Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Draft Recap Part II: The Periphery

Besides talent there were several peripheral issues to this draft. Obviously it was the most active draft in terms of trades in Trailblazer history, and likely among the most active for any single team ever. Frankly, though, I was disappointed with much of what happened. That we got the guys we want was fine, but how we did it was questionable.

Greg Anthony was perfectly correct in pointing out that we did not have to make the trade for Aldridge. Granted Chicago probably bluffed at him in order to draw us into that scenario, but we fell for it and it cost us a player unnecessarily.

My belief is that the consequences of our actions caught up with us in the Foye/Roy deal. Of course I have no inside information of any kind, so who really knows what went down there, but trading players selected with consecutive picks is unusual to say the least and worthy of further examination and explanation.

The trade was announced about five to ten minutes after the picks were made. Ask yourself, if Foye wasn’t part of the Timberwolves’ plans all along, how in the world did we, in that short time, convince them to take him in exchange for a player they supposedly selected after months of preparation? Obviously this couldn’t happen. What Minnesota did is select the player they knew we wanted, knowing that they could get something extra from us just like Chicago did. Again, there’s no proof, but isn’t it a little convenient that Danny Ainge, the GM doing the selecting for us in the seven slot, just happens to be a long-time teammate and friend of Kevin McHale, the V.P. of Basketball Operations for the sixth-picking Timberwolves? If either Foye or Roy were acceptable to the Wolves one phone call from Ainge saying, “Portland really wants Roy…” would be enough to enable the leverage play by McHale. And don’t think that wouldn’t have happened. It’s a cutthroat business, and if you show weakness you deserve whatever you get. Even if there was no information passed, just tipping our hand early would have netted the same result.

Anyway, how it happened is not the point. The point is that it did happen. Bottom line: Chicago got exactly the player they wanted plus Viktor Khryapa for free and Minnesota got exactly the player they wanted plus cash for free...gifts courtesy of your Portland Trailblazers. We got worked twice in front of the whole NBA, the second time in a manner so obvious as to be unmistakable.

There’s nothing more enticing at the poker table than a fish (new person/sucker) with a large bankroll. The good players will bluff him and bluff him all night long until he calls the bluff or surrenders all his chips, whichever comes first. We were the fish tonight, and we showed both our bankroll and our gullibility to be substantial. You can bet everybody else was taking notes. If the current management team stays in place, you can almost guarantee that in every draft from now on one or two teams are going to threaten to take whatever guy they think we want in hopes of getting something extra out of us until we call that bluff and refuse to pay out.

Rumor has it that a common phrase around Blazer headquarters a few years ago was “SPAM”, or “Spending Paul Allen’s Money”. That’s why Vulcan was brought in to run a tight ship and half the staff got the axe. Well, having the Blazer front office spending Paul Allen’s money unnecessarily is one thing, but you’re in real trouble when guys in Minnesota and Chicago start adopting SPAM as their catchphrase too.

As harsh as the commentary was sometimes, they had a point. What transpired tonight made us look foolish, confused, and worst of all weak. We were amateurs out there. Isiah Thomas has a league-wide reputation for being a certain kind of patsy. We now have a rep for being another. It was sloppy execution and needs to be looked at and corrected.

(Update: Lauryn writes that they announced at the draft party that it was indeed Steve Patterson who called McHale and brokered the deal. So we ended up paying the difference between a #6 and #7 rookie salary slot plus cash to take Roy. While "insurance" deals like this are sometimes done, this doesn't change the fact that we paid out to both teams when we didn't need to.)

Speaking of harsh commentary…the second issue of the night is undoubtedly going to be Steven A. Smith’s vitriolic diatribes, many of which were reserved for the Blazers. I know it’ll get a reaction, but remember he’s paid to do exactly that. He wouldn’t be the first sports reporter to become a total “faux-controversial” ass because somebody flashed a T.V. show and money in front of his face. Actually Rush Limbaugh perfected the art form. Unfortunately few of his millions of media imitators have his talent, and Smith obviously doesn’t. In my mind if you object to him the best tack is just to ignore him and recognize what he says for the ridiculous tripe it is. He gets rewarded if you like him. He gets rewarded if you hate him. He gets nothing if you don’t give a crap because he’s just silly.

