Mad Men “The Better Half”

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People all live between two halves of themselves—the one when they’re entirely alone, and the one they bring along with them to work, out with friends, or even around family—that hopefully create some semblance of a whole in the end. No one really knows which is created as a coping mechanism and which is the real version, but honestly even the answer to that depends too much on the situation to be true all the time. It’s no secret to say we’re different around our spouse than we are with a waitress, but the question isn’t why are we different given the circumstance, it’s how. Do we lose a sense of our self to appear vulnerable in hopes of being taken care of or pitied the same way a child would when staring at a problem it knew it couldn’t solve; or do we instead highlighted part of us in order to seem confident and strong in an attempt to galvanize those around us? It really boils down to those two halves: do we choose to be better or worse?

This week every character was faced with the parts of them self they’ve been protecting from the other, leading to an ultimate showdown between who they are and who they’ve been pretending to be.

Too bad Roger Sterling is already too old to honestly give even one single f*ck about who he is, while others will empty the entire basket. He’s not much different from my grandfather in the sense that everyone knows how he’ll act no matter the company, be it the country club or the supermarket. My grandfather, now comfortably the forgotten patriarch of the family, has resigned to yelling his opinions for half the night before eventually finding the largest recliner in the house and napping the rest of family time away. He’s also proven wherever he stands is a sufficient spot to let loose the gas between his cheeks. He doesn’t care. He knows people will perceive him how they want to at this point and has since stopped trying to ever please anyone’s perceptions. Even my grandmother simply rolls her eyes or slaps his shoulder, but that’s it. She knows she’s going home with him and he’ll be roughly the same person there, too.

Roger isn’t far off except his hot air expels from a different orifice. He’s lived for so long that his two halves, while still existent, more closely mirror one another in the same way Clark Kent clearly looks like Superman with glasses on: we all know the truth and it boggles our minds when others don’t seem to get it. Similarly, I felt bad for poor Roger having his grandson taken away from him for only wanting to try and make a connection and have a good time. Maybe it has more to do with the fact my parents let me watch movies like The Terminator when I was a child, so Planet of the Apes wouldn’t enter my mind as something a four year-old couldn’t watch either. However, though, the point is that Roger taking his grandson out for the day meant he was bound to do something his daughter disapproved of, so how could she honestly get angry? The half he’s showed her has been consistent and to expect something else becomes her problem.

Peggy, on the other hand, is finally confronting the idea that she is also two different people. The merger of SCDPCGC has done nothing positive for the youngest copywriter in New York advertisement, but has instead led her to try and discern which of the two older men in her life she can trust to be there for her. (The fact that it’s Don, isn’t proving to help her in the least, by the way.) She then takes these problems back to a ramshackle home where the threat of a violent intruder is just as real as domestic delusion. Peggy had been spending so much time at work trying to quell relationships that she put hers on the back burner—Don would be so proud. Yet this meant when the opportunity presented itself to leave the relationship—after she accidentally stabbed Abe in the stomach with a homemade harpoon, nonetheless—she immediately collapsed upon herself as any victim would, ignoring the strong.

Even though she knows victims get no attention in her work world, she did want to try and be caught on her way down, figuring, “If they’re gonna fight over my approval, I might as well be appreciated along the way.” However, as is the case in the male-dominated office, her pleas were ignored and she once again found herself confused and unaware of who she truly is. She’s spent so much time cultivating an impervious persona she didn’t know how to authentically be vulnerable in the ways necessary to be taken seriously.

The best part of the episode was the reintroduction of Betty (Draper) Francis who came back to play the game we’d all figured she’d forgotten the rules to! Now I know some would argue Betty doesn’t have enough personality for one half of self, let alone two, but I’ve always liked Betty and seen more in her than a flat speech pattern and finely burnt cigarette growing between her two fingers. She’s a veteran at understanding how different worlds work in tandem with one another; yet what we were unaware of was her new ability to stare at both without flinching.  I suppose all those years spent at the Don Draper School of Duality earned her an honorary degree. Of course, giving Don all the credit discounts her own life experience of being slammed, degraded, and silenced by too many categories of people to count, which would, in turn, miss the point entirely: people shift based on how they’re treated, re-appropriating the value they hold for themselves continually, and Betty, after once again being upheld as a trophy in her married life, decided to embrace that sinister other side of her no one knows about except Don.

