Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MId-week update

I was fortunate to watch the overtime of the Blazers win against the Timberwolves tonight. What stood out?
  1. Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Brandon R-O-Y all made pairs of clutch free throws at the end. It's not that I don't expect this from all three of them. In fact, that may be the most amazing part. I do expect all three of those guys to make clutch free throws at the end of games.

  2. I'm sure a lot of people will talk about this play, but when Portland was down 96-93 toward the end of overtime Zach rotated over to help on Kevin Garnett. It was good, quick help. When KG passed out of the double he found Mark Blount under the hoop. I thought it was a bucket, but Martell Webster was there to frustrate Blount and force him into a travel. Two instances, on one play, of guys doing the "little things" that are so important. Why make a big deal about it? These two guys aren't known for their defense, and "little things" take on even more meaning with 45 seconds left in overtime.

  3. The line for Sergio Rodriguez was disappointing to me tonight, because I always want to see high assists and low turnovers. Sure, I like seeing guys score points--how would we win without 'em?--but what I really want is Sergio to elevate the passing game of the whole team. Having said that, I'll take 18 from Sergio off the bench. He really does keep showing more and more of the aspects to his game that will make him a fantastic NBA player.

  4. I still hate Jamaal Magloire. I don't have a follow-up to that.

  5. It will be interesting to see what happens when Travis comes back. People coming back from injury this year have messed with the team when we had good things going, so this could play out like that. Or it could be more like when Jack just came back from the concussion. Sure, it was shorter, but maybe the team has reestablished the right sort of chemistry to hold through another shift in playing times and roles. Hopefully.
I have class every Thursday night, so I won't get to watch the Ducks play the Huskies tomorrow night. Aaron Brooks doesn't get to play in that one, so it could be a little rough. But we've played through other injuries already this year, so maybe missing the potential POY will show how tough the team is.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Aaron, NOT that one

Since I'm not an insider at ESPN I couldn't read the whole thing, but it was nice to see a great player from my team get some love from Jay Bilas. This is most of what you can see if you follow this link:
So, for POY, the strongest candidates have been Wisconsin's Alando Tucker (big shots, big plays in big games), Texas' Durant (the most talented player in America), Nevada's Nick Fazekas (he has been as good as any big man), Florida's Joakim Noah (no player is more productive in just 24 minutes), UCLA's Arron Afflalo (plays on both ends and is the Bruins' heart), LSU's Glen Davis (big-time college player),Oklahoma State's Mario Boggan (one of the most productive interior players in the country) and Tennessee's Chris Lofton (this year's Redick). Let's add another name ... Oregon's Aaron Brooks. Brooks is averaging more than 18 points, almost 5 assists and 2 steals, and he has taken it on himself to hit every big shot Oregon has needed to win key games. It was Brooks who shot down UCLA, and he was magnificent on the road at Arizona. There might be a long way to go in this whole player of the year debate, but Brooks deserves to be in it as much as anyone we have named so far.

I put my favorite part in bold, just to emphasize it. Brooks really has been great for Oregon this season. I watched all of the Arizona game on Sunday and most of tonight's Cal game, and in each one he made big shot after big shot and took over whenever we needed somebody to do so. He's in the line of people like Luke Ridnour, Kenya Wilkins, and Terrell Brandon. In fact, here's what Ernie Kent said about that to Luke Andrews of the Oregon Daily Emerald, our on-campus newspaper:
When asked to compare Brooks to some of the great Oregon point guards of the past, from Luke Ridnour to Kenya Wilkins to Terrell Brandon and on down, Kent was quick to name Brooks near the top.

"He's definitely one of the best we've had here," Kent said. "I mean that, too. Athletically, he is the best. I don't think I've ever had a point guard that has his kind of stamina that can go like he can go for 40 minutes of a game, never miss a beat and come into practice and look the same way."

