Bill Simmons and Steve Kerr Talk Trail Blazers On The BS Report

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
3 years ago

On this week’s BS Report, one of the weekly podcast on Grantland.com, host Bill Simmons and TNT analyst and Trail Blazer player Steve Kerr discuss the Portland Trail Blazers twice throughout the course of the hour long show. You can listen to the podcast in it’s entirety here, but for your convenience, I’ve transcribed the two segments pertaining to Portland.

First, Simmons brings up the Trail Blazers as the anti-Cavaliers, a team struggling at 4-7 with roster issues.

Kerr: … (Cavaliers guard Dion) Waiters is the guy who doesn’t really fit into the whole equation. You kind of mentioned it, he needs the ball. To me the biggest problem is he wants to dribble the ball all the time. You really only want one guy on your team who is going to break down the defense off the dribble. Once you get more than one, you get two or three guys like that and they all want to do it all the time, then you get no offensive rhythm and no ball movement. I think that]s a problem. The Waiters/Kyrie (Irving) combination just does not look very good.

Simmons: Then you look at it on the flip side, you know, Portland, which was a team I actually thought was going to make the playoffs. You watch that team offensively and the pieces make sense, right? Like, (Damian) Lillard has the ball most of the time, they have shooters in place, they have a low post game, (Robin) Lopez doesn’t want the ball. And just the way that roster, the way their five guys mesh, makes sense. I watched that Cleveland team and it didn’t make sense.

But the section with the most meat comes when the conversation turns to the Rockets and Omer Asik, who is reportedly disgruntled with his role as Dwight Howard’s backup and who the Rockets are currently attempting to trade. Simmons throws out the idea of Houston moving Asik to the Thunder for Kendrick Perkins, to the Pelicans for Ryan Anderson, to the Celtics for Jeff Green or to the Trail Blazers for Lopez and parts …

Simmons: I think Portland’s a possibility too because you think, like,  (Houston) gets (Robin) Lopez back, they get one more shooter, they get Portland’s draft pick. And just Portland upgrading from, if they could figure out a way to upgrade from Lopez to Asik, now all the sudden they’d have a chance for like a four or a five seed, I feel like.

Kerr: Yeah, Portland would be interesting. They’re obviously a great story at 9-2. I thought they’d be pretty good. I thought they’d be the seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs just because they’re very good offensively and I felt like they’d be better on “D”. Terry Stotts has made some adjustments with their pick and roll coverage. Lopez, even though he’s not a flashy guy who you say “Wow, look at that guy!” he does some good things for them. He protects the rim, so their defense has gotten much better, which has allowed them to finish out games on the road like we’ve seen the last couple nights in Toronto and Brooklyn.

Simmons: You drafted Lopez.

Kerr: I did (Kerr was the Suns general manager from 2007 to 2010). I did, so you have to take that for what it’s worth. Maybe I’ve got a little bias going but I just think, if you want to really compete in the NBA at a high level, you have to have rim protection of some sort. Chicago, two years ago, the reason they were so great and they were in the conference finals with Miami was there bench play with (Taj) Gibson and (Omer) Asik coming in together was so devastating defensively and then they always had (Joakim) Noah in the there to protect the rim as well. Unless you have Lebron — then you can do things in an unorthodox manner — you better have somebody who can protect the rim.

Simmons: I like Lopez. That trade, everything that New Orleans did, and I wrote about it, Jalen and I talked about it in our big preview series, I just hated what New Orleans did. To give away Lopez, who I think was only five million bucks this year, to just give him away because you wanted to overpay Tyreke Evans is just nonsensical to me. I’d rather have Lopez! Just in a vacuum I’d rather have Lopez. But then if I were to pay him half as much as Tyreke Evans, I would double rather have Lopez!

Note: If the Trail Blazers pick in the 2014 Draft is 13 or later, it goes to the Bobcats, which was stipulated in the trade that netted the Trail Blazers Gerald Wallace.

Let’s also remember that this is just Simmons and Kerr shooting the breeze, not a rumor of any substance. Having said that, I know a lot of folks love Asik, but is he so much better than Lopez that you pay almost double for him AND potentially give up picks and, as Simmons suggests, a shooter? I suppose I could be persuaded, but I just don’t know. I like what we’ve got going right now.

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Podcast: The Rip City Report, Finalized Roster Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
11 hours ago

Greetings podcast enthusiasts. Between CJ McCollum getting an extension and Moe Harkless signing a new deal, Portland’s roster for the start of the 2016-17 regular season is all but finalized. So it seemed like a good time to hit the studio with Joe Freeman of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

On this edition, we discuss the near-max extension for McCollum and the four-year, roughly $40 million contract for Harkless, which directions Terry Stotts might go in terms of starting lineups and minutes allocations, the news that both Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli will forego playing for Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics, give a quick rundown of the preseason schedule and answer your Twitter-submitted questions.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. Thanks as always for listening.

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VIDEO: McCollum Brothers Talk Tournament, Who’s Mom’s Favorite on ESPN

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
15 hours ago

Last weekend, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and his older brother, Errick, were guests on ESPN’s SportsCenter to discuss, amongst other things, The Basketball Tournament, which is billed as a “open application, 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament” in which the winning team takes home $2 million in prize money. Errick’s team, Overseas Elite, won the tournament last year and are in the finals, which airs Tuesday at 4 PM Pacific on ESPN, again this year.

But the tournament wasn’t the only topic of conversation, as any time you get two brothers together, you’re contractually obligated to ask them which is mom’s favorite. One one had, CJ still lives with his mom, so you might assume he’s the got the No. 1 son ranking sewn up, but it sounds like Errick was the much better behaved child and mom’s tend to have long memories, so it sounds like it’s a bit of a tossup.

 

“CJ, he was a good kid,” said Errick, “he just liked to get into things. He was really physical. She couldn’t take him around any other kids or he would, like, get into little altercations with them because he just played too rough.”

Sounds about right.

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Stotts Talks Super Teams And Suits On The Doug Gottlieb Show

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 days ago

On Thursday, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was a guest on The Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio. Over the 15 minute conversation, Stotts discusses LeBron James saying he would have been his pick for 2016 NBA Coach of the Year, Kevin Durant signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors, the notion of “super teams” in the NBA, having confidence in your players and his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive.

You can listen to the entire interview here, though I’m transcribed a portion which you can read below…

On LeBron James saying Stotts should have been Coach of the Year:
“To be honest, it felt pretty good. I have a lot of respect obviously for LeBron, what he does and what he’s done in his career, but for him to come out and say that, it made me feel good.”

On Cleveland winning the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 to Golden State:
“Obviously it was historical. A lot of things went into it, but when a team can do that and to win two games on the road being down 3-1, it’s really remarkable. It just put an end to a historical season as it was with Golden State and what they did during the regular season, the way they came back against Oklahoma City and then for Cleveland to do that, it was just remarkable. I thought it was a remarkable season to begin with and it finished that way.”

On Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors:
“My first reaction was he earned the right to be a free agent. I know a lot of thought went into it and it wasn’t a decision that he took lightly. I know he took a lot of criticism for making that decision but I think he earned that right to make whatever decision he felt was best for him. I think it’s going to be interesting with Golden State. Obviously defending them is going to be a challenge because — we talked about versatility — they were already an extremely talented offensive team and he’s going to make them better. They’re going to be a different team than they were last year, they’re not going to have the big guys. When you lose Festus Ezeli, who is on our team now, and Andre Bogut and Maurice Speights, the look of their frontline is going to be different. But I think they could be just as good just because of what they’ll be able to do at the offensive end.”

His thoughts on “super teams” in the NBA:
“You know, I don’t know if it’s good or bad for the league. I’ve just kind of accepted that that’s the way things are. I know people have made comparisons when LeBron went to Miami and that was supposedly the first super team and they won two championships, but it’s not like there was a five year, seven year run dynasty. When you get out on the court, you still have to play the games. Obviously Golden State is going to be very good, but you’ve got to play an 82-game season, you’ve got to go through four series to win a championship. I think the league does thrive on star power, whether it’s star power within a team or having a team be a star. I don’t know, I think the league is doing extremely well, I think it’s extremely popular. I think this is just another story that people are going to be interested in.”

On having confidence in shooters like Allen Crabbe and CJ McCollum:
“I’m a big believer in confidence when shooting. It probably goes back to my freshman year in college when I didn’t know whether to shoot or (laughs) you know the phrase. But anyway, I’m a big believer in confidence and Allen and CJ are two different categories. CJ struggled with injuries his first two years and was trying to get incorporated into a roster that was winning 50 games and never really got into a rhythm. I think shooting is about rhythm and confidence. Same thing for AC, really, is that he did have opportunities to play in his first two years but he was playing behind Wes Matthews and Nic Batum and his opportunities on the court were limited. When you’re looking over your shoulder and trying not to make mistakes and putting pressure on (yourself) to make a shot, it’s difficult. I really give it to CJ and Allen, they were ready for this year and they were prepared for it, the opportunity was going to be there. But I think that a lot of players — and you know, you played — is that if the coach trusts me, I’m going to play better. Whether I trusted them or not their first two years, certainly their opportunity was there and I trusted them with the role that they were going to have.”

On his participation in the Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive:
“Every year what I do is I go through the closet and knowing that I’m going to get some suits in the fall, I go through and weed out the older ones. There’s certain ones that I do kind of have a special place in my heart for them, but other than that, I just take some of the older suits and the Men’s Wearhouse has a great program with the suit drive to give away suits to people who can use them. I’m kind of a bigger guy so hopefully there’s some big guys out there who are able to take advantage of them.”

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