I learned to read on a SI for Kids issue with Clyde the Glyde on the cover. The oldest memory I have is watching Blazers-Bulls game 6 in 1992, where Craig Hodges led a 15 point Bulls comeback in the 4th Qtr. on NBC. In 8th grade, the 1999-2000 season, I begged my father to get NBA League Pass because I was dying to see the Scottie Pippen, Steve Smith, Damon, Sheed and Sabonis Blazers.
So when my hometown Wizards mailed it in the first week of the season, who better to fill the void than the Blazers. I fell in love with BRoy's composure, the "militant efficiency" of Joel Przybilla, the incredible skill LMA, the potential of Nicolas, and, of course, the incredible teamwork of Sergio and Rudy. Ironically, the game that made me a Blazers fan for the year was a loss. At home. Versus Orlando. I know you all remember the game. Everyone remembers the Turkoglu shot, but do you remember how great a game that was? How great the crowd was? The multiple alley-oops between Sergio and Rudy? LMA displaying his range? Absolutely amazing game.
Anyway, to the Blazers, to BlazersEdge and especially to the Blazer fans who make every game at the Rose Garden worth watching on tv, I say THANK YOU. You made the NBA season relevant for me.
Here are my end of the year thoughts. I realize most of you will not read them, but nevertheless, I listed the players in their "net asset value" to the team:
Brandon Roy: love him. He is not, will not be Kobe or lEbron, but he is very close to Dwyane Wade. I am supremely confident that you can win a title with him as your best player. At time I find that he dribbles way too much, and he passes too much to Trout, but, god I love Broy. You are lucky Portland.
LMA: I go back and forth on him so much. I was begging the Blazers to trade him for Amare at the deadline. But, I think the Blazers were correct not to. He impressed me in the playoffs. I wished he got to the line more, was more physical inside, and put on about 10 pounds, but, when he is definitely a great #2 option. As long as he doesn't compromise your cap space by asking ridiculous amount, he should stay a Blazer. Stop comparing him to Sheed though. He is NOTHING like Sheed.
Rudy: he had a terrible game 6. But, he is fabulous. I think he and Roy need to spend more time together, because they lack great chemistry. I mean, really, I don't think Blazer fans realize how great luxury they have in Rudy. Did you see that pass to GO in the 4th when GO missed the dunk? He needs to improve his handle, but I really see him as a more athletic version of Manu.
Joel Przybilla: nothing needs to be said. Love him to death.
Nicolas Batum: incredible potential. Apart from his perfect NBA perimeter physique, his attitude is his best attribute. I love Batum.
Jerryd Bayless: I loved his defensive tenacity. However, if the right trade comes along, he is expendable. But god i love how he carries himself while sitting on the bench. He pays close attention and always cheers on his teamates. No pouting. And wow is he jacked! I dont know really. Jury is still out.
Greg Oden: one of the funniest things about BlazersEdge is the way people come to the immediate defense of Kevin Pritchard for picking GO over Durant. Its like you guys are in denial. There is no way at this point you can say that it was the right decision. As great as Joel has been, as great as Durant has been, I cannot believe how you guys have convinced yourselves that GO was the way to go. I root for Greg. He seems like a great great kid. But I just dont see it. I dont see him developing into a superstar. Sorry. I know I am in the minority on this site.
Sergio: one of the weirdest players, because when he is on the floor, the offense either runs through him, or it doesnt run at all. Like, he just dribbles around for 15 seconds and he either shoots it, finds someone for a wide-open shot or turns it over. I actually think he could be a great point guard. He is easy to root for. Some of those passes. Awesome.
THE FOLLOWING PLAYERS WILL NOT HELP YOU
Trout: seems like a great kid, but I cannot stand him. He is a chucker and doesn't rebound. He is a scorer, who can't really score all that well. He is a poor mans Corey Maguette, which is a bad thing. I hate it when he's in the game.
Steve Blake: I have been watching Steve Blake since he was a freshmen at Maryland. He was on the Wizards for a bit. And I know he was the Blazers earlier in his career with Juan Dixon. HE IS NOT A STARTING NBA PG. All year long I have been advocating acquiring Baron Davis. I always get ridiculed. Well, BD could have gotten you eliminated in the 1st round as well.
Martell Webster: he reminds of Tariq Abdoul-Wahed. The athletic, talented guy that no one has ever really seen play.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I love the Blazers. I love the Rose Garden. I love Mike Rice and Barrett. I love most of your team. But, for the love of god, why did you not make a deal at the trade deadline? The window of opportunity closes so quick in the NBA. You had the most valuable asset in the NBA in Raef. And no move was made.
Oh well, I know no one will read this whole thing. But, thanks Blazers Edge. Good luck Portland.