Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Man of Our Dreams

No doubt you've read the news by now. Joel Przybilla turned down the Spurs (and maybe Detroit and Cleveland) to re-sign with us. This comes as quite a relief because otherwise I would have spent all that time learning how to correctly spell his name for nothing.

Seriously, though, what a boost for the franchise. We have a serviceable center, starting or backing up, for the next 4-5 years at a very reasonable price. But not only that, we just got the message that at least one of the players really believes in the franchise, which is a message that's been largely absent for more than a decade. Now I'm not naive enough to think that if Chicago had offered Wallace-type money Joel would have turned them down. He probably couldn't have, and thank goodness for us he wasn't tested like that. But let's get serious...the guy had a chance to go to teams that certainly had one or two legitimate championship runs left in them. He could have spent half his contract playing for a spot in the NBA finals. He also probably turned down the team with the brightest star in the league...an organization that needed his skills and would have adored him. He did that to stay here. He chose to stay here. Say that again...he chose...to stay...here.

There was no reason to do that. Nobody would have blamed him if he left, not even Portland fans. And despite what some are likely to claim, I don't think the two million bucks more that we could offer him over five years was enough to tip the scales. This wasn't a money decision. This wasn't a "lets all get on the winning side and have fun" decision. This was a Portland Trailblazers decision...a decision that means somebody cared enough and had enough pride and passion to wear our uniform.

Believe me, I am not overvaluing Joel's skills or impact. I do like his game, but he's also been foul prone, injured, even sometimes ineffective. I think this signing helps us for sure, but I do not think it makes us good. My feeling that we'll have another very hard season next year already took Joel coming back into account. (I shudder to think what it would be like without him.) When we're 8-22 next season there will be no need to write "What do you think of Joel now?" I will think of him then the same things I think of him now: he was a player in demand who could have gone elsewhere but stayed in order to do his best to give a boost to this franchise. How much of a boost and how soon it comes are less important right now than the fact that he did it.

And Lord, I hope it's contagious. However it plays out, Joel just showed a huge vote of confidence in his teammates and this organization. Let's hope this causes some of the other young guys to pick up that confidence, that loyalty, and that passion too. I know it seems sentimental, but there's also some truth to it: this is the kind of thing that can begin to turn a group of talented hired hands into a team. And one way or another, you need to be a team before you can win.

It isn't a ton of money, it isn't much of a team at this point, but I hope the move will pay off for Joel and the Blazers big time in the years to come. It seems appropriate to say thanks, Joel. A lot of us believe very deeply in the team and the possibility of its resurgence. It's good to feel like somebody wearing the scarlet and black does too.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

By the way, not that anybody's counting, but this is officially the 100th post of this blog. We couldn't have asked for a nicer subject. Happy first century everyone, and hopefully many more for us all.


Anonymous Dr.Dave said...

I can't get over what a rare (these days) gesture that was by Joel to stay. I sometimes wonder if he reads the blogs and forums and picked up on the overwhelming sentiment there? My faith in players playing the pro game for the right reasons has really been bolstered. The last seven days I think will be remembered as the begining of one of those turning points in franchise history.

Congrats, Dave on 100!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yah...if our draft picks even begin to pan out this might be looked at as the first very good year after a ton of bad ones. Let's hope the roll continues.

And thanks!


11:04 PM  
Anonymous zbo_despiser said...

Wow! I thought we had no chance of keeping Joel—this really is a good sign for the momentum the Blazers are trying to create for this season. I also thought it would be impossible to unload Zach, but the Pryzbilla news make me wonder, is there a sucker out there that will take him? Just maybe, I can only hope. His selfish play, endlessly-lowering FG%, and terrible attitude just don't belong on this team of young and enthusiastic players. Usually, I'd say having a 'verteran' around is good for a young team, but I really think ZBo is just poison for the Blazers at this point. Perhaps he will do better for another team, but I think he will never play well for the Blazers again. We don't need a 'scorer' like ZBo, we need a playmaker like Roy.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous jorga said...

Whew. that news elicited a real sigh of relief.

And give Portland, the city, a bit of credit. He's got a family and (unlike some we've harbored) that family is very important to him. Doesn't the Portland area look more appealing than Detroit for raising a family? One story said his wife "loved Portland" and you know she wasn't referring to the organization. I think I mentioned in a long-ago email that families were very important to Terry and Clyde and Buck and Coop ... and their families were important to the fans too. At least the fact that that their families were HERE and a very important part of the players' lives.

I can see Anthony P. and Baby Blake helping to restore that "Glory Days" fan base that valued character.

(And Joel gets those 500 points I promised...)

7:13 AM  
Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

I like this resigning. While Godzilla isn't the player that would ever push a team "over the top", he is an exemplerary player as well as a person and should serve as a good role model. It also gives us time to bring Aldridge along for whatever role he will eventually play for this team. Along with Skinner & Lafrenz (or however the hell it's spelled) we have good veterans among out big men.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Lance Uppercut said...

Congrats on the 100th Dave. I hope you celebrated with a round Century Club.
If he wasn't already Przy instantly becomes the leader of this team, and looking at the roster, it's a good thing. If Nate can work on getting Joel some solid pick-and-roll touches every game, this team would be respectable in 2 years. It would also take some pressure off Zach, though I'm not sure he'd look at it that way.
And Z-Bo_despiser, don't you think it's more important to move Miles than Randolph? You get Miles off the team, and who is Zach going to bitch too? As much as you obviously dislike him, I'd be surprised if you though the team would actually be better without him. You get a healthy Z-Bo, surrounded by good guys (basically the totality of the current Blazer roster), without Darius comiserating with him, and you've got a valuable inside-outside scorer.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Scott R said...

not sure i'd classify this as after "a TON of bad years". a few, sure, but not a ton. anyhow, I am absolutely giddy that Joel decided to stay. I listened to the interview with him on the fan a couple of weeks ago while they were talking about fishing and i decided at that point that Pryz is one guy i really want to go fishing with. He seems so down to earth and very genuine and his staying here shows us the type of character he posesses. This is the type of player this team needs. His enthusiasm for Portland is awesome! Between his being excited to be in Portland and Roy's excuberance to be coming to Portland, i think we are getting the players we need to rebuild this franchise for another 22 year run at the playoffs(hopefully with another title or two to show for it this time). Let Rip City Return!(Only let's find something else to call it so we don't sound like mimics...LoL)

8:40 AM  
Blogger Scott R said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous jorga said...

