Wade Baldwin feels good about his chances

Wade Baldwin feels good about his chances

Updated Thursday, July 19th - With the deadline now passed, Baldwin's contract is now fully guaranteed. The original story appears below.

LAS VEGAS - Wade Baldwin, who earned 2nd Team All-Summer League honors, said his goal was to go ‘full throttle’ and show during Summer League that he deserves to be on this Trail Blazers roster.

The deadline for the Blazers to make a decision on Baldwin’s guaranteed contract is July 18th at 11:59pm, when the clock strikes midnight, his contract becomes guaranteed.

While sporting his Championship shirt proudly, Baldwin told the media he feels good about his chances.

“I think I put myself in the best position possible in terms of accomplishments that I’ve made. In terms of being a winner, coming in here undefeated,” Baldwin said.

One person who will have some say in that is head coach Terry Stotts.
Over the last few years, the final day of Las Vegas Summer League for the Trail Blazers meant Stotts would offer up his thoughts and talk with the media members that were still around, and yes even after the team wins a Summer League Championship.

“I was really pleased with how we played, not how well we played. Obviously, it was a good week, but more importantly, we’re going to have six guys from this team that are going to be on our team and it was how they came together, how they played, they shared the ball. It was different guys, different nights, it was very encouraging,” Stotts said.

Yes, Stotts did say six players from this roster.
So, was that just a subconscious slip or is Wade Baldwin a member of this team next season? Baldwin averaged 13.4 points and 7.4 assists (3rd best in Summer League) in 25.4 minutes per game.   “It’s a team decision and I’ve talked with Neil and obviously the decision has to be made soon. It’s not my position to say what’s going to happen,” Stotts said.

[WATCH: The Scoop Postgame Show]
 

Blazer fans have been wondering who could take backup point guard minutes with Shabazz Napier now heading to Brooklyn.

After Baldwin led this Summer League team on both offense and defense, it would make sense for him to stick with Portland.
“The resume is out there. It’s up for whatever team it is or Portland to make a decision on what they want to do with me. I felt like I left it all out there and did the best I could,” Baldwin said with a smile.

One young guy who will be back in a Blazers uniform next season is Zach Collins, who finished Summer League averaging 8.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but it’s not his play that he attributes a lot of the team’s success to this year.

“We have a really good leader in Wade Baldwin at the point guard position and that’s huge coming into Summer League, being able to control the game. Summer League sometimes is really chaotic, he did a really good job of being our floor general,” Collins said.  

For a Blazers team who has lacked defensive intensity at the guard position, Baldwin would be a great asset to have coming off the bench. 

Let the countdown begin for Blazer fans waiting to see if the guy who gave James Harden fits in the regular season last year and now that same guy who led this summer league team to a championship will be back with the Blazers.

We have just hours left of Baldwin Watch 2018.

 

How one man's custom Damian Lillard jersey meant more than just basketball

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Chris Burkhardt

How one man's custom Damian Lillard jersey meant more than just basketball

The Blazers opened up preseason play last week by traveling back in time and playing a game inside the "Glass Palace," aka Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

Among the sea of black and red jerseys, disco outfits, and stylish suits straight from the 1970s, one custom jersey stood out like a sore thumb: A custom Damian Lillard jersey. 

Obviously, it wasn't the name on the jersey that had fans doing a double-take. Rather, it was the jersey the name was on. No, it wasn't a Blazers jersey. No, it wasn't a Weber State jersey. It wasn't even an Oakland High School jersey... Lillard's name was seen on the back of a Golden State Warriors jersey.

But this wasn't just some Hamptons Five fan pulling the ultimate troll. It was a fan that wanted to show his pride for everything Lillard means to the East Bay. 

The man behind the jersey is Segun De Silva. I had a chance to catch up with him before the game simply to ask why he wore the jersey. His answer came from the heart. 

De Silva proceeded to tell a story about how he loved Damian Lillard, but refused to wear a Trail Blazers jersey. He has his reasons, but he still wanted to find a way to show his love for Lillard. 

