With the season over now, and a couple days to relax and unwind, I have had a chance to let the emotion, stress and fatigue of a long season subside. So I figured it was time to do some constructive reflecting. It seems like no matter how dire the situation, if I can take a moment to clear my thoughts I can see clearly and make sense of the world around me, so here goes…
It’s no secret that this team has needs, but it also has some GREAT pieces to start building around as well as the means to address the deficits. So, where do I start? Let’s start at the top, well not the top, but a couple spaces down from that on the org chart.
The GM search. I am probably in the minority here, but I am not pressed for this position to be filled. I have the utmost confidence in the personnel currently in place and know they will make it work until someone is put in place. Whether it be someone from the outside or someone from within doesn’t matter to me as long as we know there are protocols in place to make decisions, and there are, made apparent by the trade deadline moves this team was able to pull off. And while I’m on the subject, I am not a fan of the term “Acting” general manager when referring to Chad Buchanan! Not because I necessarily want Chad to get the job, not that I don’t, but it implies he was “trying” to be a general manager when in actuality he, along with the support of his staff, was doing it! And doing it well I might add. It’s just an industry term I don’t understand. Come to think of it, I hated hearing Kaleb Canales being referred to as the “interim” head coach. Aren’t ALL coaches interim? There are certain situations where the word “interim” is appropriate, but I’m not sure coaching is one simply because most, if not ALL coaches are interim. They are temporary fixtures, nothing permanent. If you ask them they will tell you, “We are hired to be fired.” And that is as true a statement as there has ever been. It will be interesting to see what happens with Blazers Head Coach Kaleb Canales. But whatever happens, I think he did a helluva job with this team, considering the circumstances.
As for the players on the team, I like the pieces that we know have a chance to be here. Starting with LA, there are some tweaks that need to happen—like the development of a true “GOTO” move and a counter for it—if he’s going to get the ball in crunch time and be able to deliver. Matthews has proven that he can be successful as s starter and a bona fide 3/4 option for a playoff team. The same can be said for Batum. Nolan Smith made progress, especially down the stretch. Still lots of improvement to be made. He’s probably two years away from being a consistent part of a winning teams rotation, but I see it in him. Luke Babbitt found out how hard it is to do one thing REALLY well in this league and knows there are some shot counters he needs to work on to get to where he wants to go. J.J. Hickson was a breath of fresh air down the stretch and I’m sure an off-season of hard work will do him a ton of good—maybe change his BMI (body mass index) a few points so he comes back leaner, meaner and even more explosive. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Elliot Williams will be able to do. He was starting to come along before that shoulder surgery sidelined him for the duration.
I know a lot of people think of my counter parts and I as “homers,” and to be honest, I may be, too, but it doesn’t change the facts. And the facts are this team is in a GREAT position to make the kinds of moves that get teams in to playoff positions. And I’m confident the right people are, or will be, in place to supervise all of it.