There's the question on the front of Blazersedge posed to everyone who visits: "How Are You Feeling About the Trail Blazers?" Normally, I would consider this just a subjective number thrown out by a spur-of-the-moment gut feeling. But when it’s the offseason, during a lockout no less, I'm putting way more thought into things that I wouldn't otherwise (and perhaps shouldn't).
So now I've devised a system. Here are the considerations I take to establish how I feel about the Portland Trail Blazers. For each category, I’ll assign a certain number of points between 1-10: a low number meaning I feel terrible about it, a medium number meaning I feel pretty indifferent, and a high number meaning I feel excellent. To illustrate, I’ll even explain my August 3th vote of 47 pts.
Last Night – 20 points
What has happened most recently is the biggest driving factor, and I’m sure that is true for most people. If Brandon’s phenomenal “Game 4” happened last night, it would do a lot to overshadow, say, Greg Oden being injured. If this was the day you found out GO was going to miss all of the 10-11 season, then that would’ve overshadowed, say, Brandon’s Willis Reed game in last year’s playoffs against PHX. As it stands today, nothing happened last night. Really, the only things that have happened since the draft was GO getting the qualifying offer and the lockout started, neither of which were very surprising. I give it a 10. Not good. Not bad. Its as indifferent as I can get.
Last Month – 10
This addresses where it appears the Blazers are trending. During the season, this is largely predicated on the overall W-L for the last month. Today, this pretty much comes down to how you feel about what happened on draft day. Frankly, losing Rudy and Andre, and picking up Pot Belly and The Guy From Duke, feels like a wash to me - I don’t think we’ll be 5 games better or worse because of it. I give it a 5.
Last Year – 10
This references the battle-tested level of success over the course of a full NBA cycle. For the Blazers, the last (few) year(s) have been an emotional rollercoaster. You all know the storylines with the injuries, W-L record, playoff results, etc. Mostly because it feels like it could’ve been much worse, my feeling at the end was to give it a 6.
Upcoming Week – 10
This is in anticipation of the next game, draft, pre-season, etc. Since it is the off-season, I’m not expecting much. I know that summer-league is usually somewhere around here, though, so I’ll give it a 3.
Upcoming Year – 10
Anticipated level of success for the upcoming full NBA cycle. If it wasn’t for the lockout, I’d give it a 5, based on the first round elimination type success I’m thinking we might have to look forward to. With the lock out, the prospect of missing the whole year primes me to score it a zero. I’ll score it in between for 2 reasons: 1) There’s a good chance we won’t miss the entire season, and 2) I’m a season ticket holder and I’m looking forward to the team not charging me full price for pre-season games. I’ll settle on a 3.
Long-Term Prospects – 10
This addresses the odds for success, and at what level, beyond the current year. As of July 5th, 2011, I’m envisioning several more 41-50 win seasons followed by first round playoff losses. Obviously, it could be much worse, but 4 years ago I might’ve given this a 10. Today, I’ll give it a 4.
Front Office – 10
In this category, I’ll include my satisfaction with front office employees, management, and possible implications of the team’s financial status. This is a whole pot of love & hate. Love: acquiring Wes, Crash, Andre and Camby – we ended up needing all those guys more than anticipated. Hate: the last decade’s worth of draft results - other than 2006, is there a single draft you wouldn’t want to re-do? Love: Paul Allen’s Scrooge McDuck money pile. Hate: Paul Allen’s propensity to fire GMs on a whim. At the end of the day, I think there’s more good than bad, so I’ll give it a 6.
Young Players – 10
In this bucket, I assess the talent of our players that are still new to the league, and their potential ceiling for success. The best of the bunch would be Batum and Wesley Matthews, who promise to be good, but not All-Star level players. Then there’s everybody not named “Luke Babbitt”, who either hasn't managed to stand out or not played. Then there’s Luke Babbitt, who makes me angry just typing his name. This group gets a 3.
Coaching Staff – 10
This goes beyond just “how good are the coaches”, and touches on the level of trust they’ve earned from me, the semi-obsessed Blazer fan. The success achieved in the face of adversity over the last couple years goes a long way for me. As for results in the playoffs over the last three years, maybe we could’ve done better, but these Blazer teams weren’t going to the Finals no matter who the coach was. Ultimately, Nate and his crew get a 7.
Last Night - 10
Last Month - 5
Last Year - 6
Upcoming Week - 3
Upcoming Year -3
Long-term Prospects - 4
Front Office - 6
Young Players - 3
Coaching Staff – 7
Total - 47