neil olshey

How High is Damian Lillard’s Ceiling?


After the best rookie season in Portland since Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers’ point guard Damian Lillard is ready to improve on his award winning season and take the next step forward. As a rookie he quickly established himself as the jewel of the 2012 NBA Draft class winning every single rookie of the month award through the season. He finished 2012-13 with 19.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 3.1 RPG and a league-high 38.6 MPG.

While it’s hard to expect much more from the dynamic playmaker, there’s nothing holding Lillard back from surpassing even the wildest Blazer fans’ dreams.

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard

But in order to become one of the NBA’s elite he’ll need to sure up a few aspects of his game. The first one being his three-point shooting. Lillard shot just .368 from deep, connecting on 185-of-503 attempts. At media day, Lillard addressed this issue and said it was something he was working on.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“I want to shoot at least 40 percent from three,” Lillard said. “Field goal percentage should probably be higher than it was last year, so 48 percent, somewhere around there… hopefully.”[/gn_quote]

Finding a consistent deep range threat in Lillard would not only be vital to his own game, but would  do wonders as well for the team. Portland ranked 20th in the NBA last season in three point shooting at .353 and hasn’t been in the top-10 since 2008 when they had that Roy guy.

Roy not only helped with his dominant shooting but also his driving ability, which allowed sharpshooters to knock down shot after shot. While the Blazers don’t have the outside weapons now that they did then, they still have forward Nicolas Batum and shooting guard Wesley Matthews who are underrated threats.

Also, the arrival of lottery pick C.J. McCollum is still an unknown. McCollum has been listed as the Blazers’ backup shooting guard but being a top-10 pick he’ll definitely see serious minutes, especially if he can gel with Lillard. This article by Hoops Habit even projected that the duo could be one of the best in the NBA.

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard | (Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Another area that Lillard will need to improve upon if he’s looking to join teammate LaMarcus Aldridge in the all-star game will be his assist-to-turnover ratio. Lillard’s 2.2 ATR, while not terrible, is hardly that of an elite point guard. Lillard had the 39th best ratio for players of his position last season behind guys nowhere near his skill level.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“I haven’t even thought about the (assist-to-turnover ratio) numbers, but you don’t want to turn the ball over the same amount of times you did the previous season,” Lillard said. “Coming in, my priority is going to take better care of the ball. Hopefully, my assists will be up higher, and my turnovers will be lower.”[/gn_quote]

With how often Lillard has the ball in his hands, it’s no wonder that he’s going to have his fair share of turnovers. With added shooters (McCollum, free agent Dorell Wright) to the team, expect to see Lillard’s efficiency rise dramatically.

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard | (Bruce Ely/Oregonian)

But being specific, what is the ceiling for Lillard? Is it a reserve all-star appearance? A starting role in the all-star game? An MVP? Has he already hit his peak and this all moot?

This will be another transition year as Lillard and Aldridge continue to build their on-court chemistry. Expecting anything above an all-star appearance is simply ludicrous. Should Lillard vastly improve on his weaknesses, as were discussed above, he could receive an all-star bid. Even that is an extreme stretch. I can easily name 10 guards better than Lillard.

  1. Chris Paul, Clippers
  2. Tony Parker, Spurs
  3. Russell Westbrook, Thunder
  4. Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers
  5. Rajon Rondo, Celtics
  6. Stephen Curry, Warriors
  7. James Harden, Rockets
  8. Dwyane Wade, Heat
  9. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
  10. Derrick Rose, Bulls

I list these in no particular order, but firmly believe that each is more proven than Lillard… at this point. That’s the key. At this point.

Who knows how Bryant or Rose will return from injury? Who knows if Harden will implode with a locker room cancer like Dwight Howard? Who knows how Parker will fare with an aging team around him? Will the dinosaur that is Wade move aside and let LeBron James steal the show in Miami completely? How will Rondo do with complete garbage surrounding him?

Lillard has the potential to make the top-5 of this list if all the pieces fall into place perfectly. That is, of course, for this next season. If we’re looking long-term Lillard easily projects to being a top-3 guard by the prime of his career.

Hopefully for Blazers fans all the pieces GM Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts have put in place are still there in a few years. And you know who I’m talking about… Mr. Aldrdige.

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Portland Trail Blazers Sign G Mo Williams

Mo Williams
Mo Williams

Mo Williams has officially signed with the Portland Trail Blazers. The former Utah Jazz guard has agreed to terms on a two-year deal with a reported $5.4 million.