I must admit, though, it was pretty funny to hear him say he had no time for things like analyzing Portland's foolishness when ESPN was paying him to spend his time doing exactly that. What...did you have a golf game you had to get to? Grilled cheese sandwich burning on the stove? Meds ran out and the pharmacy was closing? Whatever it was, it's a shame when guys get too important to bother covering the sport that makes them important in the first place.

Unfortunately this is what sports reporting has become nowadays. If you haven’t done so already, read back in the April archives for a post on sports commentators. If you’re wondering why it’s so hard nowadays to have a decent conversation with someone, online or off, about sports or anything else controversial, you’ve just seen part of the problem. Personally it would bother me to have my whole career stand for a kind of discourse that makes the world worse instead of better and teaches people to be less civil and thoughtful instead of more, but apparently most folks don’t have those qualms, especially when a nice, fat paycheck is in the offing.

Hey...if you get sick of it you're always welcome here. We may be right sometimes, we may be wrong sometimes, but we try really hard not to be total dipwads.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we dumped Viktor's contract. I don't think they wanted him any more. He was a good player, but he couldn't score and we need room for players that can score.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Samuel Hardy said...

You're right, but you're also stating the obvious.

And just because Portland paid a couple teams to get certain players doesn't necessarily mean they were 'duped.'

10:38 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I was thinking the same thing about Viktor until we picked up half a dozen other players.

--Dave

10:41 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Sam--

Not always, no. But this time, yes. Chicago had no intention of taking Aldridge. When has the Minnesota/Portland consecutive pick trade scenario EVER happened? Even Stern couldn't believe it as he was reading it. We got Okie-Doked tonight.

--Dave

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henry, you make a lot of assumptions. Did you or anyone else around here know exactly who management was going to take? The Blazers have been tight-lipped and secretive. Most of the teams in the draft weren't even sure who they were going to take until the last minute. You could equally criticize Toronto for not making a deal because they could have got Bargnani at 3 or 4 and instead took him #1.

What Chicago and Minnesota did was gamble. Sure, they bluffed. That's because to them there was no risk. Chicago would have been happy with Aldridge or Thomas; Minnesota would have been happy with Roy or Foy.

The Blazers, on the other hand, spend a huge amount of time to "get their guy" (or in this case 2 guys), from scouting and watching video to workouts and IQ tests. Portland would not have been happy with Thomas or Foye, as management knew exactly what they wanted ("Nate guys"). Yeah, Chicago and Minnesota benefitted from this. But what did Portland give up? Not a whole lot. And don't think Raef will be here for a long time...remember, we are picking up "Nate" guys and he isn't one of those. He's more like a piece of a salary-matching puzzle for a large contract like Jalen Rose or Jermaine O'Neal or maybe even Kevin Garnett.

BTW Henry, if you think Steven A Smith was bad, head over to Yahoo! Sports and look up Dan Wetshimself's draft "analysis". He raves about Roy being the best of the draft, but gives the Blazers no kudos for doing what it takes to get him. Also, there are more jailblazer references in his analysis than I saw collectively in the media for the whole year last year. He says nothing about the teams that drafted Reddick (DUI) or the guy that stole laptops, but if the Blazers had picked those guys he would have ridiculed them. Talk about lazy and uninformed opinions...

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to also add to my previous post that we essentially have no GM for this draft. I wouldn't expect this next year...

11:15 PM  
Anonymous jh said...

not to start anything political, but you mentioned him first--GO RUSH :)

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Dave - I think you're off on the assessment of the Blazer's getting fleeced - and especially on Ainge tipping off. I think everyone knew we wanted Roy - and there's talk other players might be involved, including Miles.

I think the Blazer's did a great today - at the end of the day, this is a much brighter looking franchise. The future looks good and I think there's a big move still coming.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yeah...the Ainge tipping off thing is pure speculation for sure. But that's just a semi-interesting sideline, not the main point. I debated whether to put it in there because I knew it would raise eyebrows beyond its importance, but what the hey...it's a blog.

