Friday, June 29, 2007

The Randolph trade finally happened

After all the back and forth, it finally happened. I really liked Zach Randolph. I thought he was a good player, I thought he did a lot to be a good teammate and player, and I’ll miss him when he’s putting good numbers up in New York. It’s somewhat funny, because I still remember when I found out we drafted him. I was really upset. I thought he was both fat and undersized, which is an amazing dichotomy for a basketball player. I knew that he had only played one season at Michigan State, and that because Izzo doesn’t play freshmen Randolph didn’t even see the court as much as he might have at other schools.

But it only took that first playoff series against Dallas to show me that he was a good value toward the end of the first round. Randolph is an amazing low-post scorer. As convinced as I am that LaMarcus and Greg will be an absolute force, on offense and on defense, I think we’ll miss Zach’s presence down there for a while on the offensive end. I was pretty sure I wanted to see how half a season with Zach and Greg and LaMarcus went, and then ship him at the deadline if it didn’t look good. But I’m really confident in the plans that Kevin Pritchard has for the team, and I expect that this New York deal will turn into something even better within the next ten days. I can’t imagine what that might be, but I believe our GM knows what he’s doing.

Here are the things I’ll miss about Zach:
  1. His desire to make the team a contender.

  2. His ability to score inside against anyone.

  3. His hard work in practice (Scottie Pippen once talked about, and which was evidenced very clearly when he came back from the microfracture surgery).

  4. His growth as a person. (I really believe that.)

  5. His genial personality and smile.
Here are the thing I won’t miss about Zach:
  1. His tendency to hang onto the ball too long on offense.

  2. His tendency to be slow in coming back down on defense.

  3. His tendency to make poor decisions off the court.

  4. His contract.
As far as the other guys involved in that trade, here’s my breakdown.
I loved Freddie Jones when he was an Oregon Duck, and I was glad to watch him for a while as a Portland Trail Blazer. Having said that, we didn’t really need him. He is an undersized shooting guard who, if things go the way they should, wouldn’t get much playing time on this Blazers team anyway. I hope he gets to play if he stays in New York, and I hope that if they buy him out he’s able to catch on with a team that will appreciate what he brings to the table.

I like danger Dan Dickau too, but I have no problem getting rid of him. He had a decent time in Portland this second run, but he also wouldn’t have been getting any playing time on this Blazers team in the future. With Jarrett Jack, Sergio Rodriguez, and the drafting of Taurean Green and Petteri Koponen there was absolutely no room for Dickau.

What about the guys we got in that deal?

I really believe that Pritchard plans on sending Steve Francis to another team as soon as possible. I wish I had a clue what that might look like. I think Channing Frye could be a good fit with the rest of the club, and he could develop with Greg and LaMarcus up front. We’ll see what happens, and I know I’m repeating myself a little bit.

The more I've read this afternoon makes me think that James Jones is the guy that the Blazers aren't supposed to talk about, but I'm still hopeful that there's some sort of Franchise deal in the works or coming down the pipe.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 NBA draft running diary

Alright, I’m sitting on the couch out at Mikkalo and Mikkalo farms. Right now I’m wearing my neck brace, but it’ll come off at various points during the night. ESPN is switching over to the pre-draft coverage right now, since it just struck 4:00 pm pacific time. The word already came that Portland gave Greg Oden and his camp notice that he’ll become a Blazer soon, and that’s exciting. I’m really hoping that they do things perfectly during this draft. The other thing I want to is for the Hawks to be really smart about the way they draft. The running diary of the 2007 NBA draft starts now.

4:04 pm With the value of hindsight, Stephen A. Smith has now told us that the 2003 draft was better than this one. This was right after Jay Bilas said that this draft was the best since 2003. Way to stretch things, guys.

4:07 pm Andy Katz is talking about the possible deal that the Celtics and Sonics might do, which would be terrible for Boston. They would give up Delonte West, the number five, and Wally for an ancient Ray Allen. Yikes. Mark Jackson agrees with me. See? I must be right. Oh, and Stephen A. Smith disagrees with me. Yup, I must be right.

4:10 pm Apparently Greg Oden is a dominant low-post center. Thanks, Jay Bilas. I love watching all of the Oden clips, and just seeing what he did makes me really excited. Uh-oh, here’s Dicky V to compare Oden to someone. He sees: a little Patrick Ewing blocking shots, offensive skills like Olajuwon, competitive drive of Mourning, and the sense of team that Duncan brought. Dicky V just told screamin’ Stephen A, saying basically what I already mentioned in this diary.

4:15 pm I just love looking at the order up there, with Portland at number one. That’s beautiful. Almost as good as looking at highlights of Oden.

4:18 pm As Mike Tirico just told us, Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. were in Indiana last year. I was in class last year when the Blazers selected and made deals, so I’m pretty excited to watch one of those two guys get picked by my team in half an hour. Ooh, and now we find out that Durant hated working out like he did as a kid. That is a little different from the way he’s been characterized leading up to today. Also, they mentioned that Texas will be the first team to have players chosen in the top two for two years in a row in a while--if not ever, I didn’t catch the whole thing--when Durant goes to Seattle this year. The other one? My man LaMarcus Alrdidge.

4:25 pm Billy King is trying to move the 76ers up higher in the draft, and they’re looking for a power forward. If they mean that, maybe the Blazers really could trade Randolph for something good. This just in: my brother crapped his pants when Jim Gray said that Golden State is in the Kevin Garnett sweepstakes.

4:32 pm Here we go...I’m really not as excited as I was for the lottery, but that’s because I know what’s going to happen, and I’ve been dealing with this in my mind for a month. The booing for the New York Liberty is classic, along with the New York fans being generally pissed about everything. Ah, New York. The Blazers are now on the clock.

4:35 pm Mark Jackson likes the young nucleus of the Blazers. Stephen A. Smith is so ridiculous. And here it is: with the first pick in the 2007 NBA draft, the Porltand Trail Blazers select Greg Oden from Ohio State University.