“As a player, Mo is an explosive scorer and willing facilitator,” General Manager Neil Olshey said in a release. “As a person, his character and professionalism will set an outstanding example for our young players on the court, in the locker room and in the Portland community.”

Williams joins an incredibly deep and talented point guard position for the Blazers. Along with superstar Damian Lillard, the Blazers have rookie C.J. McCollum and Earl Watson.

Williams has had an up-and-down career. After earning a spot in the 2009 All-Star game with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Williams has not played a complete season averaging just 37.5 games per season and 28.5 starts per season. Williams made 46 appearances for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, starting each one and averaging 12.9 PPG and 6.2 APG.

“I’m very excited to be back with Mo again,” Head Coach Terry Stotts said. “He adds versatility, scoring and veteran leadership to the team.”

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Blazers Updates: Portland Doesn’t Offer Maynor, Aldridge Wants Out

Terry Stotts (Greg M. Cooper/US Presswire)
Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts will have some big decisions to make
(Greg M. Cooper/US Presswire)

The Portland Trail Blazers are going to let go of Eric Maynor — a point guard the team acquired midway through last season. Maynor did all the things a backup to the Rookie of the Year was required to do, scoring 6.9 points and dishing out 4 assists per game in 27 outings in Portland, but the powers that be with the Blazers chose before Thursday’s draft not to extend the restricted free agent a qualifying offer.

The decision, GM Neil Olshey said, was based on financial concerns with the summer’s free agent market.

There’s also the matter of who the Blazers drafted that makes it a pretty wise decision. Though it will make it a young position, the drafting of C.J. McCollum to pair with 2013 Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard will present a number of possibilities that are cheaper than hanging onto Maynor.

It’s not easy though to say goodbye to any Blazer who performs the way Maynor did perform in his short stint in Oregon. Portland fans are the best and recognize the hustle players put on the floor and excellence they embody off it more than almost anyone. Maynor especially played well as a member of Portland’s extremely stagnant bench which frequently finished games under double digits in points.

Also in Blazer news this week, All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly requested to get out of Portland — to either Dallas or Chicago. Jason Quick of the Oregonian said that Aldridge called Portland too small and boring.

The Blazers have started some work on those sorts of deals, what with Aldridge’s contract being up at the end of next year. However, Chicago is unwilling to part with Joakim Noah and that makes any current deal to the Bulls a “non-starter.”

Back in May, Aldridge was tentative to talk about his role in the future, saying that he thought they had a great team and that he looked forward to what their cap room could provide.

But his talk has escalated recently, starting with the week before the draft. His future is now anything but certain and his destined location is probably anywhere but Portland as the ruling factions of the Trail Blazers appear to be trying to get their money‘s worth from the last pieces of the team’s former championship aspiration.

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Portland Trail Blazers Latest NBA Draft Rumors

Rose Garden
Rose Garden

A few interesting developments have surfaced in the last 24 hours.

First, LaMarcus Aldridge reportedly wants out of Portland. The Blazers center apparently finds Portland to be a bore and would like to get traded to Chicago. The all-star power forward has not renewed any of his Portland based sponsorships.

He told Blazers beat writer Jason Quick after the season that he hates being in Portland after talking about his difficulties putting a clause in his lease so that he wouldn’t have to pay penalties if he were to be traded.

Fortunately for Aldridge, his name has surfaced repeatedly in trade talks this offseason. First, Cleveland expressed desire to trade a package including the number one pick for Aldridge, but talks with the Cavs have died down.

Within the last few days, talks of a trade with the Bulls have been rumored as well. Though a deal doesn’t seem likely because the Bulls want Luol Deng to be the featured player in the trade while the Blazers prefer Joakim Noah.

Maybe this will all get resolved during the draft tonight via a blockbuster trade, but it’s more likely that this will be a major issue for a large portion of the offseason.

On another front, Portland has expressed interest in Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Yahoo writer Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Clips and Blazers have discussed the center in trade talks. According to Romana Shelbourne, Portland doesn’t want to use all of its cap space on Jordan while simultaneously trading a first round pick for the center.

Coincidentally, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey was in the Clipper organization when they matched the offer sheet for Jordan’s current contract of four years $43 million.

Finally, former Syracuse point guard Michael Carter Williams understandably doesn’t consider Portland to be an ideal situation according to the Blazers.

