It's that time of year, and here I am once again, planning my day around a basketball game. Game 1 was fantastic, with a lot of drama. The Spurs. The HEAT. The heat. Who are you rooting for? Who do...
Great profile of the new NBA commissioner, with one of the best ledes I've read in a while: "Masawani Jere, a chief of the Ngoni tribe, presides over a village of 120 in Malawi, a small, landlocked nation in southeastern Africa. The village, called Emchakachakeni, sits on a hill at the edge of a forest. Most Malawians live in rural areas and work in agriculture. Many of the 6,000 Ngoni, descended from the Zulus of South Africa, are timber merchants. Those in Emchakachakeni own no televisions or computers. But their chief must maintain some connection with the modern world, so he has a BlackBerry, on which he created a Facebook account. When Jere logged in on the last day of April he was struck by a story that all his cyberfriends were discussing about the bold new NBA commissioner, who had permanently banished the league's longest-tenured owner for making racist remarks on a leaked audiotape. "Oh, yes," the chief thought as he scrolled through the commissioner's forceful words. "This sounds just like Adam."
Coach Nick looks at NBA and Synergy stats, then gives some thoughts on the Blazers/Spurs matchup.
Several years ago, team trainer Geoff Clark donated his bone marrow to a Houston fan battling leukemia. She's now healthy and is his "biggest fan." A Houston TV station recently featured their story.
IMO, Adam Silver gets points for his moves to demystify NBA officiating: "A trove of confidential, internal memos on NBA officiating became public Monday afternoon, revealing new insight into the league's enforcement of rules this season. No privacy laws were breached in the process. The memos were released by the NBA itself, as part of Commissioner Adam Silver's push for greater transparency. Fans will be able to review the documents at NBA.com/official."
From the Atlantic: "The big lie about tanking is that it’s a prudent long-term strategy, when in fact it’s just another get-rich-quick scheme. It invites fans to see spectacular failure as a kind of trampoline that will catch teams at their nadir and launch them into the stratosphere. The truth is boring and simple. In the short term, average teams are more likely to become good, because they’re already closer to being good. The rampant fear in the NBA that mediocrity is a perpetual purgatory elides that crucial detail about purgatory: it’s closer to heaven than the alternative."
"Fifty basketball-related highlights from the 2014 conference, comprised of notes, quotes and anecdotes gleaned from the entertaining — and educational — weekend."
Background on NBA commissioner Adam Silver's fandom, management style, and some of the changes he'd like to see -- including speeding up the game and improving officiating.
Rolo takes us to one of his favorite hangouts: "When I first heard I was coming to Portland, I was excited. The town kinda fits me like a glove. I'm eccentric, it's eccentric . . . and this is one of my favorite places to be a little eccentric."
Fun stuff: "He may be the most Portlandian Blazer since Bill Walton. And with his rebounding, defensive presence and hustle contributing to the Blazers’ best start in a decade, Lopez is poised to become the team’s biggest cult hero since Channing Frye."
Every now and then we get a good article about one of the assistant coaches.
As Ben mentioned in a recent game recap, the Blazers are making good use of current technology, including players watching video clips on the sidelines during games. Joe Freeman provides a more in-depth look at the team's iPad use for scouting, in-game adjustments, and post-game viewing.
The stat gurus at NBA.com take a look at similarities and differences between the two hottest teams, the Spurs and the Blazers.
The NBA has decided to install data-tracking cameras in every arena by the start of next season. The cameras, which cost about $100,000 per year, had been used by half the teams last year (not by the Blazers).
Erin Pincus of Hoopsworld lists LaMarcus Aldridge as the #2 power forward heading into next season, just behind Tim Duncan. In related articles, Damian Lillard and Nic Batum get honorable mentions.
An except from the article: Having already received interest from several other NBA teams, reports confirmed Thursday that former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden suppressed acute shooting pains throughout his entire body while holding talks over a prospective move to the Miami Heat. According to sources, Oden attended a two-hour meeting with head coach Erik Spoelstra and other members of the Heat coaching staff, during which he attempted to conceal constant surges of excruciating physical distress. "I can’t wait to get back on the court," said Oden, forcing a wide smile as wave after wave of tortuous pain reportedly flooded through nerves in his arms, legs, neck, chest, and back. "I feel refreshed, healthy, and raring to go. I had a few tough years there, but I’m ready to prove I can be a dominant NBA center."
Well, fashion freaks, the day has finally come. The Blazers will be wearing the new Adidas short sleeved jerseys when they are the "away" team in summer league games. Casey Holdahl speculates that the Blazers could be one of the NBA teams wearing the new uniorms during the rest of the year too: "While the Trail Blazers wearing short-sleeves at summer league is no guarantee that they'll be one of the five teams to wear short-sleeves in the regular season, there are reasons to believe they're a good candidate. After all, adidas' North American headquarters are just up the street from the Rose Garden and Damian Lillard is one of their adidas' brightest young stars, so there's a case to be made."
