The February 2020 edition of the Blazersland Mailbag is here!
Is Dame now the greatest Blazer of all time? – Bryan
Yes. No Blazer has done what he has done. Nay, few NBA players have….some of the records he has recently set, no one else has.
Two 60 point games in a season. Check. Only 5 other players in NBA history have multiple 60 point games, period.(Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, and Elgin Baylor). Lillard became the 1st NBA player to score 60+ points and hit 10+ three pointers in the same game.
108 points in back to back games Check. Only 7 other players have done so. Those above, plus Pete Maravich and Devin Booker.
4 50+ point games in a season. Six 40+ point games. At least 34 points in 8 straight games. 36+ points in 6 straight games. He became the first player in NBA history to record 35+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists, and 5+ 3’s in 5 straight games. He hit 40 threes in a 5 game stretch, 49 threes in a 6 game stretch, both NBA records. He also became the first player in NBA history to average at least 45 points and 10 assists over 6 games.
Not to mention franchise records of 11 threes in a game. 7 threes in the third quarter.
The only thing Dame hasn’t done is go to the NBA finals and win a Championship. Sure, Bill Walton has done that, but at this point he really seems like a proxy. Lillard is truly the greatest Blazer of all time. I think Bill would agree.
Chris Can I get a Shoutout. Rusty from Hawaii. Lo. But how far out is Nurkic to coming back?. And what do you think about Hezonja? – Rusty Meyer
Aloha Rusty! Nurkic seems set to return after the All Star break. It appears there may have been a thought for an earlier return, but with the Blazers recent winning ways (6 of the last 8), they have kept him out.
Hopefully, that means Nurkic is getting in top basketball shape, so when he does return he can be double beast like he has promised.
As for Hezonja, aye yi yi! He is a lot like Aminu when he has the ball on the run…cringeworthy, and he is a ball handler. He has had such a tough time finishing at the rim, his three point shooting percentage is down, he is clumsy and turnover prone…the list goes on.
It is frustrating because I was sold on him making a swing here in Portland. All the hype about just not having unlocked his potential yet. Not having been on a winning team or used correctly. I wanted badly for him to make the jump.
It’s not happening. He has become a bit of a liability out there, missing shots, leaving shooters open and costing leads. The Blazers have him for the rest of the season. Maybe he’ll surprise us. Maybe. Don’t get your hopes up.
With the recent improvement in defense and team oriented ball, the Blazers find themselves having to make tough choice. Do you think they trade Whiteside before the deadline or keep him in hopes of trying to re-sign him to a fairly team friendly contract in the offseason? – Jason
Well, the trade deadline passed yesterday at noon. Whiteside is still here. What does that mean? Shouldn’t the Blazers have gotten something for him, lest he walk away in the summer. It seemed like the Blazers could have easily moved him for another viable piece towards becoming a contender, like Kevin Love. Though look at the petty return Detroit got for Andre Drummond.
So, the Blazers took a risk keeping him. But, they have suddenly found winning ways. Sans that, Whiteside probably would’ve headed out the door at the deadline to get below the tax threshold. As it is, they moved Skal Labissiere to trim the tax bill a bit and kept Whiteside.
You can bet there were offers for Whiteside though. Plenty of phone calls with how about this or that. But, the right deal didn’t come along. The Blazers took a risk and kept Whiteside, whose absence would have left a gaping hole with Nurkic still out. They also hedged on that bet.
Keep Whiteside and see how he fits with Nurkic and whether he can help the Blazers make a run at the playoffs and so forth. Maybe they are hoping with the Drummond deal, the market for centers is low and they can get Hassan back on a friendly contract to come back and help a healthy Blazers team next season. After all, Whiteside has said he wants to be here in Portland, even if people are stealing his garbage cans.
If that doesn’t work, the Blazers miss the playoffs, and Whiteside leaves, Portland has kept their 1st round pick and try to find talent somewhere in the lottery. They can retool and go again. But, with Damian Lillard’s window closing, keeping Whiteside seems to be the right choice
What do you think the Blazers need to put them over the top because they seem like they’re very close finally as long as none of their present key components gets injured? – Charlie
Health. They need to stay healthy. They are a very underestimated and undervalued team because there are so many injuries. Healthy, they could compete with anyone. Nurkic and Collins need to get back and stay uninjured through the playoffs, should the Blazers make it.
