"I'm ready for more
The feelin' now that I'm beside you
We'll open the door
Do anything that we decide to
And I know that there's something that's just out of sight
And I feel like I'm finally seeing the light
Holdin' on (team) I know it's right
I know it's right
-"We're Ready" by Boston
We Blazer fans have spent a lot of virtual ink telling ourselves, each other and the world just how great we are, how great a team "we've" assembled and how our GM has the rest of the league "Bepriched, Bothered and Bewildered". That's well and good, "The Future is (indeed) so Bright We've Gotta Wear Shades" but I somehow feel we just might be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.
The truth is that outside a couple of near miraculous runs the Blazers have accomplished nothing more than a .500 season. Whether or not KP is a genius of a drafter, whether or not Nate McMillan is in fact any more than a good developmental coach, whether or not Roy, Aldridge and/or Greg Oden are destined for greatness are all questions that remain to be answered.
Please don't misunderstand, this is not a "reality check" post. I am as excited about the future as anyone, more than most. I just feel that before we can sit here and wring our hands about other teams' fans hating us for our smugness and our awesome team... well, that team should have given us something to be smug about. It's an awesome thing to be able to once again feel great about our beloved team. It's going to be even sweeter once that team has proven their greatness.
What I'm trying to say is that potential ain't going to cut it any more. I know the Blazers aren't bound for a championship this year and I will continue to urge patience as the team improves and learns to win. But, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for all that potential to begin to be realized. It's just past time for us to urge "one more year" for a given player (any player, I'm not playing favorites) to have time to develop.
We've gone through some painful stages. We've been there for the tearing down stage. We saw a brief, floundering change of direction and then a real teardown. We saw one disgruntled player (and manager) after another shown the door. Then we saw a glimmer of hope. We saw the beginnings of a real team being built. We saw a real miracle that brought us Oden. In the draft just past I believe we saw the beginning of the end of the rebuilding era. Now it's time to see more.
Now it's time to see results. Real results. It's time for the marginal players to step up. Martell, Travis, I'm looking at you. This is the year. Do it or not, now is the time. Roy, it's time to take the next step and solidify your role as a leader. Lamarcus, it's time to shine, time to show some toughness and show that you are for real. Greg, I hope you are all that we all believe you are. You get a grace period, but not a long one.
As far as the rest of the team, including the coaching staff and management, it's time to gel. Experiments and "flyers" are no longer acceptable. Rebuilding is just about done; winning and striking fear into the rest of the league is indicated.
For us fans, we have a role to play as well. It's time for us to expect more. It's time for us to demand more. It's time for us to be more supportive of a winning team and not just unconditionally supporting an improving team.
This should be the year that sees the Blazers back in the playoffs, quite possibly to the second round. I personally will be disappointed, though not crushed, with anything less.
I think we're ready.