The quintessential dilemma of this season has been the conflicting goals between striving for the playoffs or building resources for next season. Aka, the draft pick tank. As of *2/6/2013*, we sit 9th in the Conference and would get the 14th draft pick this summer, which would be sent to Charlotte. At this moment we sit in the ugly middle where we get nothing. I would argue that this is in fact the most important factor in whether or not the Blazers will do a deal before the trade deadline. My hypothesis is this:
- IF a deal gets done, Neil will wait until the last possible moment to execute any deal.
- The worse our playoff chances get between now and 2/21, the more likely it will be that we move JJ for a 2nd round pick and a ham sandwich. Whatever we can get.
- The better our playoff chances get between now and 2/21, the more likely it will be that we try to improve the team through a trade or acquisition.
- The longer we remain on the bubble, the more likely we stand pat and let the season play out for better or worse.
- The specifics of any deal are irrelevant here, but it is safe to assume that deal will either have no long-term consequences or will be in service to our long-term goals.
Looking forward then, what are our current playoff chances? According to Hollinger, we have a 25% chance of making the playoffs, with a projection of finishing 10th with a 39-43 record. That also projects us to have a %0.7 chance of getting into the lottery, the only way we could keep our pick. Our remaining schedule until 2/21 looks like this:
@ Dallas, @Houston, @Orlando, @Miami, @New Orleans, vs Phoenix
Houston, which is currently ahead of us in eighth, has this schedule before 2/21:
@ Miami, vs Portland, @Sacramento, @Golden State, @Clippers, vs Oklahoma City
They are arguably on a rougher stretch than we are. How about the L@kers, who are on our heels in 10th?
@Brooklyn, @Boston, @Charlotte, @Miami, vs Phoenix, vs Clippers, vs Boston
It is safe to say that the stretch between now and the midseason deadline will go a long way to seal the fate of all three of these teams. Each of our wins and losses, and the wins and losses of Houston and LA will impact the cost/benefit analysis of our making a move. With all that in mind, my current prediction is:
Neil Olshey says NO DEAL
[Update: I'll say it again: Circle that Houston v Portland game! Despite our loss to the Mavericks and LA's win over the Nets, we're still two games ahead of the L@kers. Furthermore, Houston's loss to Miami ties us up for losses with the Rockets, though they are two wins ahead of us. We're treading water, and Friday's game against Houston proves to be pivotal.]