As a diehard Blazer fan, I have come to point of sheer disgust with how the Blazers play. Let me step back and say I have long quit writing about the Blazers woes, due to the over bias Blazer goggle wearers on BE. As much as I love Blazer fans, they have a difficult time seeing the trees from the forest. I love the Blazers, yet the goal of being a Blazer fan is seeing the team not only succeed, but rise to a level that can compete with the best.
Yet over the last 15 years I've watched time and time again how Blazer fans defend the players or coaches as if it was their child. Truth is I'm not a hater, but a basketball fan and former player. That being said, it is obvious that when a team doesn't play the right style of basketball, the end result sooner or later will be the same. As much as it was fun to see the Blazers succeed last year, I knew in my heart of hearts they didn't have the right style to succeed. They don't move the ball, they don't run, they don't get easy baskets and most of all they play horrible defense. Roy being the biggest culprit of them all, and to top it off, he usually is assigned to the weakest player on the opposing team.
What gets me frustrated the most about all this is that Coach Nate longingly requested veterans to be able to push the ball and play harder and smarter defense. But the more we see of this regime, the more we see that in fact the whole system is broken. Nate hasn't made all the players accountable, hasn't put in a system that moves the ball, gets easy baskets and breaks down the defense. Yet we have shipped away those young players who so famously failed under McMillians tutelage. I bring this up in part after seeing the recap of the Kings game against NO, to my surprise Sergio has the game of his life.
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Sergio Rodriguez, PG 24 9-14 2-4 4-4 0 2 2 5 2 0 0 1 +20 24
Yet when asked about it, he clearly points out that its the coaches that let him play, where he isn't trying to make a play while in the game. After reading this I just shook my head, again you see the result of a coaching style that is truly affecting our Blazers. I know there is all the hate for McMillian, yet I think he is a good guy, moral, righteous, upstanding citizen. Someone who I would want to lead this team, yet the reality is he doesn't know how to put players in a position to succeed.
What grinds on me the most of all this is that Pritchard has put together a very good team, assembled good players, role players and quality players. Yet if they aren’t used properly what can you do as a GM? What are you supposed to do when the guys move on to different teams and play well? Andre Miller in my opinion was a great signing for 7 million over 2 years, yet he is completely misused by the coaching staff and then “Blazer Fans” jump all over him. People, Andre Miller knows he can’t shoot the 3, he knows he can’t sit and watch, but what can he do if the coach says go to that corner?? When will people see that the system is what kills the Blazers, not the players? Andre Miller has been successful at every stop except the Blazers, so when will fans stop assuming a trade is the answer? The truth is that no trade will change the system; no trade will make the coach push the ball and hold people accountable on defense. One thing that was always said about defense, its 10% athleticism and 90% mental, and it’s so much truer especially in the NBA.
I don't know how much longer as a fan you can sit there and say, dang the guy knows what he's doing! I hear the defense for Nate, well out of time outs he is one of the best coaches, because last year they had the highest rated scores after a TO. What??!!! That determines that you’re a good coach?! Maybe I'm just not too smart and I'm like the guy who says, hey the prince isn't wearing any clothes, yet his buddies all tell him, no they just aren't smart enough to see him!
I don't want to go off, and sound like a ragging lunatic, but when does playing the right way come into the discussion of what makes a great coach? Where are the people going, hmm basketball isn’t supposed to be this hard, there is supposed to be flow, and movement and creativity. I hate to say this, but Dave from BE is like blinded completely by his RED BLAZER Goggles. I know he doesn’t want to bash on the players, coaches or what not, but when do you say this way of playing is not going to win much of anything. Yeah maybe it got 54 games, but that’s probably the most it will ever get and the reality is here. This is pretty much the Blazer team that won 54 games last year and yet it’s as if everyone is wondering what happened. The style of play is completely predictable and the easiest style to defend. If you can always set up your defense to guard the basket, its going to be a tough go, no matter if you have Greg Oden, LaBrone, Kobe, or Jordan. I know I’ll get a lot of homers who think I’m an idiot, but I’ve said my peace and to a point I hope it’s the beginning of the end, because what I see on game night is painful. I can’t watch, its like watching your sibling screw up, or your best friend who keeps doing something stupid, but he just won’t listen. You still love em, yet you just don’t want to watch them go down in flames.
(Side note - After reading a few of the comments, I will clarify that this isn't a post in anyway to say how good Sergio is. Rather this is to illustrate that no matter who the personel is, the system is flawed. When we did have Oden, he wasn't being used properly, nor was Rudy for that matter. The system itself doesn't create openings, any advantages, doesn't provide opportunities for players to excell. Yes they may do OK, but the overall success of the team is completely hindered by the system, or lack there of.)