[gn_quote style=”1″]”I interviewed with Portland; I never went to work out with them,” said Carter-Williams. “This year they had a point guard in Damian Lillard. If I get chosen by them, it’s not something I can do, it’s not a particular place where I choose to go, but I’d go there and make the best of it and then see what happens when my time comes.” – Carter-Williams[/gn_quote]

ESPN draft expert Chad Ford doesn’t currently have Carter-Williams going to the Blazers in his mock draft, but has predicted the guard would be selected by Portland in previous mock drafts.

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Overlooking This Season, the Blazers Look to Move Forward

Getty Images
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts (right) and rookie point guard Damian Lillard (left) discuss strategy (Getty Images)

After witnessing the Portland Trail Blazers (33-49) season unravel faster than the ribbon protecting the most gargantuan present under the tree from an impatient child, it’s time to look to the future.

No matter how utterly horrendous your favorite NBA team is, every fan has the luxury of looking forward to the NBA draft and free agency. While some are calling this year’s draft the worst since the year 2000 when Kenyon Martin broke his leg into being selected number one overall, there is always a diamond in the rough (former all star Michael Redd was taken 43rd in that same draft). In the Blazer’s case, free agency might be more beneficial considering their more pressing need for proven commodities than potential.

The Blazers’ starting guards and forward situations are almost certainly set, but the rest of the spots in next year’s rotation are seemingly up for grabs. The formula for the Blazers woes this season was: NO Bench + No Defense + No Rebounding = No Playoffs. The Blazers not only had the worst scoring bench in the NBA by an astounding eight points, but also averaged 15 fewer bench points than their opponents PER GAME!!

Not to mention, the Blazers were the fourth least efficient defensive team in the NBA last season thanks to no shot blocking presence (unless you count Batum on the fast break) or elite defender on the roster. Finally, they ranked 20th in the NBA in team rebounding rate.  Suffice it to say; although the blazers have a talented core, they lack the role players to establish a consistent winner. Thanks to the NBA draft and free agency, these holes can be filled before next season. But can anyone on the current roster quell Portland’s deficiencies?

Meyers Leonard showed a lot of improvement this season, showing not only dunking ability and rebounding potential, but a feathery jumper, which could develop into a serious weapon with a summer spent in the gym. Also, Eric Maynor proved to be a useful acquisition and would be an above average back up point guard if General Manager Neil Olshey opts to keep him. Although Will Barton, Victor Claver and Joel Freeland were largely ineffective cogs on the worst bench in the NBA this season, they will also have a chance to earn minutes next year. Still, the Blazers seriously need a deeper talent pool in order to establish some semblance of a respectable bench.

Considering the difficulty rookie’s typically face making a significant impact on the defensive end, the Blazers should sign defensive specialists in Free Agency. Lamarcus Aldridge cannot be the biggest player in the Blazers’ starting five for them to succeed defensively. Thus, it would be wise for Olshey to sign a true center. Although no center available is ideal in this free agent class, a few players could strengthen Portland’s frontline.

Samuel Dalmbert (Jeffrey Phelps/ Getty Images)
Samuel Dalmbert
(Jeffrey Phelps/ Getty Images)

Upcoming free agent Samuel Dalembert would compliment Aldridge’s scoring prowess with defense, shot blocking and rebounding. Dalembert didn’t receive as much playing time as he is used to due to the emergence of young bigs Larry Sanders and John Henson, but was able to average 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in under 17 minutes of action a night.

San Antonio Spur, Tiago Splitter could also be a serviceable big for the Blazers. He wouldn’t block a ton of shots, but his adept mobility, rebounding and touch around the basket would be useful. Atlanta Hawks big man Zaza Pachula could provide similar skills as Splitter, although he tore his ACL earlier this month.

If perimeter defense were the sole determinant of skill in the NBA, Memphis wing Tony Allen would be Lebron James. Allen has been the best perimeter defender in the NBA for a few years now. Not only does he shut down opponents individually, but he is also excellent at rotating defensively and causing havoc off the ball. One Grizzlies lineup with Allen at shooting guard ranked the number one defensive lineup in terms of points allowed per possession in the Association. It will be interesting to see how much money it will take to sign him considering perimeter defensive specialists rarely attract big contracts.  If the Blazers can’t get Allen, Denver forward Corey Brewer would also certainly bolster the Blazers’ defense.

