Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Can The Crowd Effect Free Throws?

Here's an interesting column about how the Mavs are using science to distract opposing free throw shooters.

The Mavericks sprang into action at their next opportunity. During last week's game against the Celtics, three members of the Mavs' "Hoop Troop" worked the crowd behind the backboard. Boston shot 18 for 30 from the line, or 60 percent, about 20 percent below their season average. The Mavericks kept up their suddenly stout free-throw defense in the next game, holding the Bucks to 17 for 27 from the charity stripe—63 percent. But in the game after, on Wednesday night, the Lakers were seemingly undeterred by Hoop Troop staffers waving big red arrows to direct the crowd's stick movements: They shot 21 for 27, or 78 percent, pretty much the league average. In total, though, the project has been a success. Mavericks opponents have shot 8 percent below the league average since adopting my strategy. More important, Dallas has yet to lose a game.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Martell Webster

Here's a good background on Martell and his family... It really made me think, and feel fortunate for the gifts I've been given.

Martell Webster is mature.

That's the first impression you're given from people who have met the Portland Trail Blazers' rookie.

He has perspective, they say. So much character, they add. He shows respect.

These aren't the words normally associated with an NBA lottery pick, particularly a high school phenom turned multi-millionaire. Usually it's his "scoring prowess" that gains precedence. Perhaps they'll throw the "franchise player" tag on a kid and talk about his "impact."

But character? Perspective? These are terms that are cast aside as cliches, old world concerns that take a back seat in a league often preoccupied with flash and hype.

Read More

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Paul Takes Care Of The Little Guys

It looks like a few people may have judged Paul Allen a little too harshly over the Bankruptcy of Oregon Arena Corps, according to The Oregonian and OregonLive....

Lately, Allen has been voluntarily paying up, said several creditors that received checks from Oregon Concessions Inc., a sister company to Allen's Trail Blazers basketball team.

"Being a small business, I thought they won't pay us," said Jan Beaudoin, who owns A-Z Stamp and Engraving with her husband. She recently received a check for about $50. "I was real thrilled to get that."

Trail Blazers representatives declined to say how much money has been sent to vendors or how many were to be paid off. Bankruptcy court filings show that the company owed dozens of businesses a total of about $865,000.

Read More

No Boozer or Harpring

Maxiep, from the Oregonlive Blazer forum found this article from the Salt Lake Tribune which states that Boozer and Harpring will miss tonights game in Eugene...

That's really too bad, I was hoping to see Portland play this Utah team at full strength.

Jazz vs. Trail Blazers
TONIGHT, 8 p.m.
EUGENE, Ore. - Jerry Sloan hasn't written a term paper in 40 years, but he can relate to the college student's workload these days. Two weeks before his project - the 2005-06 Jazz - is due, the coach is nearly finished researching what he needs to know and is eager to start crafting the final product.
But it looks like he is definitely going to crowd the deadline.

Read More

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Canzano Column...

Here is a great column by John Canzano. I'm not usually much of a fan of his, but this is a very well written column.

Here's an excerpt, referring to Melody's (BBfan4life's) husband Brad, who has been fighting cancer for what seems like years.

He will fight. He will stay positive. He will continue to wring beads of joy from every moment he gets, even as he's busy selling off the family business and preparing his affairs. And his wife, simply known as "Mom" on the Blazers message boards, will pray with him.

Said Melody on Tuesday: "I have a photograph from Katie's wedding where Brad is walking her down the aisle. The picture is of Katie's face and she's looking at her father as he's giving her away and she's just grinning; filled with joy."

The Blazers need to see that photograph.

Read More

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nate Stops Practice...

It looks like Nate is the disciplinarian that Blazer fans wanted. After lackadaisical efforts against Denver, and to start practice Nate sent the players to the dressing room for a meeting.

Here's a video of what GM John Nash had to say about it, and The Oregonian's Mike Tokito has a good column about it, as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hoopsworld on Webster

Nate Bishop writes that "he's ready now"...
It's all about the future in Portland right now. Everyone sees a team that will be a real force in three or four years, IF they're kept together. There are a few things, however, that are the future in the here and now. Martell Webster isn't ready to show the league why the Trail Blazers selected him 6th overall three years from now, he's ready now. Of course, he would never say that...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fan Fest Review

This review is from the Blazer forum by StokedPDX's my attempt to analyze fanfest 2005.

Telfair-Looked great. Confident (of course), quick (of course), and making great decisions with the ball. Visibly bigger and was playing very strong. He hit a three, and had about half a dozen assists.

Zach-Looked ok. Looked to be going about %75 all night. He didn't look like he was necessarily "favoring" the knee, but every time he came off the floor he sat with the leg extended and took off the brace. He's obviously not comfortable yet, but he's not as bad as that clown Canzano made him sound. He rebounded well and made a few shots.

Darius-Still looked as if he wasn't trying, but I think that's just how he is. He played well. He made 3 or 4 18-footers and posted up strong a few times. He was effective, but monitoring his mood will be a tough challenge for any fan. He still looks like he could care less.

Joel-I was very impressed with Joel. He looked stronger and more composed down low. He was literally overpowering Theo (except for one time that he got tossed pretty hard). He was finshing down low and catching everything. He looks like he's primed to put up a very solid year.

