Stories of Paul Allen: The game that meant so much to him

Stories of Paul Allen: The game that meant so much to him

It was a day of sharing stories and remembering Trail Blazers' owner, the late Paul Allen.   

This week’s podcast is a very special one. Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan held a press conference to share stories about Allen.

With the Blazers owner passing away this week, Olshey and McGowan discussed how Allen was a different type of owner who loved this team and this city.

Passionate about everything

Allen always wanted to talk hoops, whether it was about the Trail Blazers or any other NBA team that he may be watching at the time, but as McGowan touched on, Allen was always passionate about art, whether that was music or any other creative endeavor he was involved in over the years.

Allen came to McGowan years ago and said there needs to be a place where young Blazer fans can go to be creative at the Moda Center and thus, the “Kid Zone” in the 300 level was developed. 

A super fan

Sitting baseline with Allen at the Moda Center for Blazer games was "unique" situation for Olshey. “He was rooting for all of them to accomplish something,” Olshey said. It was a time for Olshey and Allen to catch up with each other, but it was a time for Allen to also be a super fan.

Day-to-day operations doesn’t change

McGowan let everyone know that Allen has entrusted him and Olshey to continue operating as they had been and try to get back to “business as usual” since opening night is just a couple of days away.

This season can be attribute to Mr. Allen

Olshey talked about how everyone in the practice facility was here because of Paul Allen- whether he hired them, drafted them, signed them or traded for them and the players are ready to go out and have a successful season to honor their late owner.

Hear from Olshey and McGowan right here on this special Scoop Podcast with the link below.

 

Neil Olshey frames Blazers' delicate task: Improving offense without hurting defense

Neil Olshey frames Blazers' delicate task: Improving offense without hurting defense

When the Trail Blazers take the floor on opening night in Moda Center Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s going to be a changed team.

And no, I’m not talking about just the change of a few players on the roster.  But that’s a part of it. Certainly the new players are a piece of a bigger plan.

The Trail Blazers are attempting to make a delicate change in a very basic part of the game – the balance between their offense and defense. And at this point it’s very difficult to predict how that change is going to work out.

The team has changed its offensive focus, vowing to shoot more three-point shots and to make more of them – and has backed that up by adding more three-point shooters to the roster.

Of course there’s an inevitability attached to that kind of move --- unless you’re adding high-priced, big-time players, when you add more offense, it very often costs you at the defensive end. And if you add more defense, well… you know the deal. It's a push-pull situation frequently. You add one thing and subtract another.

“Right now, I don’t think we’re as dialed in defensively as we were last season,” said Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations. “We’re trying to integrate new pieces. We’re trying to increase our three-point rate.

“We brought in more offensive-minded players and we’re transitioning from more defensive minded bigs, like Ed (Davis), to more offensive minded bigs, like Meyers (Leonard).”

Davis’ spot in the rotation will be likely be filled by Zach Collins, who, like Davis, can play both power forward and center.

“Zach’s impact is still 80 percent defense and 20 percent offense,” Olshey said. “The fourth big before was Zach, which was a real good partnership with Ed and that was a real good defensive unit. But now I think it’s going to be a totally different look if Meyers plays 5 with that group. His impact will be opening up the floor, range shooting, spacing.”

Especially when used in concert with newly acquired Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas.

“Seth and Nik give us a totally different element with Meyers, the way he shot the ball in preseason,” Olshey said. “We brought in guys who are going to make more of an impact at the offensive end.

“The new look guys make more of an impact with shooting and spacing, which to be honest, is what we needed. We finished eighth in defense (last season) but were down in the middle of the pack offensively at 13th.

“Our challenge was to add personnel who would give us a better chance at the offensive end, but we’re going to have to hold guys accountable at the defensive end.

“We want to be in the top 10 in both.”

The belief is that with the core players together for another season, the defense will be stable and the new players will provide the needed offensive boost.

“Defense, at times, is individual ability but a lot of times it is scheme and communication,” Olshey said. “The hope is that the consistency of bringing guys back for a third year will help us defensively.

“Offensively, we weren’t going to get better by osmosis. We had to get some more offensive players.”

And with mid-level exceptions or minimum salaries, that wasn’t easy. But the biggest immediate problem for the Blazers will be the possibility of not having Maurice Harkless available for early season games.

The analytics are very clear about the value of Harkless, who has missed the preseason schedule with knee and ankle soreness.

With Harklessas a starter last season, Portland went 24-12. The starters' net rating playing alongside him was plus 7.0. Harkless’ net rating after being put back in the starting lineup on Feb. 5 was plus 9.3. And after the all-star break he shot 55 percent from three-point range and 60 percent overall.