Health will go a long way next season when the Blazers look to bring back this squad for another run. A true backup point guard would be a good upgrade.
Also experience. A little more experience for some of Portland’s younger players who are still developing. There is a good balance though now of youth and veteran presence.
What’s Carmelo’s Plus minus compared to Ariza’s? – Jerry
Carmelo is a +9 on the season. Ariza is a +25 since joining the Blazers. Ariza is shooting 38.5% from three. Carmelo is shooting 37% from distance. Carmelo as a per of 12.72. Ariza has a per of 9.82.
Do you think Whiteside would stay on a friendly multiple year deal to play with Nurk and win here? How good was the Sacramento trade! Chances of getting the 8th spot in the playoffs…where do you have us in that race to the bottom of the west? – riverman
Hey river! I think he very well might. He has already stated that he wants to be here. He enjoys playing with Damian and CJ. It appears the market for centers may be low. The Blazers do have Hassan’s bird rights, but hopefully other teams don’t try to throw toxic offer sheets at Whiteside and force the Blazers to let him go or pay a pirates ransom.
It will also depend on how he fits next to Nurk. Whether or not he is ok coming off the bench behind Nurkic if it comes to that. The Blazers are taking the risk and hopefully it pays off.
The Sacramento trade was fantastic. The Blazers moved Bazemore who wasn’t fitting in along with Anthony Tolliver and got back Trevor Ariza, who brings a length, shooting, and defensive presence the Blazers sorely need. He fits like a missing puzzle piece.
The Blazers also snuck off with Wenyen Gabriel. That kid is a steal! We got to see him play versus the Lakers with Carmelo out and did he surprise. He went full steam against two of the league’s best in Anthony Davis and Lebron James and didn’t blink an eye. He was a stalwart defensive presence and a bundle of injury. He was a big part of helping the Blazers beat the Lakers. He is still very raw, especially on the offensive end, but the kid has sky high potential.
The Blazers took back Caleb Swanigan in the deal as well, meaning they got Skal Labissiere for free. Though they just traded Skal to the Atlanta Hawks, to get closer to the luxury tax floor, so it takes some of that meaningfulness away.
Swanigan has played some energetic ball for the Blazers since they got him back. He makes a decent back up power forward while Portland waits for Zach Collins to return.
The Blazers are only 2.5 games back from Memphis who currently hold the 8th seed. There are 30 games left, 4 of which are against the Grizzlies. The Blazers have a an excellent chance of catching them and taking the 8th spot, especially with the return of Nurkic and Collins.
The Blazers are 7.5 games back from the 6th and 7th place Thunder and Mavericks. It will be a great deal harder to catch them, with so few games left, but it is possible.
It is more likely the Blazers will eek into the 8th spot and play the Lakers in the first round of the Playoffs. But, that too still isn’t guaranteed. The Blazers could end up just outside of the playoffs and be headed for the lottery. I like the Blazers’ chances.
Oh…and wizenheimer, if you didn’t think I was going to answers these…well
Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way it sounds? – Wizenheimer
Blame the Greeks.
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing? – Wizenheimer
Actually, they don’t. Fat chance means, there is no likelihood at all. Slim chance means you have a slight possibility.
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations? – Wizenheimer
Now I have. It would be boring and we’d still live in caves.
If a black box in a plane is indestructible, why can’t they make the whole plane out of it? – Wizenheimer
A plane made to such specifications would be far too heavy to ever get off the ground. It would make the spruce goose look like a skinny bitch. And, yes the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) gets this question a lot. Their answer is always the same: “Because the interstates aren’t wide enough.”
Does ‘virgin wool’ come from sheep the shepherd hasn’t caught yet? – Wizenheimer
No, it comes from a sheep who hasn’t met the big bad wolf yet, duh!
Do radioactive cats have 18 half-lives? – Wizenheimer
Is there another word for synonym? – Wizenheimer
Yes. Equivalent and identical to name a couple of them.
If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done? – Wizenheimer
You’ve succeeded to fail.
Why is abbreviated such a long word? – Wizenheimer
If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong? – Wizenheimer
He is still wrong.
That is the September 2019 edition of Blazersland Mailbag. If you want to see your questions answered in the next edition, submit them via the mailbag form at Blazersland.com/submit-questions/ -OR- by emailing them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org