Many fans are in doomsday mode because Hedo jilted us (now we know how Richard Jefferson's fiance feels) and the longshot play for Millsap didn't work out. I say, despair not.
Remember how our incredibly young team played last year in the face of what many call the most difficult schedule ever. 54 wins. This with our starting small forward out for the season and our #1 draft pick center coming back from microfracture surgery, out of shape, and suffering from several injuries during the season.
We had 3 rookies contribute significantly, and the jump to second year is often the greatest. Rudy hit the most 3 pointers of any rookie ever, and Batum was a surprise defensive stopper assigned to guard the league's elite.
Our franchise guard -- Roy -- had a season that only Jordan, Kobe, and Carter have equaled in terms of high output, mistake free ball. He is one of 17 guards in all NBA history to make 2nd team all-NBA in his third season.
Our franchise center -- Oden (ludicrously labeled a bust by many) -- despite his injury and shape issues, had rookie year offensive rebounding percentages that were equal to the rookie years of Rodman and Moses Malone, and better than those of Buck Williams and Barkley (the 4 best O rebounders of the last 35 years). And his O rebound % was higher than Dwight Howard's last year.
Finally, look at how we played during the stretch run last year. Over the last 10 games of the regular season, we played incredibly well, and much of this was defensive, not the efficient offense we heard of all year:
- #1 in opponents points allowed (wide margin)
- #3 in opponents field goal percentage
- #1 (tie) in opponents 3 point percentage
- #1 in opponents assists allowed (wide margin)
- #1 in opponents rebounds allowed (wide margin)
I know that many West Coast teams improved over the summer by adding players, and yes, we got outmuscled by Houston in the playoffs. But our championship window of opportunity was not really supposed to open until after next season at the quickest. It's just that we've excelled quicker than expected, and we're all chomping at the bit. As we continue to ascend, the Lakers and Spurs will start to slide. So the long run goal of a dynasty is still intact. It just that our run for the top may start next year, sooner than we had thought. Yes, we may not have added significant talent, but internal improvement should make us better. The worst thing we could do is panic now and trade our prospects for a long term dynasty for improving our chances next season.