Like a true veteran, Betty got the call and, without stretching, walked to the table to get in, and immediately sank two buckets, grabbed a board, and set a massive pick just to remind everyone she can still play and knows how to hurt as well.

Finally, Don Draper, we know, doesn’t like to split his differences and, even given all of his talents of mystery, might be the truest person any of us have ever known. This isn’t even because we’ve been privy to watching him in every type of situation—manipulative, loving, angry, sad, confused, creative… thirsty—though that does help. No, instead this is true because he has learned how to be the most like his true self at all times; even better than Roger because there isn’t a person he’s ashamed to admit his true self to; there are secrets he keeps, yes, but that has more to do with knowing people don’t react well when someone indulges in the socially abnormal. Yet if he was ever confronted with the truth he would simply muster all of his manhood into his gritted jaw and explain exactly who he is: and even if he lies, he’s telling more truth than anyone else would when forced into honesty because the rest of us aren’t that experienced in defending our imperfections.

Sylvia was the last barrier Don ever had to face: a woman telling him no and meaning it to the point he knew he was wrong, too. Even this week, Don seemed genuinely concerned and willing to fix the problems his marriage endures, as opposed to hearing the white noise of boredom from before. As always, how long he’ll be interested in fixing it remains to be seen.

I’ve made the point of highlighting how Don’s worlds are collapsing in on each other for a few weeks now and we’ve moved past the point of no return: everyone is now having to deal with their insecurities and misdeeds. Don’s already reconciled those and now lives purely for him. Whoever learns to shed the other layers of personality and be the most pure form of them self will survive this tumultuous upheaval, not so much unlike the merger facing them at present. If they want to be considered successful and worthy of attention, they’ll have to figure out how to best present themselves at all times. That, or Peggy will just go around stabbing everyone that gets in her way.

The title of this episode, “The Better Half”, is a subjective truth everyone has to figure out for them self. People love to tell you the worst parts of yourself and disguise it as constructive criticism or some type of diluted harsh reality they think you need to hear. Sometimes they’ll tell us what they like, but that mostly has to do superficially with how we best match them, so, in the end, it’s up to you to be comfortable with who you are and not wait for another to love you the same. They’ll love the You they know. The You you present.

Hopefully you’ve given them the best side.

Crying wolf isolates the pack

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Will Graham listened to the crying wolves from his home and wandered out to the vast fields in hopes of finding a struggling animal attempting to be free from the grips of the pack; instead he found nothing but the ambient sound of howling prey in the distance of his prefrontal cortex ( or wherever sound generates?). The idea being that Will wanted nothing more than to help all the creatures in need before they are taken and tortured. Though, while Will’s tepid psychology is mentioned in Hannibal, it’s not the reason the show exists, and this week proved why Dr. Lecter’s troubles are so much more intriguing than any others.

Will listening to the wolf that called wolf led to Hannibal’s eventual showdown with Tobias, his former patient’s best friend… who also happens to have an affinity for replacing people’s vocal chords with stringed instruments. Both Tobias and Hannibal interlocked in a battle, simultaneously wielding their weapon at one another in an effort to prove who Baltimore’s preeminent serial killer actually is. A man’s gotta have a code, I suppose.

The fact that Hannibal chose to degrade his contemporary instead of valuing his word said plenty about his own moral character—as if it wasn’t in question already. Dr. Lecter, himself cried wolf in an obvious attempt to steer suspicion away from him; but also, it was a heavy-handed power play. I’m not sure if Tobias was trying to align himself at first with Hannibal, or if he was trying to get close enough to kill him. I’m not sure Hannibal wanted to find out either, which is why Tobias’ body thumped on the floor with a deadly blow and his blood is saturating one of Hannibal’s meticulously decorative office rugs.

And yet, as compelling as their tango was, it never generated any true sympathy or emotion from the viewer. No one was ever really in danger, and Tobias wasn’t presented as a formidable foe we could root against. He didn’t even have time to take a bow before he was yanked off the stage since his arc disappeared before it was ever really introduced.

But wasn’t Hannibal curious about Tobias? He told his psychiatrist (Scully) that he was curious about friendship ever since Tobias was introduced into his life. This is the same problem that suffocates Dexter, and the idea that everyone wants to make a connection with another is essential to trying to understand the decisions made in the minds of a psychopath.

