ESPN.com highlights the top 22 moments of the 2014 Playoffs, with Damian Lillard's series-clinching buzzer-beater against Houston named the #1 moment.
On ESPN Insider, Chad Ford hands out offseason grades to all of the Western Conference teams, and gives the Blazers an "A": GM Neil Olshey has been quietly rebuilding the Blazers while keeping up appearances that this might be a playoff team. With the addition of two more lottery picks in McCollum and Robinson, the Blazers have somehow managed to inject new blood into the franchise without giving up any of their key core players. After hitting a home run with Damian Lillard last summer, the Blazers believe they may have done it again with McCollum. Like Lillard, McCollum is a super scorer who lit up opponents in a small conference. Like Lillard, he also possesses exceptional maturity and an unrelenting work ethic. Together, they could give the Blazers one of the most dynamic backcourts in the league. Robinson was a top-five pick in the 2012 draft, but he struggled as a rookie in stints with the Kings and Rockets. He has the requisite strength and athletic ability to be a beast on the boards. It's his basketball IQ on the offensive end that's in serious question now. While he may not have been worthy of his lofty draft position -- he went one spot ahead of Lillard -- Robinson has upside and could be an important fixture off the bench. The team also upgraded in the middle, getting Lopez from the Pelicans. While Lopez is probably better suited coming off the bench, he had a very strong 2012-13 in which he posted an impressive 18.9 PER. He should battle second-year big man Meyers Leonard for the starting center position. Wright and Crabbe were also important additions. They came cheap, and both players can really shoot the basketball. All in all, Olshey has proven to be quite adept at sniffing out bargains in the market and pouncing on them. Not only do the Blazers have intriguing young players at every position on the floor, they also look talented enough to make a real run at the eighth seed in the West. In a few years, they may be far more dangerous than simply a team that you don't want to play in the first round.
ESPN Insider article, but here is the excerpt for Lillard: 10. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers Projected 2013-14 WARP: 7.8 There is a school of thought that Lillard entered the NBA fully formed and that, as outstanding as he was in his rookie of the year campaign, Lillard is as good now as he's ever going to be. This is the season we begin to find out whether that's true. ATH projects that Lillard will take a significant step forward, with progress in shot selection and especially on the defensive end.
ESPN.com reports that apparently we've had exploratory discussions with Tony Allen and have "reached out" to Zaza Pachulia in the opening hours of free agency
Ford only updated 4 picks from his mock 7.0 earlier in the day to the updated Mock Draft 7.1 he released at 10AM PST, and now has the Blazers selecting Michigan PG Trey Burke: "The Blazers are hoping McCollum or Caldwell-Pope are on the board. But if they aren't? It will come down to Burke, Steven Adams and Cody Zeller. It's a tough three-way race, but I hear that the Blazers might lean toward Burke, in part, because he's a trade asset. Given his size, Burke might struggle to play in the same backcourt as Damian Lillard, but the Blazers had success with Lillard and Eric Maynor last year and feel it will work out if they can't trade him."
Bit of a #Blazer pre-draft update during this commercial break. Per his agent... Maryland C Alex Len visited Portland last weekend.— Candace Buckner (@blazerbanter) June 12, 2013
Green Bay Packers signed LB Vic So’oto and placed T Bryan Bulaga (hip) on injured reserve.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 12, 2012
Bulaga is done for the year, and Packers bring back fan favorite Vic "Pro Bowler with playing time" So'oto
I've been a season ticket holder for 7 years and have attended more games than I can remember at the Rose Garden, at this point against every opponent in the NBA. Sitting at last night's season...
Blazers named #3 best uniforms in NBA
In handing out his Las Vegas Summer League Awards, ESPN.com's Zach Harper names Damian Lillard the sole MVP. He gives official co-MVP Josh Selby the "Jerryd Bayless Award" for best performance that won't translate to the regular season.
