Tag:LaMarcus Aldridge
Posted on: January 14, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2011 4:30 pm
 

Rudy Gay's 'most interesting man' All-Star video

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay has released a spoof on the "Most Interesting Man In The World" commercials as part of his NBA All-Star campaign. Posted by Ben Golliver.

NBA players campaigning to make the All-Star game on the internet is about as corny as it gets (leave it to the fans, media and teams), so when they do go out of their way to try to drum up support it's always best executed with a tongue-in-cheek flourish or a self-deprecating self-awareness. 

Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay shows the world how that's done, with this successfully executed self-promotional All-Star campaign video that plays off of the famous Dos Equis "The Most Interesting Man in the World" television commercials. If you've been living under a rock for the last three years, the character in the commercials is basically Casanova crossed with Chuck Norris, in that he is alluring to women and able to do all sorts of impossible things simply because of his cool aura.

The plot is the same in Gay's spot, dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the NBA," as he sits at a swank restaurant table surrounded by attractive females, swirling wine in a glass as a narrator lists off his humorous accomplishments. "Rudy once missed a dunk just to feel what it was like," the narrator says. "When Rudy shoots a three, he actually scores four points. His charm demands it." And then, "He slept through a game and scored a triple double."

The spot concludes with Gay stating, "I don't usually vote for All-Stars, but when I do, I vote for Rudy Gay. Keep voting, my friends."

Here's the video.


Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk.

Honestly, Gay needs to campaign, as he's trying to make the game at the league's most stacked position: Western Conference forward. He's going up against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Here are the latest returns.

On the season, Gay is averaging 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, and the Grizzlies are 18-21.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:08 am
 

Heat Stroke: LeBron James to play center?

The Miami Heat have played LeBron James at center recently, and coach Erik Spoelstra says it could continue. Posted by Ben Golliver. heat-stroke

Here's an interesting detail that was lost in the Miami Heat's comeback victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, a win highlighted by a ridiculous offensive stretch from LeBron James and punctuated by James spanking himself after making a three-pointer in overtime: James played center on some defensive possessions down the stretch.

Much like the ringer on your local YMCA rec-league team, James is, at times, Miami's best ball-handler on offense and its strongest, most physical low-post presence on defense. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra took that fact to the extreme on Sunday night against the Trail Blazers, using James to cover Blazers center Marcus Camby. The Sun-Sentinel reports that the strategy paid off and that it might be used again.
"We've talked about it all season," Spoelstra said of the team's internal deliberations. "This certainly now is a good sign that we can start to do that. That might be a way we could use our versatility more."
James, for his part, seemed to approve.
While it is an approach that not only enabled the Heat to battle back from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit, it could have more significant long-term implications. Without having to utilize a lineup spot for middling middlemen Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Erick Dampier or Joel Anthony, it could open potential playing time for Mike Miller, who now has been held out of four of the last seven games. "It's not going to work every game, but I think it was the right situation," James said. "Coach made a great call and we made some good plays."
Going small worked well against the Blazers because Camby is not a late-game threat to score, nor is he a traditional low-post big man. While he does crash the offensive boards relentlessly, James didn't need to worry about matching up with Camby's length and height on the low-block because that's not a key facet of Portland's attack, especially late in the game, when the offense generally runs through power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Camby just chills on the weakside or at the high post.

Against the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers, among other quality teams with true big men, using James at the five would be dead on arrival. But against small ball teams or those with non-traditional bigs, the Heat have every reason to counter by going small as well, as their collective talent level in those situations is sure to surpass that of virtually every opponent.

One last benefit of James playing center: there are that many more opportunities for him to corral a defensive rebound and immediately push in transition, where the Heat have been deadly lately. No big man in the league can keep up with him in the open floor, and this is an excellent way for Miami to easily create numbers on the break.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki out against Portland

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzi has been ruled out for Tuesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Posted by Ben Golliver. dirk-nowitzki

Dallas Mavericks forward and MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzki will miss Tuesday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers, his fifth consecutive game, due a sprained right knee, the team announced on Tuesday

Nowitzki, arguably the league's most durable superstar over the last decade, suffered the knee sprain during a Dec. 27 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. 27. The next day, Nowitzki underwent an MRI that diagnosed the sprain but did not reveal any additional damage. The German forward had hoped to return this week, but was declared out Tuesday morning following the team's shootaround.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told the media on Tuesday that there was "no update" on Nowitzki's health, according to ESPNDallas.com.
"No update on Dirk," Carlisle said. "When Dirk's ready to play, we'll let everybody know when he's ready to play. In the meantime, he's making gradual process, but that's going to be it. We're not going to have a daily Dirk update, Dirk watch." 
Mavericks forward Caron Butler will also be out tonight, after suffering a significant knee injury on Saturday. Butler (23 points) and Nowitzki (21 points) combined for 44 points in an entertaining Dec. 15 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Nowitzki was key down the stretch, pouring in multiple fourth-quarter baskets to ensure the Mavericks' 103-98 victory. 

Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had a big night against the Mavericks, finishing with 35 points and 10 rebounds, and will look to go off again in Nowitzki's absence.

Dallas has been forced to juggle lineups in recent games, giving starts to reserve big man Brian Cardinal and reserve forward DeShawn Stevenson, and by leaning a bit more heavily on forward Shawn Marion and center Tyson Chandler.  

Meanwhile, in another good piece of injury news for Portland, reserve center Joel Przybilla, who has missed two weeks with a sprained ankle, will be available for tonight's game, according to the team's Twitter account.

Nowitzki is averaging 24.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game this season. 
Posted on: December 30, 2010 4:13 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:56 pm
 

Should the Blazers shut down Brandon Roy?

The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly considering shutting down Brandon Roy. Should they? Posted by Ben Golliverbrandon-roy

The 2010 version of Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy is a far cry from the 2008 and 2009 versions, and it's throwing Roy, his franchise and the Portland fanbase for a loop. Expectations have been re-calibrated, dreams have been deferred and apprehension has mounted. With word coming from CBSSports.com's Ken Berger on Wednesday that all options are on the table for Roy -- including potentially shutting down his 2010-2011 NBA season before the All-Star break -- what's the right course of action here? There are a number of factors weighing on, and complicating, this decision. Let's look at what's best for all parties. The Team Roy has been ineffective and inefficient on offense, and a total liability on defense this season. His game has always been of the ball-stopping variety: when he's playing, the offense slows down, the Blazers run more isolation plays and Roy takes a ton of shots. Given his decreased quickness off the dribble, Roy is settling for tougher shots and making less of them this season. That fact has dragged Portland's offensive efficiency down in a meaningful way and has forced Blazers coach Nate McMillan to re-think Roy's role when he is out there.  In Roy's absence over the last two weeks, power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has seen an increase in touches and has delivered well. Guard Wesley Matthews, Roy's replacement in the starting lineup, has also seen his numbers spike up, and reserve guard Rudy Fernandez has flourished, to a degree, now that he's been given the playing time he's long desired. The Blazers as a whole have played more energetically and less passively in Roy's absence, as the team's younger players tended to defer to Roy and stand around watching and waiting for him to make something happen. Still, the Blazers would be better off with Roy than without Roy, but the nature of his role as a starting two guard and primary scorer simply isn't sustainable, unless he has made significant progress in terms of his mobility during his weeks off. If Roy was available to play in short spurts and was comfortable playing off the ball, his shot-making and play-making abilities are of value. He could still be a positive this season, even in a limited capacity. Brandon Roy Despite concerns surrounding his health, Roy no doubt wants to play. He's a fierce competitor and has grown accustomed to being treated as the 3-time All-Star that he is. Shutting down the rest of this season, combined with a potential lockout, could mean years away from the game during what was theoretically supposed to be the beginning of his prime. That's no easy decision for a player to swallow. Sorting through the mental demons of playing in a limited state is going to be easier for Roy if he's able to play than if he simply steps away from the game. Shutting it down would really be Roy's last resort, the product of a medical diagnosis that he simply couldn't avoid. The Organization The Blazers have officially fallen short of their goal of competing for a title with Roy, Aldridge and center Greg Oden as their primary nucleus, and are reportedly deciding whether they should enter a rebuilding phase. The team's ceiling this season is the No. 8 seed and virtual certain elimination in the first round of the playoffs; their basement is the No. 10 or No. 11 seed and a trip to the draft lottery. Roy is essentially untradeable given his health and the fact that he's in the the first year of a 5-year $80+ million contract, so the Blazers are stuck with him for the time being. If Roy is able to contribute meaningfully, the Blazers would love to have him on the court for his superstar appeal and ability to sell tickets. He hasn't been able to do that this season, however, and his absence has allowed new general manager Rich Cho additional time and space to assess the rest of his roster's pieces.  Young players with untapped potential, such as Matthews and Nicolas Batum, can certainly use the extra playing time created by Roy's absence. If a rebuild is in the cards, the team could do a lot worse than making Aldridge, Matthews and Batum their temporary centerpieces, at least until a clearer picture of Oden and Roy's future effectiveness emerges. More minute and touches for the younger guys now means more confidence and reliable production down the road. The organization would like a productive Roy, but shouldn't let an unproductive Roy stand in the way of the development of younger, potential future core pieces. Conclusion Shutting down Roy isn't nearly as catastrophic an option as it might appear at first glance, given the team's record, the state of the organization and Roy's on-court ineffectiveness. The 2010-2011 Blazers are almost certainly going to be hovering around average, whether Roy plays down the stretch or not.  Given that fact, there's really no reason to rush a decision, unless medical opinion has swayed hard against Roy's ability to play through his ongoing knee pain. If no definitive conclusion has been reached about Roy's knees, there's nothing wrong with continuing to monitor and re-evaluate Roy on a week-to-week basis, assuming he is on board with that.  Treading carefully is of utmost importance here, given that a decision to shut down Roy will have major implications on and off the court for years to come.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:37 pm
 

