Five Reasons Not to Worry if You’re a Blazer Fan
The last 10 games have been rough for the Blazers. If ever a team needed the All-Star break it is the Blazers. But what the last 10 games have done is serve as a great reminder how much work this team still has in front of it. All NBA teams have their peaks and valleys with the Blazers currently mired in a valley. The reality is the Blazers are a young team and the last ten games have allowed the Blazers brass along with the fans to take a long, hard, honest look at this team and realize 1.) This team has really improved this season and 2.) If we want to make the playoffs we need to get better. For you legions of Blazer faithful below are five reason that even as we rack up a few losses you should fear not for the future of the Blazers.
The Blazers’ biggest enemy is the most obvious, its youth. Although at times this season the Blazers have executed with veteran precision, many other times the Blazers have been unable to maintain this level of play. The NBA season is long and it takes skill and luck to stay on top. Thankfully, the Blazers have evolved from a team that many times over the last few seasons did not have the talent to compete into a team that on any given night can hang with the big boys (as seen during the win streak). With youth, hope springs eternal.
Second weakness that has been exploited over the last 10 games is our soft presence down low. Like last year’s team, opponents are taking the Blazers to the hole game after game and for the most part we can’t stop them. But as is the Blazers’ luck, this team has remedy for this illness, Greg Oden. Even as a rookie GO is going to completely change how teams run sets against the Blazers. In the mean time, teams have learned this Blazers team Achilles’ heel is in the middle.
As today’s great article in the Oregonian points out, Aldridge is having an up and down second year. What the article did not address is that in reality LA is still a rookie. Looking at LA’s numbers one often forgets that based upon games played Aldridge is just about finishing his rookie season. Last year Aldridge played less than half a season due to various injuries. Any rookie that puts up 17 points and 7 rebounds a night would be a serious contender for rookie of the year, let alone one of the emerging stars in the NBA. Coupled with his work ethic and commitment to perfection, LA’s future looks so bight he might want to get some Ray Bans.
As in this team is actually playing some this year. As pointed out earlier, the middle is often weak but the perimeter defense has been quite the surprise this year. With the addition of James Jones and a commitment from Blake, Roy and Jack this year, Blazers have found good mileage out of the zone defense. With many NBA teams lacking the ability to shoot the ball, the Blazers’ ability to play perimeter defense will continue to pay dividends.
It is always nice to have one of the richest men in the world as your owner. Allen’s love of basketball and the Blazers has been rekindled with the likes of Roy, Oden and Aldridge; funny how winning has this effect. With a proven winner as GM in Kevin Pritchard and the roster purged of thugs (aside from Miles), Allen will likely be willing to open up the pocket book and start spending. The free wheeling, no concern for character days are over, but it takes money to make a winner and now that Mr. Allen is getting a great return on his investments, don’t be surprised to see the Blazers go over the cap to bring in some missing pieces.