Remember back when you were in school how awesome summer break was? We got to sleep in, go on vacation, and we never had homework. Summer was a time that each of our realities got completely shifted. All of a sudden, we believed that the next year in school, we were going to get straight A’s and be the most popular kid.
That shift in reality continues on in the lives of sports fans everywhere. The offseason is a breeding ground for these fantasy-land type thoughts. Fans are eternal optimists. Even in depressed sporting markets, during the offseason the worst team in the league and the best team in the league have the same record.
Portland’s bi-polar relationship with the Trail Blazers is at a high right now. People around town are all getting extremely anxious to see this new look team step on the court in October when the regular season starts in Phoenix.
Talking to Blazer fans around town, there is a general sense of extreme optimism surrounding the team and the new additions of CJ McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright, Robin Lopez and the newest addition, Mo Williams. There is a common belief that the team will make the playoffs. It’s beyond an expectation for most; they see it as a given.
Bloated expectations lead to grueling disappointment and a bitter fan base. We’ve seen it here in Portland before and I hope it isn’t coming again in the near future.
Yes, the Blazers have improved, especially the bench but a lot of the other teams in the Western Conference have as well. There will be stiff competition for the number 8 seed in the West, let alone be competitive in the postseason.
I don’t want to sound like a downer and rag on this team, especially after a very productive (albeit unorthodox) offseason so far. My main point is that every team in the league wants to get better and climbing multiple spots to make the playoffs in the toughest conference in the sport is no overnight task. I am very optimistic on where this team is going. I trust Neil Olshey and his direction for this franchise; I am just trying to keep a level head in a city full of lofty expectations.
October 30th in Phoenix, we will begin to see truly how productive this offseason was and if the team has the ability to live up to the expectations set by the ultra-loyal, enthusiastic fan base here in Portland.