Chad Ford of ESPN.com discusses NBA GM's reactions to his first mock draft - which was linked and heavily discussed on BlazersEdge recently. But I thought this part is the most relevant to Blazer fans and what's been discussed here on BEdge lately: "Next year, ESPNU doesn't have one point guard ranked in its top 20 of the incoming recruiting class. The top point guard is Kris Dunn, who signed with Providence, and he's ranked at No. 23. That means waiting until next year for an elite point guard to emerge might prove fruitless. I had a number of GMs tell me Damian Lillard, Kendall Marshall, Tony Wroten Jr., B.J. Young, Marquis Teague and Myck Kabongo could all go higher than they are currently projected. Then again, the dearth of point guards in the 2013 draft could be an incentive for players such as Teague and Kabongo to return to school and possibly go much higher next year.
Kiper: Nick Perry, LB, USC The Packers need help in the secondary, but a lot of that starts with the pass rush. It's not an exaggeration to say the Packers' pass rush fell off a cliff towards the end of last season. In Perry, you get a guy who played with his hand on the ground at USC, but should be able to stand up for the Packers and provide the complement they need. And hey, the last time the Packers looked for pass-rush help out of USC it worked out just fine. McShay: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson Branch is a good fit in Green Bay, with the athleticism to move to outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 scheme, as well as the motor and pass-rush ability to get after the quarterback and draw some attention away from Clay Matthews on the other side.
Insider article, but the Packer's pick is below. This is probably considering that Nick Collins is done or won't be back 100% "Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame The Packers are another team that should be looking for the best value possible at either safety or cornerback, and Smith provides value here. What I like about Smith is his ability to do it all. He's not the world's greatest athlete, but any scout will tell you: At this position, you take the instincts over the athlete 100 out of 100 times. Smith gets great jumps in coverage and will get in passing lanes, but he's also outstanding in run support. You don't lose ground in one area when he's out there."
Portland Trail Blazers Current TR championship odds: 3.7 percent "TeamRankings.com's Power Ratings have Portland as the third-best team in the West, making them dark horse contenders as is. LaMarcus Aldridge is a bona fide star, but could use some consistent scoring help from the wings. Jamal Crawford was brought in to do that, but his 36.1 FG percentage does far more harm than good. Needs: Brandon Roy and Greg Oden are clearly missed, because the Blazers' biggest holes are consistent wing scoring and a young big man. Marcus Camby still provides strong defense down low, though, so getting an offensive upgrade at shooting guard might be more important. Assets: Wesley Matthews and Nic Batum are above-average youngsters who could fit in on many teams. The trade: Matthews and Camby to Golden State for Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins This is a downgrade at center and a worse contract for Portland. To give itself a realistic chance to win, however, Portland needs to take a risk on somebody like Ellis. A little shot-selection coaching and some encouraging on the defensive end would really improve his game, and he has much more scoring talent than Matthews or even Crawford. This trade builds a team that can push the pace with small ball, something with which it already has success. Ray Allen and J.J. Redick could also add the kind of offense the Trail Blazers need."
"My reasoning: One source clued into USA Basketball's thinking told me this week that Blake Griffin is closer to lock status than Bosh. The source insisted: "Griffin is in." And yet another keen observer of Team USA matters insists that LaMarcus Aldridge, because his shooting ability, will end up appealing to the coaches even more than Blake."
Has anyone received notice that their stock certificate shipped?
If no one has suggested it yet, I'd like to be the first to suggest that anyone that has Roy gear wears it to the first game of the season on the 26th. I think it would be a great way to remember...
LOSERS: The Portland Trail Blazers The Blazers carry high salaries with a mediocre team, and we know for certain the GM has not spent the summer executing a new master plan. We know this because there is no GM! But common sense would suggest this team has to win a lot or change a lot, and one of their favorite tools of the past -- outspending rivals -- has grown trickier.
Sounds like it went well, although concerning to hear it will be 6 months "Before they know if he can resume his NFL career". I thought the injury wasn't career-threatening???