The Game Changer: Dirk downs Portland

The Mavericks put away the Blazers, the Celtics escape the Knicks, Nate Robinson stumbles, the Suns are elated, the Denver television reporter that blew the Carmelo Anthony story 'fesses up, and plenty more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: DALLAS LOOKING LEGIT

On Wednesday, after the Celtics were done breaking the Knicks' heart, the Dallas Mavericks stepped onto the ESPN stage and staked their claim to the title, "legit title contender."  The Mavericks are among the league leaders in stability, we've been watching this game core group for at least 46 years now, and, in related news, they are near the top of the leaderboard in, "Well, that was bound to happen," moments for their opposition. Wednesday night was just another one to tack onto that track record. Championship-quality teams pull out wins on their off nights, and that's exactly what happened in Texas, as the Mavericks staved off a Portland rally in the fourth quarter. A struggling Dirk Nowitzki proved for the 12,000th time that he is essentially unguardable down the stretch, scoring eight of his 21 points on an array of post moves in the final 2:24, overcoming a season-best performance from Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds. The Mavs caught some breaks,  a crucial no-call on Jason Terry during an Andre Miller drive swung momentum late and some poor clock management and slow fouling from the Blazers made the endgame easier for Dallas.  Another key against the Blazers, and a major x-factor in assessing the Mavericks' legitimacy as a title contender, was the play of Caron Butler. He was very effective, especially going to the basket, and his solid all-around night -- 23 points, seven rebonds and four assists -- helped provide the winning margin. His production on the year is still below his career numbers, but the total output is less important than the fit. If Dallas has things clicking and Butler is able to provide an auxiliary offensive threat alongside Nowitzki, this team will be an extremely tough out come playoff time.  The Mavericks are 20-5 on the season, and NBA.com notes that is the second best 25-game stretch in franchise history. The Western Conference -- with Dallas, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers all off to solid starts -- is shaping up to be a familiar three horse race.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Paul Pierce: 32 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a game-winner in 41 minutes in a Boston Celtics road win over the New York Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire: 39 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks in 42 minutes in a New York Knicks home loss to the Boston Celtics. Carlos Boozer: 34 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block in 26 minutes in a Chicago Bulls road win over the Toronto Raptors. Blake Griffin: 20 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block in 39 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Steve Nash: 11 points, 19 assists, two rebounds in 31 minutes in a Phoenix Suns home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

DON'T MISS:

GET INTO IT:

The Phoenix Suns survived a crazy game with the Minnesota Timberwolves in Arizona on Wednesday night, cashing in 15 three-pointers on their way to a 128-122 victory. Check out this great shot of guard Jared Dudley, who nailed three treys himself, making it rain cheers. jared-dudley

OWNING UP:

The Denver television station that reported on Tuesday night Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony had been traded to the New Jersey Nets ridiculously "stood by its story" Wednesday, prompting CBSSports.com's Ken Berger to set them straight.  On Wednesday night, the station's sports reporter Lionel Bienvenu admitted on Twitter that the station hadn't gotten it right. "We jumped the gun with a tweet that wasn't worded correctly. we never reported the trade was done. just the tweet," Bienvenu tweeted.  As any media professional should know, a good chunk of NBA breaking news is, in fact, reported on Twitter. That imaginary barrier was crossed years ago. To attempt to distinguish between a report on television and a report on Twitter is ridiculous. At this point, we should expect nothing less.  

WHIMSY:

Via Twitter superstar Jose3030 and SB Nation, comes this hypnotizing graphic of Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson celebrating Paul Pierce's game-winner. Robinson leaps in the air not once but twice, and then comes crashing back to Earth in painful fashion. nate-rob

FOR THE WIN:

In case you missed it, there was an epic finish in New York between the Knicks and Celtics. Paul Pierce didn't hit the only game-winner Wednesday night, as San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili took a break from seeing UFOs to down the Milwaukee Bucks.  But did he travel? Watch the video from letreeman on YouTube and decide for yourself. Rob Mahoney investigates the "Was it a travel?" question here.

