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Thread: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

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    Administrator Peck's Avatar
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    Default Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I think this has gone on long enough now to say that I think we officially have turned the corner on the season. Doesnít mean that we are now suddenly a contender for anything but when Danny went down we kept saying that we really needed to try and keep around .500% so that when he returned we could push for playoff position.

    Well we are now one game above .500% and have a few games at home so that maybe we can keep at an even keel.

    But more importantly than being at home, IMO, is the fact that we are actually playing at a much higher level than what we were to start off the season. Lotís of individual players have stepped up to help but I think first and foremost Frank Vogel has to be credited with understanding that the offensive structure we were using to start the season was not working and starting with the Dallas game he changed the offense to better fit the players we have.

    Sounds simple doesnít it? But after years of watching a coach pound round pegs into square holes and refuse to adjust anything to fit the players having a coach who is not filled with his own hubris is both a blessing and fun to watch. The one thing that I have been impressed with over the past couple of games is the fact that our guards are now making quick purposeful cuts to the basket and our forwards are hitting them for some easy layups.

    Frank still has an irritating knack for not calling a timeout fast enough to stop a run and at times his line in line out substitution pattern drives me insane. But overall I still think we have a winner on our hands here for a coach and this guy is far more than Just a motivational speaker.

    I have found the one team that has a worse bench than ours, Portlandís bench flat out sucks. To the chagrin of the dozens of people in attendance to see Meyers Leonardís play basketball he was totally worthless and did nothing other than provide a Tyler Hansbrough the opportunity to break out of his slump. I donít know if it was visible on TV or not but Tyler was flat out beating on Leonard & Freeland in the first half. One time they both came to double him and both tried to foul him very hard and both walked away holding their Jaws while Tyler casually went to the free throw line.

    Normally when our bench comes in I cringe and usually go on twitter to complain vehemently about them, but tonight I will say that in the first quarter our starters were flat and our backup big men came in and ignited a fire. Tyler by being Tyler (but actually scoring this time) and Ian continuing his series of great games that he has been stringing together.

    After Fridayís game we will do our 20 game review but at game 19 I think we stand a lot better than we did at game 10. BTW as I was watching NBAtv they showed a graphic about teams that have played the most games on the road. Denver, Utah, Cleveland & Indiana have all played 12 games on the road so far, our road record of 5-7 was the best o f the four with Denverís 4-8 coming in second.

    Then Kenny Smith said ďkudos to Indiana for doing it without their best playerĒ which still makes me shake my head every time they say something like this. In the pre-season previews they had nothing good to say about Danny, EVER. But when he went down it was all love and kisses from them.

    Speaking of Danny I donít know if you guys saw this or not but at halftime Danny came out onto the court with the rest of the team and shot the ball all while wearing a suite and street shoes. No layups and no real elevation on his Jump shot but he was shooting (& more importantly hitting) and while I know we are nowhere near time for him to return I keep hoping that maybe close to the first of the year we can start hearing about him doing some full scale practices.

    Letís do grades tonight.

    David West: B+

    Started off slow and I mean really slow. Missed two early box outs that led to Portland getting the rebound and made a very slow switch in the post allowing Aldridge almost an uncontested layup. Went to the bench early, got an extended rest thanks to Tyler being a human Tornado, and came back in playing at a much higher level. In fact ended the game with what I consider a more efficient game than what Aldridge did considering he played almost 5 less min. and shot a much higher % from the field and grabbed the same amount of rebounds. Didnít get to the free throw line though, which is actually kind of odd for him. But overall he has been carrying us for quite awhile so weíll give him a break on that.

    Paul George: A+

    Iím giving him the plus tonight from one of the extra pluses he got from last nightís game. Active, aggressive, assertive and any other A words you can think to use here. These past two games have by far and away been the best of his entire career. His Dallas and New Orleans games were fine but neither represented a sustainable level of play. You are not going to be able to hit that many threeís every night. But this, this style of play can be done every night without fail. Since I didnít get to say anything about last nights game I want to include here that while his scoring was outstanding and game saving for us it was his smothering defense that left me breathless. His defense tonight was good as well but what he did against Deng was superb. His trade value will never be higher, sorry couldnít resist.

