Where has my draft day obsession gone? I just can't seem to work up the enthusiasm to scavenge the web for any tidbit of draft talk this season. Am I alone in that?
In 2006 I was all over the draft. I had my list narrowed down to two players we should draft. Brandon Roy was one, and a certain mustached player was another. This was my first real obsession with a draft and KP did me proud. Trade after trade went through and there was so much buzz about the Blazers it made SA Smith make one (another) assinine comment about the Blazers not knowing what they're doing. Every player that was named in that draft, I knew their strengths, weaknesses, and potential on the respective team. I obviously wasn't right on a lot of what I knew in retrospect, but at the time I felt like a real GM with instant understanding of why a team made a pick or a trade. Heady stuff.
I was watching intently in 2007 as we got Greg, but I had still done my due diligence on all the players.
In 2008, with the lower draft pick, it was even more important to do the research to find the gold nugget that might fall through the cracks. I did the research and knew it would be a KP day.
2009 had me digging even deeper because now we were searching for solid rotation players and not necessarily starters. Which player would compliment the roster and our style of play. I must admit I was bummed we passed on Blair. Getting a rebounding machine with offensive skills as a back-up PF is something you just do...even with knee issues. I'd rather have a fast burning candle that shines bright than a slow burner that never serves its purpose. In KP we trust though, right? Heck yeah!
2010 rolls around and the Blazers are limping to the playoffs like a great warrior that refuses to quit. KP has acquired Camby for spare parts and then locks him up for the next two years, before he's forced to bid on him in the FA market. Heck yeah!
Tom Penn gets fired without any explination. Smack!
KP looks lost and listless. Oh crud...
Larry Miller talks a lot, but says nothing. Shock.
Paul Allen. I'm at a loss. Where did the joy go? You went from a Hercules-like cleaning of the Augean Stables, litterally recreating the organization from the top down, to stumbling to a fall 100 yards before the finish line in a marathon. We went from dismal crowds to standing room only. Draft day incompetance to handling the NBA like a speed bag. Regular season futility to refusing to quit until the last whistle of the PLAYOFFS. Where did the joy go?
I've been a big fan of yours these last few years, Paul. I've even posted at least one THANK YOU PA thread. That's what makes the current situation so unfathomable. I don't want to lose faith in you because you resurected the one past-time I truely love to enjoy, but I'm deeply concerned with the path you've chosen to take. I don't know what you know, obviously, so let me tell you what we see out here.
Smack! Oh crud. Shock.......................................................................................................NOTHING.
Did they (KP & Tom) kill your dog? No. You'd have done something far less self destructive for revenge.
Did he hog the lime-light too much? What's new there? You needed a new face of the franchise that could reconnect the organization with the Portland community and he did that in spades. He's still doing it and spouting his praise of the BEST OWNER IN SPORTS! Take that Jerry Jones.
Did he try and massage the system to help a direct report (Tom Penn)? Maybe, but if you question his ethics why is he running your draft? Fire him for cause and replace him. Or simply run the draft yourself.
Did he anger the wrong people in the Vulcan Empire? Probably. If this is the case, Paul, I must question your perspective of the organizational structure. Go-getters should be given as much lattitude and creative freedom as possible because they get results. Bean-counters are there to SUPPORT people like that. Heck, they should be actively trying to aid and abet leaders like that. When you were writing code in the beginning, how many bean-counters were you listening to?
Take a step back and ask yourself what's important to you. Yes, it's a quazi-business but it's supposed to be fun for you. Is it fun now? What will make it fun again? Here's a suggestion:
Close yourself up with your draft gurus and talk basketball for 8-hours straight. I guarantee you'll be completely geek'd up again. Leave the business behind for a day and realize there is still joy in basketball. Ask forgivness if it's needed. Grant it if it's asked for. Group hug after. Open the door and call for a contract extension for KP and his staff. Don't take any backtalk. Get it done right then. Have a press conference where you say this: "I'd like to introduce the General Manager of the Portland Trailblazers, a personal friend whose earned and recently signed a two-year contract extension." Gracefully step aside after a hand-shake and watch YOUR draft pick go to work for you and this city.
I still have the hope of joy.