Neil Olshey can do no wrong. He's done an unbelievable job since arriving in Portland. Anybody complaining about anything he's done would probably complain about the poor customer service they received from the store clerk who sold them the winning power ball ticket. There would have to be a monumental shift in the momentum of this team for him to not walk away with NBA GM of the year award.
That said, let's analyze a few things he's said that don't completely pass the smell test. Last summer he said that he had "intentionally" created one of the worst benches in NBA history. The implication being that he signed guys that performed poorly to position the Blazers to keep their lottery pick instead of losing it to Charlotte. I think what he intentionally did was sign the best players he could sign who were willing to sign 1 year deals and come to Portland. Those options may not have been very extensive. Were there better players that he passed on because he wanted a lousy bench? That seems completely ridiculous and I don't think Olshey ever said that exactly, but he never set the record straight when his comments were construed in that light by the media. Bottom line was that Olshey put the best group of players on his bench as possible based on his assessment of the available players, which wasn't without it's flaws, and did it without sacrificing cap flexibility. Nothing at all wrong with what he did and he was happy to spin it in the best light possible. Any number of NBA GMs have lost their jobs for doing a job that merited a better draft position, but Olshey somehow made that smell like roses.
Now Olshey has come out and said that he had to re-think the 3-5 year rebuild plan due to the intensity of the fandom of the Portland community. According to Olshey, It became necessary to put a winning team on the court sooner to be worthy of the great fans of Portland. It is an interesting comment considering that everybody looking at the moves last summer, even those who loved the moves, believed that they were moves made with the intent of maintaining and maximizing flexibility. The idea seemed to be to be able to do additional future moves to make this team into Olshey's masterpiece. Almost every pundit commenting on the Blazers moves emphasized "flexibility". Few would have taken the position that those moves were made with the intent of "winning now" with this group of players. There were vets added, but someone like Mo Williams was added as a final brush stroke to this summer's moves. He wasn't the primary target as the summer began in a directed effort to expedite the 3-5 year team building..
Let me be clear that I don't have a problem with Olshey or anything he has said, but it does seem like he is spinning the truth a bit. The reality is that Olshey wanted last summer's moves to make the team better in an effort to convince LaMarcus to be part of this team and sign an extension. At the same time, he would have been crazy to make moves with blinders on to the possibility of Lamarcus leaving. It speaks to the genius of Olshey that he was able to put the team in "win now" mode and "maximum flexibility" at the same time. He came in talking about finding players that "move the needle" and ended up catching lightning in a bottle by shopping on the "discount rack". Now that is quite a twist of fate. Olshey is good, but he's not fooling me. He was absolutely working a 3-5 year plan all along and he is surprised as anybody that it has come together as quick as it has. He is no different than any of us who might spin our situations to make ourselves look good. Last year he was "intentionally bad". I'm awfully glad that this season he is coming up with ways to spin why he is "intentionally good".