In the draft however, they should look for bench scoring.

Although nothing is certain until the Ping Pong balls unscrupulously make their decision in the draft lottery on May 21, the Blazers will most likely pick somewhere between ninth and 12th. I will go into more detail about whom the Blazers should select after the draft lottery, but for now, I will provide some calculated but vague generalities based on pure speculation.

Peter Yang/ESPN The Magazine
Peter Yang/ESPN The Magazine

Big men will likely dominate this section of the draft and the Blazers could use another big considering JJ Hickson’s possible departure. Two of the best scorers in college basketball, Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk could both be available at the time the Blazers are on the clock.  Both would provide scoring off the bench, although both would almost certainly be a liability defensive liability.

Another guard with upside who can score off the bench could be useful as well. If UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad slips to the latter portion of the lottery, he would be a good value pick for the Blazers. Muhammed is a versatile scorer who plays with a lot of tenacity and toughness.   Lehigh guard CJ McCollum missed most of his senior season after injuring his foot in January, but their is a lot to like about the guard.  Look no further than the tape of Lehigh’s upset victory over 2 seed Duke in 2012 to find the evidence.  The guy can shoot the lights out of the gym, not only in spot up opportunities, but he made an impressive 49% of his shots off the dribble.  Still, he is a bit of a tweener who plays like a shooting guard but has the size of a point guard at only 6-3.  He may have trouble stopping NBA shooting guards but he could potentially be a quality scorer at the NBA level.

If somehow the unthinkable happens and the Blazers land a top three selection, they would go for the two most likely players in the draft to reach an All Star game, shooting guard Ben Mclemore and center Nerlens Noel. Luckily, both players play the top two weakest positions in the Blazers’ starting lineup.  Mclemore was not only a human highlight reel, but also a three-point marksman for the Kansas Jayhawks. Noel may not have lived up to his predecessor Anthony Davis offensively, but before he tore his ACL, he averaged more than four blocks per game. Once he is healthy, he will immediately make penetrators think twice before going at the rim.  Still, he will miss part of his rookie season rehabbing his torn ACL.

The Blazers also possess two second round picks. It is almost impossible to predict which second rounders will make an impact in the NBA, but I have a few I like. I think former UNC wing Reggie Bullock could be a solid knockdown shooter and tough perimeter defender in the NBA.  UCLA forward Kyle Anderson could be a rich mans Luke Walton who does a little bit of everything relatively well and North Texas forward Tony Mitchell could be a good defender and rebounder at the NBA level.

So many variables are in play that consequently, I have no idea what is going to happen this summer.  Let’s hope this off-season turns out to be more like the years we drafted Clyde Drexler or Terry Porter and completely opposite to the years we traded Moses Malone, drafted Martell Webster instead of Chris Paul or drafted the two centers who must not be named ahead of Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.  But first, the draft lottery awaits.

LaMarcus Aldridge Selected to Second NBA All-Star Game


For the second consecutive year, LaMarcus Aldridge can say he’s an NBA All-Star. Announced Thursday evening on TNT, Aldridge was chosen as a reserve by coaches in the Western Conference.

It’s always a challenge to make the Western Conference roster at the power forward position and for Aldridge to make it despite playing on a .500 team and playing the majority of his games at a later time on the West Coast makes his selection all the more impressive.

Another factor to consider in his selection was that for the first time this year, the center position was removed from the balloting. Coaches had to select four forwards instead of three and one center. It also didn’t hurt that Kevin Love has been hurt the majority of the season.

Thank you, coaches. At least someone’s been watching me play.

Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey reacted to Aldridge’s selection by saying, “Everyone in the Trail Blazers family is proud that the work and dedication LaMarcus shows on a daily basis to this organization was recognized by the opposing coaches in the Western Conference.”

Averaging 20.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, Aldridge joins Tim Duncan, Zach Randolph and David Lee as front court players selected by the coaches. The other reserves included James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker.

At 27 and in his seventh season, Aldridge is entering the prime of his career. Barring injury and with players like Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki nearing the end of their careers, it’s conceivable that he can make a run of five or six trips to the All-Star Game.

Originally planned to be the third option on a team featuring Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, Aldridge was forced to be the number one option when both players went down with injuries. Over the last three years, he has been among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding and minutes played.

