Injuries, Short-Term Outlook Threaten Trail Blazers Season

[00:00:00] Dustin Hawes: all right, everybody. Welcome to the 261st edition of the holy backboard podcast. I am Dustin here in rip city and I got my

[00:00:27] Dillon Sage: man chilling here. I got 200 place in a tournament on a NBA, two K out of like the entire X-Box community. So I feel pretty good about myself and where my game is at in terms of two K.

[00:00:40] So I feel good about that. I don’t feel good about the blazers, but at least I’m competent in two. That’s

[00:00:48] Dustin Hawes: that that is elite to top 200 with how many damn people play that, that basketball game, uh, that, that is elite. So I am proud to call you my elite. Two K [00:01:00] friends. I sent

[00:01:01] Dillon Sage: you the highlight clip of me.

[00:01:03] Dustin Hawes: I watched them every time I liked them on IgE.

[00:01:08] I’m here to support

[00:01:09] Dillon Sage: you. I guess, man, as I, as I’m the least consistent content creator in the game, I have not played on the new version of two K on, on any streaming site, but I appreciate you

[00:01:21] Dustin Hawes: and your support. So you bum rushed me last episode. I’m going to bum rush you about something near and dear to my heart.

[00:01:31] And that’s Christmas cookies. I need your Mount Rushmore of Christmas cookies. Like it’s this the season you can tell, you can bake it. You can buy it. You can ask your mom, your grandma lady across the street. Anybody I need these four cookies. What are you getting?

[00:01:48] Dillon Sage: So when I was a young man

[00:01:54] but, um, I had a, I was a music nerd for a [00:02:00] long time, bro. I got a choir scholarship to Portland state. So

[00:02:03] Dustin Hawes: still are my friends. I

[00:02:05] Dillon Sage: know. I just try and I try and lie to the people of the holy backward about my nerd. So when I was a young man, I had a babysitter who made these awesome sugar cookies, like on-point recipe.

[00:02:21] So she moved to the new England area, like when I was 10. So I haven’t had those sugar cookies then over two decades, but that would be number one. So Judy’s sugar cookies. And then, I don’t know, like that’s number one with a bullet without a doubt. Um, And then whatever my mom picks up from the quote unquote artisan bakery in Medford, Oregon is two through

[00:02:48] Dustin Hawes: five, well, one it’s, there’s four people on the Mount Rushmore.

[00:02:52] So I’m looking for four cookie options. So you already failed that one. Okay. Since you copped out, I [00:03:00] mean, I at least gave you a line last episode from money trees. I came correct. If I am doing a Mount Rushmore of Christmas cookies. And so it’s a little bit of a, not a caveat or a cop-out, but like, these are cookies that you really want for the season.

[00:03:16] Like you can have a chocolate chip cookie annual time and it’s fantastic. Like these are the cookies. Yeah, seasonality for me. If I’m docking Christmas cookies is key. Yes. I agree. A fantastic sugar cookie with frosting is a hundred percent on my Mount Rushmore. There was a neighbor who lived across the street from my parents’ house.

[00:03:37] She would always bring over sugar cookies before frosting. And those hit the spot every single time, like better than my mom’s better than anybody I’ve ever had. Like, I don’t know how she did it, but they were flawless. They. I think you also have to get a gingerbread cookie, especially if you can get some cream cheese icing on [00:04:00] them.

[00:04:00] Those are fantastic. I love gingerbread. It’s also very key to the season. And then two new entries on the list where something that older made last year. One was a chocolate cookie with a cream cheese I saying, but also crushed up candy canes on top. So I love chocolate cookies, cream cheese is like one of the best things in the world.

[00:04:21] And then you get the peppermint from the candy cane, unreal. And then I’m also a huge eggnog fan. So she made an eggnog cookie in eggnog frosting, and that was marvelous. So those are my top four. And unfortunately our oven decided to crap. Prior to Thanksgiving. So it’s in the process of getting repaired.

[00:04:44] So we are doing the artisan route this year. There’s a bakery in north Portland that we bought one of our pies from this Thanksgiving, which was fabulous. I have no doubt their cookies are going to be fantastic as well. So it’d be a little bit different in the, the [00:05:00] Haas household this year, but it’s going to be just as delicious.

[00:05:03] So, uh, I’m a big eggnog and Christmas cookie aficionado. So that’s the best part of the season for me.

[00:05:10] Dillon Sage: How did she get, I feel like when I’ve had eggnog cookies, it doesn’t really taste egg Nagi. It’s. Like a tinge of it. How do you make a hard body? Like this is egg

[00:05:23] Dustin Hawes: Nagi. So you kind of have to up your game and you got to go to one of those stores, whether it’s a whole foods or new seasons, someone that’s going to have like a good variety of eggnog and you got to spell out, you got to go buy those, those bottles that, that are like nine, $10 and they’re from some farm and they say it, that’s all they do is they make eggnog.

[00:05:47] Yes. You’re paying a lot for the bottle, but that, that if that eggnog hits and it’s delicious, your cookie is going to be delicious. Like I think that’s, uh, that, that was a big key. And also like, she’s just really good at kind of. [00:06:00] Improvising and like, you know, okay, this has too much sugar, I think. Yeah. You don’t want to put too much sugar because the sugar is going to kind of overpower the sugar, let the eggnog come through it almost.

[00:06:10] It’s almost like a non-flavored sugar cookie with that, that icing as well. So, yeah. It’s awesome. So not this year, but next year we’ll make some and we’ll get together and I’ll let you, uh,

[00:06:21] Dillon Sage: get a taste test. Like, God damn I might I’m so behind on the eggnog or, you know, you know, uh, The holiday treat game.

[00:06:34] Did they have dairy free eggnog? So they

[00:06:38] Dustin Hawes: have a ton of dairy for agnostic. You could get all my milk lawn, oat milk ones. Uh, they’re not. So I tried to go dairy free as much as possible. I make an exception for eggnog because we have a couple of those in there and it just didn’t hit. They didn’t hit in Oregon.

[00:06:55] I both like dairy can be challenging, but. We found one, I think it [00:07:00] was at new seasons and it said like digestible, dairy on it. And I was like, well, shit, if it says it on here, I’m going to roll with it. And that was some of the best eggnog I’ve ever had and didn’t know full disclosure. Your boy didn’t get backed up.

[00:07:12] So

[00:07:14] Dillon Sage: I feel like

[00:07:16] Dustin Hawes: coming up seven, coming up Saturday, baby,

[00:07:19] Dillon Sage: as we’re getting older, we talk about what foods fuck us up more on this podcast. Every, every week. It’s like your gore dairy habits of mine is coming up.

[00:07:30] Dustin Hawes: You know what Sage? Sometimes you, it just tastes too good. You have to roll the dice. Like you want that blizzard.

[00:07:37] You like goddamn it. It may hurt me in four hours, but right now

[00:07:41] Dillon Sage: you go man in four hours. Yeah. You iron stomach motherfucker. 20 minutes. Oh,

[00:07:48] Dustin Hawes: geez. Yeah, I have. It’s not that bad for

[00:07:49] me.

[00:07:51] Dillon Sage: Well, like, just think about, you know, cows in Asia. Like there weren’t cows in Asia for a long time. So like, [00:08:00] I read a study, like 90% of Asian people are lactose intolerant just because of like DNA and you know how cows weren’t really there.

[00:08:10] So my mother can drink milk. I don’t know if my brother can, I guess he doesn’t show off to me very much, but I know I shouldn’t. So

[00:08:20] Dustin Hawes: yeah, for me, it’s just the older I get the, you just find out more and more shit. That’s wrong with you.

[00:08:28] Dillon Sage: Um, perfect. So except for the lactose intolerance and singing, if I’m a rich man on this very podcast, but a.

[00:08:40] Dustin Hawes: Well, all right. I think that was a really good introduction, a little icebreaker that I wanted to kind of bombard you with act or return the favor, but let’s get into this episode. Sage it’s been a rough week in rip city. The blazers kick things off. It was a short squad, no [00:09:00] ant NAS Dame or CJ against the Clippers.

[00:09:02] The Clippers get the 12 point victory and more importantly, the three, one season series advantage for possible tiebreaker scenarios. Come this spring, Portland then lost on national television. I’ll be it. They kept it close and respectable to one of the best, uh, teams in the NBA. And I would say that MBA’s MBP front runner at this stage in the season and Steph Curry

[00:09:28] Dillon Sage: defense player of the year tram on green.

[00:09:29] Dustin Hawes: Absolutely. They lost to the warriors 1 0 4 94. And then just this evening, uh, the blazers without CJ McCollum again and now Cody Zeller took a pretty tough loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves at home losing one 16 to one 11 Sage. The blazers are now 11th in the Western conference at 11 and 16. They are owners of the second longest losing streak in the NBA at five straight.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] They are two and eight in their previous 10 games in that one, sparkling home winnings home home record is now just sitting at 10 and five when it was 10 and one probably about a week ago. So despite all of that Sage, I’m going to have to ask you, what is your good for the week?

[00:10:22] Dillon Sage: So, you know, like, as I was watching the Minnesota game, I was like, shit, I don’t have.

