By RipCityVice Posted in: arvydassabonis, believe, billwalton, Blazers, clydedrexler, damianlillard, LaMarcusAldridge, meyersleonard, neilolshey, NicolasBatum, PaulAllen, scottiepippen, terrystotts, WesleyMatthews
Call me just another fan who has a hard time looking at their team that they've spent their whole life supporting as something that can hardly go wrong, that there's a good reason for everything.
In fact, there is a good reason for everything an organization does. Even Michael Jordan had good reasons for the hindsight regretful decisions he's made as an executive in the NBA.
Bad note to start off on? Yeah, easy call.
What's not an easy call for anyone this season it seems is what this Trail Blazers organization is going to accomplish this season. The argument has become less about making the playoffs and more about its ability to draw wins, crowds and attention. Does the team possess an opportunity to be a dark horse in this now big-market, superstar-driven league?
As someone who works for the organization, granted in a small way, my whole being tells me to keep the faith and try to help others do the same. (This is starting to sound like a church of Rip City.) To tell the truth, I want nothing but success for the Trail Blazers and their fanbase; I'd be insane if I didn't. I want to see the Rose Garden erupt even more than it does every home game, as the sellout streak starts to flirt with the 200 mark. I want to see LaMarcus dominate the paint and the midrange as someone of his physique and athletic all-star caliber should. I want to see Nicolas Batum evolve into the closest thing we've had to Scottie Pippen since, well, Scottie Pippen. I want to see Wesley Matthews be our new Enforcer in the locker room and on the floor. I want to see Meyers Leonard grow into the underrated big man. I want to see Damian Lillard become one of the best draft picks in franchise history next to Big Red, Clyde and (I count) Sabas. I have a dream.
Tell Santa I apologize for such a list.
This is the time of year, when absolutely nothing is going on in the NBA that we pay attention to, so we have to create our own NBA entertainment. Wins and Losses. Studs and Duds. If the Euro-stashes are worth the wait.
If you're like me, someone who's not afraid of either optimism and/or realism, and you've been through this quite a few times, you still have a couple voices in your head. The more experienced, Morgan Freeman-esque voice probably tells you that this season is "a transition period with highs and lows as the team comes together and figures out the pieces. It just takes patience." Meanwhile the second voice might sound more of a Samuel L. Jackson saying "(Expletive) this, it's lost right now."
I'm not going to tell the reader to sway one way or the other- that's not my job. I could make it that way, but I won't. Portland is a smart, faithful fanbase. We know our stuff. We've stayed around this team for over 40 years, through 20-win seasons and a "jailblazer" era. We know we can choose to believe this team is not going to make excuses but play hard, even with seemingly half the team and staff being new. We know we can choose to believe the team has nothing to work for, that it's under the radar and over their heads for a solid reason.
My choice is to believe. It's not going to be the team's tagline anytime soon, not should it be. I'm not going to pretend to be Bill Schonely or Mike Barrett doing the Rip City United ads, I'm just going to stand put in my belief that this team, from Paul Allen to Neil Olshey to Terry Stotts knows what they're doing, and that it will work toward the championship this city deserves. Will it be this year? 99 if not 100% of people you ask will say no. I'd have to echo that sentiment. It doesn't mean we're joyous in not having an NBA title in 35 years, but that we know it's only a matter of time before we expect the league might take notice we're making a run again.
I'm not asking anyone to give a definitive answer if the franchise's direction is good or not good, I'm saying Believe.