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Tag: Portland Trail Blazers

Sean Derenthal: Lonzo Ball Could Be Draft’s “Best Player or Basically Unplayable”

Smoke screens aside, guest Javier Pesquera retains “99.9 percent” confidence that the Lakers will select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick (TonyTheTiger/Creative Commons).

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With the draft fast approaching – it’s scheduled for Thursday, June 22, – we’re joined by a pair of men who closely and passionately follow the NBA draft and its potential prospects year-round. Ode to Oden’s Sean Derenthal and Javier Pesquera of What’s on Draft lend their time and expertise to the show, discussing a wide range of issues, including but not limited to Markelle Fultz’s top billing, the Lonzo Ball phenomenon, the strengths and weaknesses of Josh Jackson’s and Dennis Smith Jr.’s games and the nature of this year’s international class. You won’t want to miss this one, especially if, like your hosts, you’ve been fixated on the NBA all season.

Sean Derenthal: 9:28-9:43:

“Lonzo Ball is super-, super-interesting. If you told me like five years from now that he was the best player out of this draft, I wouldn’t be surprised. If you told me that he was basically unplayable, I also wouldn’t be too surprised honestly.”

SD: 16:48-18:16:

“The problem with Josh Jackson, while he does bring all of that [defensive versatility], the reason that you wouldn’t take him is, well, one, there’s some off-court issues…Offensively, his shot is the big issue. So in the Finals, I think we saw that one-way players, it’s difficult to play these guys, Continue reading

Dane Carbaugh: Blazers Approaching “Make-It or Break-It Offseason”

Allen Crabbe was the recipient of a generous contract from the Blazers last summer, but Dane Carbaugh suggests a trade could be in his future (Keith Allison/Flickr).

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The Portland Trail Blazers’ prospects of advancing look grim, but the future is fairly bright, according to NBC Sports Pro Basketball Talk’s Dane Carbaugh, who also runs the popular YouTube channel Dane Not Dan, where he breaks down the NBA in video form. Compared to the previous season, the relative strength of the 2016-17 Western Conference relegated the Blazers to the No. 8 seed where they had the misfortune of drawing the otherworldly Warriors in an all-but-impossible first-round series. With Golden State up 2-0 and prized trade acquisition Jusuf Nurkic nursing a leg injury, much of the conversation’s focus turns to how the Blazers can best solidify their roster and improve defensive performance. Importantly, Dane also explores the strengths and challenges that come with the Damian Lillard-C.J. McCollum backcourt pairing. Blazing hot excerpts can be found below:

3:26-4:14 While the typical Blazers fan would love to see Jusuf Nurkic grace the court against the Warriors, Dane advocates for a more cautious approach:

“The Nurkic trade, I think, really re-solidified his [GM Neil Olshey’s] position; the same thing for [head coach] Terry Stotts. So nobody’s going into this playoff series thinking, ‘We need to win a series or win a game, even, to save someone’s job.’ No one’s going to get fired because of that. And on the flip side, you have the guy that they believe is going to be the third guy for this team for years to come, and so I don’t see a reason to risk him [worsening his injury] in any way, shape or form. He’s got a non-displaced fracture in his leg, and he’s a 7-foot tall, 280-pound man, and it’s the Portland Trail Blazers; maybe just let him rest. So it’s possible he comes back for Game 3. If he comes back at all, that is the game he’s going to do it in. If they’re down 3-0, there’s no reason for him to play in Game 4, so it would have to be Game 3. I don’t think he should come back at all.”

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Dame, C.J. and Nurkic Propel Portland Toward Playoffs (Power Rankings: March 29, 2017 Edition)

With brilliant play since the All-Star break and a little help from his friends, Damian Lillard has led the Trail Blazers into sole possession of the Western Conference’s eighth seed (James Schumacher/Flickr).

With fewer than 10 games remaining on each team’s regular-season schedule, valuable playoff seeding is still up for grabs all over the NBA standings. Some teams, like the Celtics, Blazers and Raptors, look like they’re hitting their stride at just the right moment, building momentum that they hope will continue through the playoffs. Others, like the Hawks and Cavaliers, are just hoping that they can stop the bleeding before it’s too late. As always, the result is much debate and movement in the penultimate regular-season edition of our power rankings.