That was fantastic. I got chills, and I don’t think it was because of my screwed up neck.
It looks like Oden will wear number 52, which was Buck Williams’ number during the early ‘90s. Highlight after highlight just adds to the excitement I have about what this kid brings to the team.

4:39 pm Best part of the draft so far? My cousin vacuuming in the room while my brother and I watch the draft. Thanks. That’s awesome.

4:41 pm With the second pick, the Sonics select Kevin Durant. Wow, nothing crazy yet. What a great day for the pacific northwest. I would have loved to get Durant, but I am even happier to have Oden. Too bad there was no way to get both of them. Kevin’s mom is proud of him. I had to share that with everyone. My brother thinks the Blazers could get the third pick from Atlanta, but I don’t see how it could happen. I also don’t want Portland to do it, which probably impacts my perception of it’s possibility.

4:46 pm Kevin Pritchard is now on video conference. Pritchard says the thing that they started with was determining who would take the team to the championship level. Pritchard didn’t sound as good there as he has in every other interview I’ve heard him do, but I’ll let that slide.

4:48 pm With the third pick, the Atlanta Hawks select Al Horford. He was the right pick, I just wished they would have traded down a little to get Mike Conley Jr. Oh well, hopefully he can be part of the deal that gets them Amare Stoudamire, or maybe he can learn from Amare is he plays center next to Stoudamire’s preferred power forward.

I just saw the new Hawks logo for the first time on Horford’s hat.

Everyone is second-guessing this pick, of course, but too bad.

4:52 pm With the fourth pick, the Memphis Grizzlies select Mike Conley, Jr. That means the Celtics are going to pick...Yi? It was great to hear the Hawks get hammered for picking the guy they did again, especially since he was the best guy there. Bilas just said that Conley has the same sort of ability as Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

Wow, they just showed the clip of Mike Conley, Sr. winning a celebrity dunk contest. That dude could fly.

4:56 pm Wow. Wow. Wow. The Celtics really pulled the trigger on that trade. That is terrible. The Sonics are now drafting Jeff Green. With the fifth pick, the Celtics take Green, but he’s going to be traded to Seattle. Wow. This means that the Sonics have no intention of re-signing Rashard Lewis, and since they’re drafting these two small forwards, maybe they plan n playing Durant at the 2 or at the 4. Sam Presti, another genius GM, pulled off a pretty good move in my opinion.

5:00 pm I think that Jeff Green is pretty excited to be playing with Kevin Durant. Wow, the pacific northwest is getting better as the draft goes on. I just remembered that Milwaukee was planning on drafting Yi Jianlian if he fell to them, which is what we’ll find out soon.

5:04 pm With the sixth pick in the draft, Milwaukee selects Yi Jianlian, just as they said they would. This is going to be something. Yi is hip-hop, he’s 50 cent. That seems like a stretch. Here is Andy Katz, to tell us what is going on with the Bucks and Yi. The Bucks are excited about Yi, and it sounds like they’ll do whatever they can to keep him. Bucher is now saying that this will probably lead to a trade, because Yi’s camp really doesn’t want him to stay there. I will say this, his English, while not great, is much better than that of some other foreign players.

5:09 pm My brother just asked a good question: who does Minnesota pick now? My guess is that Minnesota takes Hawes or Brewer. They have to take Brewer, but part of me thinks they’ll take Hawes anyway.

My ears are bleeding because of Stephen A. Smith. Geez, I can’t stand that guy.

5:11 pm With the seventh pick, the T-Wolves pick Brewer. That is what they had to do. Corey Brewer is so good. If Minnesota doesn’t trade Garnett, I think Brewer would be a good piece to go with him. Dicky V just commented on the one trade so far, saying that Seattle outfoxed Boston. I agree, and it reminded me of the Sports Guy’s suggestion of worst-case scenario for the Celtics. This is worse.

I take it back. It still seems bad, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that this might be a decent move for them. They’ll be trusting PG to Rondo, pairing Ray Allen with Allen Ray, counting on Paul the truth Pierce to be healthy and dominant as a small forward, and Al Jefferson dominating down low. They still have Theo Ratliff’s terrible contract, and of course they still have Kendrick Perkins. Maybe the Celtics could be a playoff team in the east next year.

5:17 pm The Bobcats have been wanting to trade their pick for a veteran, and even though I don’t really want to trade Randolph, maybe this is the trade we make.

5:18 pm With the eighth pick, the Bobcats drafted Brandan Wright. That means the Blazers will not be trading for his rights. Bilas thinks that Wright was the fourth-best player in this draft, and that they might have to wait on him a bit--exactly what Jordan said he didn’t want to do--and that this is a great pick. The Bulls will now pick Spencer Hawes, unless they’re trading the rights to the Blazers for Randolph.

5:22 pm Great signs from Bulls fans in New York, one just says “thank you Isiah.” Stephen A. Smith just mentioned Zach Randolph for the Bulls, but he doesn’t know what direction they should take. My brother just made a good point, that the Bulls have basically gone the direction of the recent Pistons, with a bunch of good players that work well together.

5:25 pm With the ninth pick the Bulls select Joakim Noah. I think that means they’re keeping Noah. This really does make sense for the Bulls. He doesn’t add much offense for them, but he hustles, he fits the culture of the team, and I think he does a lot of good things to help Chicago play well.

5:30 pm My brother wants me to imagine Garnett as a Blazer. I just can’t imagine it. He keeps pushing it, but I really just can’t imagine it.

5:31 pm With the tenth pick in the draft, the Kings select Spencer Hawes. I didn’t quite laugh-out-loud at that, but that’s funny. Maybe he’s the right pick, but I just don’t think he’s that good. My brother suggests that Hawes will become Brad Miller, and can just step into that role for the Kings. Hmm, Bilas thinks he’ll be good, but has just mentioned that Hawes isn’t a good rebounder or shot blocker. Yeah, that sounds good. Hawes says that getting older will make him a better rebounder. Huh.

