Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Out Like Trout?

Travis Outlaw played the fourth most minutes of any player on the 54-win Blazers last year. The team frequently turned to him at the end of games when Brandon Roy was doubled. He's gotten progressively better every season he's been in the league. He works his ass off. Everyone on the team loves him.

Yet the brass still actively pursued Turkoglu and Millsap, throwing more money at those guys than Trout could ever dream of. Pritchard is probably on the phone right now trying to deal him for a mediocre backup PF.


His defense, mostly. Plus, he's been known to take some really bad shots. And with the addition of Andre Miller, one of the deepest teams in the league just got deeper. Dividing up all those minutes is nigh impossible, and people have really tried.

So what's next for Outlaw? Does he continue his upward trend or get buried on the bench behind Portland's glut of wings? Most Blazer fans would prefer the latter. He's become somewhat of a whipping boy, which is a stark contrast from the pre-Brandon era when he was a fan favorite and one of the team's few bright spots (no disrespect to Darius Miles, Zach Randolph and Ruben Patterson- ahem).

In a recent Tweet, Outlaw maintained a positive perspective: "I love all the doubt and negativity...feeding it all to the motivational flames. Keep it coming."

Somehow I don't think that'll be a problem.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

5 Stages Of NBA Relationships

People always say that basketball is a business. True. It's also a relationship between team and player. And with any relationship, there are ups and downs, highs and lows that both parties go through together, learning and adapting. Like marriage, it can be a difficult process but ultimately the bond is strengthened. Or broken.

Using this article as a template, I break down the 5 Stages Of NBA Relationships:

Stage 1- Romance
The GM is drooling over his prized new draft pick. The player is excited about playing professionally and making a name for himself. Both people are convinced that the player will be the Next Jordan and help the team win 2 titles a year for the ensuing decade. Pure fantasy. A honeymoon phase where endorphins are running high.

Stage 2- Disillusionment
GM realizes that player is not the Next Jordan, or even the Next Harpring. Player pouts when fans and media turn on him. Everyone starts pointing fingers. Trade talk comes from both sides. In a healthy relationship, this is where candid and honest communication is required to resolve conflict. In a league resplendent with egomaniacal douchebags, this rarely happens.

*NOTE: Portland and Bayless are absolutely buried in this stage right now.

Stage 3- Power Struggle
If the player hasn't been traded by this point, it probably means he's actually pretty good. Being pretty good means having some leverage. This is where borderline stars ask for outlandish amounts of money at the end of their rookie contracts. GMs hate this stage because fans and media are up their ass on a daily basis, pressuring them to break the bank for a relatively still-unproven talent (David Lee, anyone?). Skeevy agents usually add more fuel to the fire, saying things like "My guy is the Next Jordan." They're never right about this.

Stage 4- Stability
The deal gets done- the player's locked up long term. Player, agent, fans and media are happy. The GM's pissed that he overspent but what the fuck else could he do? Now the real danger sets in. The fat and happy player has nothing left to prove and absolutely no reason to stay in shape, listen to the coach, go to practice, learn plays, etc. However, if the player has good character (hah!) and appreciates everything the team has done for him, this can lead to the most wonderful phase of all.

Stage 5- Commitment
This is true love. Acceptance. They're best friends. In it together. The player will retire with that team because there's just no fucking way anything else could possibly happen. It's extremely rare that any player/team reach this phase. Bird/Celtics, Magic/Lakers, Dumars/Pistons, Reggie/Pacers, Duncan/ get the point. And most of these examples are prior to the Free Agency boom. Still, there's no question that long term commitment greatly enhances the reputation of player and organization alike. It's a win/win.

But, as I said at the top, the priority is always getting paid. To quote Method Man, "Dollar dollar bill, y'all."