Biggest Jumps: Portland Trail Blazers (+8), Toronto Raptors (+5), Denver Nuggets (+5), New Orleans Pelicans (+5)

Biggest Falls: Minnesota Timberwolves (-14), Detroit Pistons (-9), Atlanta Hawks (-7)

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Bulls, Grizzlies Slide as Minny’s Momentum Continues (Power Rankings: March 15, 2017 Edition)

Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls halted their five-game losing streak by defeating Charlotte Monday night (Jacob Gaertner/Creative Commons).

A particularly tumultuous period sees the Warriors and Cavaliers dropping to their lowest positions of the season. Meanwhile, every other team has moved up or down at least one spot except for the Clippers and Hawks, who remained at No. 8 and 12, respectively. A handful of sub-.500 squads are recognized for their strong recent play, as the Grizzlies and Bulls are punished for their sluggish performances over the past two weeks. One final fun fact: Last edition, Chicago came in at No. 15, a full 10 spots ahead of the Hornets. This time around, Chicago clings to a single-spot lead over Charlotte after edging the Hornets Monday night.

Biggest Jumps: Milwaukee Bucks (+6), Minnesota Timberwolves (+5), Washington Wizards (+4)

Biggest Falls: Chicago Bulls (-6), Memphis Grizzlies (-5), Dallas Mavericks (-4), Indiana Pacers (-4), Toronto Raptors, (-4) Continue reading

Miami Is Seriously Heating Up (Power Rankings: Feb. 6, 2017 Edition)

In his first season in Miami, Dion Waiters is playing an outsized role in the Heat’s active 10-game winning streak (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

Up is down and down is up in this tumultuous edition of the power rankings, which features the most movement of any edition so far, with mighty teams struggling and lowly teams rising up. The Cleveland Cavaliers, still the consensus pick to come out of the Eastern Conference, went just 7-8 in January, giving LeBron James his first losing month since his rookie year. The Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, both in last edition‘s top five, have lost eight of 11 and eight of their last 14, respectively. Even the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors, who have occupied the No. 1 spot in our rankings every single edition except for our first, have dropped games since last edition to the Miami Heat and the Sacramento Kings.

On the other side, the Washington Wizards were just 13-16 before Christmas and have since gone 17-4, steadily climbing up the Eastern Conference standings to the third seed, and up our rankings to fourth. The Dallas Mavericks, at one point dead last in our rankings, have won six of their last seven games, their one loss coming to the Miami Heat. And finally, the twice-aforementioned Heat, unquestionably the NBA’s biggest story right now, were 11-30 and 29th in our previous power rankings, before rattling off 10 straight wins, a streak that is still active. These are some exciting times in the NBA.

Biggest Jumps: Miami Heat (+15), Washington Wizards (+8), Dallas Mavericks (+8)

Biggest Falls: Philadelphia 76ers (-8), Milwaukee Bucks (-8), Toronto Raptors (-8) Continue reading

Wizards Cast Spell, Climb 10 Spots (Power Rankings: Dec. 23, 2016 Edition)

23-year-old shooting guard Bradley Beal has nearly equaled his age in points per game, as the Wizards continue their stellar play (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

While nine teams held the same ranking from our previous edition, six squads rose or dropped at least six spots. Leading the way among most improved from last edition, the Washington Wizards jumped from 22nd to 12th. Thanks to lethal 3-point shooting, the Rockets continued their ascent to fourth even as starting center Clint Capela will be sidelined for the next month at the very least. The Nuggets also impressed the panel, playing extremely well in their first stretch as a completely healthy unit. The returns of Danilo Gallinari and Gary Harris have Denver fans feeling as high as their city’s altitude. The Lakers, however, continue their slide and can no longer use injury as the lone excuse for dropping 11 of their last 12 games. Since our second edition, which was published four weeks ago, the Lakers have dropped from 13th to 27th or seven spots every two weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Washington Wizards (+10), Denver Nuggets (+7), Dallas Mavericks (+6)

Biggest Falls: Los Angeles Lakers (-7), Portland Trail Blazers (-7), Detroit Pistons (-7) Continue reading

Knicks, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Celtics Vault Up the List (Power Rankings: Nov. 25, 2016 Edition)

Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies are enjoying a six-game winning streak and a nine-slot jump in these power rankings below (Verse Photography/Creative Commons).