[00:10:29] There w there were some mini goods, like I think Smith Jr. Played well. Uh, Ben Macklemore shined, when opportunities happen, Norman Powell looked like a good usage player. When you talk about DSJ and you talk about med Macklemore in NBA games, there’s always going to be a distribution of usage. You know, when we’re healthy, it’s Damon CJ.

[00:10:54] When we’re a little bit injured, it’s Norman, CJ, and use of when all of those are gone. It goes to [00:11:00] Dennis Smith, who is a high usage point guard. So it didn’t surprise me that Smith did well, and it didn’t surprise me that Ben maximum. Did well, he can shoot when he’s wide open and that’s what he got. He got, they generated a lot of easy open shots for him.

[00:11:15] So that was, I mean, those were goods, but my number one good for the week, and I’m not talking about the blazers, put my favorite MC cannabis released an album, and then it’s the first one in four years. So I’m very happy. And, uh, the producer that did most of the beats actually worked with his voice because in a lot of his records, they don’t sound good because the producer and the emcee didn’t properly beat map the album, this one.

[00:11:45] The beats are hard and it matches with, uh, cannabis, his voice. So that is, yeah.

[00:11:51] Dustin Hawes: I mean, to your point about Ben Macklemore, he really has kind of taken that playing time and, and ran with it and made a case for, Hey, why [00:12:00] don’t you trade a couple of guys in front of me and I’ll just slide right in here.

[00:12:03] Generate B shots for me. I’m knocking them down. You go back to Wednesday’s game. He’s got 12 points on a three of seven shooting from downtown. Did that in just 25 minutes of action tonight. He was the microwave instant offense, 15 points in 15 minutes, five of six from downtown and his past two games.

[00:12:22] He’s eight of 13. Well, over 50% in all of those looks are primarily wide open. He is the prototypical type of shooting guard. That you want next to a Damian Lillard. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands. He doesn’t dribble. He just finds the open spot. He catches, he shoots he scores. So I think if you’re looking for something to build upon, whether it’s this year or retaining, uh, Macklemore for it for next season, he is going to be 29 years old.

[00:12:51] So he still fits that timeline. But there you can see they’re still an NBA player left in, in that body, given his, his [00:13:00] body of work, when he’s given a chance to shine, you know, maybe he doesn’t do everything else at a high level. But again, when you’re talking about a player who was probably third or fourth of the depth chart, it’s always good to see them kind of rise to the occasion and go out there.

[00:13:15] And honestly, without Ben Macklemore tonight against the Timberwolves, it gets us, it gets really ugly. So I think Ben Macklemore is, is a very good selection for, um, when we’re talking about the good things that happen this week, mine is in the. And thankfully that golden state game was on television. So I got to see my main man this year, a play and 18 points.

[00:13:43] I believe it was a career high, 18 points just in the first half alone, five of eight shootings. So he’s not taking a lot of shots. He got to the line 10 times. I mean, he hits 10 to 10 of 10 from the free throw he’s at 22 points. You know, we only shot 60%. So there’s [00:14:00] something for him to improve upon. But the six boards he shooting two or four from three, he was in attack mode.

[00:14:07] Every time he got the basketball, like the prototypical. Triple threat, you know, he’s able to dribble pass or shoot. And he played with that mindset. Clearly he knew somebody had to take the take. I think the game by the rains, there was no Dame, CJ or Anthony Simons. So he knew that he was going to get an opportunity.

[00:14:27] And unfortunately he started cramping up. Maybe he went a little too hard coming back from injury. And I think that’s always going to be the knock on this year is that a lot of times he gets hurt and these just random injuries kind of sideline him. And thankfully he was able to come back and he had, you know, 10 points on again, 57% shooting against the Timberwolves.

[00:14:50] And he’s blaming on people like he’s taking it to the rack. He’s, he’s aggressive. I think he’s everything you want in a small forward. You know, I tweeted it out after that golden [00:15:00] state game that this year little is the starting small forward moving forward. Like it just has to be, I don’t care what guards are held.

[00:15:08] This 21 year old prospect is showing enough that he deserves the starting job. Not only has he deserved it, but I think he compliments the other players on the court in that he does things that no one else on this roster can do at his size. He’s the only one that can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim with authority.

[00:15:29] You know, Dame will have one or two dunks, maybe every season, but this year is going up there at six, five and two 20. He’s got more size and weight on lower, but he’s able to do it. And he’s younger. He’s surprised he hasn’t taken all those hard, full heart falls that Dame has like in the Sierra gives you that extra look that defenses have to prepare for.

[00:15:46] He can catch and shoot. He can put the ball on the floor. He can finish in traffic. He can finish on the break. He’s one of the only players who kind of gets out and goes, and instead of flying to three-point line, he’s like, no, let me go and finish. With a [00:16:00] highlight jam, that’s going to get the crowd and the team just excited.

[00:16:03] I feel like his energy as well. If you look at that type of an intangible that he brings to the roster, I don’t care. Who’s coming back healthy at the guards and the sear. Little, if I am Chauncey Billups, he is, you’re starting small Ford and you make that decision. You tell them that you say, this is your role, and we’re going to roll because whatever happens this season, not looking good, but at 21 years old, you can start laying the foundation with building blocks of what in the, a little is doing right now.

[00:16:35] And I think a smart organization looks long-term and they see what can happen a season, two seasons from now, and then they plan accordingly. So that’s what I would do if I was the head coach. If I was the general manager, I think Portland has a really. A bright spot in the season and a sear a little, and that was easily [00:17:00] my good for the week.

[00:17:02] Dillon Sage: It’s tough with this year because you have to have shooters surrounding him because right now on the scouting report, it sag on sear. So you need to have the right spacing. But if like, if we can replace Tony Snell Mendez with bed macro more minutes and fiddle it around, I think that he could be a really shining star.

[00:17:25] It’s just, I would love for him to get into the lab and get that corner shot now and, or get a, some sort of, some sort of move that will make people respect the shot because they don’t respect the shot. Currently. One of the funniest moments in my eyes of that warriors game was when everyone, when, when Nazir was hurt in the second half.

[00:17:51] Norman pal was getting triple teamed. He looked around at who was on the court with him and just chucked it up because he did not trust [00:18:00] the players on the court would actually make the right move. It was just like, I feel you, bro. I feel you it’s rough there also,

[00:18:08] Dustin Hawes: can we give a shout out to that block he had in the first half, I mean, that was one of the best blocks I’ve ever seen.

[00:18:14] Like he went up there and just stonewalled golden state and that you want a player who is not afraid of. The beyond poster. He has that, that mindset. And I wish more players in Portland did because I think we would be sitting, um, a lot more prettier. And to your point about the spacing, yes, that’s the scouting report and that’s probably the weakness in his game, but his jump shot from where it was when he was a rookie to where it is now, I think is shows the trajectory, the trajectory of the type of player that he can be.

[00:18:49] And it’s, I’m happy with him taking threes. And I think he’s a good player. I think he’s the type of player. He’s the will Barton type of player where he works his ass off, and you’re [00:19:00] going to start to see him progress and improve on a year by year basis. Portland just has to make sure that he’s doing that in a blazer Jersey and not the nuggets Trixie.

[00:19:11] Dillon Sage: I mean, it’s tough fan I think for right now is where his trajectory is really nice. Role-play. So he needs to master, you know, that shot to be semi consistent. And then I think he can focus on other stuff like the play-making, but that, that shot needs to be there for the spacing, because it would suck too, especially since Larry Nance is going to be the starting power forward to have use of Larry and the sear three non shooters playing basketball.

[00:19:45] I mean, what are we trying to do? Be the Detroit pistons with those three bigs, like Josh Smith, moose, and, uh, Dre drumming. Like that’s where we’re at in terms of spacing the court right now with Chauncey Billups is a new [00:20:00] move.

[00:20:01] Dustin Hawes: What was your bad for the week?

[00:20:03] Dillon Sage: Mo? My bad was, was Damien literally coming back from an injury that kept him out a few weeks and then playing 36 minutes when it was obvious that he was.

[00:20:12] Prepared to play an NBA game. So I don’t know if that’s my bad or ugly, but it was re it was not a good sight to see it’s it, it kind of is develop young players and not rush back your, your, your core when we’re losing. I know that Dame wants to participate, but he wasn’t, he wasn’t Damian Lillard. That was just a distract.

[00:20:37] Like he was just the distraction on the offensive end. He wasn’t the same Damian Lillard. So I think that it might be a good idea to rest them, but playing 36 minutes seemed kind of outrageous, especially when the SERE capped out at 20, I believe like it, it was obvious that NAS was on a minister restriction.

[00:20:56] How come Damian also wasn’t on a

[00:20:58] Dustin Hawes: minutes restriction. So I was [00:21:00] going to save this until the end, but it just it’s the perfect transition in to the fan question that we got from. From at Calarco yoga. So if I mispronounced your name, I apologize that the name on it is a blazers in shambles. So apt, aptly named.

[00:21:19] So, uh, question was, cause we’re talking about the Minnesota game since we’re talking about Damian Lillard, true partner for you, Sage, why was Robert Covington playing in the last four minutes and should Dame just rest until they make a real move? Let’s discuss the second part of that question first, because it was what you were talking about.

