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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ghost of Christmas Past

Comments (40)

Not to worry because we already have an awesome center: Pryzbilla--10 points 19 rebounds, 1 steal and made four clutch free throws down the stretch. If it wasn't for the fact that 90% of the Blazer advertising (not to mention the commercials during the games) are built around Oden, Joel would be starting.

Now if Nate would only give Batum more minutes at the end of games. How many boneheaded defensive plays is Travis Outlaw allowed to make?

Joel was awesome.

I went to the game with a friend from DC tonight. He wanted to buy a Pryzbilla jersey before tip-off but we couldn't find one in the gift shop on the main floor. Plenty of Oden jerseys though.

One fan sitting in our section, presumably filled with a little too much holiday cheer, wouldn't stop yelling "Worst. #1. Draft. Pick. Ever!" over and over again. Meh. He's a rookie. Give him time.

Was at the game tonight. The Blazers are good, even with Oden on the bench. Some very sloppy passing at different points during the game, and also flashes of brilliance. After tonight's game, I can't see anything to complain about. It takes years for a good center to develop, and many never do. The Blazers shouldn't rush Oden, and they shouldn't rely on him. Fortunately, they don't have to do either.


Pryzbilla should be starting. Oden is NOT ready to be a starter. I'll give Oden some time to adjust to the leauge before I write him off, but he needs to figure out a way quickly to stop picking up so many fouls!

What I find a total joke is that Oden is on the All Star way he deserves that.

Somewhere later in the season, I'll bet the pressure is going to be put on Nate and the boys to make Oden into an NBA player faster. Could wind up costing some games.

early on Lucas said his legs were brittle and the team better build up up thick & fast....why are the nicest big guys the worst players? He is a very nice person....lets hope for the best. Lots of pressure on ol abe.

I don't believe experience will make him any faster. His reaction time and overall movements are just not up to NBA speed. Maybe we should have drafted the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I bet he could dunk.

Hey everyone - let's give Greg Oden a little bit of slack. He was the number one draft pick and then spent an entire season just sitting around and rehabbing. How many rookies can do that and then be expected to play at the NBA level without a slow start?
He will have to learn how to get smarter about staying out of foul trouble. But he's blocking shots and is not a pushover in the paint. Lots of other teams would be happy to have him - even at this early stage in his career.

And let's be honest, his real age is probably somewhere in the early 40's. So for an old man, he's not doing such a bad job.

The worrisome thing with Oden is how ineffective he is on the defensive end. Portland is giving up tons of points in the paint, and that's specifically what Oden is supposed to be negating.

And I second the comments above. It's ridiculous -- indeed, insulting -- to suggest that Oden even belongs on the All-Star ballot, let alone the team. At this point he shouldn't even be starting.

"The worrisome thing with Oden is how ineffective he is on the defensive end."

Huh, he still has no clue on footwork or position on the offensive end. I think they can teach him how to avoid fouls on the def end, but he's going to need to learn footwork a lot better instead of trying to catch up to plays. I was hoping with a year off he could be studying films, but maybe he is challenged.

Man, I don't know what games you've been watching but Oden is not slow.
"His reaction time and overall movements are just not up to NBA speed"?
How come Bill Walton likes him?
How come Bill Walton wrote a long piece in the Oregonian imploring us to take Oden over Durant?
What I see is someone trying too hard. That's why the dunks he gets involve swinging on the rim, etc...He's eager to get better and he's down because it's taking so long.
If he can just stay out there he'll have a chance to be great barring injury. By the way, that injury takes around 18 months to fully get over -from what I read. Yes, the silly fouls are annoying. Sometimes I think Nate should just let him play through them and hope he figures that part out before #6.
I've seen a nice left and right little hook shot. I've seen some great blocks. He's decent for a big man at the freethrow line.
We're tied for first in our division and we're winning on the road. Things could be worse.
Did you see the win against the Phoenix Suns? That was more fun than the last 5 seasons of Blazer games put together, and Oden was a part of that.
Anyone who thought we'd win a ring the second Oden showed up is spoiled by false expectations. Have you seen Boston play this year?

