Posts Tagged ‘Blazers’

Out-Tanked in P-Town & Hickson

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Blazers, Hoops
Tags: ,

Hickson treats Jordan Williams like a 3rd grader in a HS Varsity Game (Note: it’s not Kris Humpries, even though both Mike Barrett and the video identify the player as Humphries.  S/O to Ben Yew for the correction)

While the Blazers (player and coaches at least) have made no overt efforts to tank since the trade deadline (despite our site’s pleading), the benching of D-Will last night at least on the surface appeared to be a tanking power move, considering the Nets have been on a roll lately, and the Blazers had every reason to lose that game (would’ve helped ensure they maintained two top draft choices in this year’s lottery).  Needless to say the Blazers cruised last night, with Aldridge, Batum, and Hickson all dominating the Nets buttery soft front court.

For Cavs fans, and certainly for Sacto fans, it must be somewhat hilarious and slightly infuriating  to watch JJ Hickson continue to play out of his mind in Portland.  Portland has to be sure in evaluating the long-term value of Hickson to note that he has every reason to play for his own future right now, and is probably more motivated than he’s been at any point in his career to produce, not for his team, but for himself.  While his career shattering PER of 22.9 through his first 8 games is reason enough for Portland fans & brass to be justifiably excited about the addition of Hickson (especially considering it was a waiver claim), he still has a career low 13.6% total rebound percentage during his stretch in Portland.

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Sometimes its hard to accept that a true change in fate requires a complete bottoming out.  People often go down career paths they aren’t passionate about, in order to put food on their tables.  Others might get too deep into a bad relationship, because the person stuck by them through hardtimes.  When you’ve been a marginally successful sports franchise with aspirations for greatness it can be difficult to just letgo of those dreams.  A simple coaching change and a little addition by subtraction can provide new motivation to a flailing franchise.  Call it the Ewing Theory, or a gut check, or maybe just a kick in the butt.  The reality is the irrepresible Kaleb Canales, a couple bruised egos in contract years, and a few competitive veterans who’ve never learned to tank, and suddenly you’re back to vying for the 8th spot, maybe the 7th.  The question is: if you’re the Blazers GM… or i mean if you’re Mr. Spock, what are your intentions here? The Blazers have a legit shot to get two top ten picks in the best draft since 2003. Or you can probably take a good shot at the 7 or 8 spot in a year where Western conference competition looks weaker than it has in decades.

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NBA trade deadline day is generally my favorite day of the year.  It is something like Christmas morning for a die-hard hoops fan.  While so many others were closely monitoring Dwight-Gate 2012 (Countdown to Dwight-Gate 2013 just started), or following the first day of March Madness, I was more interested in seeing what the Portland Trailblazers would do.  For anyone who has ever rooted for a team with the intensity that I have rooted for the trailblazers for as long as I’ve been a blazermaniac, you know that when a team gets as bad as this trailblazers team gets, sometimes it’s more fun to root for them to bottom out than it is to root for them to make that 8th playoff spot.  The possibility of high lottery picks in this draft are more tantalizing than another first round playoff exit, especially without the potential excitement of Brandon Roy’s playoff antics. If we’ve seen anything over the history of the trade deadline it’s that adding one or two quality players rarely helps a team on the outside looking in get to the inside, and can go a long way to damage a team’s a long-term prospects.  In order to have a shot at the championship in three years, you have to blow it up now.  The Blazers were close a few years back, Roy, Aldridge, Oden, Batum was a potentially devastating nucleus.  At the time they were seemingly as valuable to a budding franchise as Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Harden.  It just didn’t pan out.  The Blazers rolled the dice on players with injury risks and crapped out.  The good news is that they finally sacked up and admitted it today.  Today they emptied their clip and reloaded.
Letting Nate go was probably the first move of the day, even if it was announced at the end.  Nate has a great coaching career ahead of him, and it was a good move for Portland to put him out of his misery.  He’s tinkered with these rotations and offenses long enough, trying to find a combination that will help this bunch over achieve despite their horrific injury luck one more time.  They don’t need to try to over achieve anymore, they need to accept where there at, take a long look at their young players, and shoot for a strong lottery pick.