De Silva, an Oakland native, went to his roots. He picked a Golden State jersey not because he bleeds blue and gold, but because it represented his home town. How? Well, he didn't go with a jersey that said Warriors across the chest. He instead picked the alternate "The Town" jersey. A jersey made to represent more than the Warriors on the court, but the entire city of Oakland. 

Not only did it speak to Oakland, but it matched Lillard in a special way.

For those who don't know, "The Town" jersey features the Jack London Oak on the chest. The oak tree is an everlasting symbol of the city and also happens to be tattooed across Lillard's chest 

De Silva got Lillard's name on a Warriors jersey, but a jersey that had Oakland's nickname and Lillard's tattoo on it. For De Silva, it had nothing to do with basketball. 

Lillard is a hero in Oakland. As De Silva told me, "If he can leave Oakland and embrace a city like Portland, then I can too." Lillard, and fellow Oakland legends like Marshawn Lynch, are beacons of hope that show so many people what can happen when you dream big and put your mind to it. 

I asked Lillard what he thought about a fan wearing a custom Lillard/Warriors jersey to a Blazers game. He laughed at first. Then I told him De Silva's explanation and this is what he had to say:

That means a lot because I always tell people growing up in Oakland how much pride we had in successful people from our city. I'd go to school and everybody would swear up and down that Gary Payton was they uncle, or they was related to Jason Kidd, they was related to Antonio Davis.

They just wanted some type of attachment because that's the kind of pride that people have from Oakland. That shows exactly that. Just that sense of pride and him being proud of not only my success as a basketball player, but who I am as a man. He seems like he has a lot of respect for that.

It sounds like just an Oakland thing.

I tell this story simply to say, don't be so quick to judge. What looked like a troll, was a man with a story. A story we can all appreciate and understand. And if you don't get it, there is a reason why... It's an Oakland thing. 

Elhassan: People sleep on the Blazers for real and every year they prove us wrong

Elhassan: People sleep on the Blazers for real and every year they prove us wrong

It's only the preseason but the question has to be asked: Are people around the country sleeping on the Trail Blazers?

AGAIN? 

This week on The Jump, Portland was a big topic of conversation.  

Amin Elhassan, one of the many rotating co-hosts of The Jump, picked the Trail Blazers as his putting down ‘the 100 bucks’ sleeper team to win the Championship this year.   

“I think a lot of people are overlooking the Blazers, and they do it every year, right?”

“I heard the other day, Karl Anthony Towns said people are sleeping on us, the Timberwolves – ‘what have you done!? What have you done that we shouldn’t be sleeping on you?’ But [the Blazers] people sleep on them for real and every year they prove us wrong, and every year we find reasons to knock them down and say they aren’t going to be good enough,” Elhassan said emphatically.

Elhassan joined ESPN in 2012 as an NBA analyst. Before his time as TV analyst, he worked in the league for over a decade. He most recently was the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations with the Phoenix Suns.

The Trail Blazers odds to win it all this season are 30-1, that’s according to Las Vegas.

Elhassan is placing his bet on the Blazers. Are you?

Instant Analysis from the Trail Blazers 'dress rehearsal' in Utah

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USATI

Instant Analysis from the Trail Blazers 'dress rehearsal' in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY - The Trail Blazers officially played their second to last preseason game, but for the vets, it was likely the last 'real' basketball before the regular season gets here. 

Here are three takeaways from Dwight Jaynes who was on the scene in Utah:

1. Using Hassan Whiteside and Zach Collins together in the starting lineup is going to create matchup problems for other teams. That's a lot of size to contend with at both ends of the floor.

2. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum appeared to be ready to go for the regular season. And McCollum has extended his three-point range out a few feet.

3. The Blazers are going to have to continue to work on their perimeter defense. They are allowing too many open threes for their own good in a league where shooting more threes is going to be a big deal.

Note: Trail Blazer's center Hassan Whiteside left the game in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. He did not return. 

Check back here throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, reactions and videos from the locker room!