5:35 pm Here’s John Paxson. He says that the Bulls plan on keeping Noah. Stephen A. Smith really doesn’t like the pick that the Bulls made. Smith is about to scream that the Bulls should have picked someone without energy, because they already have energy. SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM.

5:38 pm With the eleventh pick in the draft, the Hawks select Acie Law IV. That means they’re keeping the pick. I think that was probably a pretty smart move. I hope he does well there, for the sake of J-Lew, and I hope that Horford plays as well as I think he should. Ugh. The new Hawks jersey looks terrible. Tirico just held that jersey up to show the “new look” of the Hawks, just like the “new look” these two picks are bringing the Hawks. I don’t know what that means for sure, but we’ll see how the Hawks go.

5:42 pm Rumors in Philly? Sal Paolantonio says that the 76ers have been trying to move up in the draft really hard, but it’s too late. It sounds like the Sixers are going to draft Thornton, but who knows, they’re pretty stupid, and they think they need size up front. Billy King is going to screw this up, just watch. I’m guessing that they reach on some power forward, but I can’t think of who it would be. In the Blazer’s Edge mock draft, the Blazers traded for this pick.

5:46 pm With the twelfth pick in the draft, Philadelphia selects Thaddeus Young. Well, that was really dumb. I can’t believe they just did that, I don’t think Young is big enough for what they want. Wow, I can’t believe that they chose Thaddeus Young. Oh, but he does have a lot of great upside according to Jay Bilas.

5:48 pm My brother just suggested that the Clippers need a PG, and I agree. Maybe they draft Javaris Crittenton, or maybe they draft someone like Al Thornton so they can trade Maggette. Or maybe they draft him so they can trade his rights to Portland for Jarrett Jack.

5:51 pm Billy Knight looks like he just walked out of a bar. Wow. But he makes a good point that the guys they drafted will be ready to play right away. But Knight must be drunk, since he says that Law reminds him of Mark Jackson. There’s no question that these draft picks will be Hawks for a long time.

5:52 pm With the thirteenth pick, the Hornets select Julian Wright. He fell a little ways, but I think that’s a good choice. If he reaches his potential, that could be crazy. Dick Vitale is on drugs, and just suggested that ten players will average in double figures this season.

5:56 pm I really enjoy Julian Wright. He sounded really nervous. But I like that kid a lot. He was the pick I wanted the Blazers to make before we got the first pick.

5:59 pm With the fourteenth pick of the draft, the Clippers select Al Thornton. Maybe they trade his rights? Or maybe they just picked the best player available. That doesn’t sound like the type of pick that the Clippers would make. Stephen A. Smith says that Thornton is exactly what the Clippers need. And my brother makes a good point, Smith just said that they had to draft a guard.

6:05 pm With the fifteenth pick of the draft, the Pistons select Rodney Stuckey. I expected that one. My friend Julie is going to be a freshman basketball player at Eastern Washington, and I know that this has nothing to do with her, but that’s fantastic anyway. Bilas just called Stuckey a poor man’s Dwyane Wade. I still think this is a good pick for Detroit.

6:10 pm Stephen A. just ignored Mike Tirico’s question and said a bunch of crap. That was great. The Wizards are on the clock.

With the sixteenth pick in the draft, Washington selects Nick Young. Yup, he was the best guy left. That’s the right decision, I think. Although I can’t help but think about Bryce Taylor from Oregon when I see Nick Young, since it was against Young that Taylor shot 100% in the Pac-10 tournament. Taylor also held Young to three points in that game, I think.

6:13 pm Stuart Scott just said that the NBA drafted Nick Young. And the Knicks just traded with the BLAZERS. WHAT?!?!?!?!?.

I have no idea what I should think about this. Stephen A. Smith loves this move for the Knicks, which makes me think I probably like this for Portland.

6:16 pm With the seventeenth pick in the draft, the Nets just selected Sean Williams.
Okay, the Blazers got rid of danger Dan Dickau, which was necessary, Fred Jones (a player I like but who isn’t really necessary), and Zach Randolph to open up the front court for Greg and LaMarcus.

My brother thinks that Portland has to trade JJ now to allow Steve Francis to start, but I don’t really want to get rid of Jack. I am at a loss still as to what I should think about this.
I think the Blazers must have something else in the works. My brother suggests that Steve Francis might fit into a multi-team deal with the Lakers. I trust Pritchard, and I think Isiah is a terrible GM, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we use this.

6:22 pm With the eighteenth pick, the Warriors selected a foreign player. That makes sense. Marco Belinelli is the pick.

6:28 pm Stephen A. is screaming about the Lakers. I can’t stand him. I wonder if the Lakers are picking for Portland right now.

With the nineteenth pick of the draft, Los Angeles selects Javaris Crittenton, Huh. I don’t know much about him, but I’ve heard comparisons to another strong Georgia Tech PG, Jarrett Jack.

6:31 pm I’m eating right now, so hopefully I can deal with the upcoming Blazers trade news better.

6:35 pm With the twentieth pick, the Heat select Jason Smith. That seems like a good pick here, considering Miami’s needs and Smith’s talent.

6:42 pm With the twenty-first pick, the 76ers select Daequan Cook from Ohio State. It sounds like Philly and Miami traded the last two picks, which seems like a good choice by the Sixers.

6:45 pm The more I think about the Blazers trade, the more I think it’s all about the future. Channing Frye is someone I was thinking about before we got the first pick to play up front with Aldridge. I think he could develop into a great third man in that rotation. I have to believe that Franchise is going to be traded either today or before the end of next week.

6:48 pm With the twenty-second pick, the Bobcats select Jared Dudley. He looked like a good player in the game footage I watched today on ESPN.