Our three panelists, Loren Lee Chen, Aaron Fischman and Joshua Fischman, independently ranked the league’s 30 teams from top to bottom. Their averaged rankings produced this 1-30 list and took into account all NBA regular-season games up until and including Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. There were no contests on Thursday, the 24th. 

Biggest Jumps: New York Knicks (+10), New Orleans Pelicans (+10), Memphis Grizzlies (+9), Boston Celtics (+8)

Biggest Drops: Miami Heat (-7), Brooklyn Nets (-6), Portland Trail Blazers (-6), Oklahoma City Thunder (-6)

  1. Golden State Warriors (13-2, Previous Rank: 3) – The Warriors nab our top spot from the Clippers after rattling off nine straight wins, most in blowout fashion. Golden State scored 149 points in its last game, sinking the Lakers, one of only two teams that have beaten the Warriors this season, by 43. Klay Thompson has shot the lights out and averaged 27 points over the team’s past four games, and Draymond Green again looks like Defensive Player of the Year material. Continue reading

Dane Carbaugh: Blazers’ Lillard Has “Biggest Chip on His Shoulder Ever”

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trailblazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

Under the leadership of Coach Terry Stotts (pictured), the Portland Trail Blazers have exceeded expectations and are vying for the playoffs. (Wikimedia Commons)

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After a summer of roster upheaval, highlighted by the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers have been finding their way on the fly. Since falling to the Warriors by 20 on Jan. 8, they’ve caught fire, winning 15 of 18 games, including a blowout of those same Warriors. The knowledgeable Dane Carbaugh hangs with the guys to explain Portland’s scorching play, C.J. McCollum’s emergence, Damian Lillard’s excellence and so much more. Located in the City of Roses, Carbaugh has worked for SB Nation and Sporting News, among other outlets. He’s a skilled NBA video analyst for Vox, Blazer’s Edge, Hardwood Paroxysm and FloHoops. The Renaissance man, whose videos appear here also has his own podcast with Yu Miyagawa called “Between Me and Yu,” which can be found on iTunes.

Some particularly noteworthy clips can be found below:

7:15 – 8:10 on Damian Lillard’s underdog mentality: “(The underdog mentality) is definitely a part of his process… and what has happened to him by choice… He has the loyalty factor. He wants to put on for the city. He got MVP chants while he was at the free-throw line the other day.”

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Best Rookies, Portland’s Surprise Start and the Enigmatic Derrick Rose

Andre Drummond's improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

Andre Drummond’s improvement has been key to the surprising Pistons (Erik Drost/Creative Commons)

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On today’s episode, the A-A-Ron Block is devoted to continued discussion of the Chicago Bulls. This intriguing-yet-perplexing team has defeated the Cavaliers and Thunder, while also surrendering 130 points to the Hornets. Its starting point guard is an enigma, too, going three straight games with single-digit scoring before erupting for 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against the Thunder Thursday. Following Derrick Rose’s strong individual performance, the guys debate the validity of the latest trade rumors swirling around him. They also touch on frontcourt rotations, the pros and cons of starting Doug McDermott and more.

Later, LLC Incorporated breaks down the best rookies so far — Karl-Anthony Towns is the twins’ consensus pick — and the league’s most pleasant surprises and early disappointments. While the Blazers and Pistons have impressed Aaron so far, Joshua is particularly irked by the Grizzlies’ sluggish start. Finally, who’s currently the worst team in the league? The guys disagree.

Music: “Who Likes To Party” by Kevin MacLeod

McLemore’s Development, New Head Coaches and D. Wade

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

(Mike Tipton/Creative Commons)

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In the J Spot, the panel continues the Kings discussion from earlier in the week, touching upon the Kings’ playoff hopes, Ben McLemore’s changing role given the improved guard depth, Rudy Gay’s seemingly newfound efficiency and how much it matters to have winning veterans on an up-and-coming team.

Next, on the A-A-Ron Block, the league’s seven new head coaches are analyzed. What can we expect from their respective squads, and who has the most pressure in their new role? Which coaches are taking over the best and worst teams?

Finally, with the NBA GM survey being released earlier this week, LLC Incorporated poses three original questions that should have been included on the actual survey. Well, maybe not, but they sure are fun ones.

Which NBA player or personality would YOU want to be your personal stylist? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter: @OnTheNBABeat

Music: “Who Likes to Party” by Kevin MacLeod

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