Fun facts about his selection:

The 6-foot-11 power forward becomes the 11th Blazer to make the All-Star team at least two times joining Clyde Drexler, Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas, Sidney Wicks, Geoff Petrie, Kevin Duckworth, Jim Paxson, Terry Porter, Rasheed Wallace and most recently Brandon Roy.

In fan voting for the starters, Aldridge finished 11th among forwards (People on the East Coast need to stay up and watch some more basketball).

Aldridge will receive a $250,000 bonus for making the team (Not too shabby).

Last year he only played 9 minutes and 45 seconds while finishing with four points, one rebound and one assist.

The game will be played in Houston, Texas which is Aldridge’s native state. He also went to the University of Texas (Get ready to buy a lot of tickets for family and friends).

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be Sunday, Feb. 17, televised on TNT.

Zone Read PM: Oregon looked to lawyers during NCAA investigation

In September of 2011, the University of Oregon received notice from the NCAA that it was looking at the program for possible violations committed by the UO football program. The University then hired the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King for help with the investigations. After a 20-month period, the law firm billed the University to a tune of $154,716.38.

The Oregonian requested records, but the transcripts they received where “heavily redacted.”

EA Sports NCAA cover competition narrows. The Oregon Ducks have moved from the Sweet Sixteen into the Elite Eight for the EA Sports NCAA cover voting challenge. In the new round, the voting totals are zeroed. Fans can head to the EA Sports Facebook page to cast their vote. Here is the list of schools still in the competition:

1. Alabama

2. Texas A&M

3. Michigan

4. Ohio State

5. Oregon

6. Notre Dame

7. Georgia

8. Florida State

Blazers about to deal? The Trail Blazers currently find themselves in a unique position between the playoffs and the NBA Draft Lottery. GM Neil Olshey is currently forced to mull over the idea of making a trade. 
Upton sent East. Atlanta Braves made a trade today with the Diamondbacks to get Justin Upton. Justin will join his brother B.J., already a member of the Braves.

Damian Lillard Starts Blazers Career as Floor Leader

Lillard shows his incredibly leaping ability during his college days. He brings that talent to Portland.

Exhibition games in the summer don’t technically mean much, but when you bring your team back from a 17-point halftime deficit, the results can’t be ignored.  Portland Trailblazers first-round draft pick Damian Lillard is in Portland to take control, if you judge him based off the Blazers’ 85-82 Summer League opening win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Lillard finished his professional debut game with 25 points, four assists and four rebounds at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Sunday leaving many Blazers fans to wonder, in mid-July, what is to come this October when the season officially starts.

In the first half though, Lillard, even to his own admission, may have been uncharacteristically nervous.

“The first half there were some butterflies,” Lillard said. “I was just getting used to it — the speed. There was a lot of athleticism out there. But I think once I calmed down and got comfortable, that’s when I started to play better.”

Leading up to the draft, the plus on Lillard’s side was that despite attending a smaller school, in Weber State, he was a player with a demeanor of confidence and poise.

His knack for scoring seemed to be based off of an ability to break down double-teams and quickly pull-up, knocking down jumpers as he averaged a second-best 24.5 points last season in the NCAA.

In the first half on Sunday, though, Lillard was 2-of-10 in an uneventful showcasing of his skills.

“When I came out, a lot of my shots were jumpers,” Lillard said. “I felt like I needed to get in rhythm, which meant I needed to get to the free throw line, and I needed to get to the rim and draw contact.”

In the second half, Lillard’s demeanor didn’t seem to change.  What changed was the pace of the game as he exploded and took control, attacking the Hornets’ defense on pick and rolls and getting easy buckets for himself and his Blazers teammates.

“It all came back to me,” Lillard said. “I was being patient. My shots weren’t falling, but I stuck with it.”

Lillard, Leonard and Barton pose with GM Neil Oshey

Fellow rookie, and pick-11 overall, Meyers Leonard seemed to be impressed.

“Unbelievable,” Leonard said of Lillard’s performance. “I’ve seen what I need to see out of him. I completely expected it. But now he’s just going to take off from here.”

Blazers’ general manager Neil Olshey has referred to Lillard as the “franchise point-guard” and drafting him over some of college basketball’s bigger names, like the Hornets’ Austin Rivers, who was also available at the sixth spot of the 2012 draft, solidifies that thinking.

The comparisons of Lillard to Blazers great Terry Porter is unfair but in the world of sports, probably a welcomed burden for him who, even as a rookie, said things after Sunday’s victory with the voice of a veteran.

