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Nate McMillan: Raymond Felton was too fat with Blazers

Raymond Felton BlazersFormer Portland Trailblazers coach Nate McMillan believes in Raymond Felton’s talent, but he thinks the point guard was just too overweight during his disappointing stint in Portland last season.

Felton was traded from the New York Knicks to the Denver Nuggets in Feb. 2011 as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. He was dealt to Portland in a 3-team trade after the season, and he had a poor season with the Blazers. Felton’s shooting percentage dropped to 40.7 percent, and his assistant to turnover ratio was 2.32, which was much lower than it was in Denver or New York.

McMillan was fired by the Blazers last year as the team disappointed with a 20-23 start. He told ESPN New York that Felton is doing for the Knicks this year what Portland thought he could do for them.

“What he’s doing now is what we felt he was always capable of doing for us,” McMillan said. “He just didn’t have that kind of year. When we brought him to Portland, what he’s doing — pushing the ball, attacking the basket, his ability to create opportunities as well as push the tempo — we felt he could do that.”

McMillan feels Felton’s weight was the problem.

“I think [his weight] had a direct impact on how well he played,” McMillan told reporter Jared Zwerling. “When you’re not conditioned to play, then you’re going to struggle, you’re going to turn the ball over. If you don’t have your legs, your shot is not going to fall.

“He had picked up some weight, as he told me, and we were trying to work on him moving that weight during the season.”

Felton has always been pudgier than your typical muscular player, but he gained weight during the NBA lockout, which preceded the shortened season. In addition to his weight being a hindrance, Felton said that being traded to Denver from New York made him sick. I’m sure another trade to Portland after the season didn’t do wonders for his motivation. Now that he’s finally back where he originally wanted to be, he’s playing much better. Mental happiness probably has a lot to do with that.

Chest bump to Blazers Edge
Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Blazers players reportedly want Nate McMillan fired

The Portland Trail Blazers are 19-21, the first time their record has been two games below .500 in the second half of a season since the 2006-07 campaign. Because of their poor record, pressure is mounting for head coach Nate McMillan.

“I’ve never been in this position,” forward LaMarcus Aldridge said after Portland’s humiliating 104-86 loss to the Celtics on Friday, according to The Oregonian. “I’ve never been below .500 and I can’t get used to it. I’m not satisfied with just going out and losing. I’m really trying to figure out what can change and I’m not coming up with nothing.”

What about throwing your coach under the bus?

As the Blazers, who have lost 11 of their last 16, continue their descent in the West’s standings, McMillian has reportedly lost control of his locker room. According to Hoops World, a “growing number of players” want the Blazers to replace McMillan with assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff. Others in the organization are also reportedly growing weary of McMillan and his in-game coaching tactics. Criticizing his players’ effort in Friday’s Celtics loss probably doesn’t help his standing. In McMillian’s defense, the Blazers did trail by 43 at one point.

“That’s an unprofessional approach,” McMillan said after the game. “There was no basketball being played out there tonight. We can try harder than that. We can play better than that. We pretty much allowed their team to jump on us and I don’t think we responded.”

McMillan has led a Blazers squad that for the last several seasons has shown plenty of promise, but injuries always managed to derail any big hopes. If McMillan has lost his own players’ faith, Blazers management probably has no other choice but to show him the door. But it’s worth noting his cause this season wasn’t helped by Brandon Roy’s abrupt retirement and Greg Oden once again showing us parts of his body are made of paper clips and bubble gum.

Photo credit: Jason O. Watson, US Presswire

The People of Gilbert Arenas v. Nate McMillan – It’s Must see TV

At 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET, all televisions across the country should be tuned into one program.  Buy a satellite dish, order the NBA package, hump your neighbor, I don’t care what you do, just make sure you get to a TV to watch the Trailblazers @ Wizards game today.  How could there possibly be so much hype over such an ordinary event?  How could this possibly be more entertaining than Donna Martin graduating or Simon Cowell scowling you ask?  Because Gilbert says so, that’s why. 

It’s so funny how a game nobody ever thought about is going to become a watched game. Even if you don’t watch the game, you’re going to look at the boxscore to see what happened.  My last one o’clock game was 51 against Utah. So I’m feeling pretty frisky.  It’s kind of funny because I said the next time I was going to score 50 was going to be against them, so every game I went into, my shot wasn’t on.  It’s going to be more of a fun one because at the end of the day, they really do not want me to get 50.  Nate‘s a tough guy so I know that there’s going to be a lot or elbows and a lot of double teams so that will just leave stuff open for everybody else.

If you read way back to the beginning of Gilbert’s blog, you’ll see where the whole thing starts.  To summarize, Gilbert admits to being cut by the US National Team in the summer which upset Arenas because he felt the decision-makers used his minor groin injury as a convenient excuse to cut him.  Ever since that happened, he’s taken it upon himself to avenge the embarrassment caused by anyone who may have had something to do with his being cut – that’s why he made it a point to light up Phoenix and their coach Mike D’Antoni and why he joked about going back to college to dominate Duke, and why McMillan is on the hit list today. 

For the record, I actually believe Gilbert writes his blog unlike most other athletes.  If not, then the ghost-writer must talk to Gil and write exactly the way he speaks, because it seems pretty real to me. I have to say that the blog is probably one of the greatest tools an athlete has used to reach the public and interact with fans.  I have no doubt that it’s been a hit on NBA.com this year and I don’t know what I’ll do if he discontinues it – it would be like your favorite player signing with another team.  Tear drop, sniffle, tear drop.  Long live Gilbert’s must-read blog and must-see TV games against Portland!