The Blazers road to NBA glory is proving not to be paved in gold. Maybe we're not on the right road at all. Maybe there is no Road to Ring-land for this team. Some of us are stressing-out over that possibility. Maybe it's time to reassess where we're going.
We've had every reason to expect that our championship window would be thrown open this season... except it isn't. The injury bug seems to have decided it likes Portland and has decided to buy a house and start a family. We may be stuck with it for years to come. I've not got nearly as upset as some of you about our team's bad luck, but I'm not immune to the frustration of watching my team struggle to jell and build continuity with a healthy core of players. That frustration is the result of expecting the Blazers to be farther along than they are, healthier than they are, dominating most teams and winning at least half of their games against elite teams. The way to stop feeling frustrated is to enjoy these Blazers for who they are and what they can do and stop comparing them to a team called The 75-Wins-Per-Season, Roy-Led, Oden-Powered, Steamrolling To The 2011-2020 Championships Portland %$@#*&! Trail Blazers! This team is not that team.
I've decided to focus on the positives. We have a team of likable players who are good guys on and off the court, a team that isn't a lock for the playoffs but has a great shot at it, a team that the NBA media and fans of other teams respect, a team that has a good shot at winning every game it plays, and a team that is all those things even if Roy and Oden are injured.
We have a star, several near stars, and some bench players who would start for many teams. We have a great mix of althletic youths and sage veterans. We have a capable coaching staff that has done nothing but exceed expectations each of the last five seasons. We have an owner with deep pockets, a world-class arena, a sellout crowd each home game, and a few playoff games under our collective belt. The worst thing that is likely to happen in the next few years is that we'll continue to win 50 games and exit in the first round. Is that so bad? Would we prefer to tear-up the team and start from scratch again, cheering a team that struggles to win 30 games and hoping to get lucky in the lottery? Would we rather be fans of the Timberwolves, Cavs, Pacers, Clippers, and other teams that aren't likely to sniff the playoffs for years? The Jail Blazers were a contender. Does anyone want to go that route again?
Best of all, this team has hope. We could go deep into the playoffs. We're not that far from being contenders. Almost every piece of the puzzle is already in place. All we need is good health, and that might fall upon us as suddenly as it left us. If it doesn't, we have a terrific new GM who might surprise us with a knock-your-socks-off trade that transforms us into championship contenders. If he doesn't, I won't get upset. I'll take what the Blazers give me and cheer them because they're my team and they're a pretty good team to cheer.
Now if you'll excuse me, I want to look at the previews and stats for the next Blazers game.