Pictured: Laker love connection

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Loose Balls- Wednesday

*Marc Spears reports that Portland's taking a look at Andre Miller. Miller's career won/loss record is 380-440. In his defense, he's been on some dogshit teams, most notably the 99-00 Cavs whose best player was bloating, drunk-ass Shawn Kemp. However, Miller was also a member of the disastrous 02/03 Clips, a team that featured Elton Brand, Cory Maggette, Quentin Richardson (when he was good) AND Lamar Odom yet still only won 27 games. Miller also boasts a career .210 % from 3. Yuck. Still, he's a better starting option than Steve Blake. And he can post up any PG in the league. He gets to the FT line an average of 5 times a game. Pairing him with Brandon Roy means having the other team's backcourt in foul trouble every night (and lots of early bonus situations). Check out this spirited Miller debate going on at Dwight Jaynes' blog.

*Finally Kobe speaks up for Lamar Odom. As any Laker fan call tell you, when Kobe talks, the front office listens. A deal probably gets done any minute now.

*A great performance in Summer League means absolutely nothing. Remember Koko Archibong? Dude dominated last year. Now he's in the EuroLeague. So don't get too excited about Morrow/Randolph/Morrison just yet. Try and remember that they're playing against each other, not top-level NBA talent.

*Adios to romance novel cover-boy, Walter Herrmann. Add him to this esteemed list.

Photo and LOL caption by Blazers Edge

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Basketball Mural FAIL

Nothing fucks up a neighborhood quicker than a really hideous mural. I did some digging around and found a handful of true masterpieces with basketball as the central theme.

This is clearly supposed to be MJ but it looks more like the lovechild of Tyrone 'Horseface' Hill and Bo 'Don't Call Me Tyrone Hill' Outlaw. In an unintended hint at realism, the she-male masquerading as John Starks still can't guard him.

Whoever painted this piece of shit has obviously never picked up a basketball in his/her pathetic life. 'Prometheus, methinks the fiery orb hath magickal properties!'

And wouldn't this be waaaaay more effective if the maniacal disco pimp emerging from the burning meth lab was holding a human head instead of a basketball?

Indiana Pacers team mural 2009. Just kidding (kind of). This catastrophe commemorates the Fighting Green Dragons, famous for proudly rocking highwaisted short shorts and driving their Studebakers to the 'match.'

Got any crappy basketball murals? Send 'em my way.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aging Gracefully- Ur Doing It Wrong, AI

After watching this amazing dunkfest, I realized just how much explosiveness Allen Iverson's lost in the past few years. He's clearly a player in rapid decline and everyone in the league knows it. Everyone except him.

It's sad, especially considering what might have happened if AI was willing to stay in Philly and accept his new role as a mentor and role player. Check out this tearjerker clip of Reggie Miller's last game in Indy and tell me you can't picture AI going out like this with the Sixers- with class, dignity, admiration, the Philly fans all chanting his name, begging for him to come back for one more year.

That's the way it was supposed to be for Iverson.

Instead he's burned bridges and alienated fans in three cities and counting, all because he's not willing to accept the inevitable- that stars fade. It's not quite a debacle of Ali/Holmes proportions but it's getting there.

AI should dig through his crates of old records and have another listen to the timeless classic, The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. I think he might glean some wisdom from these powerful words:

You got to know when to hold �em
Know when to fold �em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

And for all you Jim Henson fans, here's a bizarre rendition of the song where a Muppet drinks and smokes himself to death. No, I'm not kidding.

Pictured: Twisted Piston

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Loose Balls- Sunday

*Sheed's signing officially ends the Mikki Moore Era. Huzzah! The Cs just got themselves a good post defender who can space the floor and defend 4s and 5s. Now Ainge needs to remedy the Shitbury Curse and it'll be all good in Boston, providing KG's health isn't an ongoing issue.

*Portland wanted Turkoglu. That didn't happen. Then they missed out on Trevor Ariza while the Turkish Turd was prick-teasing them. So....their new target is Utah backup PF Paul Millsap, a hustle guy who averaged 11/7 as a sub last year. Because of injuries to Carlos Boozeface, Millsap ended up starting 38 games and averaging 16/10 for 30 minutes during those starts. These fluke minutes drastically inflated his value- check out his splits here. Kevin Pritchard apparently didn't notice that Millsap is not, in fact, a starter and offered up 8 mil a season. For a backup PF. Who's generously listed at 6'8. Yeah. I love Millsap but not at that money. You don't pay a guy 8 mil for 20 minutes a game.

