The season of renewal ended with a sense of supreme satisfaction compared to the prior season's apathetic finish. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge breathed new life into a team that had lost its pride. Despite the many injuries that plagued the grueling season, only a handful of games were blow-outs, there were even fewer instances where the team appeared to quit early in the game. The growth of the players was considerable, and a part of me wished we could keep the season going, just to keep the development moving. But strong trees need to harden over the cold winter, and ball players need the off-season to rest and renew their bodies and minds. The off-season is also there to identify the true Blazer addicts in the world. Those poor few that are incapable of taking time away from their passion/obsession. To them, the off-season is a torturous wasteland sparsely populated with oasis' from which to quench their peculiar thirst.
There are the playoffs; a sad unfortunate mob of teams that have one debilitating disadvantage. They aren't the Blazers. They may garner a few moments of our attention, but the true yearning we have is for an oracle to pass on knowledge of the One True Team. For this we turn to the Oracle Quick: Purveyor of insider information. From him we receive words of knowledge not obtainable from the national media. His weekly Quick Chats are a font of knowledge that the Prophet Dave transcribes onto his digital tablet, that all men (and women) may share.
Another oasis that provides shelter from the crippling off-season is the Mock Draft and player evaluations. I freely admit to having spent many long hours drinking in this knowledge, expanding my mind for the upcoming day of destiny (draft), that I might speak with wisdom and confidence when the anointed players are selected. Those who would pass on this oasis, beware. The journey to the next oasis (draft lottery) is long, and there is no guarantee that there will be sustenance when you arrive, so drink your fill while you can.
The holy oasis is the draft lottery. It is here that the basketball gods show their favor or their malevolence. From this place the future unfolds. It was here that the clouds parted and the gods shined down on the once-fabled Rip City bestowing the #1 pick in the lottery to this One True Team. In one single act, the gods signaled their love of Rip City and their loathing of tankers. Smitten were the Grizzlies of Memphis, too-greedy to fix their internal problems before season's end. Cast down were the Celtics of Boston, their desire to obtain ping-pong balls at the cost of competition was viewed with contempt. Both teams were banished from the promised land as far as lottery rules would allow. But this is not the end of our journey. We must leave this gracious land and venture forth to the oasis of NBA Draft 2007. The road is long and arduous, but our hearts are light for we have been granted THE pick. Much heartfelt and joyous debate will we share along our path as we discuss who our chosen one will be, but that may not be enough to sustain us through the long days ahead. Luckily, the Oracle Quick is making the journey with us, and we will be given morsels along the path. The Prophet Dave is also at hand to pick us up should we fall, and with him are his tablets of wisdom and comfort.
I walk with you all, a single voice in the throng of Blazermaniacs making the pilgrimage to the next great oasis. What we will find there, I do not know. I do know that the journey, though at times torturously long, will be worth it on the end.
May this diary help pass your time as you travel.