I agree with you that we got some good players.

You'll probably see some other people essentially take this same angle when tomorrow's draft reviews come out. We'll see.

--Dave

11:35 PM  
Anonymous cameron said...

Dave,

You're right on the money about us being duped. I don't think anyone can honestly look at the prospects we came out of this draft with and say that we picked poorly.

My concern however, is our dunce cap visibility around the league. It seems clear that we were the suckers of the evening, and don't think that won't carry over to trade considerations this off-season as our slightly inept (inexperienced?) management team looks for more action.

Being in any other team’s position, I would absolutely capitalize on every opportunity to exploit the situation and characters in Portland. I'm just not sure how seriously we will be taken now.

Also it seems as though Mr. Allen's interest in the events tonight was slightly higher than one might expect from a person about to vulcanize his ownership in the team, don't you think?

11:50 PM  
Blogger dukeofione said...

Too many opinions too quick. Maybe Chicago had other deals. Also draft pics were obtained. I am amazed at the quick complaints. Also, If a little of Paul's money made one or two trades happen it is cheaper than long term contracts.

12:06 AM  
Blogger dukeofione said...

Too many opinions too quick. Maybe Chicago had other offers or the blazers knew Victor would not get many minutes. Or too many players to carry and some had to go for future plans. What about draft pics we got. Aldridge it perfect and Roy will help a lot. Give the trades a chance. Also the money to make a switch happen is one time money that is small compared to long contracts.

12:10 AM  
Blogger The Chicago Sports Kibitzer said...

Dave-

This isnt a first for the Minnessota/Portland scenario. Jerry Krause duped Cleveland in 2000 in the Chris Mihm/Jamal trade. Chicago was picking one spot in front of Cleveland and took the player they knew Cleveland wanted and picked up some cash to go with Crawford.

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right. Minnesota and Chicago were happy to get Aldridge/Thomas or Roy/Foye. They knew we wanted a particular guy and made us pay to move up. Don't forget the simple fact that we were picking behind those teams and their goal was to get the best value for their pick. We had no choice but to pay to essentially move up. Paxson even said that they didn't know which guy to take but when they realized they could get Thomas and a throw-in then their decision was easy. Your analysis is very one-sided and clearly ignores the facts that contradict your opinion. Not to mention your complete exclusion of the fact that Raef is younger than Theo, has been 99% injury-free the past two seasons and posts better numbers yearly and for his career. Somehow you missed that.

12:38 AM  
Blogger ignacio said...

Dave, I usually pretty much agree with you but here i think your emphasis is all wrong.

We scored an extraordinary feat in getting Lamarcus Aldridge (who should have been the #1 overall pick) and Brandon Roy (who should have been at worst the #4).

With Martell moving over to SF and Travis Outlaw still around (and getting better), Victor would've been 3rd string. We all like him but he's a small price to pay.

Dickau + Blake = 2 very similar players. My guess is that his play with us increased Blake's value so somebody desires him included in a future trade of Darius Miles (or of Zach, conceivably).

When the Joel Pryzbilla free agent business unresolved it seems wildly presumptuous to imagine we can foresee our next moves.

More roster moves are yet to come. We now possess some #2 picks to use as throw-ins here and there.

12:41 AM  
Blogger ignacio said...

Also it's a very good sign that Paul Allen seems willing to spend some money, which I attribute to him coming to believe in Nate.

This is a big deal, because we may have to partially subsidize the bad contracts of Darius or Zach to get anyone to take them from us.

Or in the case of Darius, even just pay him to sit. (Chicago didn't play Tim Thomas for month after month last season, and they were better for not using him [he would have taken minutes from Nocioni], even though -- just like Darius -- he is obviously talented, and of course when in Phoenix was reinvigorated and played well.)

12:49 AM  
Anonymous brian said...

