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Portland Trail Blazers 2013-14 Season Review: How Good is Good--Part 2

After getting TOTALLY distracted by NBA news yesterday, Dave finally discusses the meaning of the Trail Blazers' 54 wins and second-round playoff run.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

If you'll recall, yesterday we tried to answer the question, "How good are the Portland Trail Blazers, really?" Unfortunately we got sidetracked by a bunch of league-wide issues, including the Cavaliers winning the lottery yet again while the poor New York Knicks suffered without a coach and tried to trade Raymond Felton. Since we ran out of space before we could return to the original topic, we had to put you off until today. Now, at last, we'll be able to answer definitively how good the Blazers are compared to their apparent position as a "Top-8" team in the league.

The first thing you have to consider in any such comparison is...hold on a sec, phone ringing.

Yeah? Uh-huh. Wait, they did WHAT? Are you sure, because that's insane! No, no, I believe you. I'm on it. Bye.

Man, did you hear that the Memphis Grizzlies just gave Head Coach Dave Joerger permission to talk with the Minnesota Timberwolves about their head coaching position even though Joerger is only in the first year of his new deal with Memphis?

Let's back it up a second. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera, a graduate of the DeVry-Trump School of Business, patterns his management style after Homer Simpson in the infamous "Bart Star" episode:

(Yeah, yeah, the quality of that video sucks. You get the idea anyway.)

During the 2012-13 season Memphis won 56 games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Pera...was not pleased. He jettisoned coach Lionel Hollins, replacing him with Joerger.

During his inaugural season in the Big Seat--his first NBA head coaching job--Joerger guided his oft-injured squad to 50 wins and a playoff berth. Pera...was not pleased. Again.

Pera's next victims were General Manager Jason Levien and Senior Executive John Hollinger. Levien helping to broker the deal which allowed Pera to purchase the Grizzlies in the first place made the move bad enough, but how do you fire John Hollinger? Who doesn't like John??? He's Statistical Santa, completely inoffensive and always pulling something out of his sack of goodies for you to play with. He helped pioneer the advanced stat movement, for Pete's sake! Does the president of United Airlines spit on the grave of Orville and Wilbur Wright? Do the manufacturers of Genie garage door openers get their jollies by TP'ing Barbara Eden's house?

With colleagues falling around him like smokers in a summer camp movie, Joerger had to be looking over his shoulder this week. Then came today's news that "the Timberwolves have permission" to talk to him. This is like your boyfriend saying, "Honey, I think we should see other people."  Except he adds in, "You always say that Matt guy at work is hitting on you. Maybe you should talk to him!"

Gee, thanks.

Anyway, Memphis is totes crazy right now! They've officially burned through 106 wins, 2 playoff appearances, a Conference Finals berth, 2 head coaches, and 2 key executives in the last two years. Who's next, Justin Timberlake?

Dear Justin,

Hope you're having fun on your world tour. FYI, just bought out your share of the team via hostile takeover. Fed your ownership papers to my Dachshund and gave your seats to One Direction. Don't bother coming back.

Love ya, Bro.


P.S. You've won 4 Emmys, 5 Grammys, and have your name on 18 Platinum records, huh? I am not pleased.

P.P.S. Heard you and Jessica might be on the outs. Can I get her number? -RP

Kind of makes you happy to finally have some front-office stability with the Blazers, doesn't it? They have actually done pretty well with...OK, confession. Before we go on I have to ask, because I'm totally thinking about it even while I'm talking to you about Portland. Can somebody please explain the deal with this Mallory Edens phenomenon?

For those not in the know, Edens is the daughter of Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens. She showed up as the Bucks' good-luck charm at Tuesday night's lottery drawing and promptly became the story of the evening, eclipsing the Cavaliers winning the lottery again, the deep-as-heck draft class, and everything else about the proceedings. She did this by... by... by... hmmmm... How did she do that?

I'm sure Mallory is charming and intelligent and talented, but she didn't get to display much of that in her incredibly brief appearance during the warm-up to the drawing. She smiled, she was fair-haired and fairly attractive, and that was enough to bump her Twitter account from 250 followers on Tuesday morning to 33,000 by Wednesday afternoon. Our Official Statistician tells me that this is the equivalent of every Bucks fan in the universe twice over. It pretty much proves that you can get famous in America nowadays just by being 18 and showing up.

I don't want to rain on Ms. Edens' iconic moment. Though I do hope her life isn't negatively impacted by 32,750 strange guys responding to every Tweet, trying to get followed so they can private message her.

"Hey Mallory, I am in your 5th period class with...Mr. Smith? I'm the guy who's always wearing shirts! Plz follow me cuz we should talk more and cuz I'm totally NOT 39 years old! haha!"

In any case, nobody should begrudge Ms. Edens anything. More power to her! I'm just amazed that our criteria for notoriety are so transparent. Does this really reflect who we want to be? I mean, how many followers did Margaret Thatcher gain yesterday?

OK, I get it. She's dead. You know what I mean, people!!!


Meanwhile here's Nick Gilbert--the high-school-aged son of Cavaliers owner Daniel Gilbert--going, "I picked THIS year to skip the lottery drawing??? ONE friggin' year I don't go and... dang dang dang dang dang dang...DANG!!! I had to sit next to Bryan Colangelo and now...ARGHH! I could have SO chatted her up!"

So, come here often? Yeah, me too. Every year. The little cheese biscuits are the best. You know Dr. J? He's a close, personal friend. Hey, Doc! Your dad owns a team too. huh? We got a lot in common then. And you got #2! That's cool. I got #1. You know what they say. Once you've had #1 you never go back. Heh-heh. It's true, too. We never go lower anymore. So...maybe we should hang out and talk about a trade or two?

Say what you want about the Cavs, Nick Gilbert is s-m-ooth. They ought to make him GM.

OK, so...the Blazers. They may not be Nick Gilbert smooth, but...oh geez. Breaking news: You know who else isn't smooth? Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson. Did you catch his brilliant performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals?

Lance is getting memed all over the universe for that one, and rightfully so. If he brought that to Wrestlemania, irate fans would immediate fill the ring with crumpled tobacco cups, half-spent beers, and folding chairs. Rumor has it that when Paul George grabbed his hand to help him up, Stephenson was supposed to go for the Reverse Irish Whip but he couldn't remember the spot. Right now dozens of high-level soccer players are shaking their heads and saying, "Tsk! To fake such a thing so obviously, this is shameful! He did not even wince or grimace!"

The best part of that whole video is the mop guy who comes up as Stephenson is lying there. He's all, "I'm gonna mop underneath you, but I'm totally faking it too. We both know that no actual bodily fluids fell out of you during that charade."

Wow. Just checked the evening box scores. You want to talk about a charade?  The Oklahoma City Thunder apparently made Stephenson's tactic the foundation of their Game 2 strategy, prompting our own Timmay to Tweet:

YES! YESSSS! Timmay! You've brought us around to our topic of the day! Totally legit segue, man. Blazer's Edge readers everywhere will bow and kiss your feet as we actually take up that topic of the day......first thing tomorrow. For real this time. Even if coaches get fired and random starlets pop up on TV. Blowouts and flops be damned. You can trust me like a draft day rumor. It's all about, "How good are the Blazers?" and our long-delayed interview with Lindsey Buckingham. Tomorrow. Seriously.

--Dave / @DaveDeckard