6:53 pm With the twenty-third pick, the Knicks select Wilson Chandler from DePaul. I know nothing about this guy. I can’t even think about anything right now while I’m trying to figure this thing out.

6:57 pm Man, the Blazers are busy this year again, just as I thought. They bought this next pick from Phoenix, and it sounds like they’re going to draft Fernandez for Portland. That’s who I wanted with a late first round pick. And that just happened. I did a little research about him last week, and I was really happy with him. But he fits Portland, he isn’t that old, and I think he’s pretty good. Man, I don’t know what to think about anything, but I sure believe that Pritchard knows what he’s doing.

7:05 pm With the twenty-fifth pick, the Jazz select Morris Almond. At this point I’m not contributing much as far as analysis goes.

7:11 pm With the twenty-sixth pick, the Rockets selected Aaron Brooks from Oregon. Dang, good choice by Houston. I love Brooks, and I had a ton of confidence in him during this whole season.

7:13 pm Andy Katz is back to talk about trades. Milwaukee doesn’t know yet if Yi will actually go to Milwaukee.

7:19 pm With the twenty-seventh pick, the Pistons select Arron Afflalo. He was picked after Brooks and should have been second to Brooks in Pac-10 player of the year voting.

7:25 pm The Spurs just picked Tiago Splitter. I think that's a smart pick.

7:47 pm It was just announced that Charlotte traded Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson. All the analysts think this was a bad move, but it makes sense to me. I missed a few of the last couple picks, so here they are: pick 28 was Splitter, 29 was Alando Tucker to the Spurs, 30 was Petteri Koponen to the 76ers, 31 was Carl Landry to the Sonics, 32 was Gabe Pruitt to the Celtics.

7:52 pm The Spurs just selected Marcus Williams from Arizona. I keep waiting to see if the Blazers are going to end up moving Franchise again. The Mavericks just drafted Nick Fazekas, which I think is a good pick for them.

7:55 pm The Celtics just got Glen Davis, which could be good with Al Jefferson up front. Wow, Jay Bilas just made an "Oprah-is-fat" joke.

8:00 pm The Blazers are up again. So much has gone on in the last year. It turns out that Portland bought Petteri Koponen. I just sighed and smiled. And now Portland has another pick. They just drafted one of Oden's favorite guys, Josh McRoberts. Apparently he's a great passer and good defender. Holy crap, the Blazers are just doing crazy things again.

8:15 pm The Blazers are up again. They had all the ESPN guys gushing about how well the draft was going.

8:18 pm Okay, it's time for Portland's pick, but it seems likly that this pick is going to Philly. The Bobcats trade for Jason Richardson was just confirmed. The Blazers just picked Derrick Byars. Okay, Byars was picked for the 76ers in the Koponen trade.

8:26 pm I'm really looking forward to seeing what Portland does in the next week. Will they do a buy-out with Franchise? Will they ship him somewhere? What are they going to do with all those picks? Will they re-sign Outlaw and Udoka? Will they try to convince one of the small forwards on the market to take the mid-level exception to come play with Oden? Kevin Pritchard is a genius.

8:34 pm The Sonics/Celtics trade was just finally announced, and now the Lakers have drafted Pual Gasol's little brother.

I'm a little disappointed that the only Blazers jersey I've ever drafted is now out of date. Maybe Oden will change his mind on number 52 and decide to wear 50 in Portland. Then maybe I can just change this jersey a little bit.

9:06 pm The draft is over. Check ESPN if you want to know who was picked. I've been trying to edit this picture for the last few minutes. Here's my first attempt on Photoshop in a while.

9:20 pm Sportscenter is covering the draft now, and they all agree that Portland did amazing things for a second straight year. I agree. Jay Bilas thought may Blazers had the best draft day, and he thought that J-Lew's Hawks had the worst day. I disagree, and I hope that Horford and Law turn into great players for Atlanta. That's all from eastern Oregon.

If I broke my neck (this is how I did it)

Sunday afternoon I finally left Roseburg, When I pulled out of the Walker's driveway, leaving the house on the hill, my car was pretty full of junk. I stopped by MyCoffee to get one last drink at my favorite spot. Three of my favorite workers were all there, and they gave me one last drink on the house. Then I picked up an ice chest full of cherries for my parents. With that, knowing that everything I needed to do in Roseburg was done, I pulled out of town and headed north on interstate five. On the way up I stopped in Eugene. I decided to use my student discount one last time at the University of Oregon bookstore. I ended up getting iWork '06 with Pages and Keynote, Final Cut Express HD, and Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0. I thought about getting some Duck clothing as well, but decided against spending any more after dropping a decent amount on computer programs. I made my way up the rest of the state to Portland to stay with my grandma, the whole way listening to various podcasts from this month that I might have missed. Most of these podcasts were The Big Show with Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman, but I also caught up on Sports Business Radio with Brian Berger.
When I got to my grandma's place she was in the dining room eating dinner, so I joined her right then. After we finished we hurried upstairs to watch the end of the Oregon State baseball game. I was excited to watch the Beavers finish their second straight college world series championship.

Monday morning I had breakfast with my grandma and then took off for the Lloyd Center in Portland. I decided to park my car there and take MAX downtown, not only because it would save me money--since my departure and arrival locations are part of fare-less square--but also because I wanted to feel the buzz in Portland over the draft that would be happening later during the week on Thursday. To my disappointment, there was no palpable excitement over the draft, and there wasn't even any excitement over the Beavers' win from the night before. The disappointment wasn't too much, since I was going to Powell's City of Books. Once I got there I found the book I was hoping to find. Red hot and Rollin' by Matt Love is a collection of essays and articles about the 1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers NBA championship team. It also includes a DVD of the documentary Fast Break. I picked up my book, went back to my car, and drove the rest of the way to Arlington Oregon to join my family.

