Dane at AYoungSabonis.com reacts to the following comment from Portland Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey made at a press conference on Thursday.
"It's clearly documented that our bench was the worst in the NBA last year. By design, by the way, in case anybody missed that. It was in order to give our starters minutes, in order to develop our younger players."
Olshey and the Blazers have been running along now for some time and pulling off what may possibly have been one of the best magic tricks that no one has written about: the stealth tank. While Portland's bench was terrible last year, Olshey could have improved the team markedly. For starters, he let Boston pay the salary of Sasha Pavlovic, quite obviously the only reason he was on the squad last year. Exacerbating that fact is that Adam Morrison was the last man squeezed out for Pavlovic from the 2012 Summer League squad quite possibly because he'd be able to score against second- and third-tier NBA players during bench time (not that he can do much else).
This was made worse by Olshey's signing of Ronnie Price, who was generally terrible and who posted a negative win share for the entirety of last season. Olshey is right, he did want to play the starters. He did want to play the young guys. But he wanted to play the right starters, and the right young guys. He also wanted the Blazers to be bad enough that they could get a high draft pick in this year's draft while simultaneously dodging the infamous T word. Why?
My guess is to encourage the fanbase, keep Paul Allen placated, instill confidence in Damian Lillard, and to appease LaMarcus Aldridge from throwing a season (not that there's any indication he would ever do that). It's crafty, and to be completely honest, it worked beautifully.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter