I've written ad nauseum about my belief that we are not a "piece or two" away from contending. My definition of contending means a certain 2nd round appearance (barring injury) and a likely WCF appearance the following season (in this case 2013/14). I just don't see how we improve with the current roster plus a couple of guys past the likes of SAS,GSW,MEM,LAC (assuming they keep Paul) and of course OKC. I mean even if we have the ideal offseason of Evans and insert center of choice. I only see us in the running for seed #4 in the absolute ideal best of all world's scenario. That gets us exactly ONE
round of home court advantage and it's uphill from there. To reasonably be in the discussion for contending (meaning a shot at a title) you gotta win your division and possibly your conference.
Winning consistently on the opponent's home floor is just too difficult in the NBA, especially in the playoffs with a virtual cast of playoff virgins. To my knowledge no current Blazer has seen a winning playoff series unless it was on TV at home during their vacation. Overall our team has no idea what playoff intensity is like, especially in the second round and beyond. I mean do you see the level LeBron is flopping at right now? J/K...kinda, ok so I'm not kidding at all that guy is flopping more than the latest haul on a Bering straight trawler. Frankly I'm embarrassed for LeBron. Yet I digress.
The point is the Playoffs are a different brand of basketball, everything is more intense and stars and excellent team defense matter a lot more than most people seem to want to think. Could we get in the playoffs next season with a few choice moves? Yes, we easily could assuming LAL continues to crash and burn. I also think HOU is a bit of a one trick pony and we could
get better than DEN especially if we steal McGee or Iggy from them. Those aren't the teams I worry about though, it's the five ahead of them who are on a level or two above those guys who are currently a level or two above us.
So people don't want to trade LA or Batum. Fine, I can understand your reasoning. I don't agree, but I get it and I don't want to rehash that (feel free to do so in comments). So my answer to our asset/talent problem is to tank next year. To just go ahead and just massively tank. We did an admirable job those last 13 games and by admirable I mean shamefully efficient. Keep in mind, next year's draft class is VASTLY better than this years. Only Noel and maybe Oladipo/Porter could crack next years top 10. It's heavy at the top and pretty deep.
Even if you don't get Wiggins, Parker and Randle also look to be superstar potential SF's then you have Smart who is a great trade chip that could net us a piece we are looking for, as well as Hezonja who I think could be the next great Euro. They say he is like a vastly more skilled Drazen Petrovic. O_O
There are a number of guys as well who are bubble guys like Glen Robinson III who could move into star territory. The point is 2014 is shaping up to be one of those legendary draft classes and one I think it would be a mistake to ignore and miss out on.
I think we should go for a top 5 pick. If lightning struck and we got Wiggins we would IMMEDIATELY be in contention, he's that talented. Even Randle or Parker would be a HUGE boon to the team and make Batum a great trade asset. You keep him now in case we strike out. I'm not sure how cap roll-over works, but we ought to maximize for next summer which also has a crazy good FA class.
2014 looks to be a seismic event in terms of the NBA balance of power and I want the Blazers to shake, rattle and roll the dice on a championship caliber talent addition. We desperately need to improve our talent or at least our tradable assets.
So while I think trading LA and Batum should be on the table, I can understand arguments against. What I am keen to hear are your arguments for or against tanking for the 2014 draft class. Please clarify if you are just wanting the Blazers to make the playoffs and not concerned about contending for a title. For me it's all about going for a ring and that's my bias.
Just to illustrate why I prefer a draft method of accumulating assets is that I believe it gives our bell curve of success "Fat tails" meaning a greater chance to hit a homerun or to strikeout.
3 standard deviations to either side is the extreme scenario of striking gold or striking out. 2 standard deviations is a VERY good outcome, but not crazy good.