Dave. I think you're too harsh in your analysis of the draft. IMO Portland came out of this smelling like a rose (pun intended). They got the players they wanted, moved one of their small forwards (who wouldn't have gotten much time if Martell moves to the 3), picked up a big, fundamentally sound guard that can play both back court positions, and for what? Telfair (who never would have been happy as a back up to Jack), Ratliff (oft injured and had a questionable work ethic/toughness), and Viktor (see above).
If we re-sign Joel, we now have a quality guy at every position 1)Jack, 2)Roy, 3)Webster, 4)Zbo/Aldridge, 5)Priz/Aldrigde. We also get a bench of Blake, Dickau, La Frentz, Skinner, and Outlaw. I'd say this is a vast improvement over last year.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous brian said...

And BTW, if these two players turn out to be as good as people think they might, a few years from now people might be talking about how Portland "fleeced" the other teams.

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree it's likely cutthroat, but how can you say they got duped? Chicago and Minnesota picked ahead of Portland. What happened to Portland was a consequence of picking after someone else. Simple as that. The higher picks are worth more. They had to pay to get the guaranteed results they got. What do they do? Do they say "we refuse to be labeled dupes, we'll just take our chances and take what we can get, even if it turns out we don't like the player or don't need the player"?

Is that what you would do?

What if Chicago had taken Aldridge?

I guess Minnesota had no intention of picking Roy, either, right?

2:05 AM  
Blogger lyle said...

here's why the poker analogy (specifically the blazers getting 'worked') doesn't fit.

first of all, let's just assume that we know of about 10% of what was going down in the board rooms of each team during the draft (and of that 10 percent, 9% of that was stuff that actually ended up happening and that could then end up in us hearing about it.

we just DON'T know what was going on, or what lead to these weird trade ups that were happening.

let's say, for instance, that the bulls drafted aldridge because they had the blazers and another team vying for him, and that other team pulled out or gave an inferior offer. so they went w/ the blazers.

that's just hypothetical of course, but the point is that we just don't know.

second reason is that in poker the ultimate deciding factor of who won at the end of the day is how many chips you have compared to the other player.

bottom line, we got the best haul out of this draft, period. at the beginning of the day today, if you would have told any team in this league if they could finish the day with aldridge AND roy on their roster, they'd salivate. period. of course since it's the blazers the credit is gonna get watered down, and people aren't gonna give up as much credit as they would have had we been phoenix or the lakers, or whatever. any other team, basically.

so i'm really happy. yeah, we maybe had to give up a few minor pieces, and things were maybe messy-er than they could have been, but i truly believe we are a much better team than we were this morning.

2:27 AM  
Blogger rivetz said...

I agree with most of the comments in response to this blog. We're used to some bonehead decisions from this franchise but I give them enough credit to not fall for a straightforward bluff. I understand that the primary reason they swapped with Chicago is that they reallllllllllllly wanted Aldridge and word came down that other teams were looking to pull a similar swap to sneak into the 2 and nab him. Furthermore, it's clear that they knew Morrison would be gone at 3. If I'm Steve Patterson, I just moved Telfair specifically to put myself in position to grab two of the guys I really wanted, and now I'm going to watch one of them slip away. If I have to give up Khryapa to ensure that I get the guys I target, that's what I'm going to do.

Furthermore it's my understanding that when Roy fell to 6, everybody and their dad was jockeying to work something with Minnesota to land him. If all we had to cough up was a little cash? To get the guy we'd targeted from the outset? Who can complain about that?

I also don't know that this translates to ridicule from the other NBA front offices. I can't speak for them, but I respect organizations that identify needs and then go do what they need to do to address them. That's what winning organizations do. Ask an elite team like the Spurs. Hell, ask the Patriots. After a couple years of tentatively fumbling through drafts and acquisitions, and what has felt much like a "go with the flow" approach to roster management, I don't mind a little decisive action.

I only barely understand anyone who views this draft pessimistically. There are so many side benefits to the way this played out, I have trouble listing them, but here goes.

*) The acquisition of Lafrentz and the offensive game he possesses should spread defenses and give Randolph/Aldridge more room to operate.

*) Ratliff was one (1) minor knee injury away from making the jump from difficult-to-trade to impossible-to-trade. Lafrentz has a similar contract but is three years younger. You don't think he'll be attractive as an expiring contract in that final year?