I was able to help work on the new house a little on Monday before my brother and I headed out to our aunt and uncle's ranch. Once there we watched that DVD. It was fantastic, and helped us get even more excited for the draft. Of course, so did all the NBA coverage we were watching on ESPN.

Tuesday we got up and went back into town to do more work on the sewer plumbing. After getting some of it done and taking lunch, my dad decided that we'd done enough and it was too hot to work any more. So Stephen and I drove down to the park to play frisbee and go swimming. We played frisbee for a while in the sun before deciding to cool off in the pseudo swimming hole. Arlington is right on the Columbia River, and back in the 1950Õs the original version of downtown was destroyed when they built several dams further down the river. The dams flooded the area that had been downtown and created a permanent inlet. Stephen and I swam there all the time when we lived in Arlington as little kids and when we would come to visit our cousins. To show my seriousness about cooling off I tore down the beach and got ready to dive in. Knowing that the water stayed shallow for a long time, I made sure to do a shallow dive. But it had been so long since I had swam there that I forgot just how shallow for how long the water stayed. As I did my shallow dive with my hands out in front of me, I somehow managed to catch the sand with my head.

As I entered the water my I continued too fast to the bottom, hitting the top of my head. The immediate feeling like electricity that went through my body was fairly cliche, as was the flash of light in my head. What wasn't cliche was the lack of feeling in my extremities as soon as that happened. When I hit and started floating up I could no longer feel my toes, fingers, feet, hands, legs, or arms. My brain was still sending orders to my limbs, and they were following orders, but they weren't sending confirmation back to my brain. I flipped myself over so that I was facing up, but as hard as I tried I couldn't tell if I was going to surface. As I was underwater I thought that I would need to kick to get Stephen's attention, in case I didn't surface. I wasn't too scared at that point, just realistic in my awareness that I wouldn't be able to hold my breath for too long. I did make it to the top of the water before Stephen got there, and I was able to yell at him.
I can't move anything. Come pull me into shore. I'm serious, I can't move anything.
He did pulled me in to the edge of the water, where I told him to stop. I'm not sure why I told him to stop, except that I must have thought we were further up the beach. As it was he had to hold my head up out of the edge of the water. While I lied there I continued to try to move my extremities. After 30 seconds or so I could feel tingling in my feet and toes. Then I could move them and feel things normally. Then the same thing happened in my hands and fingers. After a few more seconds all the body parts that had been numb were back with full feeling. Once I was sure that I could feel everything again, I decided to stand up. Stephen helped me get up and walk around a bit. By this time the lifeguard had come over to see what she could do, been told that she couldn't do anything, and stayed right by us as I tried to regain feeling. Another lady was already calling 911. When I got up the lifeguard asked if I wanted her to tell the lady to call off the ambulance, since I appeared to be okay. I told her that seemed like a good idea.

I went up to our bench for a little while, rested on the grass, and then went back into the water a bit to rinse some of the sand out of my hair. After rinsing a bit--and doing a terrible job--I went back up by the bench. At this point the ambulance pulled in and the paramedics came down to us. I told them that they were looking for me. They wanted to take me to the hospital in the ambulance after strapping me to a backboard, just to be sure. I appreciated their concern, and decided to call mom and dad to see what they thought. The biggest reason I wasn't sure is that I am currently without health insurance, so I knew my cost would be really high. They made me paranoid enough that I consented, thus embarking on one of the most annoying trips of my life. Being strapped to a backboard is a terrible experience. Riding in an ambulance isn't much better. Not being able to move at all for five hours is the worst of all. the nearest hospital is in The Dalles, which is 50 miles away from Arlington. In the emergency room they sent me in for a CT scan. Eventually the doctor came in and told me that the CT scan was negative. He finally let me move, and I was freed from all the stabilizing apparatuses. He wanted to see my range of motion a little, and then I walked down to the bathroom, something I'd needed since I got in the ambulance. When I got back the doctor was sheepish and had me lay back down. He thought the two radiologists said that the head and neck were both negative on the CT scan, but they actually hadn't finished reading the neck yet. At that point he put a new neck brace on me, one of the stiff, ridiculous braces. Eventually they did read the neck, deciding that I was probably fine. They thought I had an old injury on one of my vertebrae, what looked to them like a chip fracture. The doctor said that this injury, even if it had happened during my accident, would not be too bad, but that an MRI would be necessary to determine for sure what was going on with my neck. He was especially concerned about ligament damage at that point.

My family and I came back to Arlington, then my mom took me back to the hospital on Wednesday. After the MRI they decided that the only thing wrong with me was bruising and swelling in my neck. I still have really limited range of motion, and the pain can get bad enough that I appreciate the Vicodin prescription. But there's basically nothing wrong with me. I'm glad all the tests were done so that we could be sure, but that's a high price to pay to be told I'm going to be fine. I now have a soft neck brace, and the only things the doctor told me I should do to speed my healing is wear that brace and ice my neck. I can't wait to see what the bill is for all this stuff.

Then again, I'm really glad that the hospital took care of me without insurance, and that they had the capabilities to check all the possibilities and make sure I'd be okay. My brother joked that I was trying to get out of helping them work on the house, and my parents suggested I was making sure that I'd get to watch the entire draft on Thursday. I'm glad we can joke about it now, because it was the sort of thing that wouldn't have been very funny for a two minute chunk on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Oden all the time

Greg Oden is in Portland right now, which is pretty great. has tons of stuff about his visit. In fact, I was going to post some of it but have decided against it because of how through they've been over there. If you want to read all sorts of things about the visit to Portland, then you should check that link.

