I came [to the U.S.], I stopped playing basketball the way I know how to play. Playing too fast, running like chickens without heads.”
If he can successfully return to the roots of his “multi-headed” individual game … by learning how to slow down and play within the confines of the Triangle Offense, let’s say, with Ricky Rubio/PG, at the helm, beside Al Jefferson/PF, Kevin Love/PF, Corey Brewer/OG-SF and the T-wolves upcoming 2010 Lottery Selection …
Is there really any good reason to believe that Darko Milicic, at the still relatively tender age of 24,
is somehow incapable of putting up “15 and 8″, on a game-to-game basis …
against the other “25 and under” starting calibre Centers, in the NBA today
in spite of also having to cope with the fact that their head coach, Nate McMillan, is still in ”recovery mode”, himself, from a torn achilles tendon injury, sustained when he stepped into practice earlier this season because the Blazers did not otherwise have enough “healthy” players on their roster to be able to conduct a full scale session.
If Portland can sustain their current level of performance … especially their present Points Allowed Ranking and Rebounding Differential Ranking … now that some of their walking wounded are finally beginning to return to good health, and make the Western Conference playoffs, then, there should be NO DOUBT, whatsoever, which coach should eventually receive this year’s Coach Of The Year Award, in the NBA.
Prior to the start of NBA training camps this fall, if someone had told you that the Portland Trail Blazers would suffer the following list of injuries to key personnel:
Nicloas Batum, SF – Out for seaon, shoulder surgery
Travis Outlaw, PF – Out for season, foot surgery
Rudy Fernandez – Out indefinitely, back surgery
Greg Oden, C - Out for season, knee surgery
Nate McMillan, HC – Out indefinitely, achilles surgery
Joel Przybilla, C - Out for season, knee surgery
all before December 24, 2009 … and, yet,
their Won-Loss Record would still be 18-12/.600 [2nd, Northwest Division; 6th [tied], Western Conference],
it will simply be astounding, if the Blazers are able to compete effectively in their match-up this evening with the San Antonio Spurs, and then for the remainder of this season.
Whatever “deal with the devil” Paul Allen [owner] and Kevin Pritchard [GM] may have made, in regard to the ridiculous level of NBA talent which Portland has been able to assemble on its roster over the last few seasons, surely, cannot possibly be worth the degree of adversity their franchise is having to endure this season … could it?
If the Blazers can somehow make it through this season without falling aparat, completely … it says here that the old adage which goes like this:
“That which doesn’t kill you only serves to make you stronger.” - Anonymous
will never have been more accurate/true for any other franchise in the storied history of the NBA.
There’s a world-class champion incubating in the Pacific Northwest … if it can just manage to successfully navigate these incredibly turbulent waters this season.
In response to a most interesting article by David Berri …
The Impact of Losing Greg Oden The primary purpose of this post was to highlight how good Oden had played this season (to see how good, please read the post). Certainly it’s possible that the Blazers could overcome this loss. But it seems fairly likely that Portland’s season is not going to go quite as well as I thought earlier this year.
1. The Blazers were NEVER going to be the best team in the West this season.
2. The Blazers’ overall development arc, as “one of the best teams in the West”, will involve a wider sweep than just 2 or 3 seasons.
3. The problems with this year’s Blazers [at least, so far] this season were not rooted in the play of Greg Oden but in the following list of developments from the last 6 months:
i. Unnecessarily soliciting the services of Hedo Turkoglu [SF/Orlando who eventually signed with Toronto as an UFA], which upset/disrupted the flow they had been developing with Travis Outlaw [PF-SF] and Rudy Fernandez [SF-OG-PG];
ii. Unnecessarily signing a superfluous, ball-dominating PG, like Andre Miller [as an UFA/Philadelphia];
iii. The protracted contract extension negotiations with Brandon Roy [OG-PG-SF] and LaMarcus Aldridge [PF-C]; and,
iv. Re-integrating Martell Webster [OG-SF], a top 8 player, returning from an injury-lost season, into their everyday rotation.
v. The injury sufferred by Nicolas Batum [SF-OG], a long and athletic player who can Defend and Rebound at his specific positions;
vi. The injury sufferred by Travis Outlaw [PF-SF], an under-sized but very versatile and effective player who can: A. take/make big [jump] shots [catch & shoots, plus pull-ups] in the 4th quarter; B. Defend, at the #3/SF or #4/PF with good length and athleticism; and, C. Rebound, at the #/SF or #4/PF position with good length and athleticism.
vii. The long term effects of the “health scare” which their owner, Paul Allen, had last season, that artificially “pushed forward” the team’s perceived “development arc” this past summer in a way which their team was unprepared to cope with at this time … i.e. trying to “win now [!]” instead of gradually continuing their “incremental build-up” over an extended number of years [5-7?].
