As was previously FanPosted by sabonis4ever, Blazers fans appreciate how big of a deal it is for you to lose Gerald Wallace. While it has been emotional for us to lose Joel and Dante, I'm sure it's hard for you to really parse why the trade would be a tough one for us. Gerald is both an All-Defense player and an All-Star with a dynamic game that is not just valuable to his team but really fun to watch. Joel is a Big White Center on an expiring deal with a post-surgical knee, and Dane Cunningham is a 3/4 tweener drafted in the 2nd round. Doesn't seem fair, does it? So, if the deal looks so good on paper, why would we have regrets? To answer that question, I've assembled a list of links to blog postings and newspaper articles that will give you a window on these two players, and why we admire them and are going to miss them so much. After the jump...
Part I: Joel Pryzbilla
Joel Pryzbilla has earned a few nicknames among Blazers fans, the most popular of which is the "Vanilla Gorilla" since those both rhyme with his last name. However, he's stated publicly that he just likes being called "Joel." The best overview I can give you for Joel is a blog-ography written by one of BlazersEdge's most prolific member/contributors, Timbo. Sometimes it stuns me that he doesn't have his own blog. Here, in two parts, is most everything you'd ever want to know about Joel and his NBA career:
At the bottom of each article is a pretty healthy set of footnotes if you're interested in further reading. Aside from that, here are some of my favorite pieces on Joel from other sources:
Part II: Dante Cunningham
While Joel has been with the Blazers for over six years, dating back to the wish-we-could-forget Jailblazers era, Dante is just in his 2nd year. He wore #33 in Portland because that was his draft position. A four-year player out of Villanova, he was considered by many to be the classic "tweener." Not fast enough to play SF, not big enough to play PF. We drafted him for his character, work ethic, grit and hustle, and he has delivered in spades on all those fronts. Too small to play PF, we've even played him at Center at some points this season because of a combination of our shorthandedness and his absolute willingness to do whatever dirty work the team needed. He's got a nose for rebounds, a reliable midrange jumper, the occasional sneaky moster dunk, and these links:
Dante is hardly a highlight reel machine, but the guy knows how to dunk it:
So Bobcats fans, as we head into the home stretch of the season, please don't think of losing Gerald when you see these two on the court. They will give heart and soul to your team and hard fouls to your opponents. Enjoy!