[00:21:41] Dillon Sage: I probably would, but I want Damien to be helpful. And it was obvious tonight that he wasn’t. So I would, I would suggest resting him until, until he’s as healthy as every other player in the NBA currently. So I would rest mental that I don’t know if a [00:22:00] move is going to be the thing. I think it’s his health and his movement.

[00:22:03] If he can play and be unhampered by the AB injury, that’s been a factor in his life for three years. Shit play him. But this version of Damian Lillard, isn’t going to get us many wins.

[00:22:17] Dustin Hawes: Yeah, I agree. I’ve been on the, the rest Dame wagon for a long time. Hearing that he’s been dealing with this injury for multiple years is just a really big red flag for me, especially when you’re looking at a player crossing over that, that age, 30 mark, and then now going into his mid thirties, no Damian Lillard will be 32 this summer.

[00:22:42] And when you look at where Portland is at right now, they’re not a contender. They may not even make the playoffs. If they do, who knows what type of damage they’re even capable of doing. And so this is where I go back to talking about the long-term approach. This franchise [00:23:00] has always been short-term. I mean, I, I remember Brandon Roy playing eight days after having, you know, his knee scoped for a meniscus tear.

[00:23:09] Now that could have been Brandon knowing that he had nothing left in the tank and you just wanted to go or whatnot, but either way, the police have always made those short-term decision decisions. When the long approach would have been beneficial. I look back to the warriors of 1920 when Steph Curry breaks his wrist early on, and the team just went in the toilet.

[00:23:34] They ended up trading D’Angelo Russell dream on green, got nicked up. Th there was no need to rush Steph back for that, that shit show and it paid off, right. They ended up getting the number two pick in the draft. You can argue whether it should have been Wiseman or ball, but they had the opportunity.

[00:23:53] They had that trade ship. And unfortunately for them. [00:24:00] They did not have a good season that year, but what did it do? It started lighting that like Steph was like, I didn’t get to play in, in the bubble. Like that’s really, what’s igniting this. I think second gear that he’s showing in the, over the past two seasons and what happens.

[00:24:19] They are now the second best team in the Western conference steps. The MVP on a dream on green is completely revitalized and engaged and playing like the defensive player of the year. They don’t even have their number to pick line he’s he’s coming back from injury and Klay. Thompson’s waiting in the wings, but they’re, they took a step back to take step forward.

[00:24:43] I just feel like if Damien continues to play and look, let’s not cut corners. This is not the Damian Lillard of the bubble where he one bubble MVP. This is not even Dame. Last year when he was putting up 55 in game [00:25:00] five against Denver, for whatever reason, Dame hasn’t been the same. He looked pretty subpar in the Olympics.

[00:25:07] And he’s only had a couple of games this year where you’re like, okay, that’s Damien Lillard. He does not look the same. It could be all of the, the mental, I think just stress that he’s dealing with being the center of the NBA media storm, about all of these trade rumors and constantly having to address them, whatever it is.

[00:25:28] He’s not really doing himself any favors. He’s not doing the team any favors by being out there. I know he’s a competitor and he wants to play. You want that in, in a player, but you also need leadership from management, from ownership to say, Dame, this isn’t worth it like to, to, um, the questions. If you’re able to make a big move.

[00:25:52] Yes. Get Damon that rest and then let him play and see what you have and kind of use that as a kickstart for next year. But if you’re not able to make that [00:26:00] move, I think the best thing that Joe Cronin could do is sell Damian Lillard on just let’s have a pseudo rest year. I know that he will never go for it.

[00:26:12] But if, if the GM has to not only be analytics capture driven, he has to have relationships. And it starts with some of the players, especially your superstar and say, this is my, this is my vision. Like if we’re able to get a lottery pick, I’m not saying you’re playing with a lottery. Pick me. That gives me another chip to go get you that Ben Simmons, I know you want to play with those type of guys.

[00:26:36] We don’t have those assets right now. So I it’s going to have to be a lot of convincing because Dane’s going to want to play. And I know that’s just how he’s raised, but it doesn’t do him any favors because. You’re possibly re aggravating an injury or an injury of any other sorts. And from Portland’s perspective, if [00:27:00] he keeps playing like this, he’s kind, if you, if you do decide to move him, he’s value is down.

[00:27:07] Like I know they came out and said, they’re, they’re not moving him. Of course, they’re not going to right now. But you know, you have to be some, you have to have some awareness. You have to see some of the writing on the wall. Like there is a possibility, like this could come to a boiling point at some point, but this, this team needs leadership.

[00:27:29] It’s been lacking leadership since Paul Allen, um, you know, passed away in the fall of 2018, who is going to be that who is going to be that voice? I don’t know. I think what’s going to happen is Dame’s going to continue to play. We’re not going to get the same name as we had, and

[00:27:48] Dillon Sage: we’re going to win just enough games to give away our pack

[00:27:51] Dustin Hawes: probably.

[00:27:52] Yeah. Or, yeah. Or get a better lottery pick.

[00:27:58] Dillon Sage: Like when I look at this [00:28:00] class there’s guys that just fit like a glove with Damian Lillard and a skillset. Like the guy from Auburn, Jabari Smith would fit with Dame like a glove. Thank God. I said his name right in my head. I kept thinking Jabari Greer, Jabari Greer.

[00:28:17] No, that’s the saints corner. Jabari Smith. Like he would fit with a superstar like game so, well like movement shooting, six, 10 wing. That’s kind of what we need in this new NBA. Especially now that we have 3, 4, 6, 3 guards having a six, 10 sharp. That would help. So yeah, I, I D I definitely agree. I definitely think that we should rest him at least until he’s fully healthy.

[00:28:44] Cause even in those interviews today, he was like, yeah. I mean, if you compare where I was to where I am now, I’m a whole lot better. But as you know, it’s still an injury. Like let’s, let’s wait until he says, I feel good. And I look good [00:29:00] before even thinking about playing. I’m like him going three for 14, from three doesn’t really help us.

[00:29:05] Like aunt probably should get more of those shots, especially when Dame’s not playing at his, you know, at where Damian Lillard is used to be playing

[00:29:16] Dustin Hawes: in this. Isn’t the NBA that we grew up in and Sage, right. This isn’t like. Players retired at 32 34. Like when you have like Isaiah Thomas and Larry Bird, you know, retiring pretty, pretty early on and by today’s standards, like you’ve got LeBron still performing at a high level about to be 37.

[00:29:38] You’ve got Kevin Duran playing like an MVP in, in his thirties. You’ve got Steph playing like an MVP in his thirties. Like Dame’s been Mr. Durable. I w I think he still has a lot of really good basketball left in him. It’s just getting him that rest. So he’s able to have the, the gas in his tank at [00:30:00] 33 34 35, like Portland just has to approach this with, with a lot of caution and really think long-term about where they want to be.

[00:30:11] If you want to win with. You maybe have to take a step back this year. You just, you just have to do it. I know some of the fans aren’t gonna want to hear it. I know probably Dane doesn’t want to hear and the players that they, of course they want to win, but the best organizations are the ones that have self-awareness.

[00:30:28] And so we’ll see what type of organization Portland is, um, moving forward. But just second of two, the second part of the question specifically about tonight’s game, why was Robert Covington playing in, in the last four minutes? In your opinion, Sage? I

[00:30:44] Dillon Sage: think the Sierra was on a minutes limit coming back from an injury.

[00:30:49] Wasn’t it? A lower leg injury. Yes. Yeah, you’re gonna, you’re gonna pay some out. So yeah, that was

[00:30:56] Dustin Hawes: Portland. We’re really small. I believe it was Nancy Covington, [00:31:00] Simons power. And, um, dang.

[00:31:05] Dillon Sage: So I think that Robert Covington, you look at the stats and they’re not really impressive, but I think the way that he played, especially getting defensive statistics, like he had five steals or blocks, like he was involved in the game in a, in a way, statistically that he hasn’t been all year.

[00:31:23] So I think rewarding him for playing well, and then not having somebody that like Nasir that you want to give minutes to. It was the reason that he was, uh, was the, in, in the last

[00:31:35] Dustin Hawes: five minutes. Yeah. And this is kind of the point of the roster, the imbalanced roster, where I look at and I’m like, why wasn’t Ben Macklemore in?

[00:31:46] And he was like, oh, well you have Dame. Who’s coming back. You’re not going to bench Dame. Ant has been almost, you know, one of the best six man you’re paying Norman Powell, $18 million. You can’t also play Ben Macklemore out there. It’s all your [00:32:00] players, all your best players are fucking six, four guards.

[00:32:02] Like that’s that? That’s tough. I do think NERC should have been in New York should have matched towns. Like as soon as Covington came in, they ran a post up play in Dame, got switched on towns and towns just turned and put it up. And in like,

[00:32:15] Dillon Sage: you don’t want use of was in, he wasn’t guarding Karl-Anthony towns though.

[00:32:19] So,

[00:32:20] Dustin Hawes: but you have to have a bigger body to have someone

[00:32:23] Dillon Sage: to match him physically. Like if we had a six, 10 power forward, that was athletic, like a, like a bam out of bio or on . Yeah. Well, we’re fine. Putting, uh, athletic specimen on Karl-Anthony towns. No, probably get frustrated, but it was like we would switch and we wouldn’t help on Karl-Anthony towns.