Great article on the Packers and the notion of the term "dynasty"
I'ts an ESPN Insider article, but 4 Packers make the list of the Top-25 Under-25 talent in the NFL, highlighted by Morgan Burnett at #2 2. Morgan Burnett, S, Green Bay Packers The Packers traded up to grab Burnett in the third round of last year's draft, and when starter Atari Bigby was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, Burnett went straight into the starting lineup. He impressed before tearing an ACL in Week 4, which ended his season. He'll be healthy for the beginning of the 2011 season, and as a solid all-around player with great athleticism, he's going to get better with experience. With Bigby not tendered a contract and the best secondary in the league around him, Burnett should end up maturing into the next great Packers defensive back. 11. Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay Packers Sure, he got to play with some of the best offensive talent in football during that narrow loss to the Patriots, but remember: He was replacing Aaron Rodgers. A guy who could do a reasonable impression of Rodgers in most weeks would be worth a lot of money, and while he struggled in relief of Rodgers against the Detroit Lions, Flynn showed more poise than anyone could have expected against the Patriots before that ugly final drive. Even if he doesn't take another snap for the Packers, he'll end up competing for a starting job somewhere down the line. 15. James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers A speed score favorite (106.3) taken in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, Starks spent most of the year as a rumor tossed around by Packers fans desirous of an effective replacement for the injured Ryan Grant. And while his eventual run as the starter during Week 17 and the playoffs was a success owing partly to huge carry totals and middling run defenses, he did show the potential to be an eventual starter at the pro level. In 2011, he should be part of a one-two combination with Grant, although he could lose snaps to nominal third back Brandon Jackson because of the latter's ability as a pass-blocker. 16. Erik Walden, LB, Green Bay Packers Walden wasn't even the first afterthought to show up at linebacker for the Packers; Frank Zombo won a roster spot in training camp and then became a starter, only to go down with a knee injury in Week 14 that kept him out until the Super Bowl. That gave Walden, a veteran of four NFL teams in two years, a spot in the starting lineup. All Walden did was win Defensive Player of the Week in the season-ending win over the Bears, thanks to a three-sack performance. He served as an effective spy in the Packers' nickel package, and if he doesn't make the team this year, he'll bounce back somewhere as a linebacker specializing in pass defense.
ESPN's Chris Palmer via Twitter: "And I'll still take Greg Oden over Andrew Bynum." thechrispalmer: Oden Per 36 minutes: 15.3/11.9/2.3 at 57% with literally no experience and completely raw. Health + experience = All-Star. thechrispalmer: And I'll still take Greg Oden over Andrew Bynum. thechrispalmer: By comparison the oft-injured Portland center Sam Bowie played in 202 games in his first 5 years. thechrispalmer: If the season is canceled due to the lockout Greg Oden will have played in 82 games in 5 years.http://twitter.com/#!/thechrispalmer
ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert predicts the top 5 future stars from the division for the 2014-2016 seasons, and Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, and Clay Matthews all make the list. The Lions' Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh also make the list (haha takes that Bears and Vikes!) I personally think Tramon Williams got shafted, he should be a shutdown corner in the division for the next 3-5 years
Portland Trail Blazers 12 Players under contract: LaMarcus Aldridge, Luke Babbitt, Earl Barron, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, Armon Johnson, Chris Johnson, Wesley Matthews, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace and Elliot Williams Total Payroll: $69.95 million 2 Free Agent Cap Holds: Patrick Mills and Greg Oden (using 2010-11 max cap hold) Total: $14,738,854 3 First Round Cap Holds: Nolan Smith (No. 21), Victor Claver (2009 draft No. 22) and Joel Freeland (2006 draft No. 30) Total: $3,078,600 Estimated Over The Cap: $29.73 million Notes: Portland's cap can decrease slightly if they waive Earl Barron and Chris Johnson, who have conditional contracts for next season. Regardless, the Blazers will be well above the 2011-12 salary cap when it is announced. They may be content with moves made so far; or simply have no choice.
Probably can't get either with the MLE, but sign-and-trade? II'd move me some Nene. But if they think Oden will be back, probably doesn't make sense
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