Those of you familiar with the full ESPN Radio lineup may have heard Jonathan Coachman's show airing weekday afternoons (Pacific time). One of their regular segments is "One Word", where they reduce a sports issue to a single word and then explain why they picked it. I had the chance to catch the One Word segment while driving the other day and I wondered how I'd fare if the topic were the Blazers. So today we're doing the Blazer's Edge version. I'm going to throw out some Trail Blazers topics that seem to be trending in your Mailbag questions, summarize each topic in one word, then explain why I chose that word. Then I'll invite you to do the same in the comment section with my topics and add your own.
Here we go.
Topic #1: Describe the Trail Blazers' future in just one word.
One Word: Uncertain
This team is in flux right now with 8 rookies and sophomores on the roster, 8 players new to the team. Exclude Earl Watson and LaMarcus Aldridge is the grandfather of the bunch at 28 years old. Aldridge himself is probably on the move. Untried centers, second-year point guard, contracts structured with change in mind...the wind's blowing but nobody can tell what way yet. Ask me who's a rock-solid guarantee to be on this roster in three years and I will tell you Damian Lillard. That's it.
Topic #2: Damian Lillard, what will he be?
One Word: Star
Between the talent and charisma, I don't see any way Lillard stays south of stardom. The question is, how big of a star will he become? The sky's the limit on his personality. Will his production and efficiency follow suit? Does he burn to be a popular, well-compensated player or does he burn to be one of the very best? His evolution will provide the foundation for this team's future for good or ill.
Topic #3: LaMarcus Aldridge's future with the Blazers
One Word: Gone
He's going to be traded. It's just a matter of timing. This depends as much on offers as anything, so Blazer fans will need to cross their fingers and wait. The only alternative is riding out an unrestricted free agency period in which he says he wants to "explore his options". Nobody is ready for that ride. Start the 2015 trade deadline countdown clock now.
Topic #4: Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts
One Word: Deserving...
...as in, deserving of more time. I like most of the things Stotts did with the offense last year. He got new wrinkles out of old players. The team appeared to respond well to his system. He still doesn't have a complete roster this year. I'm not sure how well his talent will fare. But as sure as the sun rises in the East if the team disappoints the public will start questioning the coach instead of the talent. Until he gets a full set of mostly-proven players (or at least until a couple more years have passed) there's no reason to assume he's an issue.
I've left plenty of open ground here. Go ahead and give your One Word for these four topics and/or bring up topics of your own. (Please keep the BLAZERS central: players, coaching staff, management...official uniform and logo-shirt wearing people only. Stay ON topic.) I'll try to peek in throughout the day and give One Word responses to any topics you bring up as well.