[00:32:46] And it was just the same shit happening every time where we don’t help that the small arguing boasted up by a fucking. Bye. Bye bye. Post that’s like really good at scoring. So [00:33:00] yeah, I mean, it was kind of a weird strategy, but I get like, I get why Cub was in. Cause he was producing at a level, at least defensively that this was the best defensive game statistically this year easily.

[00:33:17] Dustin Hawes: So that was a long, bad. It tied in perfectly with the fan question that we had my bad for the week. Just the injuries that are really piling up here in rip city. You’ve got CJ McCollum who is out for indefinitely. He has a collapsed lung. I believe he was on the sidelines to. So that is good to see, but very scary stuff.

[00:33:44] You obviously wish nothing but the best for CJ. He’s also awaiting the birth of his first child. So, you know, just sending all of our positive thoughts out to CJ and his, his wife, Elise. So you’re out with your, your second best player is out [00:34:00] indefinitely. And then who could have foresaw this age? Like this popped up on my timeline out of nowhere.

[00:34:06] Apparently Cody Zeller. This is quote unquote from the trailblazers press release upon further evaluation. Imaging has revealed Portland center. Cody’s Eller with a small right patellar fracture kneecap.

[00:34:25] Dillon Sage: Oh, one thing about Robert Covington, I underestimated his defensive impact.

[00:34:32] Five steels 9 0 5 steals, four blocks. So nine stocks. That, that that’s why he was in the last four minutes.

[00:34:43] Dustin Hawes: So back to Cody Zeller, he’ll be evaluated in one week. He’s been pretty durable until he hit the age of 25. But a lot of fans said, this is the risk you run [00:35:00] when you only have two players in the rotation over six, 10 Zeller. And both are injury prone, Cody Zeller after the age of 25. So we’re talking about the 20 17 20 18 season plays 33 games, the next season, 49, the shortened pandemic season 58 last season 48 games of 72.

[00:35:23] So he’s not even coming anywhere close to playing full seasons or 90 or 80% of his team’s games. He’s an injury prone player. And now Portland is left with. One fifth NERC, it’s kind of holding down the Fort. Who’s been injury prone himself who has been known to get into early foul trouble as well. And you just don’t have the size you’re you’re even smaller upfront.

[00:35:51] So it’s almost like a, what can go wrong will go wrong season in Portland

[00:35:58] Dillon Sage: because of who was available. [00:36:00] Robert Lovington played well and played more minutes than we were expecting. I do want to shout him out for playing really good ball after the discipline, like going from the starter for a year and a year and change to coming off the bench.

[00:36:15] Good fit for him from actually producing. But this is important with how COVID is affecting the NBA. We need to use all potential roster spots to, uh, run this the rest of the season, especially since Dame’s. CJ’s hurt and Cody Zeller, cert, and then there’s players recovering from injuries. We need to use these roster spots.

[00:36:40] There’s no need to be, have a, have an empty roster spot for a potential trade that may or may not.

[00:36:48] Dustin Hawes: I don’t want to be disrespectful, but there’s no reason a trend wa Watford should have played in NBA basketball tonight. Like that. That’s where we’re at with the roster [00:37:00] is it feels like 20, 20 all over again.

[00:37:03] When you’ve got Jalen horde and Moses brown getting actual NBA minutes when they should be playing G

[00:37:09] Dillon Sage: league minutes. So there’ll be the Portland G league

[00:37:12] Dustin Hawes: right now playing. Yeah. So Joe Cronin better get off his ass and start getting to work. That’s all I’m going say, uh, about that Sage, what is your ugly.

[00:37:22] Dillon Sage: I would have to say the injuries would have to just become the ugly. If rotation minutes is bad, just injuries, putting players in positions where they aren’t ready to succeed in is the ugly. I mean, there isn’t that many positives and the two uglies was injuries and bad rotations. So it is

[00:37:44] Dustin Hawes: the ugly is a NBA level ugly.

[00:37:49] And it’s the NBA and the coronavirus, the NBA is frankly doing a horrible job at it. Right now. The bowls have an outbreak. The Charlotte Hornets have an [00:38:00] outbreak. Yes, they do. You’re starting to hear announcers Stacey king and bill Weddington for the bowls habit. Uh, Rick Carlisle, I believe had it from the Toronto Raptors as the general manager is getting it.

[00:38:13] Um, Jamia rant who had. Been vaccinated and had the booster is now in protocols. Like I, I think it’s wild to me that the MBA didn’t have this level of outbreaks. No, the wizards had it last year when there was no vaccine until like more than halfway through the season, but they had those really tight restrictions on the road.

[00:38:37] It seems like it, they just lifted all those restrictions and they said, yeah, we hope you get vaccinated, but it’s a free for all. I think the NBA players association and the NBA, they’re going to have to iron out some agreement to make things mandatory or tighten up restrictions. I already know,

[00:38:57] Dillon Sage: protect the

[00:38:57] Dustin Hawes: players, protect the, protect, [00:39:00] the workers too, that are traveling with them

[00:39:02] Dillon Sage: to, I mean, it, you gotta protect everybody.

[00:39:05] Who’s putting their lives on the line to provide this entertainment for you and I, and everybody else. But it’s crazy with the bulls, how infected they are. They brought in two players to become their, you know, exemption, uh, hardship, exemption. And then they both got COVID like, something is really wrong with, with, uh, Charlotte in Chicago.

[00:39:30] Like I remember Chicago, uh, Charlotte, Terry Rozier and lamella ball were out. So ish Smith was gonna run point and then ish Smith. Got it. So they have so many players that are currently in COVID

[00:39:44] Dustin Hawes: protocols. It’s I mean, the MBA isn’t doing anything it’s really because of Canadian law. So the MBA, so according to MBA teams were informed on December 2nd.

[00:39:56] That unvaccinated players will no longer be allowed to travel to [00:40:00] Toronto, to play in games beginning January 15th. So new Canadian law mandates that all visitors entering the country be vaccinated. I do. I think the NBA needs to take a stand and make sure that all of their players not only vaccinated, but they have the booster and it’s, it’s getting ugly.

[00:40:23] And the MBA really, the only league that’s seeing this right now, it didn’t really happen in college football. Only one college football game got, got cans, or excuse me, rescheduled this year. And that was between Cal Cal, Berkeley and Southern Cal the NFL. I you’re, you’re not seeing a whole lot of players missing games because of the coronavirus, either in there are more teams and more players per team.

[00:40:48] So I don’t know if the NBA needs. Implementing a rule where if a team can’t feel enough players, that they now have to forfeit the contest and [00:41:00] maybe the threat of a blemish on the record will encourage players to be more safe and everybody around the organization to be more safe or, or, or what, but it’s getting pretty scary and player safety and employee safety aside, because those are obviously clear, uh, clear points that need to be addressed.

[00:41:24] No fan is going to want to watch the, the Los Angeles Clippers take on, I don’t know, the Philadelphia 76 or some of the finals and there’s Joel Embiid just, just can’t play because he’s on the health and safety protocols. And then Paul, George gets it. Like, you’re just you’re, it feels like we’re going to end up with just two random teams in the finals.

[00:41:47] Like whatever team can stay the healthiest. The games this year have been so weird. And I think it’s reflected in the standings because half of these teams, can’t field healthy rosters, and it’s taking, [00:42:00] I think a lot of the credibility and legitimacy away from the regular season. Maybe it’s the new normal moving forward, but it kind of sucks.

[00:42:08] Like there are a lot of players missing in action and it’s, it’s something the NBA has to figure out because every two to three months, a new variant is basically forming its own super team and it’s coming to attack, you know, everyone in its, in its site. So I really think they, if they’re not going to be able to agree on vaccination, At the very least, they need to agree on tighter restrictions on the road because it’s, it’s scary that this, this thing isn’t, isn’t like the flu.

[00:42:40] Like you have to be careful, even if you’re with people who aren’t aren’t vaccinated or you’re going to, you know, events like you listen to this podcast, you know, where we stand on the issue. Like you need to be safe, you need to continue to wear your mask. I know people probably tired of it, but Sage, I don’t want to get this shit and I don’t wanna see any player, get it.

[00:42:59] Or any [00:43:00] person working a game, get it like this. This is, this is real life. And it goes bigger than, than the entertainment on the floor. So, you know, the, the NBA, you know, first progressive of a league, as there is out there, there, it feels like they’re, they’re behind on this and that that’s kind of, it’s kind of a shame.

[00:43:18] And I think they need to, I think Adam silver, that he’s going to. This is going to be one of his, his legacy points. When you know, he ever retires. They’re going to look back on this as an, either as an accomplishment or a major blemish on his, his resume.

[00:43:38] So we discussed what happens this week in terms of our main, main points, but there was also a lot of things that came out, even though the blazers didn’t play a lot of games. They have that long break between Wednesdays Warrior’s game and then tonight’s game on Sunday against the Timberwolves. Say. [00:44:00] What are your thoughts on, on Joe Cronin?