*) The drafting of Aldridge makes trading Randolph and his $84 million contract a legit possibility. There have been two barriers to this: 1) There's no one else to man the 4; 2) With no other franchise-type players, I think we would need a player of equal value for Randolph. With these new players, both needs are somewhat addressed. There are at least a half-dozen teams that will want to hear about a young, 6'10" 20/10 guy, contract and all. And with Aldridge able to handle some of those minutes, suddenly we don't need a 20 ppg guy in return. We could take some veterans, some complementary players, maybe an expiring contract to make us players in next year's free agent bumper crop. Lots of doors opened.

*) If I'm Joel Przybilla, Portland suddenly looks an awful lot more attractive. With Ratliff's departure, I know I'm going to get 30-35 minutes, and I know I'm going to have a lot more talent around me. At the least, it's clear to me that the team is serious about getting talented and building a solid squad. Only Joel knows for sure, but isn't that what he's wanted? An organization committed to winning? I don't see how you interpret this draft as anything but exactly that. We knew what we wanted, we determined what it would take to get there, and we pulled the trigger. There are fans nationwide who would KILL for their teams to be so decisive.

I'm down with the plan and down with the rebuilding effort. Don't BS me and tell me we have the pieces in place, Patterson! The pieces weren't working and we all know it. We all saw it! We could struggle on in denial, or we could turn things over quickly. I don't want some wishy-washy middle ground. You see a way to get new blood without totally mortgaging the future, you pull the trigger. I support the strategy 100% and genuinely feel that a year or two from now this will look like one of the savviest drafts any team has had in recent memory

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, let me start by saying I enjoy your blog. It is the most well-thought out blog on the Blazers. However, tonight you are jumping to conclusions because you are misinformed. You are very close to being right on some things, but you need the big picture. I will not leave you my name or my sources, but I will help you fill in the blanks.

First let me lay down some essential background...

1. There is bad blood brewing between Minnesota and Portland. It started with Trenton Hassell and has culminated with the tug of war over Demopolous. There is much more here but I don't have time to expand. let's just say that having them in the same division may turn this into a fine rivalry.

2. During the 2004 draft, Ainge expected Portland to take Al Jefferson. Ainge was prepared to take Telfair. You can see why he made the trade...now he has both.

3. Insert comment here about McHale's business ethics...

4. Brandon Roy was Nate's guy from the start, everything else was deflection. Bargnani was Pritchard's guy but they were not willing to give up JJ to get him and Aldridge impressed everyone at the workout.

With that said, let's go over what happened yesterday...

Early in the morning the Blazers are working on the Boston trade when the rumor emerges that Minnesota is considering Garnett to Chicago for #2 and change. It was so huge that people were discussing it all over the league. Some people said Thomas would be their pick, while others said Aldridge. The Blazers had already decided on Aldridge at #4 and grew concerned. When Portland offered Viktor, Chicago went for it. They really wanted Thomas and decided not to trade half the team for Garnett.

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing in Boston as Ainge insisted the Blazers take on LaFrenz's contract. By the time everything was wrapped up it was after 2pm EST. This is key. Because the trades happened this late, they could not be announced until reviewed by the league. This forced the Blazers to reveal to Ainge who the Blazers wanted him to pick for them at #7.

McHale, who like most of us had heard about the trade, called Ainge to find out who the Blazers were taking, and the rest is history.

You better believe Stern knows what happened, and as much as he despises Minnesota and McHale, no rules were broken. But you may see some changes in the future.

So don't be upset, Dave. The Blazers were not "duped" - give them credit for having the guts to go after what they wanted and not settle for what dropped in their lap. If anything, they are the victims of the bounce of a ping pong ball.

3:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only do I agree with the above analisys, but I think its rather interesting to see the workings at the uper levels of the NBA.

In fact, you have to wonder if there was collusion between not just 2 but 3 teams, Chicago, as well as Boston and Minn.

I mean it is within the relm of possibility that the Chicago getting Garnett deal was floated out there, but I think its kinda interesting how things worked. Just be lucky all it cost us Was Victor and Cash, it could have been far worse.