    Roy Hibbert: C

    SighÖ. Iím watching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on NBAtv talk about the sky hook and how to play in the post. Now my mind is flashing back to the 8 foot sky hook air ball Roy threw up. Still plays good solid defense every game so at least there is that but my God his shot has gone to never land or someplace. For the season he is now shooting .383% which is amazing for a center to shoot who mostly plays in the post. I know itís mostly mental with him and someday soon this will all turn around. In fact if you think about it with Roy slumping, Paul having been in a slump, our bench in general slumping on offense itís amazing that we are now above .500%

    Lance Stephenson: C-

    He is so lucky that Frank is his coach and not you know who. Iím telling you a lot of coachís would not have tolerated that opening salvo where he missed two threeís (both were open so they were not bad shots) but then ran a fast break where he slopped up a horrid shot causing a turn over. He would have been benched and never seen again. But Frank let him play out of it and he eventually got turned around a little bit. Although I will tell you Frank gave him the first dirty look Iíve ever seen Frank give a player on the bench when he came out. Decent defense for the most part, only got lost twice that I counted and he was doing some real work on the boards. Heís an odd duck in that he may be to willing of a passer and passes up shots but then I also wonder if he may not be a ball hog if his shots start dropping, with him you get the feeling it could go either way. Still always fun when he is in because like that mythical box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get.

    George Hill: B

    This is a tough one really and kind of a head scratcher. I feel like a B is probably too high for this game because watching it I donít feel like he had that great of a game, but then looking at the box sore you have to say he had a good game. This was a quiet 18 point game; in fact I didnít realize he scored 18 points till the end of the game. He did make a sweet cut to the rim for a dunk from a beautiful feed from Paul. I know Damian Lillard was causing him fits all night, but after watching him play for the first time I can tell you that he will be causing lots of people fits for a very long time.

    Tyler Hansbrough: B+

    Obviously Tyler made the west coast trip and forgot to pack his red bull. It was a tale of two halves for him though as in the first half he was a dynamo who the Blazers had no answer for. By the second half he was coming down from his energy drink high. He was putting on the bruises tonight though, whew. Not only did he get blasted in the double team but Leonard also tried to straight up foul Tyler and once again left holding his chin/Jaw area. He and Tyler also exchanged words after that incident.

    Ian Mahinmi: A-

    Another in the line of very solid contributions from Ian on both sides of the court. The offense he is bringing from the backup 5 spot, well actually itís better than the offense we got from the starting 5 spot tonight. What is great about him is that he is not a one dimensional offensive player and he is now demonstrating an ability to drive that he didnít show us a lot of in the pre-season. He could be a little better on the boards but he also had one of those highlight blocked shots at the rim tonight as well.

    Gerald Green: B+

    Very active defense tonight from Gerald including one time when the Blazers were trying to inbound that his length and leaping ability caused a deflection that cost the Blazers about a second on the shot clock. Not earth shattering I know but it was enough to cause them to have to rush the shot after still not getting a clear inbound pass. Canít say Iím ever a fan of anyone shooting 5 of their 8 shots from the three point line but he did hit two of them. Still canít pass worth a damn but overall he was a net positive on the floor tonight.

    Sam Young: C

    Not really sure what he did other than rebound a few shots. Not a bad game but he really wasnít very active on the floor.

    D. J. Augustin: C-

    My expectations are pretty low for him and he met my expectations. His shot apparently is hanging out with Royís shot.

    Good win for the team, good two weeks really from the team. If we can keep Paul at this level we will be more than fine, but in all honesty he doesnít have to play this well every night for us to keep winning. I mean it would be great if he did but if he drops back down to 14-18 ppg that will be fine as long as he is aggressive and not settling for a lot of threeís.

    I wonder how well will match up with Denver.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

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    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I really think we will see consistency on the offensive end. If we limit our turnovers and get to the FT it shouldn't matter if we hover around the 42% fg rate. Our defense will keep us in games for the most part.

    DJ will not exit his slump. His defense aptitude is 8th grade level. He may have gotten a pass on losing teams, but with a playoff team this is not good enough.

    Think about that. DJ started in the NBA last year for the Bobcats. That is how bad they were. And now look at them. Without DJ they could at least double their wins from the previous year.

    Where is our Derek Fisher?

    OJ Mayo would have been nice instead of him and Green. Seriously OJ is a top 10 scorer in the NBA. And he is doing it efficiently. We really missed out three times to get him.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I do not understand Augustin. I truly thought he was better than this, certainly at least an adequate backup point guard - is what I thought we were getting. Maybe he only had good games against the Pacers. Or maybe he played much better for the Bobcats. I don't know. But I think if the first 19 games are any indication, he just isn't very good.