In fact, the exchange between Hannibal and his patient about the downfalls and realities of psychopaths was interesting as Hannibal essentially diagnosed himself for us to understand. Pointing out that psychopaths are fully aware of the societal faux pas they engage in, but execute them anyway—a sneak peak of what is seen behind closed eyes. An understanding of responsibilities shirked with the consequences fully illuminated. Psychopaths, Dr. Lecter describes, are not much different than anyone else in that they too want to get away with indulging in their deepest passions.

He explains very clearly the purpose of an individual: “Every person has an intrinsic responsibility for their own life.” He seems to harness his, and expects others to do the same. Be in control of their urges, act when necessary, but also know how to react as well. No doubt Hannibal Lecter is aware what he does isn’t accepted, but when has that ever stopped anyone? As far as he’s concerned, we’re all playing our parts in the symphony of life. His instrument just happens to be in a different tune.

But who can really tell the difference when looking behind closed eyes?

Change is inevitable; embrace is a different story

mad men 6Naturally as change occurs, there’s a struggle to keep ahold of what you know to be right and true. Of course most are open to the idea of change, but actually embracing what you’ve spent so much of your time running away from is intimidating and penetrates a specific type of fear that reduces you to a weak, questioning version of yourself; who am I now? Who do I want to be? It really boils down to those two main thoughts and all the rest can float away and dissipate with the memories of who you once were as you attempt to control the life that now stares you straight in the face.

Don has spent his entire adult life cultivating an image of who he is and how that person then interacts with others while also emanating a robust stroke of confidence that inevitably strikes down anyone that challenges his machismo with weak audacity. He’s destructive to the world around him. He’s spent so much time trying to understand who he truly is , but never willing to acknowledge his flaws (let alone fix them) that he instead distracts from his downfalls by making others question their existence at all. Who are they? Who do they want to be? And does that image even begin to measure up to the man he is? Since the answer is often no, he is able to slither towards another day unscathed and to slip out of his old skin into the next incarnation of himself; he’s morphed multiple times even in the short period we’ve known him, each time progressing further towards the ultimate version of himself he’d always wanted to be—handsome, powerful, rich, clever, desired. His current struggle is amplified because all he knows to be right and true about himself are the lies which he tells. Now, the moment they are questioned and tested, he has nothing to rely on, which makes the fall that much more scary.

Maintaining his cultivated self with the merger of the agencies cluttering the office proved to be increasingly difficult, since everyone with some semblance of power was weaving themselves into the new tapestry except for Don. Most were trying to figure out where their natural place is amongst the confusion—it was like the first day of school where you want to make a good first impression, but still want to be seen for the exceptional student you are. They each brought to the table their old reputations and a new hope for optimism about the future they’re about to create. Then Don walked in. Late. And spent his first day making sure everyone knew he was still in charge of himself, and no one would be ushering him from meeting to meeting.

He firmly declared he works the way he works; thinks his way; talks his way; drinks his way.

In fact, in case you forgot, he drinks the same way he interacts with people, the same way a dog eats food: without a moment for breath or an appreciation for taste. Purely for necessity of life, and anyone interested in following suit is more than welcome aboard, but if you’re not (as Ted learned), you better get out of the way before he consumes you as well. Ted’s lesson led to him slumping further and further below the table in an effort to keep up with Don who gave him a shot, and eventually polished him off knowing he wouldn’t have to condescend to Ted’s ways ever again.

Or so he thought. Don returned to a place where he was in control, used his best asset to his advantage and controlled the threat immediately bearing down. By bringing Ted to his knees (almost literally), he felt the sense of triumph he was used to; except then Ted regained a variation of power Don had no control over when he flew them both to meeting in his own private plane. If there’s one thing Don can’t handle, it’s working from a complete disadvantage. He can be the underdog, but he’s not good at admitting defeat, which is what Ted did in that instance. Don knew he could drink him under ten tables, but could never fly him over the clouds, causing their relationship some inevitable turbulence.

Similarly, as Don reduced Sylvia to an acquiescent plaything, he felt the surge of power running through him while he watched her cling to his every command. He knew this was the best part of himself and wanted to watch as he controlled his entire environment. He wasn’t God, because he wasn’t creating for a purpose. He was more powerful than that because he indulged in sin and expected her to as well; he focused on paring her down to an idea. His idea of what he wanted. Uncaring of what she needed since she already explained she only needed him, he was all that would suffice. Let there be light.