Comparing Greg to Joe this year is just silly. As compared to a rookie, Joe, as a veteran, should be playing better than Greg.

The better comparison is to compare Pryzbilla's rookie stats to Greg's rookie stats. Greg kills Joe's average rookie stats in every meaningful category. In Pryzbilla's second season (01-02 with Milwaulkie), Joe started 62 games but only averaged 15.9 minutes per game because of foul trouble, and had significantly lower stat averages than Greg's rookie season to date.

I am not sure what people expected when Greg was drafted but Bill is correct. Greg is physically gifted and he has many good games. His right and left hook shots in Denver were money. He is reliable at the line for a big man. And Oden had, I believe, 3 key offensive rebounds in the last 1/4 of the Phoenix game. BTW, last year the Blazers had fewer avg off rebounds compared to their opponents; this year, the Blazers enjoy a 4 off rebound diferential.

He is doing just fine this year for a rookie center. How many double-doubles does he need to get some credit?

Magic Johnson, another "once in a generation" player, won the Finals MVP as a 20-year-old rookie.

I don't think him being a rookie excuses much of his lackluster play. he's got "potential", but like Jack's picture suggests--they said the same about Sam Bowie--"give him time", "he's going to develop into an All Star", etc.

Pryzbilla should be starting, period. without him, the Blazers would be looking up from near the bottom of the rankings again.

Pryzbilla should be starting. That's what Nate said he was going to do after Oden's comeback from the foot injury. Why he's not sticking to that, I don't know. Pressure from above probably.

Oden needs more time, but he'll be fine. Not only is he making s step up to a higher level of competition, but he's also doing it after taking a year off. Anyone who has ever been an athlerte understands that high-level competition is the best way to hone your skills. He missed an entire year of that high-level competition.

He needs some time, but he'll be fine. It's waaaay to early to write him off.

Would you prefer the Blazers try and buy a championship by going out and signing a bunch of talented-but-troubled free agents?

I seem to remember they already tried that.

The people disrespecting Greg are the same people who led that ridiculous "Draft The 'Stache" campaign a few years back.

To say that Greg is slow or isn't effective on defense is ridiculous. Yes, he's not a sprinter baseline-to-baseline like LaMarcus, but he's got great quickness around the rim. He intimidates shooters, which doesn't show up in a box score.

Take a minute to compare Greg's stats with the rookie stats of other centers who came into the league with no or one year (Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler). He stacks up nicely.

I think he's doing great. A double double in just about every other game is nothing to be ashamed of. Like a previous comment said, we're fortunate that we don't have to rely on him to be awesome every night. So sit back, remember that this is a game and meant for our entertainment, and let the kid develop.

Merry Christmas.

Would you prefer the Blazers try and buy a championship

The people disrespecting Greg are the same people who led that ridiculous "Draft The 'Stache" campaign a few years back.

There was also this guy...

There was also this guy...

Doh! Well, that's just not fair!

Brandon, I have two words for your friend from DC: LaRue Martin.

Drafting athletes is more a crap shoot than a science. Otherwise Tom Brady and Joe Montana would have been first round picks. I admit I never heard of LaMarcus Aldridge back during his college years and when I looked his stats up it alarmed me that he had already had hip surgery as a freshman. We were also lucky with the heart problem.
I was in the draft Adam Morrison camp but it was for fun and I admit it was a mistake. Meanwhile LaMarcus is an absolute blessing. He started slowly but his outside shot and follow-up dunks have been brilliant.
So he was a great pick among many great moves by a franchize that hadn't done much right in a decade. There were times when the Blazers deserved to take the extra heat, but as corporate management stories go, they are excelling right now. That means criticizing their decisions just sounds ridiculous. Who's made better decisions lately? The Blazers or General Motors? The Blazers or AIG? Pritchard or Jerry Jones? Pritchard or Henry Paulson?
If Pritchard picked Oden, then he's earned some leeway by his recent track record. At least a few years. He's done too much right to take much guff for something like this.
I don't get being critical of Oden. I'd compare what happened to winning the lottery but we actually DID win the lottery to get here. Then all these other pieces of the puzzle fell in place.
Batuum, Rudy, etc...
Look, we're going to have plenty of things to be negative about these next few years. It's not like the world is going so damn well that we have to manufacture bad vibes about the Blazers to fill the criticism gap.
I'm going to use this team to help get me through the next great depression, and I think it's just the smart way to go. If Oden is a bust we can deal with that later. Right now we need some positive news stories and this is one. We could have 3 fun events a week on TV with this group. That's significant.
I still see Oden as a young recently-arrived resident of Portland and I say welcome. We're really, really glad you're here. Please try to cut down on the fouls. Go Blazers.

