During the NBA lockout, Dave Deckard ran a series of articles reminiscing about the history of the Portland Trail Blazers. Today, as training camp is faintly visible on the horizon, we're revisiting that series. There is a new post on the front page that lists these articles, but you can visit them right here as well.
1970-76 1976-77 1977-78 1979-1983 1984-86 1987-89 1989-90 1991-92 1993-94 1995-97 1998-99 2000 2001 2002-03 2004 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
But two years have passed since Dave's last article. Which leads to a big question: How do we define our current era? What will be the title of that post? How will it be remembered in 10 or 20 years?
First, a short recap of the events since the lockout ended:
- Black Friday. After the lockout ended, there were high hopes. But in one day, the hopes of the Blazer "Big Three" ended: Brandon Roy's knee injuries were deemed unrecoverable, Greg Oden had a significant setback in his recovery from microfracture surgery, and LaMarcus Aldridge underwent a second surgery to repair a heart condition. Soon, Brandon Roy would retire, and later Greg Oden would be released by the team.
- Kaboom. Despite these setbacks, the Blazers opened the season well. However, after a poor referee call that may have cost the Blazers a game against Oklahoma City, the house of cards collapsed. The team folded under their own weight, performing increasingly poorly as the season progressed.
- Goodbye Playoffs. By the mid-point of the season, the writing was on the wall. Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace were traded, Oden was released, and Head Coach Nate McMillan was fired. The Blazers' latest playoff run ended with three seasons.
- Whack-a-player. Raymond Felton and Nolan Smith were quickly seen as two of the worst acquisitions in Blazer history. Jamal Crawford spent a season underperforming before returning to form in LA. JJ Hickson polarized a fan base, debating raw numbers vs team success, and Ronnie Price redefined the WARP statistic.
- Rookie Struggles. The Blazers drafting skills came into question, as their picks often performed below expectations. Smith, Luke Babbitt, and the oft-injured Elliot Williams are already gone. And Meyers Leonard is still a work in progress with an unknown future.
Not everything has been bad though. Seriously.
- Big Man on Campus. LaMarcus Aldridge, now an established veteran, has represented the Blazers at two All-Star games. He's only the 11th Blazer in their 43-year history to reach multiple All-Star games.
- The Next Big Man. With the draft pick from the Wallace trade, the Blazers drafted Damian Lillard, who quickly became the one of the faces of the franchise with a unanimous Rookie of the Year award and a victory at the NBA All-Star Skills Competition.
- Games Full of Win. Despite the losing record, a few memorable games have been mixed in. The heavy-underdog Blazers defeated defending-and-future NBA Champions Miami Heat in Portland. The Blazers looked sunk, but staged a memorable comeback capped by a Wesley Matthews three-pointer. And the Blazers memorably started the 2012-13 Lakers on their downward spiral, destroying them in the season opener.
- Under Competent Management. In the 2012 offseason, Neil Olshey took over as General Manager, and Terry Stotts was hired as head coach. So far, both have seemed solid at their jobs, even though fans are not unanimous in their praise.
- Hello New Guys! Without losing any desirable players in the Summer of 2013, the Blazers' new GM added both a full bench and a starting center, setting the stage for the most intriguing and unpredictable season of the past decade.
Ok, now let's get to it. You have five words or less. Give a name to this era! Then explain how you came to that conclusion. Where are things going from here? When will this era end, and will that be good or bad?
[And once you're done, go check out the History of the Blazers articles. They're a great read] -- Tim