Yet, as is often the case, Don was the purveyor of his own demise since he took her book, leaving her with her thoughts and emotions which turned on her and left her for better. Once the struggle of dominance came to a halt, once he gave Sylvia an order she couldn’t follow, it all came tumbling down. Everything he held true and dear to his core was torched and he had to watch the evaporating glow die in front of him. She told him it was over, which he’d heard before; but then she told him it was time to go home. He wasn’t ready to be shocked into this reality. Jarred into the truth. He broke and stared at honest remains of his former life hoping to struggle a bit longer. Wanting to push beyond the inevitable change Sylvia introduced him to. The gloss of his eyes meant he knew that part of Don Draper was done, or, at the very least, could never be the same again.

Don likes it best when men either slink away because they’re afraid, or saddle up in reverence; whereas, with women, he enforces his will and boasts reason for them to be attracted to him, willing to kowtow to his every whim and please his ambitions—it’s a pretty good gig if you can get it. But now that’s gone, and as he listens to the white noise of his life being spouted from Megan’s teeth, he can’t help but know the end is upon him.

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in this episode, which, culturally speaking, was the other shoe dropping after the deplorable execution of Martin Luther King Jr. Don, who internalized MLK’s death so much, personified the words that accompanied Kennedy’s: “… at this time it was understood that Senator Kennedy was conscience, although it was not understood if he said anything at all…”

Don simply ruminated his change in life, hoping to embrace the struggle and appropriate the unfamiliar. This will be Don’s largest struggle since he can no longer condemn others to his level; they’ve caught up and broke him. He knows the end is near and there needs to be a complete remodel of how he works if he wants to survive. His struggle will involve his entire world as he tries to once again understand his new reality.

He understands this, but whether he’ll speak isn’t yet understood.

This moment matters, but why is important

It’s with sincerity that people struggle for perspective, especially when given the opportunity to remark on anything culturally relevant. The difficulty is trying to understand what the narrative is (or, sometimes, what it should be) as opposed to only dealing with the subject because it has the ability to be perceived as intoxicating.

Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport and there is a clamor to provide reactions. Except most reactions are really nothing more than opinion pieces since they’re done so with the author’s personal stances on the subject used as their baseline: If you’re pro-Gay rights, then you might see this as anything from an enormous deal, to no big deal since you already accept homosexuality; if you’re a sports fan, you might initially wonder just how important it is that Jason Collins came out and not someone that actually moves the dial of the sport, thus degrading the bravery it took from him to make the first step at all. Neither is necessarily wrong, but both only deal with it in a very personal way that masquerades as perspective.

I’m personally guilty of this as well, but I’m hoping to try and understand it for what it is as opposed to using it as a platform to accentuate my agenda.

The problem is I’m not sure we have the capacity anymore for true conviction from an overwhelming majority. Gone are the times where our culture stands behind any one topic for longer than a lifespan of a Twitter trend. No longer do we look for the historical perspective first. It’s only after we make our initial comments and change our profile pictures to prove our dedication does true thought have an opportunity at happening; but by that point we’ve moved on to the next topic deserving of our soapbox. Discussion and discourse are a premium, yet it’s not because people don’t care, it has more to do with the fact people might care too much about too many things to ever give the proper amount of respect and attention to what truly matters to society as a whole and not merely to the self. Barrack Obama running for president in ‘08 might have been the last example of a society building a coherent thought behind immediate access, and that’s only because the power of social media (the medium in which we most loudly access our voices) was harnessed and used to galvanize that thought while it was still in its infancy as an effective tool for communication; not merely a medium that provides the same empty calories as a handful of gummy bears. This isn’t to say Twitter doesn’t serve a purpose because it does, and it’s a powerful one. It just simply hasn’t been figured out yet and instead is being used to specialize even further the world in which you wrap yourself, thus blinding you from ever seeing the eventual conclusion.

In comparison to Obama corralling for the cause, Jason Collins coming out doesn’t move the needle long enough to make it a story that has legs for more than a few days, and we know full well that anything that doesn’t run for a while makes us apathetic and restless as we look for the next thing. Our culture doesn’t provide the opportunity for revolution anymore, so this magnificent, brave news won’t provide for headlines, either. But perhaps that’s a good thing; perhaps making this just circumstance to the moment actually does more good than any grand announcement could. I worry, however, the next player wont receive any attention towards the cause, which is wrong because, especially at the beginning, people need to feel as though what they’re doing is meaningful to the movement as a whole. They can’t simply come out to a void of attention (or even criticism) because that wouldn’t create an authentic reaction. Nor would it properly evaluate the moment. Eventually it won’t be a thing to the point where someone wont even have to “come out” because their sexual reality wont be attached to their identity as a basketball player, but until then there needs to be an appropriate level of gratitude, awareness, and acknowledgement on our way to cultural acceptance as opposed to ere tolerance.