Comparing a few Quarterbacks

So my friend Mark wrote this. I'm responding with this:













































rank sumfinal rank








There are a few things that I need to explain. The top chart shows QB passer ratings and the components of that rating.

The second chart shows a QB rushing rating that I built off of the passer rating and the components of that rating.

The third chart shows a QB value that was developed by Chase Stuart. The explanation for this value can be found here.

The fourth chart shows the adjusted yards per attempt for each QB.

The fifth chart shows the regular season winning percentage, playoff winning percentage, and weighted total winning percentage for each QB. I came up with this myself, and each playoff game is worth twice as much as each regular season game. For the older quarterbacks there was some missing info, so I had to project what the starting record for them would have been in these games. For Steve Young it doesn't include the 40 games he started from 1985-1991, 19 of those with Tampa Bay and 21 of them with San Francisco. For Dan Marino it doesn't include the 26 games he started in 1983, 1987, and 1993. For Brett Favre it doesn't include the 13 games he started in 1992. For John Elway it doesn't include the 92 games he started in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992. For all of these missing games I projected how they most likely did based on their team's winning percentage and their history.

The sixth chart shows combines the results of all the other ones. In each chart I rank the quarterbacks. For the last chart I found the sum and the ranked each one, from lowest to highest point total (like in golf). Each category was worth one point, except the winning percentage chart, for which I made it worth double. In the final tally, the best QB of all the ones Mark mentioned in his post is Steve Young. (This wasn't surprising to me, as the same Chase Stuart who came up with the value rankings has him listed as the best QB of all time here.) Young is followed by Tom Brady, then Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Dan Elway, Brett Favre, and Dan Fouts. (Although the Fouts info is really spotty, so who knows if he could have been ranked higher.)

Mark could certainly argue with the way I came up with my formulas, but based on the ones I used, all the talk of Brady being better than Manning is based on reality.

*PASS-passing stats
RUSH-rushing stats
FUM-total fumbles
AY/A-adjusted yards per attempt
RW-regular season wins
RL-regular season losses
R%-regular season winning percentage
PW-playoff wins
PL-playoff losses
P%-playoff winning percentage
W%-weighted winning percentage (each playoff game is worth two regular season games)
projR%-projected regular season winning percentage for those QBs with missing stats
projected wighted winning percentage for those QBs with missing stats
Wrank-weighted rank, with winning percentage rank being worth twice as much as other ranks

In defense of mediocrity

I should be doing homework right now, but three things have me riled up enough to be writing this instead: 1) on the Kay House wall people have complained about Randolph's lack of blocks 2) J-Lew's comment about Rodriguez getting away with three travels 3) the game against Phoenix last night.
  1. I already said this on the Kay House wall, but it's important to say here: Zach Randolph is not a good defender. I wish that he were. Instead, he's a great scorer who can control the boards when he's really into it. Lately he's shown that he can even help on defense if he's playing with a lot of energy. In addition to being a bad individual defender, he's also short. Plus, he couldn't jump very well before the micro fracture surgery. Scottie Pippen once said that he had played with no harder worker. The coaches have all talked about the effort he put in this summer to get into better shape and expand his offensive arsenal. I don't think it's beyond reason that he could put that sort of effort into his defense over the next few seasons. The kid's my age, for goodness sake, and has already had to fight through a career-threatening surgery, immaturity, poor decision-making, and the absence of family. I know, for that much money he should be able to block a few shots, but I think he can develop that aspect still.

  2. YES Sergio got away with at least three travels in that video. I also know that Zach travels most of the times he touches the ball. But I also know that many other NBA players get away with the same. Is that how it should be? Probably not. But since the Blazers get the shaft in so many other areas, I think we should get some leeway when it comes to a play maker like Sergio and an inside monster like Zach.