    And even after drastically lowering my expecations on Green, I still see a player that baffles me. He might have the lowest Basketball IQ I have ever seen. But he does have some talent and skills - nice shooter and great athlete.
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 12-06-2012 at 09:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I'm not expecting that level of play out of Ian everynight, but I don't see why he can't average 8/5. He's at 5/4 right now and really struggled there for a while.

    By the end of his 4yr deal, he will have been an absolute steal for that cheap of a contract.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    The beginning of this season was strange. We were healthy, had high hopes, were returning all of our starters. Then Granger goes out for 3 months just before the start of the season. Okay, so what, he misses time here and there, we never seem to miss a beat.

    Except, we did.

    The season started and inexplicably, we lost all sense of mojo. Couple that with the fact that we had a very aggressive schedule to start off with... playing more games than anyone, and most of them on the road. No one seemed to take note of that at all, but it was excruciatingly important. This team is full of good coaches and good players, who are fully capable of fixing and adjusting things --- and who had gotten into a funk. They needed some practice time to straighten things out, and they just weren't getting it. They were hopping on the plane to the next loss, unable to really hit the practice courts and fix their issues.

    Everyone freaked out. Fire Vogel, blow up the entire roster, fire Walsh.

    I knew the personel of this team and what they were made of, and I just knew they were not the types to just fold it up and give up. I had a feeling the players themselves were just as upset and looking for a solution as the fans were. I knew they'd figure it out. I looked at the schedule and saw that we had a "lightening" of the schedule coming in mid-November and I thought, "That's when they get a chance to breathe, hit the practice courts, make some offensive adjustments, and they'll get this ship righted."

    Plus... I looked at the other areas of their game and realized that as bad as it had seemed so far... they were really, really good at defense and blocks and rebounding --- pretty much 75% of basketball. That was a good sign. They just needed to get their mojo back on offense and they'd come into their own down the stretch. They had lost a bunch of very close games --- they weren't getting blown out (often). They were just a few plays away from having a much better record.

    The funk couldn't last forever, because we have a few guys on this team who are absolute ballers --- Hill and West are killers down the stretch. PG is becoming a two-way 3-quarter workhorse. Hansbrough is playing like I have always wished he'd play. Stephenson is finally becoming a positive factor.

    Hibbert has been beastly on the defensive and rebound front. Yea, his offensive game hasn't been pretty, but I think he'll work it out, and as long as he's doing his thing on the defensive side of the court, I'm okay with it. Once he gets that straightened out... and Granger returns, hopefully renewed, this team is going to be pretty damn scary.

    They're playing some decent ball. They're finishing games and making plays down the stretch. They're doing pretty much what we all know they are capable of doing. They just had to find their way.
    Last edited by Kid Minneapolis; 12-06-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    And even after drastically lowering my expecations on Green, I still see a player that baffles me. He might have the lowest Basketball IQ I have ever seen. But he does have some talent and skills - nice shooter and great athlete.
    Green made one of the more baffling mistakes I've seen. In either the third or fourth quarter, Aldridge (I think) was taking an 8 foot jumper with West on him and Gerald was guarding Luke Babbitt on the low block. As LaMarcus shot, Green left Babbitt wide open to attempt an ill-fated block attempt. He got way up there, but had zero chance of getting to the ball. Babbitt got the rebound and easily put the two back in. I'd never seen someone leave their man wide open under the rim for such an infeasible act.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Only managed to catch bits and pieces of the game last night, but i've been really pleased with the performance of late. I'll give Hibbert this, he is turning into one of the best defensive centers in the league. I don't think I've ever seen anyone miss so many sitters at the rim, but it's worth it with what he gives us on the defensive end.

    Also think Lance finds himself in a weird spot (almost like George a couple years ago) where he's not sure when to defer and when to try and make a play. I did see the drive you talked about, and honestly, didn't think it was that bad. Sure he tried to force it and the end result was a missed shot, but it was definitely no worse than many Paul George turnover drives I've seen this year. I think with a little more control he gets the foul called.

    All in all, I think the Pacers are on the up. As long as a team plays good defense they will give themselves a shot to do well, and even at our worst this year, the defensive effort has been good. Quick shout out to Ian who has impressed me lately.
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Obviously Ian, Young and Green have found their game and their role on the team. All 3 have now had more than one comfortable, confident game. This is a major factor in the overall improved look the team has.

