Wednesday, March 21, 2007

John Canzano: A Quiet Day in the Oregonian

Today was the first day that I truly understood how much trouble the Oregonian is in. No, it wasn't the memo from the editor, or the many stories about declining newspaper circulation. It was the fact that their main sports columnist, John Canzano, wrote a column that was - to my eyes - factually erroneous to such an extent that I thought there would be a big uproar. There wasn't. This thing came and went and nobody even noticed. What if a tree is cut down in the woods to make a newspaper, but nobody cares? Is there even a sound when it falls?

Here's the first part of the piece called, "For Blazers: Who to draft and who to do the drafting?":

"The best-kept secret in the franchise might be that the Portland Trail Blazers went through their entire NBA predraft process a year ago, held discussions, watched film, scouted games, handed out psychological tests, evaluated workouts, gathered reports and decided they absolutely had to have . . . Adam Morrison. True story. The Blazers' top scout was sold on Morrison -- lock, stock and mustache. Fans were lobbying for Morrison. Then, according to a source who was in the draft room, assistant general manager Kevin Pritchard, who was told "this is your draft," by owner Paul Allen, decided to pick Brandon Roy. "It's the kind of move that gets you fired if you're wrong," an insider said. This is why the Blazers made the draft-day moves to secure Roy, which only proves that these draft-evaluation things can be a blend of art, science and gut."

The only problem is that this "True story" and "best-kept secret" is false. We didn't take Brandon Roy instead of Adam Morrison. We took LaMarcus Aldridge instead of Adam Morrison. We could have taken both Morrison and Roy. So this whole thing with insider quotes about how the move could get someone fired doesn't make sense, because the piece is talking about the wrong man.

Okay, I'll drop it. I mean, I've written a few columns in my life that contained errors. Not this big, but they were big enough so that I heard about them the next day. I wrote a joke one time that caused Jay Leno to apologize on national TV. This is not about being perfect.

What got me though was the response. Nobody seemed to react. The big trees came crashing down to make the newspaper to print the story, but the only sound in the woods was crickets. Nobody cared.


At 2:52 PM, Anonymous butch said...

Bill, I think you are looking at the draft too simply. Teams figure out their needs and fill those needs with players that fit. If the Blazers had the three players ranked #1 Morrison, #2 Roy and #3 Aldredge talent wise, that doesn't necessarily mean they take #1 and #2. There needs may have been ranked like this: #1 big-man (rare commodity), #2 shooting/point guard(not so rare commodity). It would not have made sense to pick both Morrison and Roy because they play essentially the same position.

I agree with you though that Canzano doesn't know what he's talking about. Anyone who followed the draft knows the decision was between Aldredge and Morrison. What I think it came down to is that there was not another quality big man to be had after Aldredge. Its looking like they made the right choice. Got the big man to fill the need, and by chance got the better of the two guards.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The column makes it seem like there was this big drama when the Roy decision came up, but that wasn't in the first few picks. There's more to this than the wrong name. An entire situation is described that couldn't have happened - unless I'm wrong.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous butch said...

I think the gist is that the team and the fans wanted Morrison, but Pritchard made the call to let him go. The Blazers probably could have traded up to get Morrison and Aldredge, but decided to let Morrison go and be content with Roy. At least that my best guess as to what happened.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Tenskwatawa said...

The gist of it is newspapers are dead. Of celluloside. The moronic plague.

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At 9:08 PM, Blogger Jct said...

Here is Canzano's comment when I sent him your blog, as much as I love reading your blog Bill, I have to think that Canzano has a much better picture of what is happening in management as a reporter than a fan...
It was a blog posting. And the guy missed the sentence in the column... "This is why the Blazers made the draft-day moves to secure Roy..." as in.. that's why they made the trades to get Roy.

I know Aldridge was their first pick. The point was... they wanted Morrison... then shifted philosophy on draft day.


At 11:34 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I tried calling him about it twice but his voice mail was full. I read it several tmes and it reads like we steered away from Morrison so we could get Roy. That's not what happened. We could have had both.
We passed on Morrison and took Aldridge.
But as I used to say to the editor when I made a mistake, "It's just a pile of recycling now."

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Wait, I think I get it now. He just needed a sentence saying, "Then for whatever reason they changed their minds about Morrison. Later in the draft they made some trades to secure Brandon Roy."
See, the confusing part was that there were also draft moves involving Aldridge. I believe we traded picks - Chicago was involved - so that made this read even more confusing.
Read it again. Canzano may know his stuff, but he just wrote this particular piece so awkwardly that it reads like he doesn't. Incidentally, I've been there, too.

At 3:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but the only sound in the woods was crickets. Nobody cared."

I read that as "cricket" as in the sport. No one cares about cricket either.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Chris Snethen said...

It was a blog posting.

So says the guy with his own blog.

...they wanted Morrison... then shifted philosophy on draft day.

Canzano wanted Morrison too. He even went so far as to declare him the 2007 ROY on the day after the draft. It appears he's also shifted his philosophy.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I guess what's behind my irritation at this description of how it happened is I thought Adam Morrison would be a great story here in Portland. My friend plays the National Anthem for games up in Palouse Country so there was a personal connection. We talked about the Zags-Blazers continuity and it would have been cool. Aldridge is great though, and I wish him nothing but the best.
The only legendary night Morrison had in the NBA was against Minnesota - it was absolutely thrilling and came after the All-Star break. It was Larry Bird amazing.
But once the schedule resumed Adam slumped. I'm concerned about his ability to play this much with diabetes. There are times when he looks worn down. I mean really worn down. If there were 4 days off between games Adam Morrison might be the talk of the league, as far as rookies go, not to take anything away from Roy who has been great.
I still like Morrison and hope he improves his stamina to play in the NBA.


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