• Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports assistant coach Maurice Lucas will return to the bench this season.
Lucas, the bruising power forward on the Blazers 1977 team that won the NBA title, said he is unsure whether he will be able to attend all 82 regular season games because he is still not fully recovered from bladder surgery five months ago.I've seen Coach Lucas around the past couple weeks. He looks good and is in great spirits. Excellent to have him back.
"I'm getting there, but it's a slow process,'' Lucas said. "I'm feeling pretty good though. We will see. I will play it by ear.''
• ESPN.com put out their Summer Forecast for the Western Conference, with the Trail Blazers at No. 3, behind the Lakers and Spurs with a record of 52-30. Sounds about right to me.
Can Portland become the proverbial "team nobody wants to face" in the Western Conference playoffs? Or are they ready for true contender status? Expectations are large, as are the variables: Can Greg Oden find himself? How will Andre Miller's go-go style mesh with the walk-it-up Blazers? And who's the starting point guard, anyway?All valid questions.
• Brian T. Smith at the Columbian catches up with Andre Miller, providing interview transcription here and here with the article here.
Miller said Blake is a "great player," and stated that he wants to do what is best for the Blazers.Reading over Millers answers, I don't know that I come to the conclusion that Miller thinks he has "earned the right" to be the starter. After all, he's quoted as saying "nothing is handed to you". I read confidence in those quotes, not entitlement.
But Miller, 33, also said he believes he’s earned the right to be an NBA starter based off a consistent, productive 10-year career.
The Los Angeles native averaged 14.6 points, 7.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds during a decade-long stretch in which he has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
"I’m going in there as the starting point guard — there’s nothing else to it," Miller said. "I look at it as a challenge. Nothing is handed to you. So I have to go in there with the right attitude, knowing that, this is a point guard spot that is going to have to be battled for."
• "iverigma2", a diarist over at Blazers Edge, put together a HUGE post detailing the offense last season, complete with an almost endless array of youtube clips. I can't imagine how long that took to put together. Even is you're not all that interested in the details of the offense, it's worth checking out simply because of the enormity of the project.
• John Hollinger and Ric Bucher at ESPN.com address the "offseason buzz" (whatever that means) for each team, including the Trail Blazers. Since it's an insider article, all I'll tell you is that Hollinger thinks Oden's PER will go up, Przybilla's will go down and Andre Miller is Bucher's "name to know." That's really about it.
• Dave, head honcho at Blazers Edge, runs down a list of concerns he has for the 2009-10 season. As he notes near the end, most are fairly minor, especially when compared with seasons past.
• Wendell Maxey at Beyond The Beat notes that just because Desmond Mason is working in Portland doesn't mean he's working out for Portland. Some people have a hard time picking up that distinction.
• Sounds like Rudy Fernandez might have sustained some sort of hamstring injury while preparing for EuroBasket. Hopefully it's not too serious.
• Whether or not the Trail Blazers are able to "live up to all the hype" is one of the six situations to watch in the West according to Hoopsworld.
Over the years a number of organizations have been able to rebuild with impressive young players that helped the organization return to the postseason. However, the more difficult challenge is always taking a playoff team and turning that group into a true contender. That's what the Blazers are attempting to do as we speak.I'm not so sure I agree with that. I think it's just as hard to go from one of the worst teams in the league to playoff team in three years.
A first round exit can't be deemed a success by folks in Portland given how much hype this group has generated. And say what you want about Greg Oden and his injury problems, but he has to show something this season. Each year he doesn't, he creeps closer to that dreaded label of "bust."