“I really wanted to show people I can make plays and get guys involved,” he said. “I thought I got a lot of guys shots. Any time you can come in and make the guys around you better and get them easy shots, I feel like you’re doing your job and you’re playing well and just making the right plays, and I thought I did that.”

This is the first of what could be many career games in a Blazers uniform for Lillard. And if his first official outing as a Blazer has any indication for his career, the city of Portland and the Rose Garden have a lot to look forward too.

Zombies, Racism, and Craigslist on EDN: The News Week in Review


Eugene was a hot topic on the Internet this last week. Not the city, though, sorry. Everyone has been reading about Mr. Eugene, first name Rudy, a 31-year-old man from Miami who took “bath salts. Ingredients in bath salts — usually concentrated with a substantial dose of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) — can cause hallucinations, psychosis and dangerous behavior — and apparently transform someone into a zombie!. As the drug first surged in use, authorities described its effects as a high similar to LSD-induced trips that could sometimes include amphetamine-like palpitations and paranoia. [1] After consuming this substance, Mr. Eugene was discovered chomping on another man’s face and neck before he was shot and killed by police. But fear not, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially announced on Thursday that zombies don’t exist.” [2]

Zombies might not exist, but racists do, as Lane County was reminded last week when four people chased and threatened a 15-year-old Springfield teenager due to his skin color. The victim told police an older yellow pick-up passed by slowly with four occupants…The victim tells police the truck circled the block and passed again, this time the occupants were yelling racial slurs, and threatening to hurt him. He told police that he tried to walk away, but, was chased into a gravel parking lot where the driver tried to run him over. [3] Springfield promptly condemned the incident. In conjunction with the Community Alliance of Lane County, the city held a rally against racism. Marilee Woodrow, a Springfield City Councilor, said

“the city is absolutely behind the rally. We are all appalled at what happened. This rally, we all support it. This is something important to gather the community together for good. I hope it sends the message that Springfield will not stand for racism.” [4]

Speaking of raising a finger: A Lane County woman says she stumbled upon what appears to be a human finger inside a glass bottle while on a beach trip near Reedsport. Tracie Bindrim says while looking for treasures along a secluded beach outside Reedsport she found …a finger. [5]

Fingers were not the only things discovered on the beach this week. A Japanese dock floated across the Pacific Ocean after last year’s tsunami. State parks employees and scientists scrambled to identify and contain any invasive species that may have hitched a ride on the structure. And now they have to figure out what to do with the 66-foot-long, 8-foot-tall behemoth. [6] Apparently Japan doesn’t want it back.

We do want Edward J. King, Jr., back, though. Edward King Jr. — co-founder of King Estate Winery, avionics pioneer and a lifelong entrepreneur — died Sunday at home at the age of 90. [7] King was considered an icon of the Oregon wine industry. [8]

What we don’t want, on the other hand, is the highly contagious bacterial infection known as pertussis, or whooping cough. Over the course of 2012, the disease has reached near-epidemic status in Washington state and has since passed into Oregon. According to Oregon Immunization Program spokesperson Susan Wickstrom, the state of Oregon reached a yearly total of 248 cases in May, compared to 102 cases at the same time last year. As of May 21, 2012, Lane County has seen five cases of whooping cough. Already this year in Oregon, Wickstrom says, there have been 10 infants — three months old or younger — hospitalized as a result of whooping cough.[9]

Whooping cough is no fun, but online games are. The local gaming industry, therefore, was ecstatic to find out that, Zynga, the world’s largest social game company, has acquired Eugene game developer Buzz Monkey and plans to expand the 50-employee Eugene studio. [10]

Buzz Monkey wasn’t the only thing in Oregon to get a new boss. On Monday the Trail Blazers hired Neil Olshey to be their new general manager. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Olshey had reached an agreement to remain GM of the Los Angeles Clippers. But after contract negotiations with the Clippers broke down, Portland was able to hire Olshey. [11]

In other news, Eugene Daily News is finally being treated like a real newspaper. Meaning, people talking trash about EDN on Craigslist. That’s right, this last week EDN — at long last — received the attention of trolls, aka internet forum intellectuals. Apparently EDN is “another rag out there” that is “all pro-Occupy slanted opinionated crap journalism.” that engages in “guerrilla marketing schemes” to advance our “radical Nazi” agenda. [12] [13]  Who knew.