[00:44:03] He was introduced in a press conference. It seems like from all points he’s been giving, he is going to be given a chance to, uh, get that permanent general manager title it’s been reported. The blazers have not had any interviews with outside candidates. Um, it seems like he’s saying the right thing so far.

[00:44:23] You know, he has the plans to quote unquote enhance the current roster, uh, you know, via the athletic heres here’s a quote, you know, he says the organization wants to win. There are times when you have to take a step back in order to take a step forward. And we are not convinced that this is that time yet our approach today is not a retool or rebuild.

[00:44:44] It’s an enhance. We haven’t discussed one time about taking a step back. He followed that up later. With a quote that says I was built for this big words for a first time [00:45:00] GM, someone who has risen through the ranks as an interim, as an intern, excuse me. In 2006, worked under Kevin Pritchard. And then also with new O’Shea Sage, he’s saying the right thing so far, but that quote in the athletic scares the hell out of me.

[00:45:16] If I am a blazer fan, because you know how I feel about this season and I, I don’t want him to make a desperation trade to keep his job. And that’s my biggest worry with Joe crone. And especially with these injuries that are piling up and you’ve got all of the pressure from the media about Damian Lillard.

[00:45:37] So-so what do you think, do you think he’s going to make a desperation trade? What are your worries? What are your hopes? Um, what are your overall thoughts on this?

[00:45:46] Dillon Sage: I mean, he seems competent, but we don’t. I mean, like here’s the thing we don’t really know until he does something. What type of GM general manager he’s going to be?

[00:45:57] Um, I’m hopeful that he’s [00:46:00] looking at what’s happening with our roster and the injuries and set things that it’s time to take a step back to take that step forward to, uh, borrow it what he was saying. Um, you know, I, to be honest, I really don’t know, like he was saying the right stuff. I, I, it, the vibe in the, uh, interview looked better than whenever Neil shaded the fake water thing.

[00:46:26] So I have more faith in him than Neil. So that by itself is a step forward for the organization, but his time will come to make some decisions. So right now he’s, he better be grinding and studying in the lab of what option a through Z is. Uh, his time will come when we’re going to see what kind of gut he has and his, his ability to handle stress.

[00:46:52] How does he handle it? Well or poorly it, all of this is going to come. I don’t know what he’s going to do. It’s going to be [00:47:00] very interesting to see what he does.

[00:47:02] Dustin Hawes: Yeah. December 15th is the key calendar date on the MBA on the NBA schedule players who signed deals in the summer, the majority of them are now able to be traded.

[00:47:15] And Portland is currently $3 million over the luxury tax. So there are pros and cons to staying above that tax line. And they’re all, not just financial. You mean it. If you get under it, you could open up the full mid-level exception for next year. Another. Long-term approach. I think just really what he said that scared me was they’re not willing to take a step back because I think you can win with Damian Lillard by taking a step back and you can go next year.

[00:47:47] Uh, that that’s, I don’t like that, that outlook on one hand, I I’m all for giving Cronin a shot, especially, you know, we started. 15 years ago as an intern and [00:48:00] as grinded his way, he’s put in the work, put in the work. So on one hand, yeah. Give him a shot. On the other hand, I almost don’t want anybody that had any sense of Neil O’Shay on their resume.

[00:48:13] Looking at this roster. I want complete fresh eyes. I want some other general manager candidates at least to be interviewed. That’s the wild thing to me is that they haven’t even interviewed any candidates. So that to me speaks of lazy ownership, Jody. Alan’s like, yeah, we washed her hands. I’m Neil Shea.

[00:48:30] I’m going to go worry about some other billionaire. I don’t like take care of that’s like, my job here is done. And that’s just what it feels like to me. So it it’s, it’s tough because he could make a really game saving trade like Chad Buchanan did, but Chad Buchanan took a step back. He had Gerald Wallace and was like, Gerald Wallace could help me win meaningful games.

[00:48:56] But I know he’s over 30 and he’s declining. Let’s see what I can get for the [00:49:00] future. Traded them to New Jersey for a pick that turned out to be Damian Lillard. That’s it? That’s the case. We’re taking a step back, worked and was the right move. So I don’t like that quote really, the more I read it, the more it kind of irritates me.

[00:49:13] So I hope

[00:49:15] Dillon Sage: how he is. It’s like I’m getting my first opportunity in the league. I, the most prudent thing would probably be to take a step back, but do the fans really want to hear it right now? I don’t know. Like,

[00:49:31] Dustin Hawes: I mean, judging by how many people are in that building on a nightly basis. I, I. Think fans want something to look forward to.

[00:49:41] And whether that’s a draft pick a young player, I think fans are fed up the past three years that they’ve been fed. It’s not the roster. It’s not the roster, it’s not the roster. They want changes. So even if it’s moving Covington for, for a draft pick or, you know, you’re getting another young player that you can watch develop.[00:50:00]

[00:50:00] I think the fans just want something new. And so I don’t think he needs to make this Ben Simmons home run type of trade and sell the, the, the, the next five years of the franchise. Just to go for it. Now, I think you have to, if you’re Joe Cronin, I think he, he really needs to be smart here and say, what can I realistically do with my assets?

[00:50:26] You know, CJ going down hurts because you can’t move an injured player.

[00:50:33] A lot of your players right now, Aren’t really performing up to where you can trade them. Like Covington’s value is tanked Nancy’s value. You’d be lucky. I think to get your return on it was, or your initial investment, excuse me, which was a first round pick the players that up to their value, Anthony and this year are ones you want to build around.

[00:50:53] So there in lies the question, do we trade young building blocks in [00:51:00] Simons and little to win now with Damien? I don’t think you can have both. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. In this scenario. I think if you’re going to improve the roster, whether it’s a Ben Simmons or a miles Turner, let’s throw miles Turner in there just for a hypothetical trait.

[00:51:18] You’re not just getting miles Turner for use of marriage. I think you have to attach a player likeness ear, like Anthony to get miles Turner. And so then you have to say. Are we good enough with Damon miles Turner, norm Powell, like do more moves, need to be made. And now you’ve, you’ve, you’ve lost and you’ve also, it’s, it’s, it’s a chicken or the egg.

[00:51:41] It’s a very unenviable position that Joe Cronin is in right now. I’m fully aware of that. But the last question I think he needs to answer is just how good at this stage in his career is Damian Lillard. And what I mean [00:52:00] by that, it was, I was Olga and I go for walks almost every day. And we decided to talk about the blazers.

[00:52:06] And I was like, if you have a player like Kevin Duran or a Yonis, or even LeBron, maybe a year or two ago, I think their sidekick could be just an all-star player, maybe a top 20 guy. And you can be championship attenders because those are. The elite, the cream of the crop. I think Damien is a top 10 player, but I think Damien probably also needs a top 10 to top 12 player to content.

[00:52:30] Like, I don’t think you can just put Chris Middleton next to Dame and call it good. Like I don’t, that’s not a knock on Willard. I just don’t think at this point in his career, he’s at that level, maybe if he gets healthy and we see bubble Dame return, but you, when we talk about building and winning now with Dame, I don’t think a lot of fans are taking into consideration where he’s at in his career and whether or not he’s slowly starting [00:53:00] to come off of that peak.

[00:53:01] And I know it’s a difficult conversation to have. It’s difficult to even say because he’s given this franchise everything, but to look at it, realistically, you’re going to need to find the top 10, the top 12 player to say, yeah, damn, we’re going to go all in with. And I just don’t know how many of those players are a available right now, or B Portland would be able to attain them with their assets.

[00:53:23] Given their draft capital is depleted and they really only have two young pieces. And one of them is going to be, uh, at least a restricted free agent next year and Anthony Simons. So it’s a really tough position to be in which Joe Cronin, I think we said last year, Sage, the worst thing the blazers could do would just be to run it back and get a new coach.

[00:53:46] That’s what they did. The worst thing to do right now would be to make desperation trade, to make Dame happy to really sell your next half decade for maybe a second round playoff [00:54:00] birth. Like if you’re going to go all in you better fucking be here. To go all in and really make it otherwise, you’re going to end up like the Brooklyn nets with Paul Pierce and Darren Williams and Kevin Garnett and that disaster that happened in Brooklyn.

[00:54:16] And you’re not going to have the market that Brooklyn is to a magically, get a KD and Kyrie a few years later, you’re Portland, Oregon. It’s going to be tough. So I’m terrified, honestly, of what’s. I know a lot of fans are excited. I am terrified at the decisions that, that, that they may make.

[00:54:32] Dillon Sage: Well, he hasn’t gotten a chance to make those decisions yet.

[00:54:37] So, but I, I think with when you’re, when you talked about KB Yonis and LeBron, you mentioned the rarest commodity, there is then yay with a alpha small forward that’s six 11 that has guard skills. Damien is six, three. He doesn’t have that. He doesn’t have that margin for error that Yonis [00:55:00] does every night.

[00:55:00] Yonis can get 30 by rumor. Damn, I can’t afford that. So yeah, I think that it team-building with Damian Lillard would be a lot harder than team-building would be honest. Like you get Chris Middleton who can shoot and kind of run off and it’s drew holiday can lock up the opposing team’s best player. You kind of built something there.

