Seven games in, the NBA season is 8.5% complete. Based on this sample, it’s high time to make some conclusions about what there is to like and dislike about this 2012-2013 NBA season for your Portland Trail Blazers.
Damien Lillard is a point guard and a scorer; we didn’t have to pick one. Also, his college production is as indicative of his future success as any college player can be said to be. Kid’s a baller who deserves the praise he has gotten.
Even with even the wildest of expectations being met, Lillard is far from the best PG in league and has a long season to maintain to even be the best rookie. The game against the Hawks was one of his worst yet and there is definitely a settling into reality. His defense isn’t up to par, and his scoring isn’t versatile enough. It’s not that the kid isn’t good or that those who hated his projection from college have been justified. He’s just not going to be consistent enough to actually put the team on it’s back and lead them to wins. Which.. no one really should have ever expected. The next question for him will maintaining his body over an NBA season and finding out just where the floor meets the ceiling.
Nic and Wesley have had some good-to-great moments.. especially offensively.
Dislike it: By especially, I mostly mean only. Besides one game where Harden was slowed down some (which was just going to happen regardless of who was guarding him at some point) and a quarter here or there, defense is taking exactly the backseat anyone imagining the team with defensive coordinator Canales would take. This isn’t all on Wesley and Nic.. but they aren’t earning any additional accolades.
I don’t dislike what Hickson did last night. He made a mission of grabbing boards and did a fine job of it. Good for him. What I dislike is the relative importance that is placed on trying hard or playing effectively. My greatest wish is that some other team will overrank his importance and want to trade for him, and we can get something good for a player that was just a castaway. Does Hickson + Wesley or Nic get anyone good? Do we care about getting anyone good when Wiggins is just around the corner? Am I going to jump teams when he goes somewhere else? So many questions on this young season..
Uhm.. pingpong balls? I don’t mind losses. I didn’t really see this team being good enough to get anywhere. Even some positives from the rookie class weren’t going to change that. There is no clear path to more sustained success at this point. The most optimal situation would be showing improved production from the most tradeable assets while not losing the edge on a strong lottery pick. So far, I feel pretty good about this.
Short-sighted fans. I don’t care if you want to win now or later. I don’t care if you buy into Stotts playing crappy vets with no upside over crappy young players with the same likely upside. Just stop pretending like it matters. Stop pretending like the production we get from Hickson is winning games when he lets as much go on the defensive end. Just stop it.
And remember how the Blazers got close to winning against the Spurs and last night against the Hawks? Do you know what that is called when you come close to winning like they did?
Losing. It’s called losing. Get used to it.
The Blazers will continue down whatever path this is and no one is coming to save the day. The likelihood of turning the current set of assets into a contending team is not improving. Most likely, any coming trade for consolidation will be less than the Blazers need. In short, you’re better off jumping on TiMB’s big man of the week (pause) than expecting a significant improved course for the Blazers.