    I think of Peck and I tied together on the whole Ian front, and I think we are fully justified now in our pre-season raves. He's fluid and smooth with his movements. His footwork is good as is his balance on both ends, normally at least. He has strength, he has shooting touch. Only his mishandling of the ball holds him back at this point. It's just taken some time to settle in for him, and he'll probably still be up and down during the year.

    But I'll bet by the end of this season Ian looks a lot better than he does even now. To me he's a player that's been slowly improving the last few years with slight minutes increases and is now on the verge of getting the kind of "bingo" moment minutes he needs. Clearly he knows that he can drive and shoot, he doesn't hesitate going into either situation. That's half the battle - confidence.



    If Roy could make normal close shots and DJ could get his offense up enough to come close to off-setting his terrible defense, this team would move back to contender status. As it stands now there are just too many variants to the offense that keeps them from winning at a reliable rate. Paul, David, and George are pretty reliable, but not perfectly. Only West has come close to true high output consistancy, and a team needs at least 3-4 guys it can rely on. Maybe 2 specific and then a certainty that 2 out of another 5 will always have strong nights. That's still not quite true.

    On the other hand, the defense could not be more proven than it is now. There is no surprise with the FG% or PPG you see opponents putting up. And really they aren't even smothering people, this isn't playoff intensity. As Peck mentioned, you have West missing some things, we see Paul and George making mistakes, and even Roy isn't 100% always on with his defense.

    It's just a case of having so many defenders and so much good work that on a typical play the odds are a team is going to find itself facing a well contested shot. In fact I'd say that if the offense could improve and reduce the number of TO based or long rebound miss based early transition scores that they give up, you'd really see a dramatic turn in the Points For vs Against. Just a few more points on offense, a few less TOs, and suddenly you take away 3-4 other FGMs and drop PPG by 3-4 (some O boards still get them points after misses) and FG% by 5 points maybe too.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    What is upsetting to me about Roy's shooting is it appears (on tv) that he often rushes, or doesn't even have a good indication of where the rim is when he shoots. My theory is that Roy feels he needs to shoot (in a good way, like he wants to help because he's confident in his game) leading him to shoot when it's clearly not the best shot for him or the team. Roy is an above average passer, and I think he needs to know his positioning better to make the correct decision.

    David West dropped a little jewel in his court-side interview after the Lakers game I believe, he said "I only take shots I practice." It's an incredible philosophy, that kinda blew my mind. Now if he can only instill that in Roy. I don't mind players slumping through "normal" shots, but Roy throws up some crazy stuff.
    Last edited by focused444; 12-06-2012 at 02:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Roy's problem is his mechanics. His drop set follows his head instead of the other way around. His hook shot is disheveled because his outside foot (the foot farthest away from the bucket) is swinging away from the rim, and sometimes it isn't even set as he lifts. He is hurrying his shot by not establishing better foot work. He cannot just rely on his size. He has to position his body to absorb the contact by moving the outside foot closer to his inside foot, thus enabling him to rise toward the goal. Instead when he lifts the power is positioned on his outside shoulder causing him to lose trajectory and coordination

    He needs to get back to the basics.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    It has gotten to the point where I am surprised when one of Roy's shots actually goes in.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac View Post
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    Green made one of the more baffling mistakes I've seen. In either the third or fourth quarter, Aldridge (I think) was taking an 8 foot jumper with West on him and Gerald was guarding Luke Babbitt on the low block. As LaMarcus shot, Green left Babbitt wide open to attempt an ill-fated block attempt. He got way up there, but had zero chance of getting to the ball. Babbitt got the rebound and easily put the two back in. I'd never seen someone leave their man wide open under the rim for such an infeasible act.
    I was at the game--Green actually got a piece of that shot and that's why it landed right into Babbitt's hands. That wasn't a dumb play at all seeing how Aldridge basically had a layup (it was an in-between hook from about 5 feet out)

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I really think Roy rushes his shot because he usually takes so long getting to the point of putting it up (waiting for a defensive or offense movement). When he makes his decisions at the pace of the offense his shooting is in rhythm. When he is waiting for something to happen before shooting, I think he rushes because he KNOWS it took time to get to the decision and he has to shoot before something happens (defender gets in position, 3-second violation, whatever).
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I personally think we should look to reinsert Green into the starting lineup, reduce the rotation to 9, and have Lance be the backup point. This allows Lance to be more aggressive looking for his shot (like we saw earlier in the season), allows him to continue his chemistry pairing with Tyler, and gives us a chance to utilize Green as another long defender/3 pt shooter within the starting lineup.