I did want to include one quote from him, though. When asked how he would respond if not picked first in the draft, this is what Oden said:
I’ll cry. I don’t know. It has to happen for me to know. I would be a little disappointed because it’s starting to grow on me – the trees, I love it out here.
Hopefully the trees aren't the only thing that's been growing on him, but it's still nice to hear him say something like that. (Thanks to Jason at Hoopsworld for that.)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oden vs. Durant and the left coast vs. the world

This morning while I was showering and shaving I was thinking again about the Oden/Durant debate. It came up in my mind because of this article I read this morning. The first part describes the über-cool plan to send Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge to the airport to meet Greg Oden when he arrives in Portland on Tuesday, and then again to meet Kevin Durant when he shows up on Thursday. The only problem I have with this is the State of the Union corollary. The part that brought the debate back into my mind is included here in full because of how much is said in the post:
Even though many have conceded the Blazers drafting Oden with the No. 1 pick, Pritchard shot down the notion on Friday. He was adamant that anybody who feels Oden is the sure-fire pick should watch Durant's March 3 game during which he scored 25 first-half points against Kansas. One week later, in the Big 12 championship game, Durant had 37 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against Kansas.

In the article, Pritchard labels himself as "a risk taker" who is "not afraid to go against the current."

My sense is that Pritchard is sending smoke screens. But I have always said this: during the winter, when Pritchard and I would talk in passing before Blazers games, he would always rave about Durant. And shortly after the Blazers won the draft lottery, Pritchard admitted that his scouting staff would probably concur that he was leaning toward Durant.

This much is known: McMillan likes both players, but is clearly leaning toward Oden.

Also, Pritchard loves Durant, but is also enamored with the potential of an Aldridge-Oden frontline that would evoke memories of the Spurs title tandem of David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Another nugget: Pritchard says that Roy and Aldridge are leaning toward favoring different players. Which ones? Who knows.
I am still very much in the Oden camp, but reading all that made me start thinking about the possibility of swapping picks with Seattle and getting some more value out of it. That started me thinking about how good both teams could get with these picks this year, which pushed me into thinking about the impact it could have on the league.

The Sports Guy keeps insisting that the draft shouldn't reward teams who are always bad and who consistently make bad decisions in the front office. It's here in a question he asks David Stern, and I think he's mentioned it in other columns, though I can't find it. He thinks it's better for the league if teams who are doing things the right way end up with the best picks. You know what? I agree with him. And I think that's why the result of this year's lottery is so good. Of course I love the results because I'm a Blazer fan, and because I think the west coast--and pacific northwest in particular--gets crapped on by the media. But I also think these things need to be considered when measuring the value of the lottery:
The Blazers are clearly doing things the right way. Last year they drafted better than maybe any team has in a while, making all those draft day deals to bring in three players who are really great players and really great people. The team played well together this year, and they have a great coach and a great front office. The Sonics, despite all the turmoil with the ownership and the city, have done a good job with that too. Sure, they've been drafting centers every year. But they've also made good moves to bring in Ray Allen and Chris Wilcox, they just hired another Spurs alum in Sam Presti, and they should make a move to re-sign Rashard Lewis. These teams are both moving toward contention. They both have good basketball traditions that have recently been floundering. Even if the Sonics leave Seattle, they'll be moving to a place that will respond well to a great team. In addition to those things, the two teams have a decent rivalry that will only improve as they both get better. The last thing that is really good about the results of the lottery is that it will force people to care at least a little bit about what's happening in the pacific northwest. I don't care if people will have to stay up later to watch the games. ESPN will have more highlights from both teams, which will generate more interest in both teams, which will result in more people biting the bullet and staying up to see both teams play on TV. Oh yeah, it will also result in more of those games actually being on TV.

So there you go. A while ago my friend J-Lew asked me to write what I thought about all the claims being made that this lottery result was bad for the NBA. I've finally done it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


In my explanation of the name the Sports Bigamist, point number three was that I'd cheered for the spurs whenever they weren't playing the Blazers as long as I could remember. I loved David Robinson, and I started cheering for Tim Duncan when he was a senior at Wake Forest. So while some people may be upset that the Spurs just swept the Cavs, I'm actually pretty excited. I enjoyed watching the Spurs play well and show me a vision of what I think the Blazers could be in a few years. That was fun.

Greg Oden chat

I didn't end up listening to the live chat Jason Quick did with Greg Oden today, so I downloaded it and am listening to it now. Also, Oden's blog has a great story today about getting to sit down with Bill Russell, Bill Walton, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, and Bob Lanier. That's some pretty good company, and it's a nice little post about learning from them. I get more and more excited about this kid being a Blazer each day we get closer to the draft.

Some of the questions that people have submitted are pretty lame, but I think Oden has responded gracefully and answered them all well. He just responded to one about his lack of offensive initiative by referencing his injured wrist and then taking a veiled shot at Matta's coaching ability. He also just said that he originally suggested to Matta that he should red shirt when he first injured his wrist.

He's pretty happy that a lot of his friends are talking about how much bigger he looks. He considers that a compliment.

The thing he'll miss most about Ohio State is interacting with the student body.

SHOCK! Losing the national championship left a bad feeling in Oden's mouth. Wow, I would never have guessed that. Sheesh Quick, lame question. But at least Oden's anxious to get back on the court to get the bad feelings from the championship out of his head.

He plans to participate in summer league and Team USA.

The possible summer league lineup for Portland should absolutely demolish everyone else in Vegas. Oden sounds genuinely excited about the potential of playing with Aldridge, Roy, Rodriguez, and Webster.

Oden just scoffed at the notion that he doesn't care enough about excelling. His answer to those people? "Look at my record." Man, I have a huge crush on this guy.

Now Oden is talking about that event I already mentioned. Oden says that being in the room with those legends made him feel "like a little peon."

Oden wanted to talk to David Robinson more than any of the others, but he says that Bill Russell spoke the most. Robinson stressed that Oden needs to have realistic expectations and know that it will take time to become as good as he can be.
Oden says he's been working on his jumper and people will be surprised by it. He says that his range is out to about 17 feet.

He's been doing a twenty minute two ball dribbling drill for warm-ups, and he credits that for helping him develop his ball handling skills.

