A FAN'S PERSPECTIVE: WHOLESALE CHANGE NECESSARY; WALLACE AND MATTHEWS THE ONLY KEEPERS
By Kit Taylor
I consider myself a true, and yet a typical Blazer's fan.
As fans, we don't ask for a whole lot. We ask for effort on both ends of the floor for a large percentage of time. We ask for smart basketball. We ask that you make the occasional shot if that's your primary job description.
Also, we ask that you keep in mind the salary of the average American.
At the risk of starting a riot, I'm going to bring this point up again. When I did so recently on Facebook I received some unsavory responses.
But I'm going to stick to my guns.
To the Blazer's, and to NBA players in general. American citizens don't have a whole lot of understanding when you don't give 110% every game. You know what I mean?
I can say with ultimate confidence that if I was being paid $200,000 per game to play a sport I loved, I would be going for steals, diving for loose balls, practicing virtually every second I wasn't working, listening to my coach, studying the game, communicating with teammates, rebounding, making good passes, roughing up the other team if they were getting easy drives to the basket, believing in myself, believing in my teammates. I could go on… and on… and on.
Those traits that I just mentioned apply to two, repeat TWO members of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Gerald Wallace and Wesley Matthews.
LaMarcus Aldridge. You're tired? Really? How can an NBA team expect to advance when their cornerstone and supposed franchise player, says he's tired in THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS. Seriously? I just about spewed a mouthful of Diet Pepsi when I read that.
Brandon Roy, you cried because you didn't play enough. Really? This was the subject of the Facebook post I mentioned earlier.
Dude, you're being paid enough to purchase a small country. Wipe you're tears, act like a man, and go out and make some freaking' shots.
I have sympathy for the situation, but not for the way Roy handled it. Terrible timing.
Yes, he had a fantastic Game 4, but it was all for not when the Blazer's came out as energetic as a brick of cheese in Game 5.
Wholesale changes are necessary in Blazer-land.
Again, I'm speaking from a fan perspective. We're tired of losing in the first round. We're tired of getting smoked by 20 in games where we should be competitive. We're tired of our guys talking about how they don't feel like they need to 'step up' (Aldridge). We're tired of our team succeeding in situations of adversity, but failing when we should succeed.
Let me give you some players who make me excited to be a basketball fan. Tyler Hansbrough, David Lee, Joakim Noah, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Thaddeus Young, Andrew Bogut, Serge Ibaka, and Gerald Wallace and Wesley Matthews.
Three straight years of first round losses. Three straight years of unexplainable defeats due to lack of effort. Three straight years of success in the face of defeat, and defeat in the face of success.
It's time for a change.
Trade Aldridge for Lee or Love, if they'll make the trade, which I wouldn't if I were them.
Trade Roy for whomever we can get.
Trade Oden for Thaddeus Young, or Hansbrough, or a bunch of draft picks.
Keep Matthews and Wallace, and get some scoring and size in return for everyone else.
New coach too.
I love Nate. He does an amazing job when he's not supposed to. But when the team is ready to go, ready to succeed, primetime, he squats a big one.
Jeff Van Gundy would be my number one choice as coach. This guy has an incredible basketball IQ, and his teams work hard, period.
LET ME TELL YOU WHY THE BLAZER'S WON'T MAKE CHANGES: Because a team that has potential, and is putting butts in seats, is better than taking a risk on a team that may have greater success, but also may not.
Make no mistake, the Blazer's are selling tickets, and making money.
This is why you rarely see perennially mediocre teams make huge changes. Because the fans still believe they have a chance.
Fans still believe that Aldridge will become a beast! Fans still believe that Roy can become the player he once was and more! Fans still believe that Nate can take a team out of the first round!
If you had a job that you botched for three years in a row, would you get any more chances?
Didn't think so.
Blazer's, listen to the typical fan:
WE WOULD RATHER SEE 110% EFFORT FROM A MARGINALLY TALENTED TEAM, THAN 70% PERCENT FROM AN EXTREMELY TALENTED TEAM.
BAR NONE. EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. NO EXCEPTIONS.