Agree with Lance that it's more important to deal Miles than Randolph. Z-Bo might actually be influenced by hard workers if he is the lone slacker...

We just have to be very careful who we package with Miles just to be rid of him. Don't want to weaken what we are building on.

Joel fishes? Cool. I remember Duck preferred fishing to partying...

9:09 AM  
Blogger Eli said...

Its funny how everyone seems to love Z-bo, who publicly stated he wants to be traded, still gets caughtdoing stupid sh@! frequently, and is terrible for oncourt chemistry for his self-centeredness, lack of defense and bad influence on his team mates (I know Miles gets the blame for this but I think Z-bo is way more of a problem). I'm pretty sure the player Joel dislikes the most is Randolph, and I wouldn't be suprised if management agreed to trade Zach in order to get Przy to sign.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I grew up in Minnesota and Przybilla was very immature during his time at the U of Minnesota. It's really nice to see he's grown up a lot and really seems to appreciate the Blazer's loyalty. I don't think many players would have chose the Blazers over winning (and I wouldn't have faulted Pryz either). He is one of Blazer that gets it.

Re: Trading Zach or Darius. I think another team would be more willing to take a chance on Randolph than Miles. Darius has been an underachieving headache in three cities. At least Randolph is a proven big man. His contract and waistline are bigger, but someone will find Zach attractive. To jettison Miles may require including a sweetener like Outlaw or a future pick.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous fatty said...

gee did i miss something, did
we aquire lebron or kobe, you
damn blazer fans are happy like
we just won powerball, please
he's o.k. and like dave said
blazer people he'll be a good
backup once oden,noah,or
hansbrough comes next year
thank-god !!!!!
as far as eli*zach despisers
amen to both of you, see this
is why people like s.a.smith
keeps bashing blazer fans and
management, miles is the
scapegoat but fatbo is the
cancer of the whole organization
eli you're right on buddy
this guy has his 75,000,000
in the bank,and he can give a
rat's a*** about you me and
this organization, he's a
follwer not a leader lance
over and over this fat piece
of feces keeps doing dumb
and dumber antics all the
time and i agree with you
eli pryz was told fatbo*miles
will go next week just like
j.ramsey got rid of wicks*petrie
in 76 a year later w.champs
so for the l.uppercuts who
still believe in fatbo follow
his progress in ny,atl, or
wherever pricthard trades him
to !!!!!

11:58 AM  
Anonymous TP43 said...

Yippeee, I'm an idiot!

I completely believed Joel would go elsewhere and I'm thrilled he WANTS TO BE HERE. He's not a franchise savior, but Joel can be a huge piece of the puzzle anchoring our team moving forward. I feel bad for Joel, but I can't imagine any Blazer fan would feel we overpayed for him and I think he's a bargain to a steal at MLE money. We'll see how he develops but I'm very optimistic he's a long term double - double guy for us in a league where that's in extremely short supply.

Now, the Darius vs Zbo question is a tough one. Reality says we can't really know who's the source but I've got to say Darius is a case of irreconcilable differences. Zbo may fall into line and don't forget in his first couple of years he was a monster inside with his work ethic and hustle until he got the starters job. Can he go back to that? I'm going to choose to believe and remain hopeful because he's likely not going anywhere.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Lance Uppercut said...

Zach's contract also makes him a lot more difficult to trade than Darius. People seem to think that you can trade a guy with a max contract for a second round draft pick,, but that's not the way it works.
It should also be mentioned that last year was Z-Bo's first with McMillian. Before that, his only other pro coach was Cheeks. SO put yourself in that situation. You've got a new boss at your job who expects completly different things from you. Things that you did under the old boss are now unacceptable to the new boss. You're telling me you wouldn't have a hard time re-adjusting, especially when your the only guy in your office that has expectations to meet? If Miles didn't have a track record of discontent, I wouldn't have written him off so quickly. Zach, besides being kind of stupid, doesn't have a history of being hard to deal with, so why trade him when there is ZERO chance of getting something decent in return? Because he does stupid, yet legal, things off the court? I'd like to see this team win at least a few games this season. This team, without Randolph, would be luck to win 15 games. It's hard to instill a "cuture of winning" when you get blown out for 82 games.

2:12 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

i'm very happy about joel and think it's possible the blazers will be more competitive than many think.

and i never believe in being intentionally lousy in expectation of a high draft pick. this season we should have got #1 and the lottery gave us #4.

atlanta only got #5.

and remember len bias? a sure thing (i saw him play and he looked great) who celebrated being drafted by taking cocaine and dropped dead.

the blazers might win 30+ games this year. they'll get a lottery pick, sure, but it may well be #8 or #9.

6:49 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

i brought up len bias to say: you never know. weird things happen.

let's worry about the team we have right now.

i want to see more of aldridge's sky hook. i want to see if freeland can contribute anything. what about sergio rodriguez?

we were 5-7 last year, and very competitive, playing hard, before darius hurt his knee.

6:58 PM  
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6:18 AM  

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