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Brandon Roy

Burning Question #14: Where Do the Blazers Go From Here?

When we initially compiled the list of 20 Burning Questions, I came up with two separate ideas for the Portland Trail Blazers. The first was the sure-to-be-repeated “how will Brandon Roy be used this year?” The second was a hopeful “is this the year we see the Greg Oden monster?”¬†Well, fast forward a couple of weeks and those questions have been answered with “not at all,” and “no, are you out of your mind,” respectively.
Faced with the exciting possibility of not being able to ever walk again, Roy and his cartilage-starved knees retired from the NBA. Just 27 years old, he will be remembered as the face of the post-Jail Blazers era. Roy helped to restore the faith of Oregonians that their favorite basketball players would succeed off the court, without sacrificing success on the court. For 5 years, he gave his heart and soul, culminating in a gritty 25-point fourth quarter against the eventual champion Mavericks in last year’s playoffs.
But as much as Roy was placed at the forefront of a new Blazers era, it was Greg Oden who was supposed to put the franchise over the top. After outplaying Florida center Joakim Noah to the tune of 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in the NCAA Championship, Oden was selected first overall by the Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft. (We are morally obliged to refrain from uttering who went second overall, because that would just make this infinitely more upsetting.) Soon after being drafted, Greg Oden scored the cover of ESPN Magazine. In boldface print, the cover screamed, “I hope I can get a bunch of championships — like 15.” Hope is a beautiful thing; it is so abstract that we latch onto it as if it were concrete. Hope makes us smile, and hope makes us laugh. Hope helps us elect leaders of the free world.
But sometimes, reality pisses on hope’s face as if it were breaking the seal. And in Greg Oden’s case, boy, reality sure had a lot to drink. Before lacing up for his first game, Oden had microfracture surgery on his right knee, forcing him to miss his entire rookie year. The following season, he showed glimpses of being the franchise center he was drafted to be, only to have his season cut short by bumping knees with Mambino-hated Corey Maggette. In Year 3 of the experiment, he left a game on a stretcher, fracturing his left patella tendon…another season over. Last year, Year 4, microfracture surgery to the left knee…deuces to the season again. First-round picks have rookie contracts that extend to four years, maximum, so this summer, there was plenty of debate over whether Oden would come back to Portland. Several teams were willing to invest a year or two in a former #1 overall pick, but Oden ultimately accepted the Blazers’ qualifying offer of almost 9 million dollars. He was grateful for the support that the organization and the fans had shown while he struggled to stay healthy. The lockout even proved to be beneficial for Oden, as he was allowed more time to recover and prepare. As this was happening, the grapevine told us that this was the year…except for the fact that it wasn’t. This past week, Oden and “setback” were going to give marriage another try. He is out indefinitely, and the team is not optimistic about his chances of playing this year.
Why is this a question?

We are fans of the NBA. We rejoice when the Knicks sign Tyson Chandler, and we cry when the Lakers lose Lamar Odom for nothing. But one of the most important parts of being a true NBA fan is sympathizing with other fa… Read more...

Tune in, for your sake

The two best shows on TV right now are Parks and Recreation and Tough Enough. The only people who disagree with me are people who haven’t watched them. I could describe exactly what makes me tune in to those two shows, but my opinion has no value. I’m just a simpleton who is lame enough to blog in my spare time.
The 2011 NBA Playoffs have been downright riveting. But you’ll listen to me even less than had I spouted off on the entertainment brilliance of Parks and TE, for two reasons: 1) you already watch the NBA, and/or 2) the NBA just doesn’t have the mainstream appeal of someone like Amy Poehler.
That being said, here are the top 5 moments of these playoffs.
5. The Atlanta Deadbeats winning 6 playoff games.
This doesn’t actually count as an awesome event. It’s just another way for me to point out that I’m better than Blake at this.

4. Zach Randolph’s “blue collar player, blue collar town” speech.
As a sports fan, I want professional athletes to play with the same amount of passion that they did when they were kids. For years, Z-Bo has played a role in killing NBA franchises because he didn’t care about anyone else but himself. This year, Z-Bo played the biggest role in killing an NBA franchise…the Spurs. The best power forward in league history had no answer for an incredible array of low-post moves and circus shots that only became more ridiculous as each one swished through San Antonio’s hearts and dreams. But the best part was after Game 6, when Z-Bo understood that he wasn’t playing for himself. He had been trying to spell “team” with an “i” for his whole career. He finally got it.
3. Pau Gasol’s feeble crawl into a corner, leading to his eventual trade to the Golden State Warriors.
Let’s say you have a close-knit group of friends. Now suppose that some event occurred involving said group of friends, and there was one person to blame for it. Things could go one of two ways here. The wrongdoer can accept the blame, apologize, and move forward, creating an even more close-knit group of friends. Or, the wrongdoer can shut himself out, refuse to take advice, give his friends the silent treatment, and all that nonsense. The average person is in Group 2 because it’s extremely difficult to put pride aside for the good of the group. Nobody blames the Group 2 dude because that’s just how most people operate, but the rare person is in Group 1.
Pau Gasol is one of the most talented bigs in the game today. He’s like the guy in the group of friends that consistently makes everyone laugh and always contributes to a good time. But that guy usually isn’t the person you turn to when times are tough, because he’s likely to be more style than substance. Pau’s performance in the 2011 Playoffs showed that he was an average human being, regardless of how talented he really is.
2b. Chris Paul coming back to life.
This has been written about far too much, but it’s still a huge moment so it has to get listed.

2a. J.J. Barea doing the exact same thing in the very next round.
What this little dude did to the Lakers made Paul’s performance far less impressive. Maybe the Lakers played really really bad defense, or maybe J.J. Barea deserves a max contract. You decide.
1. Brandon Roy’s 23-point fourth quarter against Dallas.
I really wish Portland beat Dallas. Moreso because I called it, but also because there would be more stories about Brandon Roy. Simmons glossed over this, but I’ll push it a littRead more...