FINAL THOUGHT:

The Miami Heat won again, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-95 on Wednesday, to extend their winning streak to 10 consecutive games. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 65 points, 23 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block. Good lord.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 5:37 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:44 pm
 

What's next for Brandon Roy?

Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy is playing on two post-surgical knees. What's next for his game? Posted by Ben Golliver
brandon-roy-knee We've been following the progress of Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy with interest this past week, as he first admitted that he was being forced to adjust his offensive game due to slippage in his athleticism and then work came down that he was dealing with knee issues again, getting his left knee drained multiple times this season. Roy has yet to miss a game this season, but he has called for reduced playing time to ease the stress and reduce the sweeling he's experiencing on his left knee. The Oregonian reports that there's no other solid option and that the problems are here to stay for Roy, who is just 26 years old. 
There's no meniscus left to operate on in Roy's left knee. 
"Nah. None. Not in my right, either," Roy said Friday. 
The reason Roy's knee has been swelling up regularly, to the point where it has already been drained twice by Blazers' doctor Don Roberts this season, is because there is no cartilage to absorb the pounding associated with running and jumping. 
"The problem is bone-on-bone there," Roy said. "Dr. Roberts calls it 'arthritic knee.' It's just something I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my career." 
Concerns have existed about Roy's knees dating back to college and Roy has had multiple operations on his knees during his NBA career already, so this comes as no surprise. Indeed, Portland fans are breathing a sigh of relief because the other major option on the table, besides the current plan of limiting his minutes and providing extra treatment, was the dreaded microfracture surgery.  That Roy has been given the green light to continue to play this season without needing microfracture surgery essentially saves Portland's season. Without Roy, the deep and talented Blazers are likely still a playoff team, but they would be lacking a much-needed No. 1 scorer in the postseason and the loss of their star player and face of the franchise would have been a huge kick in the gut to the organization and its fanbase, which has already dealt with years of injuries from center Greg Oden. What will the Blazers and Roy look like now that the decision has been made for him to continue to play? It's still too early to say definitively, but there have some clues. Keep in mind Roy is in the first year of a 5-year, $80+ million contract extension, so both he and the Blazers have a vested interest in the long haul rather than the short term. First, Roy is no longer playing long stretches in the first half of games, instead being subbed out at the six minute mark of the first quarter so that coach Nate McMillan can get into his backcourt depth earlier in the game, saving Roy for the fourth quarter, where he has made his reputation as a big shot maker.  Second, Roy is seeing less touches in isolation and is looking for his jump shot rather than to attack the basket more than he has in the past. When he has gone to the rim, he appears to be looking to avoid the big hit. As such, his overall field goal percentage is down from 47.3% to 42.0% and his free throw attempts have dropped from 6.8 last year to 5.7 this year. These drops may not seem huge, but they are magnified given the slow pace that Portland plays and the team's emphasis on offensive efficiency.  Third, Roy's game this year hasn't been as multi-dimensional in the past. His rebounding and assist numbers are down and that affects the quality of looks both he and his teammates receive. Roy often racked up assists when teams would hard-double him. That's not happening any more, leaving his fellow perimeter players with less wide open jump shot attempts.  So when Roy says he has to adjust his game, these are the issues he is dealing with. As one of the league's most intelligent players, Roy is already looking ahead to changes he can make, which include receiving the ball in the post to set up a variety of turnaround jump shots from closer in, using more up-fakes in isolation to get his man in the air to earn trips to the foul line without drawing hard contact, and participating more in some of Portland's newer offensive sets, which rely less on Roy driving hard in isolation and more on inside-out passing and perimeter movement to find open shots.  Even with two bad knees, Roy would remain one of the league's premier jump shooters and trick shot artists given his exceptional shooting form and release. That will become the bread-and-butter of his offensive game, both in the short-term and in years to come. While that's disappointing and frustrating for Portland fans, it's not necessarily a death sentence for Portland's chances to win an NBA title. It does, however, put more pressure on Portland's big men, particularly Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge, to develop into complementary and consistent offensive weapons, particularly on the low block. Aldridge has been a reliable force early this season, but Oden remains a total unknown, with no injury timetable set more than 11 months after his latest knee surgery. At the end of last season, Roy told me that the Blazers needed to "cross [our] fingers" regarding Oden's return to the court. With Roy's latest news, Portland fans are slowly running out of fingers to cross. That endless superstitious hoping and waiting won't be alleviated until both Roy and Oden are back on the court, together. 
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:22 pm
 