[00:55:23] Dame, you have to have that guy that can stop everybody. And you’ve got to have like different pieces surrounding them. So the task is a lot different here in Portland. I mean the, uh, the lack of assets, obviously the, uh, the undersized nature and then the small market. So it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but if he’s as competent as he says, and as grinded, as hard as he can and has I’m willing to give him the, uh, the, uh, the keys to the, to the castle, because [00:56:00] at least in this.

[00:56:02] A few moments. He’s shown humility in class and the ability to treat people with, uh, the respect that hasn’t been shown by the trailblazers organization in a very long time. So he definitely has some tough decisions. And obviously because of what Neil did, the asset, we can’t offer like there’s teams that are going to beat our best offer relatively easily, like Oklahoma city.

[00:56:30] If they said, fuck it, what’s compete would beat any of our offers. New Orleans. If they said, you know what, let’s build on the Zion, they could beat any offer. So we’re going to have to, it has to be, we have to build some assets for him to make a good team. And, uh, it is what it is. It’s it’s going to be. Uh, the 15th is going to be a big day for us.

[00:56:58] So to see what happens, and

[00:56:59] Dustin Hawes: I [00:57:00] do think the blazers can build a really good team around

[00:57:04] Dillon Sage: it is different than up those

[00:57:06] Dustin Hawes: superstars different. And I also think it takes creative takes. It takes some creativity, it takes some fortitude. It takes a long-term approach. Yes. I know I’m harping on this long-term approach, but what made the, the early nineties blazers so good, their chemistry, they had played together for so long that they added buck.

[00:57:29] That was the one real piece they added and it, and it fit, but they had, they had most of the puzzle already created. If you’re saying, you know, Portland basically needs an entire new front court, basically with the depth and the starters.

[00:57:45] Dillon Sage: Yeah,

[00:57:45] Dustin Hawes: it’s you’re, you’re asking this team to just click right off the bat.

[00:57:49] It just doesn’t happen. What made that Western conference finals run so special was the piece of relayed there. And they found the missing parts and Rodney and [00:58:00] Ennis, and they were able to make a run. But a lot of the players had, had been in the organization in the system for, for years, multiple years, you’re asking them to make these moves and in today’s instant gratification world, what happens if you get miles Turner?

[00:58:17] And it doesn’t like work immediately, like, is he going to be like, I’m going to be in my contract here next year. I want out. Or then you’re going to play with miles Turner and his contract year and try to build chemistry like. It’s it’s just so hard. And unless you’re able to get that, that superstar next to Dame, because obviously talent can Trump chemistry.

[00:58:38] Dillon Sage: I just think about the Miami heat, the heaters with Dwayne and LeBron and crisp while they didn’t win this championship gear one. So if I would say the two of the most transcendent players ever couldn’t make it work, do you think Damon Ben Simmons is going to make it work year one? I don’t think so.

[00:58:59] Dustin Hawes: [00:59:00] Yeah. So he has got a lot of difficult decisions to make I’m with you though, if you want,

[00:59:08] Dillon Sage: let’s

[00:59:08] Dustin Hawes: just talk about it. Yes. At the right cost. I’m not going to overpay for miles Turner, but Portland has to find a way to treat you as if mortgage that they cannot let him walk and then they cannot sign him. It’s just it’s time to move on.

[00:59:23] Dillon Sage: I think that the front court. If we trade use of for miles, we have to trade Robert coming in, Robert Covington and Larry Nance for

[00:59:31] Dustin Hawes: something else to do.

[00:59:33] They have to be traded regardless. It’s just a nightmare.

[00:59:36] Dillon Sage: Cause miles Turner, great shot blocker the shooter, atrocious rebounder, fucking atrocious. So if we’re going to be 360 3 guards, some random four miles Turner, we’re going to be the worst team in the NBA. Cause we can’t grab the damn rebound. So if he does that trade, I better, we [01:00:00] better see an announcement of a different power forward being brought into the blazers, like someone who gets gets them boards a lot.

[01:00:08] Like we get something for John Collins or something. So to fuzz though, we can make up for the deficiencies of.

[01:00:17] Dustin Hawes: Well, also, you mentioned 3, 6, 3 guards. I think that’s out the books. I don’t think they’re going to move forward with, with that, that roster construction that Neil O’Shay left behind. I think definitely one of the key priorities for Joe Cronin, at least in the interim, is going to be to balance out the roster that that just has to be because then you get some size out there you’re able to, to rebound a bit better.

[01:00:42] But yeah, I mean, it was reported that Indiana is going to have a fire sale. I think you absolutely have to, to look at that, like, he’s, he’s a really good defender. He’s younger than you sieve. He helped space off the floor. Again. I think that that is a really good building block. Like you don’t have to be, if you’re trying [01:01:00] to win with Dame, it doesn’t have to be a home run off of.

[01:01:06] Like, you know, the pieces that you’re able to move and you can start to piece things together like Dame, as long as they take this year with caution, I think he’s going to be around for a few years at a pretty high level miles Turner, I think fits in with that timeline. And I think he’s one of the better realistic available centers that Portland could get.

[01:01:28] Dillon Sage: For sure. He just has deficiencies. That is pretty glaring. So don’t expect 20 points off, you know, perimeter shots and some shot bloods shop blocks and 10 rebounds. Very often. He is who he is.

[01:01:44] Dustin Hawes: Would you prefer demonic the bonus or mouse Turner

[01:01:49] Dillon Sage: who’s surrounding them? It doesn’t

[01:01:51] Dustin Hawes: like just for the blazers.

[01:01:53] I mean, that’s the thing say you’re not just going to make one trade and the team’s going to be fine. You’re going to make multiple trades. Yeah. Indiana. [01:02:00] Who, who do you, who do you, who do you call for?

[01:02:04] Dillon Sage: It’s obviously less assets for miles Turner.

[01:02:07] Dustin Hawes: Correct? I don’t think Portland has the assets for democracy bonus.

[01:02:11] I’ll be fully honest there. I

[01:02:14] Dillon Sage: don’t again, if we treated for Tamanas, we better have a defensive center coming out or defensive power forward. So I, I guess miles Turner, but with the knowledge that we need a different power forward, as soon as possible, I would take miles and then Caris Levert would, I’m not really interested in Keras because of his injury issues and how he doesn’t contribute to things just like CJ and, and norm he just scores.

[01:02:48] So if we were making a trade where the Pacers, it would probably only be miles Turner and. That that’s it. I would love to have them up and Brogden on this team to replace somebody, [01:03:00] but that probably isn’t happening either. So

[01:03:02] Dustin Hawes: what’s the most you’d give up for miles Turner

[01:03:08] Dillon Sage: use of and a sweetener.

[01:03:10] Dustin Hawes: What’s your sweetener.

[01:03:16] Dillon Sage: Oh, God.

[01:03:21] See, I don’t, I, I value ant and Nasir more than I would value miles Turner, maybe a future pick, but we don’t have any. So I guess, I guess a future first round pick in like four years, but we, we don’t have anything unless we, unless we traded Robert Covington for a pick and then use that pick to trade from miles Turner.

[01:03:43] I don’t see it really happen.

[01:03:46] Dustin Hawes: Yeah. So then you’re essentially trading, you’re starting from court for just miles Turner. And now you’re you’re down.

[01:03:52] Dillon Sage: Where are you going to get the power

[01:03:53] Dustin Hawes: for the magic there in lies the lies of the conundrum, right? You know, you keep trying to make these trades and then you’re like, [01:04:00] well, I have to add this here.

[01:04:01] Have to add this here, there pretty soon. You’re you go to turn to pick up an asset to trade nothing there you’re grabbing air. Yeah.

[01:04:10] Dillon Sage: It ponens in a very difficult decision position. So like teams, aren’t stupid. They’re not going to give away high valued assets for, for our trash. We’re going to have to give up something to get something.

[01:04:27] And the fact that is we don’t have any future first for awhile. So get what you can for use of get what you can for Robert hope to God. Damian’s all right with chilling. This. And get a first round pick. That’s good.

[01:04:47] Dustin Hawes: And I, I think that is also and huge misconception in MBA world, right? Where you’re saying, oh, we’re trying to win.

[01:04:58] Now. You, you can’t [01:05:00] draft someone and they’re going to come in. And, and

[01:05:01] Dillon Sage: Evan mobiley, Josh, Katie, Scotty barns, Desmond

[01:05:06] Dustin Hawes: Bain, Xavier Tillman. You’re looking at late first round, second round talent. Better

[01:05:11] Dillon Sage: players are better now than they have ever been. Role-players now are better than they

[01:05:15] Dustin Hawes: ever been. We’re not looking to draft the next, the alert number we’re picking.

[01:05:20] You’re getting Chris Duarte comes, he’s ready to go for the Indiana Pacers, Siddique bay, Isaiah Stewart. Like these are the last two, two drafts like Portland could have had these players.

[01:05:32] Dillon Sage: Herbert Jones, a second round. Uh, playing 35 minutes of game guarding the best player. There are more talented players today than there have ever been.

[01:05:42] As, as the years go by play, people are getting bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, and technology is helping the game become way more efficient and treating injuries a lot more efficient. Having young players now is a more valuable asset than it’s ever been. They’re cheap. [01:06:00] They’re good. And they’re hungry. So like, even if we didn’t pick who I wanted, like, could you imagine what the team would look like with some young guns ready to play?