Will the impact of the moment actually register—we might be further along in the reach for equality than we think—or will we simply consume this moment without taking into account its intricacies and dilute ourselves because we honestly don’t care. Do we not react because we’re apathetic and unwilling to frame the context of the event, or does it truly not matter considering where we are as a nation?

What Jason Collins did was important for so many reasons, not the least of which have to do with testing whether or not we know how to deal with news anymore that isn’t accompanied with a Pixar animation budget. It was important because it’s going to test our humanity as we make sure the proper amount of coverage and thought is given instead of it flittering by before is rests as a static truth. His news can’t dissipate because we know public perception isn’t there yet. However, it also shouldn’t expand simply because it is important. We need to find the appropriate reactions relative to the time and temperature of our culture or else we’re destined to deal with everything in a vacuum and then allow it to inconspicuously float away.

However we digest the information, Jason Collins has paved the way for the next athlete, and they will benefit from the reality that public awareness will have been diffused to a point where their declaration simply becomes a fact rather than an undertaking. Our society will have already dealt with that narrative and need something else to make us take notice. In effect, the next could very well be close to the last as we purely appropriate what this means as we evolve the narrative. Perhaps it’s only a story because it’s “the first,” and means little else beyond that? Either way, Collins has taken the attraction away from the announcement so as not to make their orientation a footnote to their name much their height or university. While Collins may no longer be considered simply an athlete but a “gay athlete,” it seems like that moniker will become stale much quicker than any before him.

Though this means appropriating all context—sport, history, gay pride, “straight guilt,” and individual heroism—before jumping to proclaim its importance. As long as it’s done with the right attitude, and isn’t forgotten about because it lost its allure, a story can simmer in the minds of the public before it’s covered in full. We don’t have to have the answers right away to consider it admirable. Instead we can acknowledge the courage and applaud the strength.

With that in mind, all that needs to be said today is that Jason Collins is a brave person. His actions will prove their cultural relevancy, though not because they’re intoxicating, rather, through his sincerity, we realize they’re actually quite sobering.

Blazers/Bucks Preview

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee on CSNNW at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Tuesday night in the “Salma Hayek/Penelope Cruz Look-A-Like Battle Royale!” That is, two teams with almost identical records and seemingly indistinguishable portfolios taking on one another while only their fan bases truly know the differences. Milwaukee is almost literally Portland-East and is differentiated by only 1.5 percentage points in any given category besides their win-loss records in which Milwaukee boasts a healthy two game advantage over Portland.

Though, to be honest, neither team is really hot enough to warrant such a comparison and I should’ve gone “Gary Busey/Nick Nolte” instead.

At 33-32, Milwaukee is almost exactly as good as it is bad. At everything. Only one game above .500 at home (making them exactly .500 on the road), they have no discernable advantage wherever they play. This is mainly due to the fact that they play the same pace and level no matter where they are. Thus making the name of the game “pace.” The Bucks score the second most points in the East, averaging 99.1 per game, and are led by their backcourt trifecta of Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and newly acquired J.J. Redick, who combine for over 50% of those 99 points. They are a guard-oriented team that then relies on Larry Sanders to clean up the messes they may leave on the defensive end. And with his league leading 3.1 blocks per game, he seems happy to oblige.

Not to be discounted beyond their three offensive mainstays, Milwaukee also boasts Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy, both of whom shoot above 40% from three and only add to the dynamic beyond the arc Portland needs to remain aware of. Though Dunleavy could probably be playing with the moniker “Artist Formally Known As” at this point, he still contributes enough to remain a threat; while Ilyasova, his fifth year in the league, has proven himself to be a consistent offensive weapon in his own right. In fact, the last time these two teams met, Ilyasova scored 27 points in twenty-six minutes, including 3-3 from beyond the arc. That, paired with Brandon Jennings unloading for 30 points and eight assists, were enough to essentially wrap the game up in the first half as Milwaukee eventually went on to a 110-104 victory in January at the Rose Garden.