Damn Jack, bringing Durant into the argument is just plain mean spirited. Why don't you just throw salt in our open wounds while you are at it.


You're kidding, right?

Durant is a shooter who may turn out to be more than that later. Why bring in a guy who needs to take 20-25 shots a game when we've got Brandon Roy getting ready to emerge into superstardom (and who we all should encourage to shoot more)?

Oden is a great kid with huge potential who is just learning the NBA game . . . something that we mere posters on this blog have never done.

Is there some contest to see who can be the first to call Oden as a bust? Why so critical, armchair coaches?

Maybe Oden won't pan out, even as a role-player. But that's no reason to root against him. Which is what you're doing, Prof. Bojack.

A double double in just about every other game is nothing to be ashamed of.

thing is, he's not doing that. check the game stats.

root against him

I want him to succeed. I just don't think he will. He will likely never measure up to the hype, which is more about Paul Allen's bottom line than the well-being of Greg Oden.

Durant is a shooter who may turn out to be more than that later.

He could have had the spot currently occupied by the ever-useless Martell Webster. Webster will never put up a 23.6 average -- ever. Travis Outlaw's another one who could have been sent packing to make room for Durant.

The sad fact is that after a year and change with Oden, he hasn't contributed much of anything other than ticket sales.

Durant would probably be putting up Travis numbers as a Blazer. He's 6'10" and has a bunch of games with 2 or 3 rebounds and no assists. He's scoring big in OC because they are a terrible team and have no one else.

I could probably qualify as president of the 'Zilla fan club, but I think Oden was a better pick than Durant for the long term. He just needs to be brought along in a rational manner, which means being Joel's understudy and coming off the bench. He has enough athleticism, just not enough experience (which is why these guys should stay in college for more than a year). His potential upside is something like Nate Thurmond, though realistically, he could be more like Tree Rollins.

ever-useless Martell Webster

I've read some stupid things on this blog, but geez.

Ecohuman, go to Yeah, he hasn't put up a double-double literally every other game, but he's still put up great numbers. In the games listed on as of this posting, he put up double figures in scoring in 9 out of 21 games and double figures in rebounds in 9 out of 21 games. Forgive me if these don't perfectly coincide with one another, but if you're too anal retentive to take my general point that Greg is still a promising rookie who deserves the benefit of the doubt, then maybe you should find something more important to spend your worry wrinkles on than a pastime.

And Professor Bogdanski, are you sincerely suggesting that we'd be better off if we'd have taken Durant, or are you playing the contrarian? In my humble opinion, Oden was the safe and correct pick, regardless of how their two respective careers pan out, given the talent we had at the time and the needs that we had to address. And as a previous comment already mentioned, this stuff is a crapshoot. Given Pritchard's track record, I'm more than willing to give him some time to validate his choice. After all, let's remember that we're less than 2 months into the first regular season of Oden's career.

Posts equating Oden to Bowie might make you look brilliant if he doesn't pan out, but they'll also make you look foolish and rash if he does. Like I said, his first real game as a pro was on October 28. I think it's premature to start with the dire forecasts.

"I want him to succeed. I just don't think he will. He will likely never measure up to the hype, which is more about Paul Allen's bottom line than the well-being of Greg Oden."