“Obviously the fly in the ointment is Moe,” Olshey said. “We are kind of preparing to play regular-season games without our starting small forward, who when we look at the impact he had when he was a starter as opposed to where we were when he wasn’t – that’s a big difference.

“But we’re pleased about the way Jake Layman has kind of seamlessly stepped into that role. He has shot the ball well. And we will have more support from the bench. Seth Curry finished out the preseason with the highest net rating of anybody on the roster.”

The balancing act starts Thursday night.

How the Blazers use Floppy sets to free up 3-point shooters and start the pick-and-roll

How the Blazers use Floppy sets to free up 3-point shooters and start the pick-and-roll

The Portland Trail Blazers like to run a lot of screens above the free-throw line as a means to get their shooters free. We’ve talked about those screens in prior videos, including in the one we did about Flare screens. But Terry Stotts also runs some traditional sets that are staples of a classic NBA offense. 

Floppy action, sometimes referred to just as “Floppy” is one of those sets, and it’s fairly easy to identify. In fact, if you’ve played organized basketball past late middle school it’s likely you’ve learned Floppy on the court even if you didn’t know what it was called.

The basic tenet of Floppy is to get shooters open jumpers and to start pick-and-rolls on the edges of the floor. The easiest way to describe Floppy is as a low screen (or screens) set by big men along the baseline for wing players to curl to the edges of the floor.

The action is initiated by the posts setting screens while standing at the blocks, although Portland runs Floppy sets that include screens up to 10 feet or so.

Stotts’ Floppy sets typically have three goals:

• Get a quick jumper off the screen

• Create a defacto pick-and-roll away from the ball

• Pass to the edge to initiate a pick-and-roll

These three play actions are explained in the full video above. Take a look, then see if you can spot different variations of Floppy that the Trail Blazers run come gametime.

[Music By The Passion HiFi www.thepassionhifi.com]

NBC Sports launches customized, team-focused ‘My Teams' app

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NBCS NW

NBC Sports launches customized, team-focused ‘My Teams' app

NBC Sports Regional Networks today launched MyTeams by NBC Sports, a first-of-its-kind, team-focused mobile app that provides fans customized, all-in-one access to complete coverage of their favorite teams — highlighted by live-game streaming of their local teams.  MyTeams aggregates all multi-media content focused on the 25 NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB teams covered by NBC Sports Regional Networks. Starting now, fans anywhere in the U.S. can download MyTeams for free on iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

MyTeams’ innovative design features individual feeds for each team. Fans select their favorite team or teams, with no limit, in order of preference, to create a customized content offering that matches their passions, priorities and interests. MyTeams’ robust complement of live and on-demand video, podcasts and written content gives fans a single source to easily find, access and consume all of the coverage that matters most to them – including live games in the market where they subscribe, news, entertainment, analysis, commentary and more. The app’s user-friendly interface and creative presentation allow fans to navigate easily between all of their favorite teams.

MyTeams is highlighted by live coverage of NBA, NHL and MLB games produced by NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Washington. Live streams of the networks’ pregame and postgame shows, including NFL programs, will also be available on MyTeams. Live-game coverage will automatically play at the top of the respective team pages when available to fans. Authenticated subscribers of the local NBC Sports Regional Network providing the coverage in their region will be able to watch complete live games and game day shows, as well as the network’s linear television channel, from anywhere in the U.S. at no additional cost.

MyTeams pages are available for six NFL teams, seven NBA teams, five NHL teams and seven MLB teams: The NFL’s Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins; NBA’s Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards; NHL’s Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals; MLB’s Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals.

NBC Sports Regional Networks is NBC Sports Group’s portfolio of nine regional networks that delivers more than 2,200 live sporting events and original content to more than 35 million homes. Aligned within Eastern and Western Divisions, the NBC Sports Regional Networks are: NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Philadelphia +, NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and SNY; and NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Northwest. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios, headshots and logos, please visit www.NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com

The gold standard of owners, Paul Allen loved hoops and his Blazers

The gold standard of owners, Paul Allen loved hoops and his Blazers

Nobody knew it at the time, but 30 years ago, the then-owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, Beverly Hills real estate developer Larry Weinberg, was quietly searching for someone to buy the team.

He knew he had the right man when he met Paul Allen, then a relatively unknown former Microsoft founder.

“He was the ideal buyer,” Weinberg said Monday. “A humble guy. And at that time he was driving around in an old car with a basketball in the backseat.”

Weinberg sold the team to Allen, who lost his fight Monday with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But back then, when Allen bought the Trail Blazers, it shocked the city. Who was this man from Seattle, buying an NBA team at the age of 35?