Hassan Whiteside tweaks left ankle in preseason game at Utah

Hassan Whiteside tweaks left ankle in preseason game at Utah

On Monday, Hassan Whiteside told Dwight Jaynes the following in terms of his injured left ankle:

“Pain free as of about two days ago,” Whiteside said. “We had a tough practice today. We scrimmaged. A lot of live work. Like a real game. I love it.”

That all might have changed tonight in Utah though. Around the 8:45 mark of the third quarter, Whiteside appeared to roll his left ankle while securing a rebound. 

Blazers announced Whiteside (left ankle sprain) will not return tonight. This post will be updated when more information becomes available. 

Check back later for more updates from the team and from Dwight Jaynes who is on the scene in Utah. 

Trail Blazers in action vs. Jazz, follow us on social for live updates

Trail Blazers in action vs. Jazz, follow us on social for live updates

The Trail Blazers are calling it 'a dress rehearsal' in Utah on Wednesday night.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said this week, Wednesday’s preseason game will be more like a dress rehearsal with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum playing their typical minutes.

Stotts also had this to say about the preseason overall, “I look at it as, ‘How are we playing? Are there more positives than negatives?’ Ultimately, I don’t think preseason wins and losses are an indication of your season.”

As Portland (1-2) gets set to face Utah (1-3) in the Blazers’ first road exhibition game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT, we will have you covered!

Our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes is in Salt Lake City, and since the game is not on TV, you'll want to make sure you follow along on social.

How to Listen to the Game:

Catch all the action on Rip City Radio 620 with Travis Demers and Michael Holton.

Quote of The Week

Damian Lillard on what he expects to get out of Wednesday’s game vs. Utah:

“Closer to a real game. We’re going to play closer to our normal minutes. Obviously, having to face that altitude, seeing a division opponent and they’ve added a lot of guys, first road trip. It’s going to be a good thing for us.”

Quick Links

Here's how the Trail Blazers plan to approach exhibition game vs. Jazz

In preseason action, the Blazers are showing us who they're going to be this year

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little still favoring his left ankle

VIDEO: Whiteside still finding his footing with the Blazers

VIDEO: Impact or not, what do the Blazers see in Mario Hezonja?

VIDEO: At 39, can Gasol contribute to the Blazers front court?

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: A final tune up for the rotation players

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: A final tune up for the rotation players

Dwight Jaynes is on site in Utah as the Blazers prepare for what is likely their final meaningful preseason game. 

We caught up with Head Coach Terry Stotts during pregame and he talked about wanting to see the team simply play better.

He specifically called out the defensive end of the floor, especially coming off a "concerning" amount of three point attempts allowed last game vs. Phoenix. 

It is expected that the Blazers will use a very regular season like substitution pattern today. When asked about rotations for tonight, Stotts had this to say:

"I look for Dame and CJ to play 30 plus minutes."

Since the game is not on TV, you'll want to make sure you follow along on social and catch all the action on Rip City Radio 620 with Travis Demers and Michael Holton.

Quick Links

Here's how the Trail Blazers plan to approach exhibition game vs. Jazz

In preseason action, the Blazers are showing us who they're going to be this year

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little still favoring his left ankle

VIDEO: Whiteside still finding his footing with the Blazers

VIDEO: Impact or not, what do the Blazers see in Mario Hezonja?

VIDEO: At 39, can Gasol contribute to the Blazers front court?

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers edge Sixers in 2011 to keep the streak alive

Countdown to Tip-Off: Blazers edge Sixers in 2011 to keep the streak alive

We're counting down the days until the Portland Trail Blazers open up the 2019-2020 NBA season by looking back at each of the victories in the 18-game home-opener win streak. Here is a look at what happened back in 2011 when the Portland Trail Blazers faced the Philadelphia 76ers in the home-opener.

Can’t remember what the NBA was like in 2011? Let’s paint the picture:

- Derrick Rose was the reigning MVP

- The Dallas Mavericks were the defending champions (2010); the Miami Heat won in 2011 4-1 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

- Blake Griffin had just won Rookie of the Year

- Kyrie Irving was the No.1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft (selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers)

- The Blazers had the No.21 pick and drafted Nolan Smith (Duke). They also drafted Jon Diebler (Ohio State) at No.51.