  3. I watched the fourth quarter last night of the Portland-Phoenix game. Here are some impressions:

    • Brandon R-O-Y is a man. There was one moment when he got the ball, drove to the hoop on the left side and drew Stoudamire and Marion. He did a jump stop, then juked both of them into the air, slipped between them and made the shot. At another point he was man-to-man against Marion, backed him down, did a little shoulder bump to create space and made the fade-away over Marion's outstretched hand. (My mind keeps shouting MJ, even though it's completely unfair.)

    • When the Blazers are working hard, they can do anything. They held the Suns to two shot-clock violations, and a third possession in which the air-ball was collected by the Blazers as the buzzer went off. The Suns like to shoot early in the clock, and the Blazers got three turnovers off of keeping that from happening. That's impressive.

    • Zach is really amazing when he's on.

    • Zach and Sergio love playing together. I could see it in their body language.

    • Sergio and LaMarcus also love playing together.

    • JJ looks like the concussion and subsequent challenge by Sergio might have helped his game, which is sort of odd. Hopefully he comes back strong and makes the fight for PG of the future a good one. It was also cool to see him and Rodriguez in at the same time. I salute that.

    • Lastly, the Blazers get no respect. Despite what I mentioned about Sergio and Zach being allowed to travel, the refs bone us over on most nights. From Blazer's Edge:
      The league really should look at the last couple of games though. Somebody needs to ask how a team that outscored its opponents 195-182 managed to face a 28-68 free throw attempt disparity.
Oh, and the title to this post is a reference to Portland's mediocrity. I know we're not there yet, and I'm still hoping for Oden, but--and this is too bad--I still feel the need to defend my team against minuscule attacks. Onward and upward (to the number one pick and a championship in the 2009 season).

*Photo stolen from Casey Holdahl's blog.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More fantastic sports news from the onion

The Onion

Peyton Manning Looking Forward To Ninth Annual Super-Bowl-Watching Party

INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said Monday he is looking forward to wrapping up his football season and relaxing with...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Here are quotes with links:
In Sunday’s late game, the Nuggets routed the Trail Blazers. Though Allen Iverson was brilliant (29 points, 11-for-21 shooting, nine assists), it was the spectacular play from new Denver guard Steve Blake and Portland guard Sergio Rodriguez that really stood out. Blake put up 25 points and three steals in his first game for Denver following its trade of Early Boykins to Milwaukee. Rodriguez had 23 points, 10 assists and three steals and proved his potential to be a starting point guard.

Rodriguez is averaging over 14 assists per 48 minutes played and is also shooting 46 percent. He is playing only 10.5 minutes per game and has taken just 91 shots in his 33 appearances, including his 11-for-14 shooting Sunday night.

The future is extremely bright for Portland, which features a large cast of young players. Guard Martell Webster, only 19 years old, promises to soon be one of the top perimeter shooters in the league with his impressive range and flawless shooting delivery. He reminds me of Steve Smith when he shoots. However, Webster is one-dimensional, as 60 percent of his shots have been from 3-point range, though he’s made an impressive 53-for-132.
(from RotoTimes)
He may be the youngest player on the Portland Trail Blazers roster, but he is far away from being a junior any more. Just a month into his NBA career, Sergio Rodriguez posted eleven assists, against the Hawks in just 28 minutes on the floor. He might not get those kinds of minutes often, but he is doing something right: every time Sergio steps off the floor, his team is statistically better off than when he entered. Soon there will be no need for him to nervously stretch his jersey any more.
Its a good thing the Blazers got rid of Steve Blake. His career high 25 points helped Denver to a 109-93 win over Portland last night. AI had 32 and 9 dimes....Denver outscored the Blazers 41-17 in the third. Nice effort boys. Two Blazer starters were held scoreless, none had more than 9 points. Zach Randolph a stellar 1-12 from the field, with just 4 points. The lone bright spot for Portland was Sergio Rodriguez...23 points 10 assists off the bench. This kid has been inconsistent, but could really be something in the future...hes only 20.

(from TD Zone)
The newcomer is most comfortable in an uptempo game. He pushes the pace with abandon and has a knack for finding open teammates with both routine and difficult passes, which he somehow makes look easy.

