I recently got in touch with Seth Johnston from Bust a Bucket for tomorrow night's tilt at Target Center. As you all know, the Blazers are a good team and exciting to watch. The Wolves on the other hand, suck balls are not. They've been hammered with injuries, but of course they'll probably win. We don't matchup well against them, and we traded them Brandon Roy no longer have Randy Foye.
Anyways, I digress. Make sure to check out BaB, it's really awesome. I'm not even kidding, it's really a great site. Spend more than five minutes there and you'll see that its clearly and easily one of the best Blazers sites on the net, if not THE best. No hyperbole fellas, it's that good.
Click below the fold to check out what Bust a Bucket had to say in response to my annoying questions about the state of the TWolves, as well as what's going on these days with the Blazers. Good stuff, NBA fans!
Check out my responses to Seth's questions over at Bust a Bucket, by clicking HERE.
Please click "Read More" to continue...
CW: How do you like the season so far? See a lot of potential in the playoffs?
SJ: Frustrating. The team overachieved last season and I think we Blazer fans were hoping that they would be even better this year. That hasn't happened. Because there have been so many injuries we don't even know what this team will look like if everyone were to be healthy. On a positive note, the team has done very well considering it has caught the Ebola Virus of injury bugs.
As for the playoffs, there are two main schools of thought. First, that this team needs all the playoff experience it can get so making the playoffs, even as a low seed getting knocked out in the first round, is hugely important. The other opinion is that with a depleted roster this team has a very slim chance at playoff success, so it would be better to miss the playoffs and have a chance at snagging a good player in the draft. I plan on choosing which ever one makes me less sad.
CW: On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited where you about the Camby trade?
SJ: In the spirit of the Olympics, I'm going to say I was at about 6.65. It was a very practical deal. Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw both had expiring contracts so getting something for them was good. There was a log-jam at small forward that was relieved by sending Outlaw away. With Oden and Przybilla down, Camby fills a huge immediate need for big man defense and rebounding. Since Camby's contract is expiring the Blazers didn't give up a lot of future flexibility. It was a good trade that helps the team in the short run without costing much in the long run.
CW: On a scale of 1 to 10, how depressed where you when Oden went down?
SJ: A million. I spend a lot of time convincing myself that Oden was the right pick and is going to be an important part of this team one day. After he sat out all of last season it was uplifting to watch him play and play well to start off this season. Then that happened. He remains a huge question mark. As much as it pains me to admit it, at this point the Sam Bowie comparisons are fair.
CW: Is Brandon Roy going to have a great career, but shortened due to injury?
SJ: You are depressing me. If Brandon has a reasonably healthy career he could very well be the best Blazer in history. In his first three seasons he played 57, 74, and 78 games. This year he'll probably play in the mid to low sixties. That variability makes your question legitimate enough to scare me.
CW: If you were GM of the Blazers, what would you due with your roster? Even with Outlaw gone, there still seems to be a bit of a logjam with talent. Your team is just TOO GOOD.
SJ: You are smart for asking me what I would do as a GM instead of coach because that would have been one long and messy rant. With this roster I would be a pretty conservative GM right now. We don't know how well all of this talent meshes together so it's hard shift the big pieces. My moves would be minor.
I would bring in a legitimate point guard to backup Andre Miller. I took some heat from Blazer fans earlier this season for taking the stance that Jerryd Bayless is not a point guard. Then Blake was traded and Bayless had to take on more point guard responsibilities. As a result the popular opinion on him is changing quickly. He's just much better in a scoring role. (So na-na, na-na-na to everyone in the comments section of that link.)
Since I've devoted so much time to following him, I would bring over Finnish Blazers draftee Petteri Koponen for a shot at backup point guard minutes. He's a pass first guy, and big at 6'5 and 200 pounds. He's also one of the better players in a tough Italian league and is only twenty one. He can shoot. I can see him playing well off of Bayless or Roy.
I'd bring another Euro draftee, Joel Freeland, over from Spain's ACB League as a backup power forward. He's a big, physical, athletic type that this team could really use. Maybe neither one of these players would work out, but at some point it's nice to at least see what these Euro draft & stash guys can really do.
CW: What team would you most want to play in the first round of the playoffs? What team would you least want to play?
SJ: Assuming that Portland will be seeded in the lower half of the playoffs I don't like their chances against anyone. The Lakers would be fun. The fans and the team get pumped to play them more than anyone else, and as a result the Blazers have had some impressive home-court success against Mamba. But they don't have much chance of winning that series. I guess because they've won two games in Dallas this season I would want the Mavericks before the other options.
CW: Who's your favorite player on the TWolves, and why?
SJ: Kevin Love. First of all he's from Portland. The sad thing is that Blazer fans actually boo the guy when he comes back. That goes back to Love's Dad being a University of Oregon star. A lot of Oregonians figured that Kevin should follow in his Daddy's footsteps, which is ridiculous. The University of Oregon's team was a mess at that point, earning reputation for underachieving and not developing their players. Love could have played college ball anywhere and made a good decision.
Secondly, I like Love because so many people decided he was a bust before he even played an NBA game. Granted, he fit the bust profile; not so athletic white American college star. Love is a reminder that the most important factor is not how well you fit a mold but how well you play the game.
I also love Nathan Jawai, of course. I don't think that needs any further explanation.
CW: Briefly, what does the Wolves future hold? Will we ever turn things around? Why do we suck so bad...
SJ: Your franchise is getting smarter. They've deployed a sure fire strategy to turn things around: get people from Portland on board. GM? Check. Power Forward? Check. Keep an eye on Terrence Jones, a Portland guy now finishing up his high school career. In a couple years he will be the final Portland piece you need.
Thanks as always Seth. Oh, and make sure to check out Bust a Bucket everyone, it's freakin awesome.