Trail Blazers Hold Players-Only Meeting
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/19/2012 11:15 AM

    Via Jason Quick of The Oregonian-
    Is the Trail Blazers' biggest problem that the chemistry is too good?
    Raymond Felton can't shoot. Gerald Wallace isn't consistent. LaMarcus Aldridge is fading down the stretch. Jamal Crawford has tied his mind into a pretzel. And Marcus Camby is injured.

    But the Trail Blazers' biggest problem?

    They are too nice.
    Quick then reports the players held a players-only meeting immediately after the loss in Atlanta, the fourth in five games.
     That character flaw was addressed, some players said, during a players-only meeting following the game. It was organized before coach Nate McMillan came into the dressing area of the locker room and aired his disappointment about the team's effort. When the coach left out a side door to address the media, where he told the cameras and microphones that "we've got to play harder," the players turned their chairs to face each other. LaMarcus Aldridge then informed a Blazers spokesperson to keep the media out.
    Franchise player, LaMarcus Aldridge feels like no one is holding everyone accountable-
     "We are having breakdowns and making mistakes and the chemistry is so good, and you are so close to the next guy, that you are not getting on him," said Aldridge, a co-captain. "We have to get to the point where we can get on anybody, and get on everybody. You know, to where everybody can get on me, and I can get on them. But this guy is making a mistake, and it's 'It's OK, it's cool. Shake it off.'"
     "This one was different," Aldridge said. "Everybody was more open, because they know we are not as good as we thought. When you lose a couple games, you are like 'We can figure it out.' But no. We aren't figuring it out. So everybody was more open."
    Wesley Matthews follows LA's suit-
     "Sometimes, when you have such a close team, you almost don't want to say anything," Matthews said. "Not that you don't want to hurt feelings, but you just feel like everybody has it, that they can take care of it. But you gotta be a (jerk) sometimes. Some of the greatest people in history are (jerks). But you can't worry about that. You can't worry about feelings, because it's a respect thing."
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 01/19/2012 11:27 AM

    I've been stating for a while, really since the 2007-08 season when we started the rise up the West's ladder, that we need a hard *** on this team. We've had enforcers on the court in the past (Juwan Howard, Joel Przybilla) and currently (Kurt Thomas), but we don't seem to have that locker room presence since Joel was traded and Brandon Roy retired.

    This is where LaMarcus needs to take over -- in the locker room. I wrote a blog about LA last week and he stated he was up for the challenge. Here's what he had t osay when Jim Rome asked him about stepping up as a vocal leader:

     Rome: "LaMarcus, actually one last thought. If you're going to be Batman, it's one thing to score the ball like Batman but there's other responsibilities that come along with that. You know that. You've got to be a vocal leader and lead front the front. Are you trying to embrace that role and even improve there?"

    Aldridge: "I've definitely worked on that. I'm probably a quiet person by nature, but I've definitely worked on talking more and being more vocal. I think my teammates would agree that this year that I've started out this season with more talk and try to emphasize defense more and when the moments aren't going great, I try to be more vocal now. Your right, that's a big part of being Batman."
    This will be a major step in LA's maturation from the team's best player to the face of the franchise. Once he gets control of the locker room, he will truly become the leader of this team. We saw him takes steps in that direction when he spoke to the team during halftime of the Hornets game. Hopefully more of that follows suit, because this team is too talented to lose games over being "too nice."
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