Rodriguez has been remarkably effective in his limited NBA time. He dishes out an assist every 3.4 minutes, second in the league behind Phoenix’s Steve Nash (3.2). Teammates Jarrett Jack (6.3) and Brandon Roy (10.5) aren’t close. Rodriguez’s assist-to-turnover ratio (3.19) ranks seventh in the NBA and leads rookies.

The young Spaniard can shoot and he can score, but he has spent his first months as a Blazer passing up shots to set up teammates with a savvy beyond his years.

“I know I must shoot, to keep the defense honest,” he says. “But I prefer an assist to a score. The most important thing is to play with my teammates, and that my teammates are happy with me. They have to have confidence in me. When you find this, other things fall into place.”

Already, Rodriguez is about the most popular guy to play with on the team.

“He gets people the ball in the right places,” center Joel Przybilla says. “The first time I played with him in a pickup game, I called a couple of buddies and said, ‘He’s gonna be a player, man.’ He’s so unselfish. He’s so under control already. His future in this league is just unbelievable.”

(from the Portland Tribune) You should go read this whole article.
And Sergio makes three?

Last week, there was speculation that Sergio Rodriguez might be out of the Blazers' rotation completely. But Jarrett Jack has missed the last two games after a car accident on Friday and Rodriguez has seen more playing time, not less, as a result.
Line of the Week
Sergio Rodriguez (POR)
01.14 vs. DEN
23 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists,
3 steals, 11-14 FG

Sunday night, Rodriguez had a breakout performance. He entered the game late in the first quarter with the Blazers down by nine and they were down by 12 by the end of the period. Three minutes into the second, Rodriguez had two points and five assists. By the half, he had 13 points, three boards and six dimes ... and the Blazers led by seven.

Unfortunately for Portland fans, the home team could not come back from Denver's 18-0 run that started the third quarter. But Rodriguez's final line was the best we saw out of a rookie this week, and it could be what puts him ahead of Dan Dickau in the rotation when Jack comes back. And along with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland's future seems even brighter.
(from Rookie Rankings)

(I know these probably don't look very good, but I just wanted to show a comparison of Nash's Hollinger stats and Rodriguez's. You can find these at, here and here)

Sergio Rodriguez

There was a ton written about Rodriguez after his 23 point, 10 assist, 4 rebound, 3 steal, and four turnover game against the Nuggets on Sunday. Instead of adding to that--although I will link to a bunch of those soon, I think--I'm just putting this YouTube highlight clip from the game up. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Maybe my last post about the Miami officiating

I thought I was done talking about this, but then I found this story today at HoopsHype. HoopsHype linked back to the story at MSNBC. I think I'll quote the whole thing, because it's short and then people can draw their own conclusions.
NBA official Rodney Mott was suspended three games without pay Friday for making an obscene gesture toward a fan and also using inappropriate language.

Mott made the gesture and remarks after the Portland Trail Blazers’ 93-90 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night in Portland.

The 49-year-old Mott is in his ninth season as an NBA official.

Friday, January 12, 2007

They're not walking through that door

I want to respond to something I read on Blazer's Edge last night.
I've been excited to see Z-Bo put up good numbers this year partly because I like to see any Blazer do well but more because I'd like his trade stock to skyrocket. He doesn't feel like a Blazer I can pull 100% for. I can't picture him mixed in with Clyde, Terry, Jerome, or Buck, and I guess that's my measuring stick.
The Sports Guy has brought up a certain Rick Pitino speech numerous times over the years in his articles about the Celtics. This infamous speech told the city of Boston that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish weren't walking through those doors. (Sorry I didn't use quotes, I'm going off my memory, so that may not be verbatim.) Every time Simmons brought it back up I thought his point was to show people how badly Pitino handled a city with such a rich basketball history. Pitino should have embraced the Celtics culture and history rather than breaking with it. So the Sports Guy seemed to be suggesting. But I understand why Pitino felt the need to say those things. I know that Portland doesn't have the same sort of history, but we do have a great history. This team and city were the picture of a successful small market team. But, at the risk of being the bad guy, here is my response to that quote on Blazer's Edge:

Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, and Buck Williams are NOT walking through that door. Zach Randolph doesn't need to be able to play with them, because the last of those players left ten years ago. I loved that team. I grew up watching those guys. But constantly comparing our current players to them is NOT helping the team or the culture. Patterson and Pritchard have been helping the team and culture by trading away some people, letting others walk, and bringing in new guys who buy into a culture of responsibility.

I don't want to forget about that team. It really was a great team. But that team never won a championship. That team had a few guys who weren't perfect off the court. And most importantly, the way to win in any league is not to recreate a former success, but to figure out the best way to find new success. So we shouldn't be trying to get that team back anyway.

Of the champions in recent years, the Pistons are the only team that could be compared to a previous successful version of that franchise. Part of the reason for that is the GM being one of the players from the earlier version. But even so, the two championship versions--while similar--were certainly quite different. Firstly, even though the more recent team was defensive minded and tough, they also had a reputation as being a bunch of good guys. That wasn't the case with the back-to-back teams in 1989-1990. And both relied on good guards and role players, but that's not the same as trying to find someone "like Isiah, like Joe, like Bill, like Dennis" etc.

I think that we should stop holding the team up to it's shadow, and instead start looking at what we have. There may still be changes that should should be made. Those changes shouldn't come because someone wouldn't have been able to play with "Clyde, Terry, Jerome, or Buck,"
but because moving the player is necessary to make the team and the culture of the team the kind that will bring success back to the rose city. I hope it happens soon, and I still believe that it could happen in 2009 if management sticks to the plan.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Here's the proof

This is video evidence of the phantom call on behalf of Dwyane Wade against Portland that the previous post mentioned. I hadn't actually seen it until I read a rant on AOL with this video. After witnessing a basketball travesty--or perhaps, continuing travesty--I decided to let others see it. Although I shouldn't complain too much, since Zach Randolph travels on every play. But still, there's a difference between giving a star the benefit of the doubt and giving preferential treatment to a select few. Just ask the Mavericks.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm not the one complaining

I don't like listening to people complain about how much the officials are doing to ruin their team, but I thought this article was good and insightful. Here's a quick taste:
But someone needs to stick up for this young team playing their hearts out. Portland is not a good team or even an average one; they need to play a near-perfect game on an even field to have a chance in every contest. They aren’t good enough, yet, to win games on an uneven playing field, the kind they seem to face every night.

“It’s part of the game,” people will say.

“They haven’t earned it,” people will say.

Part of the game is playing by a different set of rules than the other team? They have to earn fair play? Seriously?

If that’s true, there are far more serious problems here to address. You shouldn’t have to earn an interpretation of the rules in your favor – the rules should be the same on both sides. For the Portland Trail Blazers it’s quite obvious the rules are different.

And yes, it’s probably the same for teams like Atlanta and Seattle – this isn’t a problem unique to Portland; it’s one bad teams have faced for a long time.

That doesn’t make it okay.
Now read the rest of the article.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sometimes college football is FANTASTIC

I love when people talk about how good the Big 12 and Big Ten are at college football. A lot of these people also repeat the claim that the Pac-10 is over rated. So, just for fun, and because I hate the Big Ten even more than I hate every school from Florida, here's a fun graphic I found on Wikipedia.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

