Thursday, June 28, 2007

Post-Draft Thoughts on the Trail Blazers

Now that the 2007 NBA Draft has finished, it's time to take stock of the draft. Portland couldn't really have a bad draft with the first pick and being able to pick up a talent like Greg Oden. Who looks like he will be wearing number 52, the number of former Blazer great Buck Williams. But, that wasn't the only move of the night for Portland.

The other big news of the night was that Portland traded oft-troubled Zach Randolph plus Fred Jones and Dan Dickau to the Knicks. In return, Portland gets Channing Frye and malcontent Steve Francis. The rumors suggest Portland may try to buy Francis out to get cap room and go after a free-agent small forward (Rashard Lewis?), and will keep Frye. I'm not sure why the team would want this trade unless it was all to get rid of Randolph. Frye seems to play the same position as Aldridge and has a similar game. Francis is a lockerroom cancer and hasn't produced like Randolph has in the past few years. If Randolph can stay out of trouble in NY (a big IF), Isiah Thomas and the Knicks really got the better of this deal.

I'll reserve judgment but I am leaning towards maybe this not being the best deal for Portland. I think a better move would have been to hold on to Randolph and then try to get more for him at the February trade deadline.

Seattle, who had the number two pick, drafted a tall, skinny forward from Texas, Kevin Durant. Then Seattle traded Ray Allen to Boston for the 5th pick (Jeff Green), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. It looks like Seattle may have fleeced Boston. The second year in a row a Northwest team has done that to Boston.

I really liked what Seattle did in the draft, and it looks awfully similar to Portland's 2006 draft. Portland got a tall, skinny forward from Texas (Aldridge) and a well regarded and well rounded upper-classman (Brandon Roy). The Pacific Northwest appears poised to have some really successful teams for the next decade. That is, if Seattle doesn't relocate.

Portland also managed to buy Phoenix's first round pick (no. 24) again this year. Last year Portland drafted Spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez and this year the team selected a Spanish shooting guard, Rudy Fernandez. I don't know anything about the pick so I can't judge.

The Blazers also picked up Petteri Koponen (30) and Josh McRoberts (37). Koponen is a Finnish guy that I also know nothing about but did give Portland 3 first round picks. But, McRoberts has the potential to be a quality role player passing from the high pivot. He won't be a star but Portland doesn't need that.

At the end of the 2nd round, Portland also picked up shooting guard Demetris Nichols from Syracuse and Taurean Green, the point guard from two-time NCAA champs Florida. If Nichols makes the squad he could provide the outside shooting necessary to creat space down low. And, Green is a wonderful defender a the PG spot. However, the puts quite the logjam at the position. Jack, Rodriguez, Green and Steve Blake if he signs with Portland as many expect him to do all will be vying for time. Not too mention Steve Francis plays some point, as does Roy. However, the also means Portland may be trying to move Jack as has been rumored.

Overall, a good draft for Portland on the basis of Oden alone. Portland did get rid of Randolph but that may not be the best move, in my opinion. The other five picks? The potential is there with McRoberts, Green, and Nichols but playing time let alone a roster spot will be tough to come by. My money would be on McRoberts and Green. The other two, who knows? They will likely stay overseas for at least one season. But, this draft was all about Oden for Portland. Hopefully, it plays out well. I also smell more trades coming out of Portland.

Other news:

Looks like Golden State is trading Jason Richardson to Charlotte for Brandan Wright (the 8th pick).

Atlanta looks like it got quite the haul with Al Horford at number 3 and Acie Law IV at 11. Atlanta filled its point guard need and Horford is a beast that will give Atlanta some much needed bulk up front. I really think Law is going to end up being a very good PG in the league. Maybe not the level of Chris Paul or Deron Williams but very good.

Update: It looks like Demetris Nichols was part of the Randolph trade and will be going to the Knicks. That link also has some foreshadowing of other trades coming down the pike.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 NBA Pre-Draft Thoughts

The 2007 NBA Draft is today and the Portland Trailblazers have the first pick. Portland will pick either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Prognosticators and blowhards think Portland will take Greg Oden out of Ohio State. I agree and think Oden should be the first pick, but that doesn't matter.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to look back at the 2006 NBA Draft. It is this draft that will mark the real turning point for the Trailblazer organization. It resulted in the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year, first team all-rookie LaMarcus Aldridge and spanish point guard Sergio Rodriguez. All had good first seasons and have helped the Blazers turn the corner to what looks like a promising future especially with the first pick in the 2007 Draft.

I'd also like to point out to Stephen A. Smith that he was absolutely incorrect about the 2006 Blazer Draft. Smith, during the ESPN broadcast, absolutely tore into Portland for all its moves and thought the Blazers had no idea what they were doing. Well, Stephen A., what do you think now? I know he said this stuff, in part, because being bombastic and making strong statements is what helps the ratings. (I would have to disagree, since I generally choose to not listen to Stephen A.) But, he was about as wrong as person could be and I hope this year he makes an apology. I know he won't, but it would be nice.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quite The Week For A-Rod

It has been an interesting to say the least for Alex Rodriguez. He has been accused of cheating on his wife with a blonde stripper and is said to like the "she-male" type of women. A-Rod also created a controversy in Toronto when he yelled something at a Blue Jay player that caused the player to drop the ball. That move has been roundly criticized as unsportsmanlike. Then, last night he hits a walk-off homer (update: not a walk-off, just a game winning homerun) against the Boston Red Sox.

On top of all that, the Yankees absolutely suck this year. Boston leads New York by 12.5 games and last night's win kept New York out of cellar in its division. Needless to say, it has not been a good year so far. It may not get better as Steinbrenner has fallen ill again, and probably isn't strong enough any longer to light the fire under his team. It's obvious Brian Cashman can't do it.

I just have to say, although A-Rod's yelling at the Blue Jays player that caused him to drop the ball may not have been the most sporting thing to do, it did show to me that A-Rod, more than anything, wants to win. It was the act of a desperate man who just wants to win and will try just about anything. It shows more desire than most of the Yankees' line-up. (I must point out that my sentiment about "doing anything to win" does not extend to steroids.) A-Rod appears to be showing more grit and determination than Yankee poster-boy and captain Derek Jeter and I would like to think New Yorkers could appreciate this rather than mercilessly savage the $250 million man. He's trying harder than anybody else on the god-forsaken team.