The Portland Trail Blazers Have Found Themselves in Uncharted Territory.
The Blazers are in a very deep hole. Based on last year’s performance, this year pointed towards taking the next step forward and winning with their current core. Unfortunately, things haven’t panned out as Neil Olshey and Paul Allen hoped.
They find themselves with one of the richest payrolls in the NBA and unquestionably the league’s worst defense. In the public’s eye, the Blazers have until about early-mid January to start turning their season around (based on last seasons revival). If they can’t, this team could be one of the biggest disappointments in recent Blazer memory.
The Blazers can’t afford to try to get anyone in free agency this year. They are currently on pace for a mid level draft slot based on their record. And most importantly, the trade market doesn’t seem to be interested in any of the Blazers players besides C.J. McCollum. For lack for a better term, Portland is virtually stuck with what they have.
Unless Olshey can pull a rabbit out of his hat by the trade deadline, it looks like this roster is here to stay. Sure there is still a chance that this team can figure out their problems and put together a solid season. But with the Warriors looking like a dynasty that could last for four or five years, Portland might be caught in a storm that they can’t escape.
It’s especially frustrating when our team was supposed to be the next Warriors. We have the shooting capability. Mason Plumlee, Maurice Harkless and Al Farouq-Aminu can flash signs of versatility. And our coach knows his stuff. But the Warriors have an incredible defense, which gets overshadowed in the media, but is arguably the secret to their success.
Is Three Months Enough Time to Throw it All Away and Start from Scratch?
Dec 17, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Evan Turner (1) drives in against Golden State Warriors forward David West (3) during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
I want to preach hope here but that door is closing. Our players can speak all they want about culture change and focusing on defense, but all signs point towards a stand still.
A change to think about would be to virtually let go of a player in a lopsided trade. A trade down if you will. The media will of course grade it horribly. Everyone will think that we’re just tanking for draft picks. But a disappointing season that has Portland limping into the 8th spot of the playoffs wasn’t what we had in mind.
Maybe there are three rookies somewhere that can’t score but can play some frantic defense. I suggest something like that because we need the hunger back. We need the #them mentality back. Because if we don’t change, Damian Lillard and McCollum, two of the most exciting players in basketball, will waste their talents in Portland and count down the days towards free agency.