And it gets better

Was it just two days ago that I wrote about the dysfunction affecting the Blazers? I didn't exactly outline a plan for getting things back together, but I gave suggestions that could have been summed up like this:
  1. Don't bench Zach. Believe in him. Let him prove the media wrong.
  2. Stop pulling Jarrett Jack for R-O-Y, let them play together.
  3. Play Przybilla and Aldridge more that Magloire.
  4. Develop a rotation again.
  5. Get Rodriguez into games, if only for a few minutes, to get a spark.
So we pulled out a big win at Sacramento in overtime tonight. Let's see how many of the things I suggested--in different words, of course--were done.
  1. Zach played 45 minutes, had 32 points, 15 rebounds, and was 12-15 at the free throw line. Check.
  2. JJ played 45 minutes and R-O-Y played 42 minutes. Jack had 17 points and 8 assists, R-O-Y had 23 points and 5 rebounds. Check and check.
  3. Przybilla only played 15 minutes (with 4 fouls...he has to learn how to stay out of trouble) but Aldridge played 20, so they totaled 35 minutes. Magloire only played 24. Another check.
  4. I don't think we really had a rotation, it seemed like McMillan played everyone, a lot. But it was an overtime game. No check.
  5. Sergio played 5 minutes, hit one three-pointer and had one assist. I didn't get to watch, so I don't know how much energy he infused, but I have to believe it was something. Check.
It looks like we did four of the five things I (sort of) called for in that post on Thursday. And we won. More importantly, we showed effort and heart in coming back to send it to overtime and then finishing it away from home. That's the biggest thing. It looks like we might have our fire back, which is pretty good, because without it we'd just be the Portland Trail.

(Lame joke to end with, but I'm pretty excited, so it stays.)

This has been a big day

I already mentioned that I didn't watch Oregon beat UCLA. That was a pretty good start to this day for me as a sports fan. And then I got to see the end of the Seahawks game. As I've said, my confidence in the Seahawks has waned recently, so I was only watching the game every once in a while. But when I turned it on in the fourth quarter I was able to watch Seattle pull out a huge win. A HUGE WIN. I was recently discussing Jeremy Stevens with my friend Mark, and he was saying that Stevens is that good or something or other. I wasn't really listening. I argued that Stevens has come up huge, even though he has had a few problems with dropped passes. Well, he did it again today. And the other guy to come up huge was Lofa Tatupu. That guy is fantastic. If he had better body control--barely--he would have been able to keep his foot in bounds and the we would have been tied. But at the time I already thought that the safety might have been better for us. And it worked out that way. The defense came up HUGE. Babineaux stepped it up, that's for sure. It was great to have Bobby Engram back. Oh man, I can't talk about this any more, I just had to mention it. And not to jinx things, but the Blazers are ahead of the Kings at the moment, which would complete the trifecta for the day.

Oh what fun it is to ride

On Thursday my friend Jacob called to tell me that he might be able to get tickets to this morning's Oregon-UCLA basketball game. It seems that his mom gets tickets from her job to offer to clients, but sometimes the clients can't go. When that's the case, she can use the tickets herself. It sounded like her client was going to be busy, so Jacob and I were going to get to use the tickets. He told me this right after we lost our first game of the year, losing by two to USC. It sounded like the Ducks played tough, but couldn't quite pull it out. That was a distinguishing characteristic of the team last year: lots of talent but an inability to finish tough opponents. I had been hoping that this season would be different.

Last night I talked to Jacob again and found out that the client would be taking the tickets after all. With that, I sunk back into my recent routine of watching as much LOST as possible, hoping to get caught up with the series before it returns on February 7. When my connection wasn't working so well I stopped trying to do that and started catching up with season two of Entourage. Before falling asleep I decided to take a ride on my bike this morning to figure out how long the trip to my new practicum site would be. Well, I ended up watching another episode of LOST before taking off, and so I didn't get onto the road until a little after 12:00.

I had a nice ride, and found that if I'm making good time I'll be able to get to school in about half an hour on the bike. I'm looking forward to this because it will solve one of the problems I had in my New Year's Resolution post--how to work out regularly and keep getting my foot healthy--and it will save me money and emissions. When I got back my phone was flashing with several messages. My friend John from Phoenix sent me this text:
That was a sweet game by your ducks. I was happy to see ucla lose. Congratulations
I had forgotten that the game was this morning, so I went on to listen to my one voicemail. It was another friend congratulating me, but this time at halftime. Halfway through the game Ian Lovett had called to wish me luck as the Ducks were up 40-30.