- Kevin Durant was the league's leading scorer (back-to-back seasons)

- LaMarcus Aldridge made the All-NBA 3rd Team

As for the Blazers home opener...

The Blazers opened up their home schedule and the 2011 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace were dominant down low: the two combined for 46 points and 16 rebounds. Six Blazers scored in double figured and Marcus Camby pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. On the other side, the 76ers had seven players score in double figures. But Portland came away with the tight win, 107-103 at home over Philadelphia to extend their home win streak.

Also of note, Aldridge went on to finish the 2011 season averaging 21.7 points and eight rebounds per game.

Notable stats: 

Philadelphia -

Andre Iguodala – 22 points, 3 assists, 8 rebounds

Lou Williams (off the bench) – 25 points

Portland –

LaMarcus Aldridge – 25 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds 

Gerald Wallace – 21 points, 9 rebounds

Wesley Matthews  – 16 points, 6 rebounds

Raymond Felton – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists

The Blazers would finish the season 28-38, good for the eleventh-best record in the Western Conference and would miss the playoffs. 

In preseason action, the Blazers are showing us who they're going to be this year

In preseason action, the Blazers are showing us who they're going to be this year

After a few Portland Trail Blazers preseason games, their offense looks much the same. The bones of what Terry Stotts puts onto the court in his Flow system still underpin their success; High post screeners set picks for guards arcing around the 3-point line; Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum penetrate deep off the pick-and-roll; shooters float to the edges. It's all there, but so too have changes come now that several former high-volume players have been painted out of the picture.

Most notable has been the change at the wing position. Rodney Hood looks a bit more comfortable now that he's signed a new contract and he knows he's going to stay with the Blazers. In the preseason action we've seen already, Hood has done quite a bit of dribbling, an interesting addition given how many minutes we expect him to play with both Lillard and McCollum.

Before every season there's always talk about this being the year Portland's star guards start moving off-ball in the manner of the Golden State Warriors. But inevitably, as the season wears on and as games become more important, the ball ends up in the hands of either of the Blazers’ $100 million dollar men. The idea that Hood could change that dynamic is intriguing at this juncture, and a level of dynamism that perhaps we hadn't considered.

Having a third ball handler was all the Blazers could talk about when discussing Evan Turner a few years back. But Turner couldn't shoot, and it took several seasons just to find where he was most effective, in a bench role as that unit’s point guard. Meanwhile, a lot of analysis up to this point — including my own — has been about the direct shooting impact of Hood and Kent Bazemore. But if Portland can finally have a third ball handler on the floor, it will make it more difficult for opposing defenses to key in on Lillard and McCollum. That frees them up to, finally, act more as off-ball shooters. Even if it's not in set plays, Hood ability to run a pick-and-roll in unstructured half court sets naturally turns Portland's stars into off-ball gunners.

That's been a welcome combination with Bazemore's aggressiveness. As soon as the former Atlanta Hawks wing checked in with five minutes to go in the first game of the preseason, we saw what kind of impact his athleticism can have. Film analysis of Bazemore's game shows he's been one of the best steal men in the NBA, but what might be a great advantage to the Blazers this year is his propensity to dribble up the floor off turnovers and defensive rebounds alike.

Much in the same vein of how Draymond Green beat these Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals last year, Bazemore has the dexterity and size to grab boards himself and change the floor all at pace. This caused serious issues for the Denver Nuggets last week. Portland has played quick in practice this fall, and Bazemore could be an important factor in transition plays not led by McCollum or Lillard.

There's been a lot of positives to point to already, and the negatives haven't been that stark. The largest, glaring hole has been Hassan Whiteside, who's looked a bit lacking in energy to start the preseason. The team will chalk that up to the ankle injury he sustained in early October. Indeed, there were times when Whiteside’s looked like he wasn't willing to battle for position, and didn't hustle for possession on either side of the ball. But until we see a sustained version of Whiteside that looks like this, there's no sense rushing to predict a falling sky.

