Eventful Summer Kicks Off
By mikebarrett Posted in: 2011draft
It's not really a bold prediction to say that it's going to be an eventful summer for the Portland Trail Blazers. Draft time usually is, as you know, and there are so many other things to keep our eyes on.
There's the big, big stuff, as in the labor situation, but I'm not going near that one. Not that I could offer a decent prediction, even if I were allowed to comment on it.
I know I've been away from the blog for a few weeks, and that's usually been my pattern the last few years. Nice to step back a bit following the conclusion of the season. I do appreciate that some of you continue to comment and generate discussion, despite the fact that I've been taking time away.
Time to get back at it, as draft time is almost here, and other huge issues hang in the balance.
First of all, I'm curious about how you all feel about the way the NBA Finals ended up. We should be beyond moral victories, but did you at least feel a little better about bowing in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champs? Is it embracing a loser's mentality to think that way? I can't really decide.
Despite going down in the first round to Dallas, there were some positives to take from it even right after it happened. But, the feeling was different then (and wow, does that seem like a long time ago, or what?). It was more about us then. After watching Dallas chew up the Lakers, I had more of a feeling that it was a huge missed opportunity, and that we would have had a very good chance against the Lakers. But now, seeing what Dallas ultimately accomplished, my feeling is more about the Mavs and less about us. Does that make any sense at all?
I suppose you can take some pride in playing them as tough as the Trail Blazers did. Jason Terry had a tweet during the early part of the Finals that basically said Portland offered them "by far" the biggest defensive challenge of any of the teams they faced in the playoffs. That was nice, but it didn't do much to ease the pain of having the offseason begin earlier than we wanted.
In the end, the feeling that's now left is that I'm not sure we're quite as far away from being an elite team as maybe we think. Despite the fact that it took a huge comeback in game four to force that first-round series to six games, it still felt like if a couple of things would have gone differently, the Blazers could have won that series. Perhaps that's a stretch.
A lot has happened since then, as you know.
There's the whole general manager thing. I didn't offer much comment immediately after that because I didn't really know how to feel. Like everyone else around here, I liked Rich Cho and felt badly for him. But, now that he's landed on his feet, getting the GM job in Charlotte, it feels better. And, honestly, this probably felt less like a big loss inside the organization. I only say that because despite what was written locally and nationally, there was never the feeling of "chaos" inside our world. The management team that's in place has been here, has a great track record, and has things very much under control. I'm a huge, huge, Chad Buchanan fan. Believe me, we're in very good hands. That'll be the case if he ultimately gets the job or not. He's not going anywhere, and has great support around him.
Do you have a great read or great feeling about this upcoming draft? I only ask that because, honestly, I don't. I know quite a bit about a few guys, but don't know much about the bulk of the rest of the first round. It's been called a very weak draft, and I suppose I tend to at least partly agree with that. Perhaps it's just because there seems to be a lot of balance. Outside of a few locks, it seems like this big group of pretty good players.
I do know this, the last few years before the draft, when I've wanted to know exactly what to watch, or who to watch in the first round, I've asked one guy- Chad Buchanan. I've usually done my prep and research, and then have walked over to Chad's house and have sat at his kitchen table and we go down the list name by name. I'm not sure, with his new role, that I'll have that chance again, but I hope to. Most of the guys in this draft he's watched develop for years, and knows everything about them.
We'll be all over the draft, as always, and will be hosting a special edition of Trail Blazers Courtside on draft night. We'll start our show at 4:30, and will stay on as long as we have to.
I'll be back with more very soon. Draft day has always been an exciting day in Blazerland, and there's no reason to think it won't be again.
Then, there are the other issues to deal with. Some think because of the labor situation there will actually be more player movement than usual, leading up to June 30th. Some think there will be less. Then, there's the situation with Andre's contract. Then, there's Greg's situation. If you have opinions on either, or anything else, let it fly.
By the way, I've had a lot of people ask me about Mr. Rice. He's got a pair of new artificial knees and is doing great. He was back on Courtside this week, and will be back at it on draft night.