A person has to wonder at the midway point in the season, when their team sits at 21-21 and just a half game back from a possible playoff spot, when should scoreboard and standings watch commence?
Undoubtedly, countless Blazers fans have been doing that for some time. For some, it may start right about now; somewhere near the season's midpoint. Still others, perhaps siding on the cautious side, may choose to wait another dozen games or so. I don't much think most avoid checking out our team's slot in the standings throughout the season. I surely do. My question is, when do we really
start scoreboard/standings watch?
I fall into the second category from the previous paragraph; meaning, that's when I switch from paying attention
watching other scores and updates into the standings. It's difficult not to get excited in mid-January when the Blazers were at the cusp of seventh spot in the playoff picture, but that was after 34 games. There were still way too many games to go. Of course, we're only eight games further into the season, but that's one-tenth of the schedule, right?
A couple weeks ago when Adam Bjaranson and Michael Holton were guest hosting Trail Blazers Courtside, I posted my query via twitter. Mr. Holton responded that it's never too early, but that it's not really until there are 25-30 games left that it gets "meaningful." That was some genuine enthusiasm and, as usual, Mr. Holton made a lot of sense. Of course, at the time, the Blazers were 20-17 and coming off the first two losses of a six-game skid.
Michael Holton responds to my January 14 TB Courtside question
Speaking of the schedule in talking to my oldest brother the other day while throwing out the idea for this blog, he asked me if the Blazers' losing streak had affected my timeline for scoreboard/standings watching. "I would have to think about that, but my first feeling is that the farther we were away from the eighth seed, the less likely I would be as intent as if we were in the position in which we currently find ourselves," was my response.
Certainly, while any of us are scoreboard watching, we're evaluating which teams' wins would help us the most. Obviously, if an Eastern Conference team is playing a Western Conference team, that's a no-brainer; you hope the latter team falls. Hey, it can only help the Blazers chances, right?
It gets a little more complicated when there are two teams, both in the hunt for our
playoff spot where there is confusion. Seriously, if you're watching the Jazz play the Rockets (the current seventh and eighth seeds, respectively), for which do you pull or, at least, hope comes out on top? Do you remember that we've already beaten Houston twice and have yet to face the Jazz in the regular season?
LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers play a back-to-back versus the Jazz next week.
To me, it's an interesting dynamic which would very well change from night to night, depending on the results.
In fact, there could always be that random game here or there where even rooting for the loathed Lakers could be in the Blazers best playoff interests. The caveat to that, however, is that if any self-respecting fan were to favor the Lakers on even a semi-regular basis, that fan must forfeit their BlazerNation membership card.
Few expected the Blazers to contend for a playoff spot this season and it remains to be seen if they actually will. They seem to be a couple pieces away from gaining that eighth seed, and there's a rough part of the schedule coming up. However, with some of the wins they've pulled out over some of those tougher teams, maybe it's just a matter of putting together some more wins over this upcoming batch of rivals.
Still others may say it's more valuable to develop the young players and gain a pick in the lottery this year. My theory on this is that if you want to take the next step, take the next step. Sure, the draft pick might not be as good, but you'll have guys who won't be strangers to the playoffs in the forthcoming years.
Right now, the Blazers sit in ninth place, just a half game back of Houston. Minnesota sits three games back of the Blazers in 10th position. There's plenty of opportunity and plenty of promise. By now, we're all watching this team.
Are we starting to really
watch the scoreboard and standings as well?
In Kassandra's Words features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass