Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rookie of the Year: LaMarcus Aldridge

Well, I just got back from the Rose Garden and several things are now apparent. The Blazers management pick of LaMarcus Aldridge ahead of Adam Morrison was a winner. They were right and I was wrong. What I saw tonight was an incredible athlete and a real gentleman running the floor with the speed of a guard, while playing the inside game of a smooth, talented big man. It was a statement game and Adam Morrison wasn't the one making it.

We are now in the area of loyalty for loyalty's sake. Bojack commented that the case is closed. That is certainly one way of putting it, but the case is never really closed in sports. I will continue supporting Adam Morrison and the Bobcats. This was a hobby for fun and I had a lot of laughs at the game. I mean it is sort of funny in a comedic way when someone gets schooled like this, even if that someone was me.

One observation: I thought back to seeing Larry Bird warm up and it was ridiculous. Bird sank 11 or 12 shots in a row and then the miss was when another teammate's shot careened off his. That's when it dawned on me how good some people are at shooting a basketball. If there's nobody guarding them, the shot usually goes in - at least for Larry Bird. When Adam warmed up some shots went in and some missed. It wasn't that freakish accuracy that Bird showed.

I also didn't see that cold assassin attitude Bird had. Given a night like this when the screen overhead seemed like a continuous promo for Brandon Roy as Rookie of the Year, Bird would have taken it much more personally than Adam Morrison did. Morrison seemed to take the first half off from the minute Aldridge swatted away his first shot.

The atmosphere in the Rose Garden was not that great. I mean it was downright sad. The game seemed insignificant for both teams and that was a little depressing. Oh for the glory days. Remember getting on a Tri-Met bus between playoff games and everybody on the bus was talking about it? Remember how hard it was just to wait for a couple of days till the next game?

This seems like a different time in history for both Portland and America. The NBA itself seems like it's in big trouble. Somebody do something magical again please. This was a situation begging for some dramatic shootout. Instead, the star of the night was LaMarcus Aldridge and he spent the last quarter on the bench.

After the game I chatted with Blazers PA announcer Mark Mason. At lunch yesterday I had said some things to him about wishing the Blazers had taken Morrison. I still do, but it was time to owe up. This might not have been the blunder I thought it was.

To get over to where Mark was booming away, closing up the night, I walked around the court right besides Aldridge who was being interviewed - I walked right past him. I was so close he could have reached his leg out and kicked me in the ass.


At 7:45 AM, Anonymous butch said...

I think the Blazers are back on the road to the 'glory days' of yore. No other team in the country has as much young, raw talent. And Nate is a coach proven adept at developing such talent. And to top it off, they are all, for the most part, 'character guys'. Not cocky premadonas or thugs, but kids hungry to win and put their mark on this league.

A nationally syndicated sports radio host said last week that the Blazers are three years away from an NBA title if this roster stays largely intact. I think he may be right.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Don't forget Toronto for young talent.

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Roger said...


Given recent events around the league, I'd steer clear of saying the night called for "some dramatic shootout."

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Nice catch, Roger. I'm sure the stripclub in Vegas involved in All-Star weekend would not appreciate it, even though the apparent athlete culprit was a football player.
Still, it's like making an electric mushroom joke in Gonzaga these days.


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