A few days ago I was going to post about how my two basketball teams, the Blazers and Ducks, had taken the confidence that had recently been reserved for my two football teams, the Seahawks and Ducks. But then Portland started going way downhill, and I got worried about Oregon after the USC loss. It looks like at least one of those teams still deserves my confidence, since Oregon proved that the close games will come sometimes this year.

It's too bad I didn't get to go to the game this morning, but it was a good bike ride, and it was really good to come back and have the nice surprise of winning a huge game.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We're in shambles (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

December 20 I was at the Rose Garden to see the Blazers defeat the Houston Rockets. It was their fifth straight win. Brandon R-O-Y was playing in his first game back from injury. Travis Outlaw looked great. Zach Randolph had an off night, but still led his team. Joel Przybilla made Yao Ming work for every shot. The arena was excited about Blazers basketball, and I believed that the Blazers could play with most of the teams in the NBA. All I wanted for Christmas was a six-game win streak.

Oh how two weeks has changed things. After losing four straight--badly, at that--and playing like excrement, I have very little faith in this team. I started the season with hopes of drafting Greg Oden, since I thought the year would be another tough one. But after all the hope that was instilled in me and then ripped out, I don't even feel like dreaming about bringing Oden into this mess. So instead of just whining, I'll list (again) what I think the problems might be.
  1. For as good as he is, R-O-Y is disrupting the offense much more than Randolph had been in. As soon as McMillan took Jack's minutes and gave them to Brandon, Jack lost confidence. Jack is also a pure point guard, so he looks to get others involved first. R-O-Y is an unselfish shooting guard, so even though he is good at getting his teammates involved, his first inclination is to shoot. This has also taken away from Sergio Rodriguez' minutes some, which is sad, because he brings a lot of energy every second he's on the floor.
  2. This team doesn't look like they're playing with trust, and they've said as much to the papers. I don't know how this problem can be fixed, but I think that McMillan's attempt isn't working...yet. Maybe it will.
  3. A lot of guys don't look like they're playing hard. Again, I don't know how a problem like this gets solved, and it's especially frustrating because McMillan seems like the kind of coach who would be able to get his guys to bring energy to every game.
  4. It appears that Zach is now in one of his "moods." I feel for the guy, because any time he gets upset it's immediately labeled as a problem. BUT, I'm also a little afraid that he's bought into what the media says about him, and may decide to show everyone that he's the reason this team was winning. That would be very sad, especially when he's been proving people wrong. Hopefully he decides to continue proving people wrong.
  5. Jamaal Magloire never passes, unless it's to the opposing team. This really isn't new, but it's still really frustrating to read about. I haven't seen as many games as I want, so when I'm reading Blazers Edge and continually get told that Magloire is a black hole, well that concerns me.
  6. I'm frustrated that the way McMillan is trying to fix things is by messing with the lineup. I know that R-O-Y is a humongous part of our future. I know that I still can't help but compare him to Michael Jordan when I'm watching, even if that's basketball blasphemy. But I also know that we've been playing worse since he's been back. Maybe that's not his fault. Maybe it is connected to his return, but it's that the team doesn't have the same sense of need since he's back. But maybe it's because the tempo and rhythm really have been disrupted since he's come back. I'm not suggesting that we bench him, but I am suggesting that he doesn't play point guard. Not yet, at least. Let JJ and Sergio get those minutes still. Sure, Dixon and Webster will suffer some, but they're suffering will hurt the team less than the suffering of our starting point guard has.
I could probably list more things that are bothering me, but instead I'll try to brighten my own mood. This team still has a lot of great young talent. In fact, I still believe that it has the best group of young talent in the NBA. We still have a certifiable MVP candidate. Just look at league wide PER if you don't believe me. Maybe all that the team needs is some time with R-O-Y back to gel again. I did just say that they're young. The season has already gone better than expected, so instead of immediately assuming the worst, maybe I should see this as a bump in the road. So far this year adversity has brought the best out in this team, so why should right now be any different? And, in the very worst case scenario for this season, we continue struggling and end up with a terrible record and luck on our side in the lottery. And then? The best big man to enter the NBA in a very long time. No matter what, this team is still winning the championship in 2009, and I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My New Year's list form