Milwaukee also rebounds at a fairly high clip, pulling in 43.6 rebounds per game, which is good for fifth in the league. Including over twelve offensive rebounds per game; though most of those come from the active hands of Sanders and Ilyasova, whom Portland should be keeping an eye on anyway, don’t sleep on the lumbering Samuel Dalembert since he’s good two of those twelve boards himself.

This obviously means Portland needs to play good defense to win. I know the gravity of this statement holds about as much weight as saying “puppies are cute,” but considering how quickly the Bucks like to score, the ability to check your man in the open court becomes essential. Milwaukee nets almost 40% of their points within the first ten seconds of the shot clock, while the percentages go down considerably from there. Conversely, the Blazers give up over one-third of their opponent’s points in those first ten seconds of possession, so their consistency on defense will prove paramount early with each trip down the floor.

That being said, while the Bucks are 20-9 when they score 100 or more, and score more than any other Eastern Conference team not named the Heat, they are also the only Eastern playoff team to give up more than 97 points per game—and they give up over 100—so they will almost definitely give Portland an opportunity to stay in the game. And considering Portland is 18-9 when scoring over 100 themselves, this could bode well for the Blazers on the road.

(… Though one of those losses did come from Milwaukee. Well shoot…)

Unlike the Trail Blazers, the Bucks aren’t really scrapping too hard to remain in the playoff conversation since making the playoffs in the East is about as difficult as finding a celebrity mug shot online. (Sorry, Busey on the brain.) Milwaukee is sitting pretty in the Eastern Conference with an eight game lead over the Toronto Raptors for the final playoff spot. And only three games from the 5th seed as Atlanta, Boston and Chicago all play tug-o-war above them. As long as they maintain the win one-lose one pattern they’ve established throughout the year, they should be just fine and earn themselves a first round ticket to get decimated by the freight train running out of Miami.

Portland, on the other hand, doesn’t have the luxury of other teams beating themselves up above them and needs to win in order to maintain their shot at the playoffs. Examining the five game road trip, there is, most likely, a built-in loss against the Thunder waiting at the end, so the Blazers need to take care of the games they can beforehand. And if Portland can handle Milwaukee’s guards, make them move the ball around and eat up clock when they’d rather be gunning from downtown, and put a body on someone to rebound, then the Blazers have the opportunity to separate themselves from their Eastern doppelgänger and perhaps Cruz to victory.

Bates Motel Pilot

“Evil is scary when it’s pure. When there’s no motive, no reason, nor any possible redemption for what it is we’re afraid of. It’s difficult to predict our reactions to the temperament of something that strikes without provocation. When something is merely acting on instinct, and that instinct is to claw at the living…” CONTINUE READING

Eric Maynor: I could’ve told you that

While “I used to trade for Eric Maynor on the versions of NBA Live I bought” isn’t necessarily life imitating art, it is the exact type of trade that makes delusional common-folk like myself think they have a viable future as an NBA general manager.

Like everyone, I sit and bullshit with friends about what the Blazers should do, where there are currently, and try and project the trajectory of the franchise I’ve grown up with and love like a family member I actually want to sit next to at Thanksgiving.

The other day in fact, with the trade deadline nearing, a friend and I were trying to go through and answer exactly how many NBA players we actually have on our roster and came up with only five. Our starting five. We agreed that Myers Leonard and Joel Freeman could prove their legitimacy over time, and that we want Victor Claver to make it, but after that we were pretty much of the understanding that the team was paltry overall and really needed to simply add more NBA players. Players you could count on being in the league, and making real differences for teams, more than three years from now. On Thursday, Portland did just that with the acquisition of Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Maynor, while he’s been recovering from a torn ACL, was, if not a jewel, at least a really shiny bit of gold, in OKC’s Western Conference crown when healthy. A professional point guard with proven abilities to maintain a game while your starter rests, which, we know, is a necessary development with the amount of minutes Damian Lillard has already logged in his spectacular rookie season.

It would be nice to say Portland was able to do this without giving up too much in return, but as mentioned earlier, there wasn’t much to give up at all. So, in the end, it’s just a good thing Portland added some talent and it only cost them a trade exception they obviously weren’t going to use anyway as part of a larger deal.

Also nice to hear is Blazers general manager Neil Olshey talking about keeping Maynor on past this season, or at least hoping to.

The only thing anyone truly agreed upon in regards to what the Blazers needed at the trade deadline was to make their bench better. And they did that.

As a fellow GM, I approve.