Al Horford, Hawks agree to 5-year extension

The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly agreed to terms with Al Horford on a 5-year contract extension. Posted by Ben Golliveral-horford
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter that the Atlanta "Hawks and Al Horford agree to terms on 5 year $60 million contract extension. Incentives still to be negotiated." Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports confirms the contract details on Twitter. Horford, 24 years of age and currently in his fourth year with the Hawks after attending the University of Florida, has established himself as a solid, talented young big man in the NBA. Taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft, behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, Horford has averaged right at nine rebounds per game during all three of his NBA seasons. He's also increased his scoring average from 10 points to 11.5 points to 14.2 points during those three years. The reported contract is similar in size to one signed earlier this fall by Horford's former teammate at Florida, Joakim Noah, who agreed with the Chicago Bulls on a 5-year, $60 million deal. Two comparable deals from last year: No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, LaMarcus Aldridge ($5 years, $65 million) and No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Andrea Bargnani ($5 years, $50 million).   Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Noah's deal may have influenced Atlanta's decision to extend Horford.
Horford joins only Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah among high-profile 2007 draft picks who will be getting extensions. Horford's deal marks a philosophical shift for Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has almost without exception declined to do such extensions in the past. Given uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement, few teams are extending their 2007 picks before the deadline. Sources say the Hawks' hand was forced by the Bulls' decision to give Noah a five-year, $60 million extension. 
Given that Horford has yet to enter his prime, has averaged nearly a double-double for three straight seasons and has missed only 17 games in three years, the deal represents great value for the Hawks. They certainly won't be panned by the critics for this one, like they were after re-signing Joe Jonson to a 6-year, $119 million extension this summer. Update: The Hawks have officially announced the deal in a press release to the media. Some quotes and notes from the release are excerpted below.
“From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success,” said Hawks GM Rick Sund.  “The winning tradition he brought to the franchise as a rookie out of Florida has extended to three consecutive playoff seasons in a Hawks uniform.  In addition, he was deservedly recognized as an All-Star last year, and we certainly look forward to his continued development as we move forward.” Eighth in the NBA in field goal percentage, Horford was also among the league’s leaders in rebounding (10th), offensive rebounding (tied for ninth) and blocks (26th).  He recorded a team-leading 39 double-doubles (11th in the NBA) and posted 12 20-point games and a career-high 31 on February 7 at the Los Angeles Clippers. Having reached the postseason in every one of his three seasons, he has averaged 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 27 games, with a 20/10 performance in his playoff debut (the first Hawk to do so) – 20 points and 10 boards against the Boston Celtics.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 10:51 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Former all star Maurice Lucas passes away at 58

Maurice Lucas, power forward for the 1977 NBA champion Portland Trail Blazers, passed away at age 58 on Sunday. Posted by Ben Golliver maurice-lucas Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports on Twitter that former Portland Trail Blazer power forward Maurice Lucas passed away on Sunday. Lucas, a four-time NBA and one-time ABA all star in a career that spanned 14 years and eight teams, had battled cancer for a number of years. Lucas will be remembered, particularly in Portland, as one of the league's great enforcers. In a small town that often feels picked on by the country's larger cities, Lucas reached heroic heights, as he never shied away from contact or conflict.  Lucas famously got into it with Philadelphia 76ers center Darryl Dawkins during Game 2 of the 1977 NBA Finals, and many believe the incident turned the series in Portland's favor. The Blazers went on to defeat the Sixers 4-2, winning what is still the only championship in franchise history.  Here's video of the fight, courtesy of patvilhauer on YouTube . For this combination of fearlessness and ultimate success, Lucas will stand as one of Portland's most beloved professional athletes for decades to come. Former Blazers center and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, Lucas's teammate on the 1977 title team, recently called Lucas "the greatest Portland Trail Blazer of all time ." Walton also named his son, Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton, in honor of Lucas. Lucas began his career in the ABA, but was drafted by Portland when the league folded. After a four-year stint in Portland, Lucas went on to play for the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle SuperSonics. He then closed his career in Portland in 1988, and shifted into an assistant coaching role the following season. More recently, Lucas served as an assistant coach under Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, starting in 2005. He primarily focused on developing Portland's big men both physically and mentally, calling on his playing experience to tutor players like LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Cancer forced him from the bench multiple times, and Lucas was unable to return for the 2010-2011 season. His No. 20 jersey has been retired by the Blazers and it hangs in the Rose Garden rafters.  Maurice Lucas was 58 years old.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com