*Now that I have absolutely no reason to watch NBATV for three months, it gives me great pleasure to bid adieu to a slew of crappy commercials that drove me batshit crazy this season: that awful Haier electronics ad featuring the worst jingle in history ('We will gooo-ooo haiiii-errrrr'), the Snuggie, ProActiv Zit Cream, Better Basketball featuring the 'best shooter on the planet JJ Redick' (ha!), that slimming shirt/men's girdle from IS Athletics that covers up 'embarrassing body fat,' the Sunsetter Awning, and of course, the Shamwow and its coked up, hooker-smacking spokesdouche. Come to think of it, I won't miss the WNBA, either. Make a fricking layup, ladies!

*Miami GM (and notorious asshole) Pat Riley is playing hardball with DWade, saying the superstar should ink a deal first so that the team has a better chance at signing FAs. Not surprisingly, Wade's stance is that the Heat should get some players not named Jermaine O'Neal on-board before he commits long-term. Ready for the punchline? The team is currently negotiating with Allen Iverson- bwaaahaahaaa! There's NO WAY Wade believes that Iverson is the guy who puts Miami back into elite status. Nice try, Riley. Go read The Art Of War again- maybe it'll give you a tactical solution. Or you could dust off the ol' Ring Of Faith.

Pictured: Riles and Wade discuss who has a bigger ego

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Portland welcomed him with open arms and deep pocketbooks. The front office and fanbase were positively salivating after seeing Hedo Turkoglu make numerous big plays in leading the Orlando Magic to the Finals. It was supposedly a done deal- he was a Blazer.

Then he reneged on his verbal agreement and headed for Toronto.

Why did he do it? "How could he do this TO US?" Money's been mentioned, and it's true that he stands to bank an additional million or two. The Turkish population of Toronto could be a factor.

Personally, I think it's because he wants to be the second option instead of the third. In Portland, he'd get his shots and touches after Roy AND Aldridge. In Toronto, only Chris Bosh trumps him. They might even let him run point-forward duties when Calderon goes to the bench. He'll still get to initiate offense like he did for Orlando. And he'll still get to pad his stats, because he obviously doesn't give a shit about winning basketball games. Toronto? Please. They now have three of the worst defenders in the entire league in their starting lineup (Calderon, Turk, Bargnani). They'll be lucky to win half their games, even in the Leastern Conference.

So I speak for the entire city of Portland when I say 'Fuck you, Turkish Turd. Fuck you and your lame-ass poodle haircut. Enjoy your long offseasons 'cause you won't see the playoffs again for awhile.'

Pictured: bad poodle, no playoffs!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ron Artest, Poet Laureate

Barring some kind of Elton Brand-like bail out, Ron Artest will soon be a Laker. And every player/fan/employee of the Cavs, Celtics, Magic, Spurs, Blazers and Nuggets just had an 'Oops, I Crapped My Pants' moment.

How scary is this dude? You be the judge. Here are the lyrics to Booty Wooty, his collaboration with musical genius and erstwhile rapper, Will Smith:

Yo I�m so high
And that�s no lie
Throw ya blunt up in the sky
Cause these niggas don�t die
Now I might be quick to catch a tech
But I keep my bitches in check
Punch �em in the neck
With the utmost respect

Hell, yes. Artest is such a bad-ass that he can respectfully punch you in the neck. Think about that for a second, bitches. And that's when he's already high. Imagine how nasty he'd be when he was sober. I'll miss Trevor Ariza but nobody strikes fear in the heart of an opponent like Ron Artest. Another miracle acquisition for the Lakers front office.


Pictured: Ron Ron respectfully nibbling Kobe's neck