[01:06:11] It’s it’s yeah. I, I think now more than ever finding a good player to mesh with Damian Lillard and the draft is hugely important.

[01:06:21] Dustin Hawes: So it’s done the hard part. They have the top 10 player,

[01:06:24] Dillon Sage: they have the top 10 player finding players to mesh with them is the easy part. Neil we’ll say accidentally got Damian Lillard and then CJ McCollum, this easy sharp part should be.

[01:06:35] I said, easy, sharp. I hope. But, uh, the easy part should be to get players that mesh with them. And you’ll say really, hasn’t done that. So I’m, I’m all in favor of blazer fans watching, watching college teams to see how their, that star player can mesh with Damian Lillard. I think that’s going to be where a lot of laser fans find [01:07:00] joy is if we don’t trade this first round pick and we suck Pablo or Jabari or Jalen Duran, those guys are going to be who were excited about the future.

[01:07:14] Dustin Hawes: I have a question for you. If you were writing a letter to Santa Claus, what’s your trailblazers wish? Like what do you want for Christmas,

[01:07:26] Dillon Sage: Dan, to be chill with sitting out there.

[01:07:31] Resting and then probably sucking because Dame’s out and then CJ’s going to be recovering. And we kind of did what San Antonio did. Listen, Tim Duncan, we have a star player he’s just hurt. And then we find the, uh, the, the, uh, the, the Robin to Dan zap. Man. Have

[01:07:52] Dustin Hawes: you been with torch bear, you know, to pass the torch?

[01:07:57] Yeah.

[01:07:59] Dillon Sage: Do you, [01:08:00] have you watched shed enough?

[01:08:02] Dustin Hawes: I’ve only, I’ve only watched a few Gonzaga and do games, but I like both of those players. I mean, I think this draft is going to be I’d, like you said, the drafts keep getting better and better and better because the players keep improving. Like we’re, we’re in like a golden.

[01:08:18] Era of talented basketball players. Like the talent level in the league is insane. Like I think they’re probably going to have to expand here within the next half decade, just because there’s so many talented players that are coming out and you’re finding so many gems in the second round.

[01:08:36] Dillon Sage: So yes, for me and where I am with my scouting process for the, the draft, I would go Pablo Chet and then Jabari Smith.

[01:08:47] That’s where I’m at right now. I know Jaylen Dern is good. The guy from produce kind of scares me, but there are some really good players that mesh with what [01:09:00] we have currently with Damian Lillard. So I, my Christmas wish would be that Dame gets fully healthy and I think rest, relax, relaxation and recovery is the best way for him to get.

[01:09:15] Back to where he is.

[01:09:16] Dustin Hawes: Yeah. I mean that that’s mine, so I’ll elaborate a little bit, so it’s not kind of the same thing, but I still, I go back to, to Steph and I go back to Draymond just that time away from the game, just really re revitalizing and rejuvenating them. And you can see it in how they’re playing and they’re, they’re back to their, their old selves.

[01:09:38] And I think, I think Dame is just getting bombarded mentally with everything that’s going on from, from these rumors. I think honestly, just staying away, whether it’s a couple of weeks or whatever, and just like, not even following the team, just enjoying time with his family. Hanging out, [01:10:00] like just meditating, whatever, like just to hit the reset button, because I do think there is a lot of mental things that are weighing on him.

[01:10:12] And I know he he’s a competitor and you wants to grind through this, but you know, aside from you saying like that your Christmas wish being Dane being cool with us, just chilling. I also want to see Portland get a good lottery pick this year, because whether you pick that player and they contribute, or you’re able to see, okay, this superstars available like, oh, player X is a top 15 guy.

[01:10:37] We need them. We also have a lottery. We have an asset, like you’re starting to build up that chest. To go and get that player to play next to Dame. So along those lines, uh, you know, I’m asking Santa, Hey, can we get a first round pick for Robert Covington? Can we trade use of NERC EJ for, you know, somebody may be a little bit more reliable that can, can [01:11:00] fit with this team, whether that’s, you know, miles Turner or you reverse it and you get Mason, Plumlee in a pick, like, I don’t know, like replenish your assets like teams when you’re going after them.

[01:11:11] They don’t care. If the difference in talent is, is a Mason Plumlee or use of nerds. They’re like, how, what pics can you give us? The teams want picks. We have none. We need to replenish that. So

[01:11:22] Dillon Sage: that’s my, and I real about Nassir and aunt. We talked about it a while ago. Those players are less valuable than a first from pick cause they’ve been in the league and looked

[01:11:35] Dustin Hawes: great and getting, going to get paid.

[01:11:37] So you got

[01:11:38] Dillon Sage: your, you’re going to have to pay. If you trade for them, you’re going to have to pay them. That first round pick could be anything. So the fact that we don’t have that, that luxury thing that everybody wants is the humongous problem we’ve been trading. The first round picks away like they’re worthless when they’re the real treasure [01:12:00] in the story.

[01:12:02] And with everybody getting bit bigger, stronger, faster, better us having old first having old players to play with Dame, isn’t really as exciting as like Cole, Anthony went from a bad player to a great player in one year. We don’t have that.

[01:12:25] I would be cool with trading to pick if, uh, um, if Jabari was off the board, but I really do think that he’s the best thing to pair with. Uh, Damian, I

[01:12:39] Dustin Hawes: think to go back to this season, One of the things we looked at for potential, you know, reason to be optimistic was, you know, back on November 30th, it, Portland kicked off a stretch of 15 of the next 19 at home.

[01:12:57] They’re not taking advantage of that right now. They’ve [01:13:00] lost four straight home games. Now you’re at a point in this, in that 15 of 19 works now 10 of 13 and the schedule kind of starting to stiffen up a bit and you’ve only played 12 road games. Well, you’ve got 29 of those left in the season. You’re already 11 and 16.

[01:13:21] You’re starting to see that separation in the top six seeds in the Western conference. Now you’re really looking at the, the, the unenviable task of looking up at teams like Dallas in Denver. Just to get home court advantage for one of the first play in games. I mean, that’s where we’re at right now.

[01:13:41] You’re start, you start to fall even more. It becomes even more bleak. So I just hope they, they look at the schedule and look at where the team’s at. And I know what’s an 82 gamer and you can get hot, like, like the sons did, but for a team that’s one in 11 on the road. [01:14:00] Now, if they’re stopping there, they’re home magic.

[01:14:05] I don’t really know where else a lot of these winds are going to come from. So again, just, just to be be self-aware it’s, it’s going to be, it’s going to be tough, especially with CJ sidelines, because again, you’re not getting his production or you’re not getting this potential trade value because teams just aren’t going to trade for a player that’s hurt.

[01:14:26] And this Cody Zeller news, I don’t think enough fans are talking about if that keeps him sidelined for some time. There goes your backup big, there goes your rebounder. There goes your, your screen center. There goes your size. Um, Portland doesn’t have the most reliable starting center and that’s just another thing.

[01:14:46] But then Joe Cronin has to go in and figure out is who’s going to be a backup big. We already needed another center. We already need another site. Another, another big man, whether it’s a four or five or just a straight five. I mean, that’s just like another thing that he [01:15:00] asked to add to his to do list.

[01:15:01] It’s just like you’re working and you get that, that the email at 4:58 PM. You’re like, fuck, I don’t want to have to deal with this. I want to go home for the day. Well, that came in at 4 58. Now he he’s got to deal with it. So, um, really rough for the blazers. It just seems like it’s, it’s been bad all around, but they play the games for a reason.

[01:15:23] And I do think the blazers will get a chance to get some. To get some wins. Uh, this, this week, Sage let’s look at the upcoming schedule for the blazers this week. They have a home and home back to back Tuesday against the red hot Phoenix suns followed up Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, the Charlotte Hornets come to town and then Portland hits the road for a quick two game trip.

[01:15:49] Uh, we will discuss the Sunday game against the Memphis Grizzlies as well as age. Let’s talk about Phoenix. It’s a team that Portland is one-on-one against. They caught them early in the year. [01:16:00] Just destroyed them by 29. I mean, looking back that that’s probably the, one of the best wins of the season. They also lost by 10 on November 10th in Phoenix.

[01:16:09] This is a Phoenix team that just got done winning 18 straight they’re, 21 and four on the season nine and two away from the valley of the sun. And they’ve won two straight. They are playing fantastic offense. They’re playing fantastic defense. They just have things clicking on all cylinders, even when Deandre Ayton has been in and out of the lineup.

[01:16:30] They’ve gotten contributions. I know Frank Kaminsky damn near had a career high against us back on November 10th. And he’s

[01:16:36] Dillon Sage: out for

[01:16:36] Dustin Hawes: awhile. Yeah. Jovial. McGee’s been playing fantastic basketball. Uh, Sage, what are you looking for in, in this game? Especially with Portland still, probably going to be without Cody and the CJ for the week.

[01:16:49] Actually they will be without both those players for the week. So assume that

[01:16:52] Dillon Sage: I think Devin, this is his opportunity to really put some pressure on us. I mean, with, would the [01:17:00] sun it’s really Chris Paul and Devin Booker, like Raquel bridges. I’m

[01:17:05] Dustin Hawes: playing a book.

