Wednesday, August 31, 2011


*Sorry for the delay in posts this past week...we were busy trying to convince our neighbors in NYC that we don't live in LA or FL with our earthquake and hurricane here.  Look for more posts coming later this week.

By Josh Sidis

Remember James “Hollywood” Robinson?  How could you forget a 6’2” southerner named “Hollywood”?  Drafted by the Blazers in the 1993 draft, Hollywood played in 58 games.  Not bad for a rookie guard with Terry Porter and Rod Strickland in front of you. 

Hollywood may not a have been as big a star in the pro’s that his name led on but he was a stellar college player.  Attending the University of Alabama, Hollywood set all sorts of scoring records, which built a lot of hype upon him foregoing his senior season to enter the NBA draft.  Hollywood was one of a few many players drafted in the early 90’s that helped usher in a new era in the NBA.  The game started to drift away from fundamentals and get a little flashier and nothing typified that more than James “Hollywood” Robinson.  He was young, brash, fast as hell and could score 30 before you knew what hit you… or he wouldn’t. 

Hollywood also completed the “Robinson Triumverate”, which is an old fable and oracle once told Paul Allen during his youthful sojourn to Katmandu.  The fable goes “Three sons of Robin will bring golden rings and the Larry O’Brien trophy,” the Oracle told Allen.  Allen pleaded desperately with Clyde Drexler to change his name to Clyde Robinson or Robinson Drexler to no avail.  So in 1993 Paul Allen forced Geoff Petrie to draft James “Hollywood” Robinson.  There is no citation needed for that previous story.  Its fact.  I swear.  Ask anyone. 

PS.  Happy Bday Hollywood!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Remember Me: Mark Bryant

By Josh Sidis

For my money no one represents the 90’s more than Mark Bryant (we will refer to Mark Bryant by his full name as to not confuse him with another Bryant that is not worthy of a mention on this blog).  Sorry, let me be more specific.  No one represents 90’s styles more than Mark Bryant.  With his Kid ‘n Play box and awesome-guy-goatee, Mark Bryant was a Hyper-Color jersey and a _____ away from being the poster child for the early 90’s. 

One thing you can’t take away from Mark Bryant is his heart.  He is another one of Portland’s bench players that the numbers don’t represent his impact on the game.  Averaging 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds over his ten-year career, Mark Bryant added hustle to all 10 teams he played for.

My favorite Mark Bryant play is also a perfect example of the hustle he exhibited every time he stepped on the floor.  I can’t tell you the year or who we played, because my college days have severely harmed my memory, but I do know the game was at the Coliseum.  Mark Bryant checked into the game in the first quarter.  Play resumes with the Blazers on defense.  A Blazer player tips the ball and it makes a beeline out of bounds into the corner closest to the Blazers bench but it looks like it is headed into the locker room.  Out of no where Mark Bryant goes flying out of bounds after it, easily a good ten fifteen feet.  He keeps the ball in play and comes down on the corner of a wooden speaker on the floor.  Blazer Broadcasting shows the play over and over again and it appears to get worse and worse with every replay.  After a few minutes they get Mark Bryant to the locker room and surely he must be going to the hospital.  Nope.  One quarter later he is back out on the floor.  Mark Bryant finished the night with 125 pts and 73 rebounds.  Blazers win by 1,000.  I told you my memory is not what it used to be.

Here’s to you Mark Bryant.  May the box make a comeback.

Friday, August 19, 2011

NBA Pre-Season Schedule Announced—Crushing Little Children’s Dreams

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

In an attempt to undermine the hopes and dreams of tiny basketball fans across the country, the NBA announced the pre-season schedule for the “upcoming” 2011-12 season yesterday.  The NBA is hoping this little teaser will get fans excited about a season they hope to get in; yet, any adult figure on this planet knows a full NBA season at this point is as real as the tooth fairy.

