Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blazers-How bad will it get?

That is the question I asked before the season, before the brief glimmer of hope when they reached .500 and were in first place. Here is all you need to know:

They are last in the league in point differential: -10.53. There are only three teams with a point differential of more than 5 ppg, and the next lowest to Portland is Atlanta at 9.00. What does this mean? In a league where the majority of the games are decided by single digits, the Blazers are getting blown out more often that not.

Right now, without Darius Miles, they are not a competitive team. They will continue to not be competitive until he comes back. Even then, they won't be good enough to compete on a nightly basis with the majority of the league, not just the upper echelon, but the majority of the league. The winning formula in the NBA is simple: your elite players must carry the offensive load. The problem Portland has is they only have one semi-elite player, Zach Randolph. Darius could be one, if healthy, and if he wants to be, but he isn't healthy and has never appeared to be that guy.

Bottom line: it will get far worse before it gets better. Better doesn't come until.......well I would say next year, but how will they get better? They will not have salary cap room next year, or really ever. That is exactly what John Nash told a small group of us media members before training camp during a Collective Bargaining Agreement information session. So to get better, the young players must improve and that is a long and slow process.

More later.....
Thank you and goodbye...


At 11:35 PM, Blogger BuddyJay said...

What can I say? Told ya so is too mean to all the folks pumped up in the FIRST WEEK OF THE SEASON.

So let's focus on where to go from here and how we got here.

First, managament is not the only group to blame for this poor building strategy. We MUST include Paul Allen in the discussion. Paul was said to be behind the D Miles, Randolph, and Ratlif signings with at least approval. These signings put the Blazers exactly where they were years ago with cap and flexability problems and players that lacked the motivation to play hard every day and push the limits of their talents.

So then Paul wanted to be conservative with his business. No more losses, no more luxury tax! Even though this is just a toy, the bleeding must stop, that was the rhetoric. However, the signings of the crappy three went completely against this thought process.

So now that the writing is on the wall:
1. D Miles does not care about pushing his talent, or consistent effort.
2. Ratliff is a shot blocker with below average offensive and rebounding skills.
3. Z Randolph is lost in the team concept, and falls far short of being a franchise player.

Paul must pay his way out of bad decisions. This team must get better or the embarrassment of 45 point losses will continue. Maybe the team is an extension of the owner. Maybe he doesn't care about the 45 point loss the other night. I don't think so.

Work out a plan where you get rid of some mistakes and take on a modest luxury tax hit. Get back to the playoffs so the culture of losing doesn't ruin another coach.

I just want all to realize that this was possible before this season. They chose to roll with this team. Roling the dice on folks like D Miles will get you craps every time.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger BuddyJay said...

I just wanted to thank John Canzano for dedicating his radio show to me today. I never mind coming up with topics for the media through my telephone calls or blog posts.


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