    It also reduces D.J's minutes to minimal/emergency status.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Lance has looked really good as a shooting guard, I don't know why you would want to shove him back into the PG spot.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    I have said from day 1 the pressure was on Vogel. That didn't mean he'd fail, it just meant that as a coach with a good chunk of talent he should be expected to get it working. It meant that at this point the offensive problems should be fixable. The team is putting up the WORST ALL-TIME Pacers offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). By a healthy margin. Think about some of the rosters they are outperforming, even the rosters that first joined the NBA, even the mid-80s teams.

    They aren't that bad an offensive team in terms of talent, so that goes to Vogel.


    Now, having said that let me again state that I didn't think he'd fail, I wasn't sure either way but had some hopes due to his personality and how things have gone so far. This season was/is Vogel's trial.

    Right now it looks like he might be passing it. You can see adjustments to the types of plays, you can see the rotation adjustments...you can see Frank the Tank exploring ideas, making corrections and figuring it out. Even if it's from his staff, we all know that not all coaches (JOB) buy into staff suggestions. So either way this is a credit to Frank.

    I like him quite a bit, seems like a great guy to run your team, so his success to me is great not just because of the team wins it brings but because he's the kind of person you want to root for (along with the whole roster).



    And they might not be out of the woods yet. They have had a lot of games and a lot of road games, but they've avoided the tougher teams for the most part and that won't last.

    Still, they're back on top of the division and that's all that matters till May.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    To pile on Augustine, in the past several games, he has taken pull-up threes in transition. What the ****, dude? I can't tell if Lance is great at leading the fast break or if the other ballhandlers are just irreparably stupid on the break. Green is obviously more athlete than mathlete and Ian makes dumb fouls and overreaches, but I'm struggling to explain DJ. He doesn't look like an NBA player 90% of the time.

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by AesopRockOn View Post
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    To pile on Augustine, in the past several games, he has taken pull-up threes in transition. What the ****, dude? I can't tell if Lance is great at leading the fast break or if the other ballhandlers are just irreparably stupid on the break. Green is obviously more athlete than mathlete and Ian makes dumb fouls and overreaches, but I'm struggling to explain DJ. He doesn't look like an NBA player 90% of the time.
    I'm thinking maybe the standards were pretty low over there in Charlotte.

    Who cared if he jacked up an early three?
    .

    .

    .

    .


    ďPeople talk about how quiet he [McKey] is, but heís really been helpful. He gives a lot of insight to players in how to guard certain teams and what their weaknesses are. The whole team listens to him, and it makes my job a lot easier. Having players like him is what pro basketball is all about for me.Ē óLarry Brown

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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by AesopRockOn View Post
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    To pile on Augustine, in the past several games, he has taken pull-up threes in transition.
    Hill did it twice last night, too.
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  31. #20
    Administrator Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Hill did it twice last night, too.
    That's why his grade was so hard for me, I don't think he played a particularly good game. But looking at the box score you would think he did.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

  32. #21

    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace E.Anderson View Post
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    I personally think we should look to reinsert Green into the starting lineup, reduce the rotation to 9, and have Lance be the backup point. This allows Lance to be more aggressive looking for his shot (like we saw earlier in the season), allows him to continue his chemistry pairing with Tyler, and gives us a chance to utilize Green as another long defender/3 pt shooter within the starting lineup.

    It also reduces D.J's minutes to minimal/emergency status.
    Lance could be the backup point and still start at SG. Paul's playing terrible next to Green, I'd rather not force him to play more minutes with him.

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  34. #22
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Green back in the starting lineup? Wait a minute while I regurgitate my arroz con pollo.

    Lance replacing DJ as the backup PG? Maybe I can choke it back down.
    I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees.

    -Emiliano Zapata

  35. #23
    Member Ace E.Anderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ Jones View Post
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    Lance could be the backup point and still start at SG. Paul's playing terrible next to Green, I'd rather not force him to play more minutes with him.
    My idea was more me being sarcastic than anything lol, but I agree wholeheartedly here.

  36. #24
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    Default Re: Odd Thought's: Sent the Blazers packing up the Oregon Trail

    Very happy with overall recent play. Very encouraging. DJ and Green? Blech. Everyone else reasonable or better. PG on fire. Will it last? I'll settle for consistent teens plus consistent peripherals per his capability level. That would be sweet. But if he wants to go 20 + regularly, I'll eat a whole humble pie with glee.
    I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees.

    -Emiliano Zapata

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