October 5, 2009

Blazers Fanfest Non-Recap

The Rose Garden was zooming, it was packed to the nose-bleeds, and we were...sitting on our couch at home.  I now know that leaving for Blazers Fan Fest an hour early isn't early enough!  When you drive up MLK and you can't find a parking spot within 30 blocks, and you hear from friends that 12,000 bum-rushed the RG at the crack of 5, you know you better just go back home.  So with a pint of Sierra Nevada Estate 2009 in hand, I watched the glorified scrimmage from home.  (Go me!)

And on to some reactions to an un-earned MVP award, Batum dominating, an Oden rebirth,  and a smooth new jumper from Mr. Bayless.
  • Steve Blake and Andre Miller:  Is it just me, or does it feel like everyone in Portland is blatantly pulling against Andre Miller aside from Nate McMillan?  The Tweets, some media, and even fans seem to be outright cheering for Steve Blake to get the starting nod and minutes over a guy that has been a part of the elite class of point guards in this league for 10+ years now.  At some point I'll stop writing these posts, but for a city that seems so inviting and accepting, you all don't seem to want to accept a guy that is likely the missing piece to taking this franchise to the top.  I'm hearing complaints that he was on cruise control and not at full speed yet Roy and Aldridge were simply going through the motions yet no one seems to mind.  And handing the MVP award to an exagerrated 11 assists and a hot shooting night to a guy in the middle of the toughest battle on the team doesn't make a whole lot of sense coming from the organization.
  • Batum...Wow:   The best player on the floor last night?  Nicolas Batum.  Aside from getting clowned by Oden on a reverse two-hander, Batum did whatever he wanted to in this scrimmage.  He shot well, defended, ran the break with ease, out-rebounded bigs, and solidifed his spot in the starting lineup.  We're just hoping that his performance warrants a hell of a lot more than the 18.4 minutes a game he was sheltered to last season.
  • I saw an Oden Shimmy!:  Yes, we saw the shimmies and then we also saw the airball left hooks, the airball right hooks, and a lack of a mysterious jumper.  It wasn't all negative though, as this was the first sign of Greg's new confidence that will turn him into the contributor this team was hoping for all along.  His play may have looked sloppy at times, but he was able to showcase his offseason efforts and give hope to the Oden honks throughout the nation.  
  • Bayless is Smooth:  All that extra time in the gym is starting to payoff for Jerryd Bayless.  Instead of tossing up swooping palm-balls, his jumper now looks fluid and picture-esque.  Unfortunately, he still can't dribble with his left hand which is definitely not ideal for a point guard.  However, you almost get the feeling this team has given up on trying to turn him into one.  Drafted as a scoring guard, he was mixed in last night and at recent practices as an off-guard to Steve Blake and he thrived.
Other quickies.
  • Haarlow:  How many people were asking about Rebecca Haarlow last night?  First thing I heard from someone when the coverage came live onto Comcast SportsNet, was "Where's that other blonde girl?"  We love ya, Haars.
  • Fan Fest:  I'm not sure I could have handled all the crazy kids last night.  With that said, I'm glad that the organization is still able to put together a free event that everyone can enjoy, especially during tough economic times.
  • Martell:  Looks to have a ton of confidence which has always been his something missing.
  • Outlaw:  Keep the hair!
  • Joel:  Showing his age?
  • Miller:  Still looks to be saving himself for the season.  Let's hope his age isn't starting to become a factor as well.
  • Rudy:  Nothing really to point out from Rudy's performance last night.  Had the ball in his hands more as promised, but didn't impress.  Anyone else get scared when he does his one-handed outstretched hook pass?  Can you telegraph that thing anymore?
  • Cunningham:  Pretty sure if this guy was on another team he'd be logging some minutes this year.
  • Howard:  He'll definitely be an asset.  Got to love that veteran poise.
  • LaMarcus/Roy:  Didn't completely take the night off, but they have nothing to prove.

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Sheed 10/5/09, 10:37 AM  

So you showed up and then bailed? You should have snuck into Schonely's with us!

kellex 10/5/09, 11:05 AM  

Hah yeah I cruised over at like 5:00 and drove in like a 30 block radius and found zero parking spots, then talked to someone who was watching on TV and told me that 12,000 people were basically waiting outside for the doors to open.

At that point I said screw it and made it home in time to catch the full scrimmage at least. Now I know for next year!

Anonymous 10/5/09, 11:23 AM  

If anything, I think Andre has gotten more slack from the public and media than I would have figured, based on his less than accommodating way with the press etc. Quite the opposite from your biased view. Just another Blake hater who can't accept the reality that Steve is better than they can admit.

If you think Andre was only cruising you're sadly mistaken. He was simply not nearly as effective as he can be, perhaps due to not being in game shape.

Roy purposely took it easy due to a tender hamstring and barely played in the second half. Not a bad "cruising" line from LA though (13 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists). Inflated assist totals? Likely a little so, but that goes for everyone on the floor though, not just Steve. Andre's "inflated" total? 5. Rudy's? 9. The MVP was legitimately up for grabs between Steve & Oden IMO. No conspiracy theories needed...

Kellen 10/5/09, 12:12 PM  

The only biased views are the blind fans purposely cheering for Steve Blake to be the starting point guard of this team.

At this point I could care less who starts because either will do a great job, but what's driving me nuts is all the bad press and reaction from fans to the newest signee.

For years this guy has been in the upper echelon of point guards which is something that has never and will never be said for Steve Blake.

When the season starts, and Andre Miller is on the floor at the end of games because of his actual on-court awareness, defensive physicality and prowess, and ability to control a team, I won't need to say "I told you so."

Anonymous 10/5/09, 12:40 PM  

Of course talking about "exaggerated" assists for Blake and some kind of paranoid idea that the city and media are rooting against Andre does not show any bias... Like I said, the media as a whole has been quite easy on Andre and have cut him much slack despite his lack of access. My comments have nothing to do with how good Andre is or isn't. I was only answering your contention regarding how he has been treated. Your reaction to my comments further reinforces the idea that you have some sort of axe to grind though.

For the record, you won't have to tell me anything because I am and have been an Andre supporter.

kellex 10/5/09, 12:51 PM  

No axe to grind to all. If you can't feel, read or sense the unwarranted love for Steve Blake right now over Andre Miller, then the conversation should just be over.

For the record, I couldn't stand Andre Miller until he was signed by Portland.

Anonymous 10/5/09, 3:46 PM  

LOL. Just exactly how is it that you "feel" and "sense" this groundswell of unwarranted love for Steve Blake over Andre? Do you get all tingly or something? As far as reading it goes, it's simply not the case.

So, prior to PDX signing Andre you hated him, and now all the sudden you think he's great? A good indication of your thinking process I guess....

kellex 10/5/09, 5:01 PM  

Explaining something to a wall is exciting.

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This Portland Trail Blazers blog definitely isn't your basic "recap/report the news" kind of blog. We tend to lean a little to the sporadic and unsystematic side of this young and sexy basketball team. Oh, and you'll definitely see a lot of Blazer Dancer action around here, so bring your bucket of ice.

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