*Spoiler Alert* in case you've been DVRing the season and were planning to catch up right before the playoffs, well, this year's Blazers probably aren't going to the playoffs. I see absolutely no point in playing out the string. As evidence, I point to the Boston and Indiana losses where the vets seemed to be giving 60-70% effort and generally embarrassing Blazer fans everywhere. If I were PA, these would be my marching orders for Coach Mac for the remainder of the season:
1) Run the offense through Aldridge and Batum. We want to know whether Aldridge can make the jump from option 1a to option 1, and whether Batman can be his Robin. Tell Aldridge the team is his, yes we're sorry it's not better, but hey here's your audition for NBA superstar.
2) Give the non-center vets (Felton/Wallace/Crawford) courtesy minutes to start the game, then get the young guys as much burn as they can handle. We need to know whether any of them have talent and/or trade value by the end of the year. Make sure it's clear to the vets that any locker room griping or mutiny attempts won't be tolerated. We'll send anyone of you home if you don't want to be on this team any more.
3) For the guys who'll be sticking around, give them extra film and practice sessions. We want to see LMA/Batum/(maybe Matthews) expand their games.
- Give LMA goals for FTAs and rebounds. Dangle the keys to the franchise, promotion, ad campaigns, tribute videos, Ford commercials, whatever it takes to motivate him. Send his Mom box scores she has to sign!
- Give Batum more touches in the post and let him try some time at point forward. It'll be ugly at times, but Nico's pretty good at basketball, and he's got to get better if we're going to match offers this summer. He shouldn't need too much incentive given it's a contract year, but let's set some goals for FTAs and assists for the French Pippen (sorry, French Prince! sorry, French Rudy Gay?).
- Show Matthews tape of his long lost days as the next Kobe stopper. Also show him tape of how he used to shoot 3s and finish fast breaks. We want that Wesley back. Tell him to show us he can do those three things, and we'll make sure the league knows he's the next Bruce Bowen or Shane Battier or something. Tell him we don't care about his percentage, but we want to see only good shots on the game tape. Tell him to be vocal with the rooks on D. Show them the ropes. We want to see whether he can fit alongside LMA and Batum.
We've got to drop out of the playoff race before it's too late! This season can be salvaged if we focus on player evaluation and development. The trick will be to let the vets know what's up and keep the locker room from becoming toxic.
What do y'all think?