Jack, you were the one who was all lathered up a few seasons back about trading Travis Outlaw. He turned out to be one of the best free agent deals in the entire league. I pretty much wrote you off as being incapable of rendering a reliable opinion in matters pertaining to basketball back then.

I've seen several games this year where Oden was a major force on the defensive end based on his sheer size and athleticism. He's also shown some pretty sweet moves and a soft touch around the basket on the offensive end as well. Teams are targeting him and trying to get him into foul trouble because their scouts are reporting how effective he is. All in all I think he's coming along nicely. It's normal for a guy who has had only one year of college ball (playing with a cast on his arm for most of the season) plus an off year in the NBA of re-habing under his belt. Saying a 20 year old is a bust after he's played a whopping 7 weeks of pro ball is about as ridiculous as it gets.

but if you're too anal retentive to take my general point that Greg is still a promising rookie who deserves the benefit of the doubt, then maybe you should find something more important to spend your worry wrinkles on than a pastime.

man, one of us takes this pastime too seriously. I'll let you reread your personal attack and decide which one.

is it not okay to disagree with you, and say Oden's just an average #1 draft pick, not a great or even really good one?

And so far, Oden's career (which has spanned almost a year and a half, not seven weeks) is looking quite like Bowie's. i think the (humorous) picture is appropriate.

Eco - you can't use Magic's rookie season as the standard to judge Oden . . . it's just not fair. Magic was more than a "once-in-a-generation" player - he's well-established as one of the 5 best players of all time. And no other rookie pulled anything close to what Magic pulled in his first NBA Finals - most NBA veterans couldn't have pulled that off.

And Magic didn't lead the Lakers all season - they had a little guy named Kareem . . .

If that's your standard, you must be pretty disappointed in every NBA rookie since the early '80s.

A little perspective, please.

you can't use Magic's rookie season as the standard to judge Oden . . . it's just not fair. Magic was more than a "once-in-a-generation" player - he's well-established as one of the 5 best players of all time

Magic wasn't one of the "five best players of all time" his rookie season, you know.

i'm not saying Oden isn't okay, or that he's not going to be great. I'm saying he's having a fairly mediocre season for a guy who's both a #1 pick and widely touted as a "once in a generation" center.

Ghost of Christmas Past?

more like the ghost of Brian Bosworth.

Ecohuman, I hope you're still checking this post, because you're right, my anal retentive comment was inappropriate. I hate comment board flame wars, and I feel like I started one with my blithe comment. Reading the subsequent posts here I think that the the range of disagreement about Oden is actually quite narrow. All of us seem to be pulling for the guy, but some of us are more skeptical than others.

All that I meant when I discussed being worried about a pastime was that, to me, calling Oden a bust or equating him to Sam Bowie takes the joy out of the game. I watch games and follow the team to relieve stress and enjoy myself. This means that I tend to be much more optimistic regarding the Blazers than I am with most other subjects.

It's stupid of me to start a fight if I want to follow the team to have fun. I came across more angrily and personally insulting than I meant to, and I sincerely apologize. I should've said that I think it's too soon to worry and left it at that.

However, I still think that Oden's doing fine (not bad, not great, just fine) and that comparing him to Bowie is overwrought or apoplectic this early into his career.

Eco -

Please tell me who had a better rookie season than Magic. His NBA Finals performance is one of the reasons he's considered one of the top five players of all time. So I consider those two items linked - and Magic is more than a "once in a generation" player.

You used him as your benchmark, and I believe it's wildly inappropriate to expect Oden to hit the same threshold.

Let's give the kid a chance.

Please tell me who had a better rookie season than Magic.

the only comparison I made was that he was an example of a 20-year-old rookie who had an excellent season.

You used him as your benchmark

no, I didn't. I used him as an *example*.

and I believe it's wildly inappropriate to expect Oden to hit the same threshold.

again, I don't expect Oden to be Johnson. I don't have any expectations for him at all, really. all I said was that explaining an average season by age and experience doesn't hold much water.

Let's give the kid a chance.

It's not up to fans. and I never marked him as a failure--just an average #1 pick rookie having an average #1 pick season.

you seeing the difference here, yet?


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J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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