Joe Freeman of the Oregonian on Greg Oden: "A team source told The Oregonian that the MRI results were inconclusive and that the damage could be as minor as a cartilage injury or as major as a ligament tear. Oden's agent, Mike Conley Sr., said Oden does not recall a specific incident that caused the injury, only that he experienced nagging pain last week. 'He cannot remember injuring his knee at all,' Conley said. 'I guess he just felt some discomfort. Greg can't remember when he hurt it.'" Mike Barrett on Blazers.com: "Last Thursday, after the team's morning running session, Oden complained of some pain in his right knee. I saw him sitting out of the team's pick-up games, and learned a while later that there was some swelling as well. Taking the same precautions they would with any player, management decided the best way to check this out would be to have an MRI on the knee. As the release says, there was some concern about some cartilage problems. The MRI was inconclusive enough that they have decided, with advice from team doctors, to go in and take a closer look. That's basically it. There just isn't anything more to report at this time. There also isn't any reason to think this is more serious at this time. I can also tell you that it isn't believed that any of this was a pre-existing problem. His knees checked out 100-percent healthy after his pre-draft workout in Portland. No one really knows at this point why there was pain and swelling. That's what this next step is all about."
You might be slow, old, undermotivated, and not all that skilled. But you can still make your NBA dreams come true by following these simple steps.
Former Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien, widely regarded as one of the least competent owners in NBA history (David Stern granted special draft picks to Gordon Gund as an inducement to take over the struggling team), has died. The Akron Beacon-Journal report of his death describes one amazing episode: "Stepien also had business interests in a pro softball association and in 1980 took part in a publicity stunt by throwing five balls from the 52nd floor of Cleveland's Terminal Tower skyscraper to the ground below. One hit a car, another broke a woman's wrist, one grazed a watcher's shoulder, one bounced off the street and the fifth was finally caught."
Howard Schultz used to be the boss of a bunch of athletes, when he ran the Sonics. Now he's back to being the businessman behind Starbucks. Guess he misses the athlete thing, 'cause he's part of a movement to get Starbucks employees pumped up.
Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune: "[Tyrus] Thomas has added about 10 pounds of muscle over the off-season and reportedly has been taking 600 to 700 jump shots every day."
Luol Deng in a Mark Woods Chicago Tribune article (via HoopsHype) on playing for Britain: "After a while, your IQ adjusts and expands to the style here. The NBA is more one-on-one. Here they call the three-second rules, the zone defenses. That makes it harder to drive in the lane. A lot of times, I might be ball-watching, and in European basketball, you get punished for that. All of this will make me better."
Rasheed Wallace -- big screen role model.
Lots of discussion of John Hollinger's PER. A criticism that started the debate, a must-read rebuttal, some good comments, and more handy discussion. I think a lot of people hate statistics like PER because they feel pressured to use them to replace common sense. Like Hollinger-sponsored robots are going to take over the front office and use PER alone to rebuild their favorite team. Not even Hollinger advocates that, I'm pretty sure. (I'd double-check, but he's not taking phone calls -- his wife says he's in the basement working on some big robot project.) That's not the idea, though. The idea is to use statistics as statistics -- as one piece of the puzzle. But instead of using the mind-numbingly oversimplified old-school point and rebounds, use something more sophisticated. There are lots of them, and PER is one of the handier ones. It is perfect? (Is anything?) No, of course not. It's evolutionary. And it's more useful than a lot of the other stuff that's out there. UPDATE: FreeDarko is all over this too, and while some of the language is PG-13, the points are solid and the donuts are on a string. Really.
Speaking of Hollinger, he says that guys 6-10 or 6-11 have the best NBA longevity (Insider) -- height is a skill that doesn't fade with age. But guys much taller than that tend to have injury trouble. Paging Greg Oden.
Further evidence that the Suns are more willing than ever to consider players who are not great shooters (see this year's draft). Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says the Suns considered shipping Shawn Marion to Utah for Andrei Kirilenko.
We have talked many times on TrueHoop about gun ownership -- a lot of players have them, and sometimes that fact causes trouble. Here's a very interesting interview about guns and gun ownership.
Mail your stuff to Idaho, and it will be burned to remove any chance of a curse on the Blazers.
Basketbawful, ever-helpful: "Think your favorite player might be The Man, but you aren't totally sure? We at Basketbawful have used the power of Mighty Science to create an infallible test that is guaranteed to tell you whether that player is indeed The Man, merely an up-and-comer, or simply a woman with unsightly facial hair. If you doubt the accuracy of this test, you obviously know nothing about basketballogy, and probably couldn't calculate your way out of a bucket full of Science."
Bad game, good finish: Andrea
Bargnani helps Italy win a big win over Turkey.
Chris Mihm to LakersBlog: "I think I know Kobe over these last three years and I know that Kobe wants to win. He doesn't want to settle for anything other than winning. I think, in his mind, he was just trying to show concern, that he wanted to make sure that we changed some things up on this team to try to make this a better squad and have the pieces that we do have mesh better. That's the way I always looked at it and I honestly don't foresee a lot of problems with it. I think Kobe's always been a professional. I think we'll come in, go through training camp and it'll be another one of these things that will be forgotten in time."
A bunch of experts forecast Portland's season. I love this team, and am more excited than I can remember. But I'm not expecting .500 ball. It's too early.
Ten things you should know about Rod Benson. Yes, he's hilarious. But he's also pretty darned good. And smart.
UPDATE: There's a DC politician named Kwame Brown. The basketball player with that name pretty much bombed in Washington DC, and I have to imagine that could complicate things for the city councilman. But he's not helping his cause by making a name for himself as the best political dunker. (Politicians must not be good dunkers, I guess, because this dunk -- I swear it's on a low hoop -- is nothing special.)