As adults, we can understand the motives of the NBA and the realities of the situation.  But the kids.  THE KIDS!  All they hear is: “THE NBA IS STARTING OCTOBER 9th!  YIPPEE!”  For these little tikes, they believe they are less than two short months away from their heroes taking the floor.  This is just another summer where they get to play outside, go to baseball games with their buddies, and when they gear up for their favorite high flying players that return to the hardwood soon after they are forced to go back to school.  The kids don’t understand the lockout, labor conflict, or what a collective bargaining agreement is.  They know a ball and a hoop.  Running.  Jumping.  Passing.  Shooting.

The NBA should put themselves in a timeout for giving hope to children around the world when they know they will be given the designation of “Naughty” this year (for those of you who believe in Santa and celebrate Christmas). 

We love our Blazers and want a full 2011-12 season to be a reality.  So NBA, instead of wasting your time making up a pre-season schedule that will likely not be used, go and get a deal done.  If not for us, for the kids!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Westbrook/Paul Swap Good for Blazers?

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

It was rumored last week by multiple media outlets that the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets are considering swapping their All-Star point guards.  This would be a monumental trade that could reshape the Western Conference.  While these rumors are merely conjecture and likely have no merit, it is still interesting to evaluate how this trade, if it occurs, would affect the Portland Trail Blazers.

Adding Chris Paul to the Thunder would give the Thunder one of the top point guards in the NBA—a true point guard who thinks pass first, yet he can take control of the game with precise drives to the basket and a consistent outside jumper.  Paul can play defense and has the speed to stay with any guard in the league.  He is in his prime, and the only knock on Paul is his injury history.

Paul would give the Thunder a veteran stability that could help the Thunder be a dangerous contender.  Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s current point guard, is a dynamic player who has as much talent as any young guard in the league.  What he lacks is the consistency that Paul brings every night.

Chris Paul playing for the Thunder would likely give the Thunder a significant edge in the former Northwest rivalry.  The combination or Durant, Paul, and Perkins, with a plethora of talented role players, would be a unit that would battle every night.  To match this Thunder team, the Blazers would need Oden and Roy to be healthy and for Felton to develop into the floor general we saw he could be in New York.

Russell Westbrook moving to New Orleans would not make the Hornets a threatening team now, but potentially in the future.  Monty Williams is a great coach.  He is the type of coach who could mold Westbrook into an elite point guard, a player the Hornets could built their team around in the way they did with Paul.

For the time being, Westbrook’s move to New Orleans would likely knock the Hornets out of the playoff race for the next year.  However, the following year, with a chance to design the offense around Westbrook’s strengths, the Hornets could be competitive for years to come.

In the end, the Blazers should hope this trade doesn’t happen.  I know most Blazers fans would be spiteful if the Thunder and Hornets pulled the trigger on this deal because Portlanders have been pining for Paul for the past two years.

One thing is certain, if this trade happens, it would make the West even more interesting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Arvydas Sabonis Enters the Hall

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

The sweetest passing big man of all time enters the Basketball Hall of Fame tomorrow.  Arvydas Sabonis will be remembered by Blazers fans as a dominant big man who could shoot and pass like a guard.  He had remarkable touch around the basket and was a stalwart on the defensive end, swatting away a shot and swiping a Spalding each game while corralling over seven boards—all of this during his 30 somethings on two bad knees.
Everyone in Blazers nation wonders what would have happened if our Cold War enemies had allowed Sabonis to leave Lithuania and join the Blazers in 1986 when Portland drafted him.  Would the Blazers have had a “Three Pete” from 1990-92?  Would Sabas and The Glide have been a more dynamic duo than Jordan and Pippen?  Would Sabonis have become a top five center of all time in the NBA?  We will explore these questions when TANY launches our series in the fall of “What If.”

In the meantime, let’s reflect on and appreciate the seven seasons Sabas played in Portland.  Let’s remember his unique and inspiring style of play.  Let’s honor one of the greatest big men in the history of basketball.

Congratulations Sabas, you deserve it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

European Basketball the New NBA

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

With the lockout lingering, triggering the odds of the 2011-12 NBA season happening to drop faster than the Cavaliers’ odds of winning the NBA title after BronBron left, it appears Euro Ball may become NBA Part Deux.  Each week, more and more NBA players are signing deals with European squads.  Additionally, the NBA’s top players are now seriously joining DWill across the Atlantic.

