Cliff Gardner

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No News in Good News?

This week began with me exhausted, walking into my room after a long weekend at the OSU tournament, to find Jessica sitting on my bed reading. She had flown across the country to surprise me by moving in, and it was one of the best moments of my life. YAY!

Anyway, we went to the Blazer game last night against the Grizzlies and Rip City improved to 4-0 in games that I watch in person, although operation "give Thomas a heart attack" was in full force as we almost blew a home game to an inferior team, again. So far I've seen the Blazers KILL the Heat with David, eek out wins against the Bucks and Grizz with Jess, and pull away late against the Wizards with Rebecca. Maybe one of these days I'll go see the boys play against a contender.

The big news is no news--Kevin Pritchard didn't make a move at the trade deadline beyond a salary cap/trade exception move for Michael Ruffin (WHO?) which will likely just result in us getting another pick in what's looking like a pretty solid 2009 draft class. I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was really hoping for a deal--by all accounts, the Blazers could have gotten Richard Jefferson, Caron Butler or Gerald Wallace (not to mention Vince Carter, who would have MURDERED our chemistry, more below) without touching anyone in our big three. All three of those guys would have been upgrades at the small forward position and would have potentially pushed us to the 2nd round or better this year.

However, there are several reasons why I'm behind this "no-move" move:

First, there's reason to think that with the current economic conditions in the league, if this many teams are this desperate to unload their guys now, it will probably get even better (or worse, depending on your perspective) this Summer. That means the Blazers can get better guys, or at least the same guys for less (imagine Butler but without touching anyone in our top SIX? It could happen.), if we just wait a few months and then unleash Holy hell on the league next year, regardless of how the rest of the season plays out.

Second, there's no reason to believe this team can't get home-court and advance a round this season, as currently assembled. The Blazers haven't had their best guys on the court a whole lot this year. Oden's missed a lot of games, Blake went down for an extended stretch, and B-Roy even was out for a handful, not to mention that our best perimeter defender and reliable three-point threat, Martell Webster, has played about 2 games this year. If we get everyone healthy at the same time, and if Nate figures out how to use Bayliss well off the bench, the Blazers are a good team. Add to that the fact that our schedule is slightly better than the rest of the West, and the recent stumbles of New Orleans (trying to unload TC), Houston (T-Mac out for the year) and San Antonio (Manu's out for 2-3 weeks), and there's no reason to think that the future can't be now.

Third, everyone just needs to trust that Kevin Pritchard knows what he's doing. Like, seriously. I remember when everyone hated on our front office when we made all those deals in the 2006 NBA draft. Bill Simmons compared KP to a drunken college kid trying to assemble an NBA Live team a 2 in the morning. BUT, look at how it's turned out: we got Roy and Aldridge out of that draft and we're the 4 seed in the West at the all-star break three years later. He's a good GM. This will be ok. Everyone just needs to relax.

Fourth, chemistry can't be over-rated. This really matters in the NBA, more than in any other sport (with possible exception of QB to WR in football). Last night when Darius Miles was introduced, I was booing so loudly that my tonsils hit him in the face. You know what? He deserved it, but really what I, what WE--the whole crowd was with me on this--were really booing was a concept. AND IDEA. The idea that we can just overpay for selfish assholes and everything will be ok. It won't. Rider, Z-Bo, even Damon Stoudamire, were right there with Miles on the Blazers' wall of shame, and I'm glad to be done with them--I think we all are. Teams that don't have guys like that tend to over-achieve. Look at those Magic and Rockets teams from the mid-90's, or even Dikembe Mutumbo's Denver team. It's worth it to cheer for the nice guys because they'll do better, and even if they don't, you still feel better about yourself in the morning. We have one of those rosters now, and I want to see how far we can go without throwing in another dude after we've spent the last three years learning how to play together.

Bottom line: I'm trusting KP on this one, and I think the rest of Portland should to.


  • I just can't get past the fact that you spelled Bayless' name wrong. So by that margin, your entire blog is discounted. Oh wait, I didn't mean to channel the northwest judges.

    Except for the KP part. Blazer fans know he was supposed to be in charge since the beginning. Paul-I-Have-Too-Much-Money-For-My-Own-Good-Allen should keep him forever.

    By Blogger J.Co, at 8:18 PM  

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