I think Quick's about to ask Oden on a date...nope, just asking him if he'll get involved with the community in Portland. It sounds like Oden could interact with the city a bit like Walton did.

Oden's summer movie review: Knocked Up was hilarious. He saw it twice, one of those times in Orlando with Josh McRoberts and JJ Redick. Oden thinks this movie was funnier than Wedding Crashers. Oden didn't like the second Hostel movie. Nice work there, Greg.

Oden likes being able to share his thoughts on the blog, and says that people have to edit it so he doesn't share too much on his blog. That's fantastic. The type of stuff they're cutting out of the blog? Detail stuff, but he's not supposed to talk about it. Geez.

Oden says that no one should pay $50 just to watch him, but they should pay it to come watch their team represent the city, play good basketball, have fun, and compete. Although Oden says he did pay to see LeBron.

Oden says that when Verejao got the ball on Tuesday, everyone in the crowd was saying "NO" together.

Good question: Quick just asked Oden if he's been studying the Blazers and the team's history. Russell even told him that he knew everything about all the guys on the team before he joined the Celtics. Oden says he's going to do some research about the Blazers, and that Walton already told him some things. In addition to that, Oden has already met Freddie Jones. They've been friends since Jones played in Indiana. That's nice.

Oden sees benefits to playing on a young team and on a veteran team, and doesn't have a preference.

Oden would love to lean on Bill Russell for advice in the future and was really glad for the chance to listen to him. Oden gave Russell his phone number, and he plans on emailing Russell soon.

Ooh, here are some questions about Oden and Mike Conley, Jr. Oden repeats what he's said before, that Conley wants to get out from Oden's shadow and prove himself, even though Conley would never say that.

Another good question, this one about Oden's knowledge of Maurice Lucas and his reputation as an enforcer. Walton told Oden that Lucas was the best Blazer player ever, and Oden met Lucas in Orlando, but not much else. Still, to have Walton say that about Lucas, that's pretty good. Wow.

Oden says that the main reason he has the beard is that he's too lazy to cut it off.

Apparently Oden only has a few nicknames: GO and Big G. Those are both lame. Hopefully Dave at Blazer's Edge will come up with some good new ones. (Here's what he did for Sergio Rodriguez and Gilbert Arenas.)

Another great questions, wondering what number Oden would want in Portland. 20 has already been retired (it was Maurice Lucas's number).

Which Florida guy was tougher to guard? The jumper of Horford was harder to deal with, but Noah's height and moves were tough to deal with.

The workout schedule has been impacted by some of the media things that Oden has been doing, but not too much.

This is what Oden has to say to Blazers fans:
I'm going to be in Portland on the 19th, I'm probably going to go out and get something to eat, don't be afraid to say hi, 'cause I'm going to be going in there I'm going to be able to meet people and see how the people are in Portland so don't be afraid to say hi. Just, if I'm eating, you might not want to come over there, 'cause that's when I get in my dog mode. If you come over there you might come back missing a limb.
That finished the interview. I really enjoyed listening, and hope that Oden does join the Blazers on June 28. If you want to listen for yourself, here it is.


Yesterday I drove up to Eugene and turned in my packet of paperwork. That means I am finished with my licensure program at the University of Oregon. I'm still pretty giddy about it, so much so that students were getting pretty frustrated with me this morning as they walked in to take their math final. I still have some things to get done, mainly relating to my new job in Compton, the move from here, and getting rid of my old car. It is so nice to be finished with my program. I also will have to finish my M.Ed soon, but that's not as frustrating to me because it involves more classes and research and writing, the stuff I like.

Blazer's Edge is doing a really cool mock draft right now, and the Blazers have pulled off three trades during it. I'm not sure I would be very happy if Portland did that in reality, but it's still a really cool idea that is being executed well. Portland's lineup for next year, considering the mock draft and the trades, looks like this:

PG Andre Miller/Sergio Rodriguez/Dan Dickau
SG Brandon Roy/Martell Webster/Freddie Jones
SF Kyle Korver/Julian Wright/Ime Udoka
PF LaMarcus Aldridge/Travis Outlaw/Raef LaFrentz
C Greg Oden/Steven Hunter/(Raef LaFrentz)

Of course this assumes the re-signing of Outlaw and Udoka, and doesn't include the next pick in the mock draft, which the Blazers just acquired. With the draft pick added in the Blazers would have 16 men on their roster (including Darius Miles). That is one more than they can carry, so either Miles would have to retire, the team would have to cut someone, or they would have to make a two-for-one deal. Regardless, I hope they use this mock draft pick to select Rudy Fernández. Draftexpress says this about him:
Rudy Fernández is a talented and skilled shooting guard who shows almost every characteristic that a player at his position should display. He's very intense and plays the game with passion. Gifted with very nice athleticism, his main strength is his versatility in the offensive end. The kid can flat out shoot the ball, including three-pointers, with polished mechanics and a good quick release. A clear clue of his ability is his remarkable free throw percentage. Also, his shot selection is very efficient.
This one is from the new Rookiepedia:
A very good athlete, who is able to use his quickness to get to the hoop, and jumping ability to finish strong. Good ball handler and passer, who could run the offense at least part time. Solid shooter with legit 3 point range. Good basketball IQ. Always plays under control, and has an excellent first step, which he understands how to use.
Each of these sites compares Fernández to Kevin Martin, with Rookiepedia also comparing him favorably to Cuttino Mobley and Manu Ginobili, and DraftExpress saying that Martin is the best case comparison while Sasha Vujacic is the worst case comparison. I like this guy, and if the Blazers really do go crazy with trades again to get three picks, I like him as the third after Oden and Wright.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quick and Oden

For anyone who wants to hear Greg Oden talk to people from Portland, there's a live chat tomorrow afternoon. I'm pretty excited. Here's a link to the page, in case you're interested.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just in case

If you didn't check out the links to the ESPN coverage of the 1977 Blazers, you should do it. They have more video footage on those pages from a documentary made about the team from that year, and it's pretty incredible. Plus, the story of Portland's team that year is too good. As a fan it's hard not to compare the Lucas-Walton combination to the possible Aldridge-Oden combination.

