Monday, October 26, 2009

Tipoff Time

It's less than 20 hours until tipoff time for the Portland Trail Blazers and I couldn't be more excited. The NBA opens its regular season schedule and so do the Blazers, as they host the team that knocked them out of the playoffs, the Houston Rockets, at the Rose Garden at 7:00 PM. And that's where I'll be, rather than at work. So far, Portland has been the model of success for teams planning on rebuilding from scratch. Last year they finally returned to the playoffs after a long (too long!) absence and this time they will try to improve on last year's first round exit.

This gives me the opportunity to show off some Blazers cards I received from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius clear back in July. I feel like I'm cheating enough when I talk about another sport/team other than baseball/the Cardinals, so I decided to limit my offseason ramblings. I may bring back the weekly Blazers posts in some format, although I grew very tired of them last year even as the season was getting more and more intense. I'll probably try and switch things up a bit this time around.

When I post on this blog I usually have an idea of what I want the piece to be about and then try to scan some cards that are relevant to the piece or can at least accentuate what I'm writing in some way. This time, I'm going to try and let the cards do the talking. The Blazers traded backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez in the offseason and attempted to see if Bayless could adapt to the role. His point guard play was, by all accounts, disastrous in the Summer League. Summer League play may be even more meaningless than preseason play, but it still was hugely troubling when you consider the caliber of competition Bayless was facing. I really like what Bayless can bring as an offensive threat off the bench, but those skills are not point guard skills. He can attack the basket like crazy and even change a game, but unless Rudy Fernandez or someone else at the 2 (don't even say it!) misses a lot of time, I don't see Bayless getting a ton of play this year.

Man, I love this Murad set. There's really nothing else like it, besides the original Murad of course. Those were apparently college football cards, or at least included college football cards. I need to make collecting all of the Blazers in this set a priority.

Channing Frye was perhaps the most beloved Blazers player off of the court, but he didn't really fit into an offense with a team that had a player with a similar build and range (LaMarcus Aldridge) who is much, much better than him. Frye can really shoot, though, and appears to be set for a starting role with the Phoenix Suns. Portland added Juwan Howard and a couple of draft picks to provide depth at the forward position.

The most talked about thing in the offseason was the acquisition of Andre Miller, who many assumed would take over the starting point guard duties and relegate Steve Blake to a backup role. I won't rehash everything here, and I am reserving judgment on the Miller signing for now because I honestly don't know if it was a good idea or not. What is clear is that Brandon Roy brings out the best in Blake and that Miller handles the ball a lot more, which is something that Roy is used to doing.

The second biggest story of the offseason is the continued improvement of one Greg Oden, the #1 overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. Anyone who is actually surprised at this news deserves to have their access to watching basketball games revoked.

And finally, here's Brandon Roy, the proud owner of a maximum dollar NBA contract extension. Stay healthy and humble, Brandon.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Greg Oden is palming two basketballs with his arms spread out. Good GOD. His hands are 10 of mine.