3:56 AM  
Blogger rivetz said...

Agreed, interesting stuff! Makes sense.

Worth noting, btw: I think that because Khryapa warranted some significant minutes on an fledgling Portland team this past season, we all have a tendency to inflate his value. The truth is that until Khryapa turns a corner, he's a garbage-time player on the average (.500) NBA squad. Look at Chicago's roster. He's gonna ride the bench behind Deng and Nocioni, both of whom are far better players than Khryapa. This was a no-downside trade for Chicago that would get them a young SF with size and some upside while still assuring them of landing Thomas. But to think of Khryapa as anything other than loose change is to think of him on the Blazers' talent scale, not the NBA. I know he's young and he's won over many fans with gutsy play, but the numbers don't lie: 21.6 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3 fouls. That's 10th man territory on your average NBA team. And if moving that guy means you will secure the pick you've targeted as your top prospect, you do it in a heartbeat.

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Toast said...

According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Portland was the shark at the table, not Minnesota:

"Actually, from what I've heard, the Wolves selected Roy for the Rockets. The Rockets were going to select Foye and send him to Minnesota along with either Luther Head or a future first-round pick. But the Blazers knew what was going on, selected Foye and forced the trade of Foye for Roy."

For what it's worth.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Scott R said...

good call toast. i'd heard the Luther Head trade scenario before and now that the dust has settled what happened makes perfect sense to me.

I am very happy with the outcome of last night. i'm sad to see Telfair go, and i wish him the best since he seemed to be one of those kids that just "gets it" so far. On the flip side i'm stoked that we have a big backcourt now. I was a lot irked when Minny picked Roy followed by Portland picking Foye because i feel Foye is a small 2 Dixon-type guard, not a combo guard. These comparisons i've heard of him to Wade will turn out to be false IMHO.

I'm now VERY intersted to hear about our other 2 first round picks. Freeland sounds like he can be a solid back-up, maybe even starter, with some weight training and time. I know absolutely nothing about this Sergio kid though, but am intrigued to see what he can do.

Bottom line is that i say "good job Blazers". it was nice to finally be watching a draft and hearing our team be the aggressor and getting who they wanted vice watching every other draft and seeing them just take what fell their way.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read Chad Ford's comments the Blazer want to clear players from the roster. Also, Minnesota had a deal with Houston to swap Roy and Foye. The blazers got wind and made the right moves.

6:31 AM  
Blogger catalyst said...

I just want to second your comment regarding Steven A. Smith.

Exactly what do you think they're paying you for, Steve: To give your opinion. I recognize you don't respect the Blazers, but be a professional and do your job.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous jorga said...

After all those nasty cracks on ESPN and then your comments, Dave, I was sort of down last night, although I kept thinking : bottom line, we got who we wanted - and they're high quality guys. Now the comments to your post have cheered me - not because they are true (who knows) but because they are supportive of the moves. What a change! One thing I never heard last night (and I felt was detrimental to us) was that we really don't have a permanent GM (at least in title.) Now if Patterson hires a "real" GM then I'm going to be heartened. Maybe we looked stupid to some, but that pile of chips looks good to me.

And did anyone else think that David Stern's facial expressions while announcing our trades were totally out of line???

7:20 AM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

OK, so how did we really do?

Overall, we did fairly well. We traded Telfair, Theo & Viktor. No real problems there. Telfair’s FOB was annoying and we had to choose between him or Jack. I think we made the right choice. Theo was, to me, a plenty good enough center but he is too oft injured and his offense was such that teams could easily double Zach. LaFrentz will draw players out and that could give Zach much more room to maneuver. As to Viktor, who cares? He is and always will be a serviceable bench player- and those types grow on trees.

Now, with regard to our picks…. While the experts are split on both Roy & Aldridge, the bottom line is that we got 2 of the consensus top 5 players in the draft and whether they pan out or not is not a concern to me. The fact is we got them and did so very well. Blake leaves after next season so we drafted a PG that may be a good candidate to back up Jack in a couple of seasons. As we did not want to carry 15 players, our last first round pick was for a player who will stay in Europe- and we needed that as well.