If they all decide to sign with new teams, could European basketball supplant the NBA for fans?  Could NBA fans feed their basketball needs by watching their favorite players in different uniforms, playing different rules, and an alternative style of basketball?  Would the great migration of NBA fans to Europe change the landscape of European Basketball or would the NBA players be forced to adapt to the Euro style?

To the first question, Euro ball could replace the NBA for diehard fans, but not the casual fan.  The difficulty for these diehards would be the ability to consistently watch their favorite players on TV.  A simple, and potentially smart, decision would be for networks like ESPN and TNT to sign contracts with the Euro leagues to televise a certain number of games a week.  This would make the Euro game more accessible to American basketball fans, which would both benefit the fans themselves and bring a new audience (and dollars) to European teams.

For any NBA fan, it is fun to watch your favorite players play with new teammates.  That is one reason why watching the Olympics and the World Championships is so intriguing.  Seeing Nicolas Batum play with Nancy or LMA join one of the Turkey teams could allow us to see a new side of our favorite players, a side they could bring back to the Blazers once the lockout ends.

If a great migration of NBA talent boarded overpriced jets to play in Europe, the fear for European teams would be that the Euro style of basketball would change.  Instead of a game based on “team,” continuity, passing, ball movement, and pure shooting, athleticism would trump the elegance of their game, just as it has in the NBA.  Yet there is a large group of fans who prefer the more athletic game, and odds are, a great deal of European fans would accept it like capitalism after the Cold War.

For the sake of enjoying our beloved Blazers next year, let’s hope this migration does not occur.  But if it does, let’s look at the positives about our men in red, black, and white playing the game they love in a new city with different accents.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Three Down, More to Go?

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

Three Blazers: John Diebler (Greece), Patty Mills (Turkey), and Nicolas Batum (France).  Two foreign players and an American.  One collective decision to work on their games oversees during the NBA lockout. 

After failed talks a week ago between the NBPA and owners, most NBA fans and players are starting to realize the 2011-12 NBA season is in serious jeopardy. As a result, more NBA players are considering signing contracts with foreign teams to augment their income, feed their competitive needs, and work on their game.  This is true of the Blazers players as well.  So far, three players have decided to sign contracts with European teams, but odds are, the longer the lockout lasts, the more players will sign abroad.

Of the three Blazers who have signed in Europe, only Batum is a solidified rotation player.  Diebler was expected to spend the year in Europe irrespective of the lockout to work on becoming a more “NBA ready” player and Patty Mills was extended a qualifying offer, which is not a guaranteed contract. 

My guess is more Portland non-rotation players will start to sign abroad to refine their games in order to return to the NBA ready to compete for playing time.  Though, the more intriguing question is: will more rotation players sign oversees if the 2011-12 season is cancelled? 

Playing in a different style game might be exactly what the Blazers starters need.  LaMarcus can learn to be the most physical player on the court in Europe.  Wesley Matthews can learn how to play more under control.  Raymond Felton can learn how to run a non-pick and roll offense.  Gerald Wallace can learn how to hit a more consistent outside jumper.  Greg Oden can learn how to play competitive basketball again.

It could be very interesting…

Let us know what you think.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Proposed New Charity Game—Walking Boots vs. Crutches

By Jonathan Ryan Davis

When the lockout ends, and the Blazers are looking to find a way to earn some good will points with the community, the Blazers should institute a new charity game tradition: walking boots vs. crutches. 

This is an ideal way for Portland to poke fun at its injury curse while giving fans a chance to watch their beloved team, god-like athletes, compete with a handicap, lowering their abilities to the likes of all of us weekend warriors. 

Imagine watching Wesley Matthews trying to cut hard to the basket for one of his patented layups with a walking boot on his right foot.  Then, Greg Oden fussing with his crutches to corral Matthews’ miss.  On the other end of the court, after an awkward outlet from Oden, Nicolas Batum spots up from three, a crutch under his left arm, unable to leap off the ground, as he tosses the ball toward the hoop. 

If it’s possible, this charity game would be played at a slower pace than Nate McMillan’s offense.

As a community, let’s push for this game to happen.  All proceeds can be given to the Children’s Hospital.

Go Blazers!