Welcome back to the “Ask A Blogger” series. Last week we started it off by talking to Sean Highkin of USA Today. This week we have a few more interviews lined up as we look to make this a permanent feature on the site.
Today are joined by Dane Carbaugh of AYoungSabonis.com, Blazers Edge, and the SB Nation NBA Newsdesk. Dane is one of the hardest workers out there, and you should definitely be following him on Twitter (@danecarbaugh), where you’ll find him blessing us with numerous .gifs and videos.
1. In just a few sentences, can you tell us who you write for/what your job is?
I write for the SB Nation NBA newsdesk, BlazersEdge (the SB Nation Portland Trail Blazers site) and my own Blazers site, called AYoungSabonis.com. At SB Nation my job consists of game coverage, previews, news and analysis. I work with a great set of editors that bring the NBA’s best stories out. For Blazersedge I do video analysis on the team in the form of playbook breakdowns. It’s really great that I get to simplify the game for people who might not be as technically involved as I am. My site is similar items, and really attacks coverage of the Blazers from a breakdown perspective.
2. How did you first get interested in/started with writing about basketball?
I wandered onto basketball twitter (how, I have no idea) and got the nerve to apply to one of the larger sites and another smaller one during the lockout summer. I’ve done a few things off-and-on and now I have the sites listed above that really carry my content well.
3. How does a normal day of blogging go for you?
It starts with scanning for news and getting into the items that people wrote the day before. I have a few feeds setup for the Trail Blazers and use those to look at news. If something strikes me, I’ll move with that. If not, I’ll look at the upcoming schedule and start to measure out my posts for the coming week. I use Synergy for my video and spend a large portion of my day watching film. Honestly, a lot of my work revolves around scouting other teams, looking at their tendencies, and trying to pick out patterns that might emerge when they play the Blazers. Then I move forward with a breakdown. I get a little break before the games start, and then it’s all coverage on Twitter and post-game reaction.
4. Switching to basketball things, what is one low-key thing in the league (player, team, set, etc.) that you really like watching right now that casual fans may not know about?
I’ll stick to a player I have a great amount of respect for in Robin Lopez. He really got this bad rap when he was in Phoenix but the last two years — last season with New Orleans, this year with Portland — have really proven that he’s a starting center. He does so many of the dirty things without playing ugly or boring. The next time you watch a Blazers game, just watch Lopez and no one else for a quarter and you’ll have learned a lot about all the hard work away from the ball that goes into a possession, whether it’s offense or defense. That’s my favorite kind of player to watch.
5. Briefly, what has been the biggest reason for the Blazers’ success this season?
See above. Lopez does so much to open up things for Portland on both sides of the ball. He is great at altering shots and picking up rotations on defense, a huge upgrade from last year. His ability to take on the muscle in the middle lets LaMarcus Aldridge save his energy for the offensive side of the ball, where he’s flourished. The personnell is the same, they can all shoot three balls. The Blazers offense has a lot of similarities to last year, although there are a lot of new wrinkles. But Lopez does everything, whether it’s sealing off backside defenders on the help or catching hard-to-reach passes on the pick-and-roll. He’s the new starter for the Blazers and a clear reason why they have dominated so many teams this year.
Thanks again to Dane for participating. Go help his #brand by following him on Twitter if you haven’t done so already: @danecarbaugh.