Of all the sports teams that haven’t won anything in a while but have been competitive over the years and had disappointing years this year are the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, who finished their regular seasons at 27-55 and 7-10, respectively and for different reasons. The one thing they have in common is they both have a main star but what happened to those stars in the offseason, at least from the looks of things, are completely opposite. Damian Lillard appears to be committed to staying with Portland in the long term, while former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson got traded to the Denver Broncos in the team’s offseason. The rest of the article will focus on why each team generally had a disappointing season, concluded by which one had the worst.
Portland Trail Blazers
One of the Trail Blazers’ biggest failures this season was their performance in the rebounding department which is one department any basketball fan will know that needs to be had if you plan on winning a lot of games. Only two players actually averaged more than eight rebounds a game in Drew Eubanks, who etched 8.5 rebounds, along with their center Jusuf Nurkic who snatched 11.1 rebounds per game.
Two things that may be worth noting about the Trail Blazers, which may also be a critical factor in why they didn’t win a lot of games, are their youth, injuries, and sickness. The main part about the sickness issue is the end of December, going into January, the Blazers had ten players enter various Covid Protocols, which disabled them from being able to play. As a matter of fact, only one player (Ben McLemore) played more than 60 games for the Blazers this year, and he played 64. As for the roster itself, only three players on the Blazers are over the age of 30 in Joe Ingles (34) and Eric Bledsoe (32), and Damian Lillard (31). So one may ask, who cares about age?
Age in many cases also means that over the years, there is a lot more maturity in players. They are generally much more likely to put in the extra work, plus in a lot of cases, they also have a much better time in terms of being able to cope with playing big games. After all, basketball, just like any other sport, is much more mental than it is physical, and you have to be able to act and think with clarity in front of much bigger crowds than you do in college basketball, so that likely played a factor as well in how the Trail Blazers season panned out. Having more experience at the end of the season would have been especially helpful in coming through in the clutch as they finished up their season in a disastrous fashion as they lost 21 of their last 23 games. On a much lesser scale, the Seahawks did the same thing, finishing 2-3 in their last five games. Now speaking of the Seahawks, here is a synopsis of what went wrong with them.
In the last couple of years, there is no question that there have been some changes of the guards in Seattle. The two biggest names that have left the Legion of Boom since their infamous 2014 Super Bowl versus the New England Patriots were Richard Sherman when he was released after the 2017 season, and Marshawn Lynch, who retired at the end of the 2016 season. Fast forward five years, and now Russell Wilson will be in Denver next year. The actual reason the Seahawks had a disappointing season is much more challenging to point to than the Trail Blazers.
In the NFL, in a sense, it almost feels like a changing of the guard. Tom Brady retired then unretired. Aaron Rodgers almost left Seattle, Matt Ryan went to Indianapolis, and for the purpose of this article, more importantly, Russell Wilson went from Seattle to Denver. So enough about Seattle’s future; what went wrong this past season for them, you might ask? After all, you did have a quarterback who fits the “new” style of offense in terms of being agile and able to move around the pocket and two super speedy receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockette. Unfortunately, Lockette is one of the players who got COVID and had to sit out a few weeks before being able to return to the team.
One of the things that one can point to is their tough schedule. Of the ten teams that played, five had nine wins or more. In fact, in the ten games they lost, those teams had a combined record of 117-104 (keep in mind they played some of those teams twice if you’re wondering why that number doesn’t add up to 170).
One thing you definitely can’t blame Seattle’s poor season on is COVID and other various types of injuries, as they were in the single digits for pretty much the whole season in terms of players getting infected with COVID, and their other players did stay in tack for the rest of the season. With all that being said, the Seattle Seahawks might just be at a point where they have to rebuild most of their culture and team, as it seems most teams in the NFL have to do nowadays.
So now that both teams have been discussed, which one is the bigger disappointment? I would have to go with the Trail Blazers. Why? First off, their actual winning percentage was much worse. The Seahawks at least got close to .500 and played a lot of the more competitive teams closer, plus they were able to keep the majority of their stars healthy for most of the season.