Martell-Newsflash:this kid can shoot. Ok, not breaking news, but he is special. Not because of what he can do on the floor (which is alot), but because he has that special attitude. He has charisma, confidence, and brains. He will be a star. He shined during a pregame birthday presentation for Joel, Darius, and Juan. He is funny and easy to relate to. He'll have this town, and this team in the palm of his hand in the next few years. As for tonight's game, he has a money jumper, but still struggles to create for himself. Now, this could be because it looked like nobody had the option of looking to make things happen outside the team concept. Overall, great shooter with an extremely quick release and better than average athletic ability. Weakness: handles.

Clancy-Surprise of the night. He was an absolute beast on the boards. If he plays like that consistently there will have to be a place for him on the roster.

Viktor-Very active. Finally looks healthy. Was rebounding the ball and playing great defense. May make Ruben expendable.

Ruben-High energy, low effectiveness. Out of control most of the night.

Steve Blake-Suprisingly solid. Didn't turn the ball over and ran the team well. Jumper was off, but he could be a very effective back up.

Charles Smith-Started the game off impressively, but then faded into the darkness. He's solid and can shoot a little bit.

Juan-Nothing. He looked like he didn't have anything to offer. Couldn't make a jumper and couldn't defend telfair.

Outlaw-non-existant. If he wasn't in the program I wouldn't have believed that he played. He looks like he has no confidence. He was very hesitant offensively. I was very disappointed.

Ha-Did nothing to make me believe that he is anything more then a ten year project.

Theo-Played ok. Blocked a few shots, got some rebounds. Didn't play alot though.

Monia-Absolutely lost. He has no feel for the game right now. I didn't See him make a shot tonight. Including warm-ups. He's got a long ways to go.

J. Jack-Didn't play.

Overall, it was fun to watch, but it's hard to say what will come of this year. Nate is impressive. He stopped a three man weave before the game to focus his guys. They were throwing lobs and trying reverse dunks, so he clapped his hands together and made them huddle up. The intensity immediatley picked up after that. Telfair is great, Martell is the real deal, Joel is serious, and Zach is still doubtful.

And this one, from Blazerfan11

Ok here we my autographs, Travis and Joel. They were both very nice, I told Joel he has to re-sign and he said that he wants to stay. Coach Nate ran the drills. He didn't wear a microphone like Cheeks had done in the past. The players seemed focused on what they were doing. Last year there was more talking and goofing around in between drills. Not the case this year.

Ok on to the scrimmage. Players that seemed to look better than last year were Joel and Sebastian. You can tell Joel trimmed down a bit, and he is moving very well. Sebastian gained the upper body muscle, and made great on court decisions with the ball. They worked the pick n roll together well.

Martell Webster will be starting sooner than later. He has such a great soft shooting touch. He got the MVP of the scrimmage. Dixon and Monya were very quiet.

Steve Blake actually made a good impression on me. He was all over the court defensively. And offensively he made good passes and didn't seem to turn it over. He really played within himself. Ruben on the other hand seemed out of control. He pretty much plated the 4 the whole time and never seemed to be too comfortable with that. Hopefully he will settle in with it.

Theo, Theo, Theo...had a awesome block on Joel early and came up flexing his shoulder, much like what we saw last year. Never really did much after that. Ha just needs more time, I can never get over just how big he is. Travis didn't play very well, to me he just needs to mature still. Sam Clancy was all over the boards. I hope we can keep him around.

Zach and Darius played well. It seems that they are really taking the whole team concept to heart. I'm looking forward to what is to come. Coach Nate sat on the end of one of the teams bench and never moved. The assistants were running the teams. It was nice to see Maurice Lucas there, he looked very interested in what was going on.

Nate Bishop's Scrimmage Report

Nate Bishop posted a great review of friday night's scrimmage.

Here are a couple excerpts that caught my eye...

"Randolph was also solid for the white team. He looked fine under the basket, using spin moves and floaters to avoid the tenacious defense of Sam Clancy and Joel Przybilla. Zach was also active under the hoop, grabbing rebounds, and playing fairly solid 'd' on Clancy. It's clear Randolph's knee isn't bothering him, and it won't be too long before we see the Z-BO of old."

"Losing Miles proved to be too a huge loss for the white team. Immediately black started making a comeback behind Telfair and the play of Webster. Moving Martell over to Bassy's team seemed to be what the kid needed. He started hitting three's, running the floor, and stealing passes. Webster was all over the place. Between the two young guards, the black team was able to take a 54-50 lead at the end of the third quarter."

Great Job, Quick!

Jason Quick wrote the best Blazer related column I've read in a while. Call me a homer, if you want, but I get very excited when I hear and/or read things like this...

Ask Darius Miles, who is heaving for air after running a lap around the practice court for making a nonchalant cut through the key.

Or ask Juan Dixon, who was chastised by McMillan after casually flipping a one-handed pass to a teammate on the wing.

Or, more important, listen to McMillan unsettle the dust from the rafters of the Linfield College gymnasium with a booming diatribe.

"No! No! No!," McMillan shouts, the gym becoming silent. "I'm sick of these NBA cuts. These NBA passes. These NBA warmups. Do the (expletive) the right way! If we practice the right way, we are going to play the right way. If we drill the right way, we are going to play the right way."

The Blazers are a captivated audience as McMillan pauses for effect, looking each player in the eye as he struts from halfcourt to the free throw line, where the team's offensive play was stopped by McMillan's thunder.

This is the most excited I've been about the Blazers, in a long time. And there's so much more in Quick's column.