Because Blazersedge readership has grown far and wide, today we have the privilege of printing the first ever Celebrity (sort of) Guest Post. Some may remember this guy as a 70's lounge crooner and Vegas stalwart. Less well known is his semi-offical status as a Harbinger of Doom in forty-two countries, seven independent islands, and a couple of hotly-contested peninsulas. So with some mild trepidation, we turn you over to the Disembodied Head of Engelbert Humperdinck.
(Obligatory Disclaimer: The views of the free-floating head of Mr. Humperdinck do not necessarily reflect the views of this author, this blog, or Sportsblog Nation. Lord knows I'd never say things like this! Please adjust your complaints accordingly.)
Free floating ~~~~~> <~~~~~ No body!
Thank you! Thank you! A pleasure to be here! And I know what you're asking. "What in the world does the Disembodied Head of Engelbert Humperdinck know about Blazer basketball?" SILENCE FOOLS! Like the ghost of Christmases past, present, and future, I have come to give you WARNING. Believe me, nobody knows more about being a perpetual also-ran than I. Wayne Newton has played world champ to my ping-pong ball collecting cellar-dweller for decades now. He's 82 billion years old and women still throw their panties at him. The most I ever got tossed was the girdle off a drunk tranny. Danke Schoen my butt! But I digress.
Since I am the resident expert in churning out things nobody wants to hear, I have come to ask you to consider the possibility that you Blazer fans with your "summer of optimism" may be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Consider closely:
Observing from a distance it's apparent that your ship hit an iceberg back in 2004 and you just didn't know it. That's the year you gave huge, multi-year contracts to Zach Randolph and Darius Miles. You committed roughly one-third to one-half of this decade's cap space to two players who have been nothing but injured, intractable, and inconsistent. Even at his best Zach's production doesn't equal or surpass Antawn Jamison's and nobody would consider 'Tawn a franchise savior. Zach is well nigh untradeable at this point and Miles is worse than that. In retrospect the team would have been far better off pledging 10% of its salary space to Billy Graham than inking those contracts. No matter how it's spun, no matter the hopes and wishes, these are the kind of moves that submarine a team. The band may still be playing on the poop deck, but there aren't enough lifeboats to make a difference.
Oh, and by the way, you solved the problem of the third onerous contract of 2004, that of Theo Ratliff, by trading him for a guy who makes more per year and whose contract runs a year longer.
Buy hey, everybody makes mistakes. A fellow once came up to me and said, "Engelbert, don't you think you'd have sold more albums if you took a stage name?" I said, "Buddy, this IS my stage name!" What was I thinking? And speaking of what were they thinking, isn't the draft supposed to be a reward and comfort for bad teams? What's with the recent draft history then?
2001--Zach Randolph, see above
2002--Qyntel Woods, gone
2003--Travis Outlaw, hasn't produced
2004--Sebastian Telfair, gone
2005--Martell Webster and Jarrett Jack (and not breakout star Chris Paul because you already had Telfair, who you traded a year later)
2006--Lamarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy
So let's get this straight. Everyone who's had ample chance to prove themselves hasn't. You're now banking heavily on three guards with two years of NBA experience between them. I know you love the best-case scenario, but try the opposite for a minute. Webster may well turn out to be one-dimensional. Nobody knows if Jack is a starting-quality point guard. What if Aldridge never puts on enough size? Brandon Roy should be decent, but what if he's not any more than that? And isn't it a little suspicious that your highest hopes are pinned on a draft that everyone in the universe considered the weakest in decades? Even if one of these guys will eventually be good, rookies seldom make a significant difference in their team's overall performance. It could be a year, it could be two, it could be more before you see any light at all.
In the meantime, you're depending on the same key parts that lost 61 games last year to carry you through. Your point guard position is weaker overall. Shooting guard may be slightly improved but those guys are really young. Small forward has less depth and the same problems. You're deeper at power forward but Zach will get all the minutes anyway and even then LaFrentz and Magloire are hardly world-changers. Magloire may improve the center depth over an injured Theo Ratliff, but it's significant that your most celebrated veteran move of the offseason was a re-signing. That's not good for a 21-win team.
That'll be your player movement story for the next few years though because of the cap space issue. And even if you do carve out some space, how many people will clamor to come into this potentially messy, stagnant situation? Hey, I feel your pain. I had Tom Jones good looks and an amazing voice, but I spent most of my life alone. Have you ever tried convincing someone to become Helen Humperdinck? It's not an easy sell for Susies, Sallys, or Gretchens either.
So cheer up Portland! Misery loves company, and you and I may be company for a long, long time.
[Tomorrow: The Celebrity Rebuttal]