As expected, Dallas Lauderdale and Demonte Harper will join the Stampede next month. While they won't officially be cut by the Blazers until Saturday, they weren't at the practice facility on Tuesday and won't travel with the team to Utah. In other roster moves, one additional camp invitee will probably be assigned to the Stampede on Saturday. From Haynes: "Olshey said the organization will wait until Oct. 27, to make roster cuts. Those players waived will be placed into a 48-hour waiver window open for any to team to claim, similar to what the Trail Blazers did with Justin Holiday. However, if a team does claim a player off waivers, they will be responsible for their prorated salary. An NBA D-League team can carry up to 10 guys and Olshey says the makeup of the Stampede will probably be four to five players that were on the team last year, three players that they'll assign out of the pool of camp invites, and a couple of draft picks." In a related article, Candace Bucker notes that NBA rosters must be set by Monday, Oct. 29.
The new marketing camping will be digital-rich and web-heavy, with less money spent on TV, radio, print and billboard advertising. One of the highlights will be a free iPhone app (with future plans for Android) that will provide a live scoreboard and stats during the games, text play-by-play, plus Facebook and video features.
Terry Stotts and Kaleb Canales are the two finalists for the Trail Blazers head coaching position, The Oregonian has learned— Jason Quick (@jwquick) August 2, 2012
The Trailblazers are looking for people to fill paid internships in various positions and departments. The deadline is August 5th, but many internships will fill before then, so apply early!
From iamatrailblazersfan.com, photos of Damien Lillard, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton at today's introductory news conference.
ESPN's sports technology writer Zach McCann writes about SportVU Hoops Tracking System, used by ten NBA teams this year. Will this new technology revolutionize basketball? ---------------------- SportVU tells us, with relative certainty, which player has the fastest top speed in the NBA. It tells us not who scores the most, but who scores the most per touch. It tells us who dribbles the most per game, and who dribbles the most compared to how many shots they take. And that’s just the surface. ... There are six computer vision cameras set up along the catwalk of the arena -- three per half court. These cameras are synched with complex algorithms extracting x, y and z positioning data for all objects on the court, capturing 25 pictures per second. Each picture is time-stamped and automatically processed by a computer, which connects the data to the play-by-play feed and delivers a report within 90 seconds of a play. This is the part of the process the STATS people are so proud of – the proprietary algorithms in the software, which they call the ICE Platform. Almost instantly, coaches and stat guys have this information at their disposal on their computer or iPad. ----------------------
Craig Smith shows a sensitive side and writes about Pete the Rhino, who recently had to be euthanized at the Oregon Zoo. An excerpt: So to hear that a fellow rhinoceros, Pete, had passed Was a very sad moment You see Pete and I are one and the same We both relocated to Portland for an opportunity at a new life Although our size can be intimidating and we can be pegged as aggressive In nature, we are able to differentiate between when it is necessary To be aggressive And when it is okay to be passive
Attention stats geeks! Off the Dribble (the NYTimes basketball blog) highlights some of the research that will be presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. The article provides summaries and links to several papers, including: "N.B.A. Chemistry: Positive and Negative Synergies in Basketball," an attempt to measure on-court chemistry "Effort vs. Concentration: The Asymmetric Impact of Pressure on NBA Performance," i.e. why players choke on free throws at home "Experience and Winning in the National Basketball Association," yes, playoff success correlates with the amount of time teammates have played together "Big 2’s and Big 3’s: Analyzing How a Team's Best Players Complement Each Other"
The Team Marketing Report just released its Fan Cost Index, a summary of what people shell out to attend games at arenas throughout the NBA. Some interesting points: * Average NBA ticket prices are up 1.7% across the league, but the Blazers' average ticket price has dropped 4.4% * Portland's prices for beer, hot dogs and sodas are higher than average, but it could be worse: you'll pay $9.50 for the cheapest beer at Madison Square Garden. * Blazers fans pay less than league average for tickets, parking, programs, and souvenir caps. You'll pay $15 for a program in Miami, and $26 for the least-expensive Nets cap (compared to a free program and $15.99 at the Rose Garden). * The price for a fictitious family of four to attend a Blazers game (including parking, food, drinks, and hats) is $296.58. This is a 0.3% drop from last year. The same family of four would pay $608.78 at a Knicks game, an astounding increase of 20.4% from last season. Mike Tokito of The Oregonian with more here. ed: bumped to front page
"Today, we spend too much time in the court, with too many lawyers. … Instead of having 10 lawyers and an economist you should probably have 10 CPAs or forensic accountants and two lawyers," said Grantham, a guest lecturer on professional sports negotiations at Seton Hall's Stillman School of Business. "In this case, (the players are) looking to use the law to gain leverage, to get a better business deal, when, in fact, the negotiations that should be taking place is with regard to how you divide that (every) $100." . . . "My philosophy was to keep the guys working, because they lose income that's not recoverable," he said. "They're employees. They're not partners. … Let's not get this twisted, (players) don't sit in the boardroom." ---------------- Also: a video interview with Grantham
This may not be fanshot-worthy, but what the hey, it's interesting. The Atlanta Hawks sale to LA pizza magnate Alex Meruelo, which had been contingent on NBA approval, has been called off. ------------------ "The approval process bogged down after the NBA required economic conditions that were not part of Meruelo's original deal. The NBA's stance was believed to be similar to that the league took when Atlanta Spirit bought the Hawks, as well as the Thrashers, from Time Warner in 2004. At that time, the NBA and NHL approved the transaction only after several Spirit partners agreed to make personal guarantees of tens of millions of dollars to ensure sufficient liquidity to fund the money-losing teams' operations going forward." ----------------- Meruelo's statement noted that the two parties "were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on some key issues given the current uncertainty surrounding the labor issue."
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