NeilOlshey

Time For Portland Trail Blazer Fans To Be General Managers

The sports landscape has been completely transformed by the prominence of fantasy sports. I have written about it before and I fully believe that it is a great thing for sports. The National Football League has greatly benefited from the popularity of gambling and fantasy sports. All factors considered, the NFL is the most popular sports league in the country, by far.

However, there are some downfalls to fantasy sports, specifically the expectation level of fans. Anybody can sit behind a computer and draft a fantasy roster for whatever sport it might be. That team may win their league and make them a little bit of money. Good for them. But then a transformation happens; they suddenly think they are a genius and the next GM of their favorite team.

We are in that time of year that fans instantly become armchair GMs. The Portland Trail Blazers have finished their season and are once again in the lottery. That is disappointing for fans but the trajectory of this young team behind Damian Lillard is positive. Fans everywhere are now giving their theories, solutions and trades that will instantly turn this team into a title contender. Let me put it in lame man’s terms for all the readers: you are not smarter, more qualified or more charismatic than Neil Olshey. Your speculations, raised expectations and rumors will only negatively affect your enjoyment as a fan.

OregonLive.com is running a daily chat through Twitter called #UBGM (You Be General Manager). Everybody with a Twitter handle can give their opinion on what to do with each player on the roster and who they should bring in. From my exploration I have found that this quickly turns into fantasyland for Blazer fans.

There is no hiding that the Blazers are going after a big man this offseason. Whether that be through a trade or the free-agent market, no one knows yet. But the rumors are already picking up steam for the major names out there. Dwight Howard. Pau Gasol. Joakim Noah. Anderson Varejao. Kevin Love. Yes, everyone would love a dominant, all-star caliber center on this roster. Realistically though, I am just not sure that this team has the resources of assets to bring one of those guys in.

After a summer full of these types of talks and heightened expectations, it will be disappointing for those fans when the Blazers come out with Meyers Leonard, Chris Kaman, Cody Zeller or Marcin Gortat as the starting center of this team.

Depending on what reality has in store for this team this summer, they may still be a year away from being a contender. As Olshey continues to build a young roster, the coaching staff will continue to develop the young players. As they mature more with time, this could be a lot of fun to watch.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and this Blazers roster won’t be built in one offseason. Bringing in a big name center would be huge and I am in no way against it; I am just saying that I am trying to keep my expectations in check and realize that this is a very competitive, realistic league, not a fantasy team that I am drafting with some friends.

Garrett Thornton is on Twitter. Follow him at @PortlandGarrett

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