[01:17:09] Dillon Sage: Is he, did he get COVID?

[01:17:11] Dustin Hawes: No, he had that hamstring injury in that first warriors game.

[01:17:14] So he’s been out since December 1st. Oh, really?

[01:17:20] Dillon Sage: Maybe, but I mean, it’s really about the, the master of the pick and roll Chris Paul then. So I, I, baby book we’ll be back, but it’s, it’s, it’s those two carrying most of the weight, the rest of those guys just fit those two so well, so if book’s out, it’s Chris Paul, if those both are back, I, I think that we’re going to have problems with those two, but I mean, if Deandre Aiden’s playing the pick and roll is going to be devastating.

[01:17:50] I mean, jovial McGee can run the pig. He showed that he can run the pick and roll as well. But what scares me the most is Chris Paul and potentially Devin Booker. If he’s back.

[01:17:59] Dustin Hawes: I think [01:18:00] for me, what scares me is, is that bench they’ve got one of the, I mean, it’s one of the vein campaigns is probably one of the best success stories where he basically was out of the league, worked his way back and during the bubble with the sons and has turned himself into one of the best backup point guards in the game, cams

[01:18:17] Dillon Sage: gray.

[01:18:19] Dustin Hawes: Kim Johnson. I mean, they, they combined for 33 points in their blowout, victory of the Celtics. And they did that with, without book and without, um, Deandre Ayton, like they are just Mani Williams has got that, that machine humming along. They’ve got defenders that they can throw at at Dame Lillard. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how Portland guards that pick and roll because we’ve got carved up on teams that know how to move the basketball.

[01:18:47] And Chris, Paul is one of the best lob throwers in history. They’ve got a great threatens Phil McGee, and then they’ve got two amazing three point shooters in bridges and Crowder on, on the wing. So it. [01:19:00] It’s probably the toughest task in all of basketball right now. Like if you’re Portland, this is the last team.

[01:19:04] I think you want to see coming into your home

[01:19:07] Dillon Sage: and the fact that we don’t change coverages that much. That’s just going to be so easy for Chris Paul to take advantage. Like you got to throw numerous stuff at Chris Paul to get them to think if we’re just going to do the defense that he’s seen in carved up in the past and what are we doing if we can’t adapt to literally the best point guard of a generation or two, we’re going to have some real difficult troubles

[01:19:35] Dustin Hawes: up next is the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that has hurt with the COVID protocol, Jamia rant.

[01:19:42] I don’t know if he will be playing this week, but they have continued

[01:19:46] Dillon Sage: to win. Isn’t his knees still

[01:19:48] Dustin Hawes: bothering? Uh, I’m not sure about his knee. I just know what’s he’s in health and safety protocols. So he got.

[01:19:54] Dillon Sage: I mean, you could have that injury looked bad. So I assume that he won’t be there. And [01:20:00] I mean, uh, yeah, didn’t JJ J

[01:20:06] Dustin Hawes: uh, you covered as well.

[01:20:08] He did not play in their last game.

[01:20:09] Dillon Sage: So Memphis is now winning in multiple ways before it will John Moran being right. And, you know, Desmond Bain being really consistent Jeren Jackson when he’s not falling out in 10 minutes, putting up a lot of stats. But John Moran as an individual defender, isn’t good.

[01:20:31] So their defensive ratings have all gone through the roof. They’re just playing and winning in different ways. Now, if Dylan Brooks playing, because he, the last game, he was a potential, like you went from doubtful, the probable in the interview.

[01:20:45] Dustin Hawes: He led them in scoring. He had 25 shots against

[01:20:49] Dillon Sage: usages. His usage is absolutely astronomical, especially with genre ants out.

[01:20:56] So the players that we really have to watch out for Desmond [01:21:00] Bain, who carved us up in the first meeting against Memphis, Dillon Brooks, who has never met a shot, he didn’t like. And then Jeren Jackson, Jr. Those are the three usage players. Now that John Moran is out,

[01:21:13] Dustin Hawes: this game is going to be all about intensity and the, the effort that Portland brings, it’s going to be a back-to-back for Portland at home.

[01:21:22] Memphis, who knows who they have, but the one thing, you know, a Memphis grizzly team will bring is that grit and that grind. I think nobody really embodies it on the roster quite like Dillon Brooks. I mean, they’ve got players who just have been overlooked and underestimated and Xavier Tillman’s back in the rotation.

[01:21:41] Steven Adams has never met a game that he doesn’t love playing. He was out there just bruising. Kyle, Anderson’s getting a chance to shine. Now he damn near had a triple double, um, against

[01:21:53] Dillon Sage: the Dylan Brooks mentality in Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons will be the best player in the NBA.

[01:21:58] Dustin Hawes: I think what I’m going to be [01:22:00] looking for aside from just the intangibles of the, the energy the blazers bring is how so with Portland, without Cody Zeller, they’re already small.

[01:22:10] You’re going to play another small guard and Dennis Smith and Ben Macklemore was CJ. How are they going to match up against the Kyle Anderson, the Dillon Brooks, the Desmond Bain. That’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be a tough task for the blazer cards this week, because we’re going to see them twice.

[01:22:26] Dillon Sage: Yeah. And then just think about the bigs, the rotation of bigs, like Steven Adams and JJ, uh, Xavier Tillman, uh, shit. What, who’s the Brandon Clark? I was Brent and say Brandon cooks, um, that it’s just an assembly line of good, solid bigs to throw out use of. And the fact that we don’t have a backup center that’s over six, 10 is a, is very problematic for the Portland trailblazers against a team like Memphis.

[01:22:57] Dustin Hawes: So we discussed Memphis. We played them twice this [01:23:00] week, but sandwich in between that Memphis game is a, another match up against the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte defeated Portland early on in the season, um, on the east coast led by Kelly . This is another match-up in this COVID era where I don’t know who is going to be involved.

[01:23:18] Charlotte had a pretty massive outbreak. You know, you spoke about a little middle ball. Uh, Terry Rozier, I believe Mason Plumlee as Hertz Smith, ish, Smith just got it. But when I looked at their, their last gene, when I looked at their last game against the Kings, in which they

[01:23:34] Dillon Sage: won the most horrific basketball game I’ve ever seen.

[01:23:39] Did you see him? Did you see what happened? No, but I intentionally fouled the Aaron Fox, uh, who was the game winner. If they, if DNH Meda, he brick both and it went to overtime.

[01:23:52] Dustin Hawes: There was no, I’m still looking at the roster. And I was like this. They have MBA talent, like Portland can’t overlook them. [01:24:00] Bridges has had a most improved player type of season.

[01:24:03] You got Gordon Hayward who was a previous all-star, uh, Kelly Oubre, who I discussed earlier, basically had a, a game to remember against Portland early on. So. Yeah. Cody also have a promising rookie or rookie, uh, James book night. So yeah, he has an NBA team like Portland. Can’t just expect to, to show up and defeat them.

[01:24:25] You know, I would expect them to, but

[01:24:28] Dillon Sage: fastest based in the leak too. So are we going to be able to match their speed, fastest pace, worst defensive team. So this might be a get right game from

[01:24:37] Dustin Hawes: name. Oh yeah. Who’s who’s going to guard Dame if you know, they’re depleted and not trotting out anyone really?

[01:24:44] Dillon Sage: I mean, dude, did you look at who the bigs were in that Kings game?

[01:24:49] Dustin Hawes: Burton, Kerry and JT. Thor. Fuck

[01:24:52] Dillon Sage: Vernon carrier. Good when Nick Richard’s got COVID. I was like, oh, baby. And carry. And all my [01:25:00] rosters dude have like eight points, three rounds in a turnover, uh, played like 15 minutes. I think it was JT, Thor, whoever that is, that played a majority of the minutes and that, uh, that Kings game, that was just an app.

[01:25:15] Like the worst thing I’ve ever seen. But yeah, the, the Hornets play at a really fast clip, really bad defenders. I think Dame, if Dame is going to play, he’s going to have a pretty nice game again. Like this is the easiest matchup for a guard to go off, especially without lamella and Terry, if they are indeed out, I mean, you’re going to have to look at the injury report heavy on the day that we play the Hornets.

[01:25:40] It’s there’s just no way to know who’s playing, but Cody, Martin shout to him, he is fucking he’s produced. He’s produced a lot. So to go from, you know, someone that nobody wanted to a guy that. Putting up some really nice numbers. Good for him.[01:26:00]

[01:26:03] And that is all the teams, right? Yeah.

[01:26:05] Dustin Hawes: That, that wraps up this episode. Sage, you want to let our fans know where they can find

[01:26:09] Dillon Sage: us. We are available on iTunes, Stitcher, Himalaya podcast, dash radio, nothing but net radio and, um, be good to each other. Um, happy holidays to everybody. And we’re out here.

[01:26:23] Dustin Hawes: Got that in right before my computer’s about to die.

[01:26:27] Dillon Sage: Wherever you may be. This is bill and shine.

[01:26:30] Dustin Hawes: Good night.

[01:26:31] Dillon Sage: Hey everybody.

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