All in all, I think we did a fine job. We moved players well and drafted smartly.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

First off...thanks for all the comments. 29 is a record for this little blog and to have that in one night is certainly unprecedented.

Second, I accept those who disagree, but I would offer at least two shadings here:

1. "Duped" and "Fleeced" seem to be the verbs people are using most to summarize my comments. Note that I used neither of them. My verbs were "worked", "bluffed", and a comparison between first-time amateurs and professionals at the table. Maybe some will still consider that too harsh, but my intention was more to point out the possibility of sloppy execution (like a first-timer at the World Series of Poker) than to imply personal ineptitude. We got outplayed in the subtle aspects of the game might have been a better way to put it.

2. Stating that, which I believe is true, does not in any way translate into me not liking the draft picks or the draft overall, which I stated in the post right below. Getting Aldridge and Roy was a great job insofar as the Blazers got exactly the guys they targeted. It's rare to have that happen with multiple high-level players and I give management lots of credit for that.

Thanks to whoever left the explanatory comment about the bad blood between Portland and Minnesota. It was an interesting read and brought some new angles. I think it also proves the leverage point. McHale certainly did nothing illegal...in fact he was really smart. Oh, and I am not upset about the draft, in fact I am pretty optimistic about the overall results.

One thing you can say for sure...the Portland brass must really believe in these kids to go to such great lengths for them. That bodes well.

--Dave

8:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Now pity me as I go check the e-mail box...

--Dave

8:01 AM  
Blogger Scott R said...

I for one am now VERY excited for the start of the season. I think it is just absolutely awesome that Roy truly sounds like he WANTS to be in portland and the he was genuinely disappointed when he was picked by Minny and not immediately traded. I wish every player on our roster had that same attitude. This is a very exciting day to be a Blazers fan.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous alex said...

Very interesting reading guys, this is some of the best stuff ive run across online about the blazer draft. I am really excited about roy, and im comforted by some of the backstory as to why we had to move up for aldridge. I've been looking for information on the press conference. Isnt it usually held the next day at noon? I havent found any information on it though, and we're only 3 hours away if my assumtion is true...

9:14 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Thanks Alex! Obviously we don't have the advantages of a Quick, Canzano, or even the wonderful Henry Abbott over at truehoop.com (who is a very good read, by the way, and also a passionate Blazer fan) but if we can manage to be interesting, honest, and reasonably civil I'm happy.

--Dave

9:42 AM  
Anonymous TP43 said...

Dave - I second the thought that this is a great thread of thoughtful discourse with appropriate civility but plenty of room for differing opinions. I feel like I just graduated from Junior High (you suck dude) to an Ivy League institution (subtle difference between duped and bluffed). I've not read your stuff before but you are now a favorite bookmark.
I had Aldridge & Roy at 1-2 going in and I'm absolutely thrilled we got both. It's pretty unprecedented other than perhaps Chicago getting Curry - Chandler in the same draft. One point I think is relevant, we can't know if Chicago really would have been happy with either Aldridge - Thomas and likewise Minnesota with Roy - Foye but I think it's very relevant that PDX would not have taken Thomas and probably not Foye due to makeup/temperament/intangibles as "Nate guys" so that does put us at a distinct disadvantage in that we probably had to overpay because we were not willing to make those tradeoffs while Chicago - Minnesota would have.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow tp! Ivy League, huh? I'll have to start rooting for the Blazers to run some Princeton cuts then.

Thanks for the compliment. If you haven't had a chance I hope you look back through the archives. We covered a lot of ground since April. Lots of Zach stuff and management stuff and all that. I love discussion and respond to every e-mail, so feel free.

--Dave

11:47 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

By the way, the whole "willing to compromise/not willing to compromise" angle is where I'm slowly ending up too. It makes me feel better. Only time will tell whether we should have been more willing to compromise but in the end we probably didn't lose all that much anyway. Just as long as we're not so (*cough*) inflexible with every pick...

--Dave

11:49 AM  

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