Second try at this, since I'm an idiot. Oh, and I know how ridiculous it is to write these down, but I'm doing it anyway.
  1. Work out consistently
  2. Get my foot healthy
  3. Figure out how to make those two things compatible
  4. Read more of the things that are assigned for class
  5. Read more things that aren't assigned for anything
  6. Play guitar more often
  7. Drink less coffee, but enjoy it more
  8. Drink more tea
  9. Drink more water
  10. Write more music
  11. Record more music on GarageBand
  12. Write better--and perhaps fewer--posts about the Blazers
  13. Write better--and perhaps more--posts about other things
  14. Listen to more music
  15. See more shows
  16. Make it through my education program without hating teaching
  17. Make it through my education program without hating teachers
  18. Make it through my education program without hating students
  19. Find a job in the city
  20. Take a huge road trip to visit friends all over the country
  21. Start rocking again with James, Eric, and Jonathan (if we can all make it to L.A.)
  22. Visit Chicago
  23. Win all three of my fantasy basketball leagues
  24. Live more consistently
  25. Live more simply
  26. Be less passive-aggressive
  27. Develop more patience with people
  28. Be more awesome
I guess that last one sums it up pretty well.


I was just writing my new post about my new year's resolutions, and accidentally navigated away from the page before it had been saved. This proves, as always, that I'm an idiot. So perhaps that'll be one of the items on my new and improved list of resolutions. Another try will come soon.

A new commitment to diversity

Don't let the title of this post: my new commitment to diversity is limited to the subjects I write about on this blog. (My commitment to diversity elsewhere remains strong.)

I'm going to write a New Year's Resolution post sometime today, but first I wanted to quote from a very very good article and link back to it.
When...I first went to the rector and told him of my life of gay activism and my conversion to Christ, I did so almost trembling with anxiety. After all, I knew what many Christians think of gays and lesbians. I half-expected Nicholas to throw me-politely, since he was an Anglican-out on my ear. But he didn't.

After courteously listening to everything I had to say, he turned to me and said: "David, if you need me to affirm what you do in bed, I cannot, because I think that is sin. But if you need me to affirm you as a brother in Christ, I can do that, because anyone who welcomes Christ is welcome here." And he, along with his wife and family, and many other families at Trinity, meant it. Their love for me, a seemingly rock-solid gay activist, even as they disputed the immorality in my life, gave me a lasting lesson in Christianity's depth and reality.


Looking back, after eight years of seeking to live chastely as a Christian, I believe my time at Trinity represented a turning point in my early Christian life. While I had accepted intellectually the claims of the historic Christian creeds and experienced a deep emotional conviction of Christ's reality and love, Christianity's doctrines and disciplines remained merely concepts. It was the witness of the Christians at Trinity Church that put flesh onto the bones of biblical phrases like "love thy neighbor" and "seventy times seven times."

Christ had answered me when, in desperation over the emptiness of my life, I cried aloud for him. But it was the Christians at Trinity who made his presence in my life a daily reality and, in turn, provided the witness I needed to abandon even gay pornography and any lingering backward glances for the fleshpots of my former nights.

Sadly, most men and women living with same-sex attraction have had experiences more akin to Gail's than mine. Many leave the active practice of their faith, and their silence both impoverishes us and bears witness to our stony hearts.
These paragraphs nearly made me cry, partly because of how moved I was by the writer's experience, and partly because of how infrequently similar experiences seem to happen.