If Kevin Pritchard truly understands what’s been happening with his squad this season, from a team-building standpoint, then, what he’ll do now is:
I. Not try to “replace” Oden from outside his current group of players;
II. Continue to repair their internal relationships with Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez;
III. Move Andre Miller for another better-fitting asset, asap;
IV. Allow his group of Core Players to continue to grow together organically … while integrating this off-season’s main additions from the 2009 NBA Draft, i.e. Dante Cunningham [PF-SF], Patrick Mills [PG] and Jeff Pendergraph [PF].
If Kevin Pritchard does things things and then simply waits on the eventual return of Greg Oden … what he’ll have on his hands, 2 seasons from now, is a fully grown team that is ready, willing and able to challenge the Lakers, as the No. 1 outfit in the West, just as Kobe Bryant’s “development arc” is finally beginning to flow downwards its end-point.
On the other hand …
If Kevin Pritchard does not understand these things about the state of his own team, then, what he’ll do instead is “continue to try and rush” the Blazers through this key stage of their “upward arc” … which involves “learning how to lose before learning how to win”, just like Jordan’ Bulls and Zeke’s Pistons and Hakeem’s Rockets and Robinson’s [and Duncan’s] Spurs and Shaq/Kobe’s Lakers each went through before emerging as multiple-time league champions … then what he’ll do is make the WRONG MOVE at the WRONG TIME and end up blowing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which has come his way in Portland, i.e. to construct one of the NBA’s all-time great franchises with the likes of [youngsters] Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless, Dante Cunningham, Patrick Mills, Jeff Prendergraph and [a healthy] GREG ODEN, plus [oldsters] Joel Przybilla [C], Steve Blake [PG] and Juwan Howard [PF].
The ball is in Kevin Pritchard’s court.
For the Blazers’ sake, it’s important that he doesn’t drop it.
PS. FWIW … Please know that ”curses” do not exist in pro sports. Poor decision-making skills – e.g. bringing injured players back too soon, acquiring ill-fitting players, trying to speed up the development process, etc. - on the other hand, can be found in abundance.
“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”
- Lao Tzu
Portland 122, Chicago 98: Everything falls into place for Blazers For a night, at least, order was restored within the Trail Blazers. Brandon Roy was back at shooting guard and controlling the pace and precision of the offense. Andre Miller, steadfastly saying he is accepting the reins of the second unit, played perhaps as hard and determined as he has all season. And the inside combination of Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge was dominant like never before.
The Blazers didn’t just beat Chicago on Monday, they overpowered them — dunking over, cutting through and stepping all over the Bulls during a 122-98 victory in front of 20,383 at the Rose Garden, its 79th consecutive sellout.
“A number of things are just starting to come together,” said Roy, who had 18 points and seven assists despite sitting the final eight minutes. “I think guys are back in their natural positions and we sensed that we have to get this going, too.”
Oden tied his career high with 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds, and Aldridge recorded his fifth double double of the season, finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds. While the Blazers’ big men helped create a 50-32 advantage in points in the paint, the perimeter duo of Roy and Miller (16 points, five assists) not only flourished in separate units, they also thrived when they played together.
Building a championship calibre organization in the NBA is about making small steps forward each and every day … not swinging for the fences.
On Tuesday, Oden was the difference for the Blazers as they jumpstarted a five-game trip with a 93-79 rout of Memphis that ran the Blazers winning streak to three.
After playing only four minutes in the first half after two quick fouls, Oden was powerful on offense and intimidating on defense, helping the Blazers break away from a 45-45 halftime tie. Oden had 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks in the second half, and keyed the Blazers’ decisive 14-1 run in the third quarter.
“I was 0-fer in the first half,” Oden said, referring to his statistical line. “I wanted to get something going. And by running and giving energy, I thought it could definitely open things up.”
The emergence of Oden is getting the Blazers close to completing the diamond that coach Nate McMillan likes to make with his hands when talking about this team. McMillan puts his forefingers and thumbs together to symbolize the connection between
Prior to this season, that diamond has never been complete because Oden has been learning the ropes. But now, the team and Oden are getting the picture.
“The biggest thing about tonight is seeing how Greg is a huge part of what we do,” Roy said. “If we can keep him on the floor it makes us a much better team. It opens everything for all of us. So in a lot of ways, it starts with him.”
It’s only a matter of time, when you have a stud … with the skill-set, personal qualities and physical attributes of Greg Oden … at the very heart of your team, at the Center position.
* Colangelo works fast and hard to get Turkoglu. Hedo is many things but a player who “creates” shots working off the dribble he is not. Expect THAT from him, without the benefit of a pick and you’ll be in for disappointment Raptors fans.
* What’s next? As the old adage goes: “Some of the best deals a team ever makes are the ones it doesn’t make, in the first place.” Solace for Blazers fans in the aftermath of winning losing the Hedo Turkoglu Sweepstakes.
* Buyer Beware! Things are not always as they first appear to be, when it comes to advantageous signings during the NBA’s free agency period.