The answer to that question doesn’t come easy, even now. Allen was not a very public person. He didn’t seek the spotlight and at times seemed to dodge it. But there are things we do know:

  • He first defeated Hodgkin’s disease in his 30s and that fight led to his leaving Microsoft and looking to enjoy his life more – which fueled the passion to own a basketball team.
  • There is no question he loved basketball -- and the Trail Blazers. In the early days, when he was perhaps closer to the team than he was in recent years, he was known for inviting Kiki Vandeweghe and Clyde Drexler to his home in Seattle for games of H-O-R-S-E.  The team even practiced at the full-size gym he had in his home. He loved watching video of possible draft choices and often attended practices, summer-league games and road games in addition to sitting in his traditional baseline seat under the basket at the south end of the Moda Center court.
  • He was a giver. He donated billions to worthy causes or to attempt to solve the world’s problems. He contributed to research in regard to brain mapping, climate change, ocean health and pandemic preparedness. He pledged $30 million to help provide a solution to homelessness in Seattle and his overall philanthropic contributions have been estimated at more than $2 billion.
  • He very likely saved the Trail Blazers for the city of Portland and the Seahawks for Seattle. He spearheaded the drive to build Century Link Field and wrote a check to pay for the Rose Quarter and its arena.
  • He was an accomplished guitar player and when I mentioned to him one day that I enjoyed a cut off an album by his group, “Paul Allen and the Underthinkers” that included the great Joe Walsh, his face lit up. He told me how much he enjoyed doing the music and that he’d actually written the song.
  • Lest we forget, he was a key figure at Microsoft, helping to develop the PC and its software.

For my money, he was the gold standard of owners – enough of a fan to care about winning (and spending untold millions to do so) yet not being the interfering kind of owner who wants to grab headlines and make decisions his basketball people are being paid to make.

I believe he’s going to be a tough act to follow. I’ve been told for years that his sister, Jody, wants no part of running a basketball team so I would expect the team to be for sale soon.

But they will never find another Paul Allen.

 

Vulcan Inc. and Jody Allen release statement on Paul Allen's passing

Vulcan Inc. and Jody Allen release statement on Paul Allen's passing

Link to original press release

The following statements were released today by Vulcan Inc. on behalf of the Allen Family, Vulcan Inc. and the Paul G. Allen network.

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and noted technologist, philanthropist, community builder, conservationist, musician and supporter of the arts. Mr. Allen died on Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018, from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle. Mr. Allen was 65 years old.

STATEMENT FROM PAUL G. ALLEN’S FAMILY

This is a time of profound loss for Mr. Allen’s family. On their behalf, Paul’s sister, Ms. Jody Allen, has released the following statement. 

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.  

Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.” 

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF VULCAN INC. AND THE PAUL G. ALLEN NETWORK

Speaking on behalf of Vulcan Inc., the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers, Stratolaunch Systems, the Allen Institute and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf released this statement:

“All of us who had the honor of working with Paul feel inexpressible loss today. He possessed a remarkable intellect and a passion to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems, with the conviction that creative thinking and new approaches could make profound and lasting impact.

Millions of people were touched by his generosity, his persistence in pursuit of a better world, and his drive to accomplish as much as he could with the time and resources at his disposal.

Paul’s life was diverse and lived with gusto. It reflected his myriad interests in technology, music and the arts, biosciences and artificial intelligence, conservation and in the power of shared experience – in a stadium or a neighborhood – to transform individual lives and whole communities. 

Paul loved Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The impact of Paul’s efforts can be seen here at every turn. But the true impact of his vision and generosity is evident around the globe. 

Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them. This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family. We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan, the teams, the research institutes or museums.

Today we mourn our boss, mentor and friend whose 65 years were too short – and acknowledge the honor it has been to work alongside someone whose life transformed the world.”

Further information about any funeral or memorial services will be release as it becomes available.

Social Media reacts, thanks Paul Allen upon his passing

Social Media reacts, thanks Paul Allen upon his passing

Trail Blazers and Seahawks owner, Paul Allen, has passed away at the age of 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Current players, former players, Blazer fans, and more have taken to social media to thank Mr. Allen.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Allen passes away at age 65

Paul Allen passes away at age 65

Update:
Paul Allen's official twitter account has confirmed the news

Vulcan, Inc. released the following statement from Jody Allen:

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.  

Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.” 

Multiple sources have reported that Trail Blazers and Seahawks owner, Paul Allen, has passed away at the age of 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Allen recently tweeted that his health issues had returned.