On the positive side, Whiteside does appear to have adapted to Portland's offense already. His passing hasn't been as crisp as you'd hope, but he knows how to set screens and is active in his second and third action as plays progress. Hitting the right windows in the passing game is all about timing, and Whiteside just hasn't had enough time working with his teammates or playing in Stotts’ offense to make a judgment on his efficacy just yet. If anything, his flubs have been expected, and the reason why the preseason exists is to iron out those wrinkles.

That same perspective can be applied to Portland on the defensive end of the floor, where there have already been some signs of hope. Both Zach Collins and Whiteside are so damn big that it’s made it difficult for teams to grab defensive rebounds even when they’ve positioned themselves well. This could not only lead to additional offensive chances for Portland, but slow opponents down in transition. The longer teams have to battle the two giants for rebounds, the less likely it is they get down on the floor and catch the rest of the Blazers off guard.

Preseason usually isn't one of my favorite times of the year. Fans gets all excited for basketball, but those of us working in media who have done this before are really waiting for Game 1 of 82 (Or perhaps the All-Star break). But this year in Portland is different, largely because much of this roster is different. The Blazers are a team of intrigue, and already in this short preseason have shown us a little bit of who they are going to be. The constituent parts are there, now we just need to see them hone themselves into a playoff contender. 

Here's how the Trail Blazers plan to approach exhibition game vs. Jazz

Here's how the Trail Blazers plan to approach exhibition game vs. Jazz

The Trail Blazers take on the Utah Jazz Wednesday night in Salt Lake City and it could be about as close to a regular-season game as you can get in the exhibition season.

Coach Terry Stotts plans to make it pretty close to a dress rehearsal for his team and it may be the final opportunity to do so. Portland finishes the preseason schedule Thursday night with a game in Denver, but because the Trail Blazers open the regular season against the Nuggets next week in Moda Center, Stotts isn’t expected to use his regulars for extended minutes, if at all.

Damian Lillard was asked what he expected to get out of the game against the Jazz.

“Closer to a real game,” he said. “We’re going to play closer to our normal minutes. Obviously, having to face that altitude, seeing a division opponent and they’ve added a lot of guys, first road trip. It’s going to be a good thing for us.”

Lillard, like so many other veteran players, is finding the preseason more difficult than he did when he was in his early years as an NBA player. It becomes much tougher to find the same intensity usually reserved for a regular-season game.

“I think you should,” he said. “But it’s hard to, when you know it’s not going to count. It gets harder every year. But I think this is as close to a regular-season game as you’re going to get to it.”

Coaches have the same sort of issues. They want to get their team ready for the regular season, yet they know they can’t risk injuries and they don’t want to give away insight into their team for regular-season scouting reports. But there are rotation and substitution questions to answer, too.

And in the case of Stotts, he won’t be too concerned with the team’s record in the non-counting games.

“I look at it as, ‘How are we playing? Are there more positives than negatives?’ Ultimately, I don’t think preseason wins and losses are an indication of your season,” Stotts said.

And then there’s the psychological aspects to a game like this.

Stotts was asked if he’d chase a win in this game if he found the score tied with a few minutes to go or just let it go.

“Over the years, there have been games where you don’t think it’s going to go that way,” he said. “But at some point, in the third or fourth quarter, both coaches say, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Both teams realize, this is how the games are going to go. I can’t say how the next two are going to go. But I’ve seen games where both teams, all of a sudden, decide, ‘Let’s go for a win.'”

But there’s the other side to that. There have also been games where one coach decides he’s going for it but then the other coach decides he doesn’t want to take a chance of losing a non-counting game and just goes to his bench and gives up on chasing the win. Better not to give a team some sort of psychological advantage by beating you in a game it knew you wanted to win.

“Yeah,” Stotts said, with a laugh. “Oh yeah. That happens. Honestly, that’s kind of a fun part of the preseason -- you can do those things without repercussions.”

Wednesday night we’ll likely know more about the Trail Blazers – and Utah Jazz – than we knew Tuesday. Or maybe we won't.