I also wanted to include a link to these stats. Back in 1984 Portland drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. Team executives thought a great center was the last piece of the puzzle, and Bowie was the best guy available after Houston drafted Olajuwon. We all know that Jordan turned into a superstar, and that Bowie was a huge bust because of injuries. But as people continue to bring up the "mistake" we made, I decided to check the numbers. Bowie was on the all-rookie team that year, and averaged 10 points, almost 3 blocks, almost 3 assists, and 8 and a half rebounds per game. It was also the one of only three seasons during his career in which he played more than 70 games. Sure, that doesn't mean he would have been what we hoped for without the injuries, but I do think it shows that he wasn't a wasted pick.

Even closer

As long as I finish the rest of my paperwork tonight, which I count on happening at an hour that isn't too late, I'll be done with my program at the University of Oregon tomorrow afternoon. It's so nice to know I'm juuuuust almost done. This afternoon I've been taking a little break to read more about the Blazers. ESPN has done a nice job of putting up this spread about Portland's championship in 1977, to go along with the video link I posted yesterday.

This was also a nice little post about the new brand of GM in the NBA, and I love what it says about Portland GM Kevin Pritchard. Among other things, it says that he
completely destroyed everyone else in the 2006 draft thanks to massive balls; will destroy almost everyone this year thanks to ping pong balls.
I really like that quote.

Alright, back to work on getting my program done.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So very close

I am working pretty hard right now on finishing the crap for my program that still needs to get done. It's going pretty well. I shouldn't be too surprised, since I have as much practice at putting things off as I do at getting them done. Somehow I'm a little surprised anyway. My friend Justin should be home pretty soon, and when he gets back we'll probably relax in the hot tub for a little while, so I thought I'd get a jump on the break from taking care of paperwork by writing a quick post.

Here are a few nice links. This one is to the ESPN video about the 1977 Blazers. I really wish I could see more video about this team, and I look forward to getting the book Red Hot and Rollin'. It comes with a documentary about that year and that team.

I was also recently introduced to Greg Oden's blog. Yeah, this blog has been confirmed by several people to actually be written by Oden. It's just one more thing that gets me excited for the Oden era in Portland. I have moved to a place where I REALLY hope we draft him. It has some great video on the site, too.

I also need to complain for one second about my fantasy baseball league. I had a decent draft, I've had at least two great free agent acquisitions, and I turned down a trade with the guy that fleeced several other league members. In addition, when the power rankings are figured out by my friend J-Lew (using roto league rules) I fare well. As of today the power rankings have me in fourth place. What am I complaining about? My luck has been atrocious. I currently sit in eighth place out of ten. Of the only two people below me, one was the infamous and accidentally-invited "other" Josh Carlton. He hasn't put any effort into the league. The other guy below me is James, and he has a history of, well, losing in fantasy sports. Alright, the rant is over and I should get back to finishing my teaching license.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

An epic failure

This week has been crazy. It was the last regular week of school, so we were reviewing in all of our classes. I hadn't filmed a lesson yet, so I had to do that. Also, I have a ton of paperwork that is supposed to be completely turned in by next Wednesday. I was asked to speak this Wednesday at our last cohort meeting at the University of Oregon. Also, this weekend is graduation. On top of that, my brother was driving through last night and I wanted to hang out with him.

Today I was scheduled to take several tests for my teaching license. When I got into the program I beat the system a little because I only had to past a test that showed them I knew some math. The test I took was the Praxis II for middle school math. I signed up to take the Advanced math content knowledge and proof tests today.

All this stuff added together is what lead to my epic failure. Today I got up around 5:00, saw my brother off, and then got my stuff together to head north to the test. I made sure I checked online last night to see what I needed to have with me, and this morning I took care to have my admission ticket and calculator right where they needed to be. I drove the hour north, parked, and walked over to the testing center fairly confident that I would pass both tests.

But I didn't.

In fact, I didn't even get to take them. Somehow in my leaving this morning I failed to keep my wallet in my pocket. Either it got pushed out while I was sitting on the couch checking my fantasy baseball score, or I just never grabbed it. I didn't figure it out until I got to the testing center, so I walked back to my car to see if it had fallen out there. Nope. I drove up to Eugene with no license, the only thing besides the admission ticket I had to have to get into my test this morning. It was a colossal mistake. Fortunately I can transfer my test registration to one in August, but that means I won't be certified to teach anything above Algebra 1 next year. Well, maybe it could still happen, but when Compton is trying to place me in a class it will be harder now. My wallet is the one thing I always have with me, and it's the one thing I forgot this morning. So ridiculous and ironic.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blogging from school (again)

It's pretty funny that the school's web security blocks Facebook, my University of Oregon email account, and Gmail while leaving me free to use blogger if I want. Students are taking a quiz right now, so I don't feel too bad about writing a quick blog update.

I was lucky enough to turn the game on with 8:00 to go in the fourth quarter last night. I don't need to write about how amazing it was, because everyone else is doing that. I'll agree, though: that was amazing. LeBron was unbelievable. In fact, I still don't believe most of the things I saw. I don't know if that means he and the Cavs can now be unstoppable, but last night he would not let them lose.

More importantly, Steve Kerr--you know, the Suns new President and GM--was wearing my tie. It looked almost as good on national TV as it does on me. The biggest difference is that I bought mine for 10 bucks at Ross, and he probably overpaid. Hopefully he works like that as a GM, too.

The more I read or watch in the great Oderant debate, the more I think the choice is impossible. Thanfully I don't have to make it, but I don't know how someone could pass on either of these guys. That interview is going to be really important.