Well, it’s official, the Portland Trail Blazers were swept four games to none in the first round of the western conference playoffs. While I didn’t want this to happen the pessimist in me sort of expected this exact outcome. Understand that I am a SEATTLE MARINERS fan. That is right ladies and gents, a true to the blue, unabashedly unashamed Seattle Mariners fan. That means that I can handle pain like NO OTHER. Heck, all I have to say is that I am a Mariners fan in a bar and the toughest person gets up and gives me their seat (not true at all).
But the reason I bring this fact up is to point out that when it comes to pessimism and sports I am the king. I think the Seahawks will have a mediocre season at best. The Mariners will miss the playoffs yet again, and the football programs at OSU and UO will be mired in mediocrity for the foreseeable future.
So, as you can validate my pessimism credentials, you now know that I am a full-fledged card carrying member.
Now, I don’t come off half-cocked here. I make my statements based on a keen eye and a finely tuned ear that I have developed while watching sports on my couch, eating potato chips and chugging cheaply made mass produced fluid that some call beer.
The Blazers failure has been pretty straight forward. The season started with high hopes and enough promise to develop as the season progressed, ultimately the playoffs were never in question. The only two questions were: Where are they going to end up seeded? And, how will the post season play out for them. The question now that it is over is how? Unfortunately, I have an answer, but it isn’t an answer that many a Rip City faithful wants to hear. It is the same reason they failed to make a move at the deadline. DEPTH!!!! Let me say that again, DEPTH.
With that being said, let us break down exactly what each player brings to the team from a fan/pessimists eyes.
Damian Lillard- Carries the team, when he goes cold the team is horrible. He always uses the words “team” and “us” but let us face it, the guy is the team and the face of the franchise. But he is often times the one responsible for carrying the load.
C.J. McCollum- Lillard number two who doesn’t dunk.
Shabazz Napier- Tries to be Lillard with his minutes, fails.
Pat Connaughton- Can occasionally be successful with his outside shot. Occasionally, is of course being very generous with that word.
Wade Baldwin- Another poor draft choice by Portland.
C.J. Wilcox- Who?
Al-Farouq Aminu- Best defender on the team, still a mediocre defender at best. Pretty self-explanatory for the Blazers as a whole.
Ed Davis- A walking, less impressive version of Greg Oden
Maurice Harkless- Potential to be an average NBA player
Jake Layman- All I can come up with is the wordless phrase “Phhhhhhhh” “Meh” would be giving him too much credit.
Caleb Swanigan- He’s only a rookie, I can’t bash him yet.
Evan Turner- If you describe him in as many words as you want. You will get “Meh”
Jusuf Nurkic- “The Bosnian Beast” Pretends to be Sabonis, he isn’t.
Georgios Papagiannis- His last name sounds similar to the first name of a very good Greek player, maybe he will be just as good.
Zach Collins- He’s a rookie, he went to Gonzaga. He has to be good right? Right?
Meyers Leonard- He was drafted where!? He gets paid how much!? He is a garbage time player at best!? Move over Bowie over Jordan, Barkley, Stockton etc. This is the worst draft pick of ALL TIME!
Now, the season has come and gone. The dreams of holding up the trophy and bringing a championship back to PDX are once again dashed. Instead of playoff glory, the team heads into summer break hanging their heads. The dreams of fans are dashed, and now it is time to point the blame finger at something.
Ultimately the team lacks young talent with promise. Beyond all of the above, the real problem is that said young players lack basketball I.Q. At the end of the day, the I.Q. is what defines an average player from a great player.
The team has a lot of players that are out of contract this offseason, and the real question ought to be, “Why should we re-sign them?” I don’t see any benefit, and frankly, they need to do a major roster overhaul. Possibly getting rid of anyone not named Damian Lillard and Zach Collins.
There is no “magic bullet” to fix the blazers woes, except a major overhaul. In the event that they go this route. Any result that includes the playoffs would be a step up from where the team is out now.