I’ve been apathetic about this season for a long time, and wasn’t particularly sweating the games even when the Blazers were doing well. But the last two games really do give the impression that Rome is burning. Well, not Rome, some smaller empire, maybe the Swedish Empire? Stockholm is burning!
To me Jason Quick blaming Raymond Felton, Chad Ford blaming Felton and Crawford, or any of the number of people blaming Nate McMillan for these disastrous efforts gives everybody involved far, far, far too much credit. Everybody is at fault for this disaster. I’m not even going to say it starts somewhere. It starts everywhere. Nobody involved in the situation has performed their job with even a modicum of professionalism.
Obviously the most obvious evidence of the rotten core of the Blazers was the pathetic effort exhibited by the players last night and tonight. Calling that a pre-season game effort is being too kind. It looked like the rookie soph game. You could say they were just “going through the motions,” but that would raise the question of what motions they were going through. I don’t care about Felton being a cancer or Crawford being a mutineer. Nobody distinguished themselves tonight. There is no Shoeless Joe on this team. It’s a bunch of blobs making blob like attempts to make sure they get blown out.
Obviously Nate McMillan is also culpable. You can argue that there’s no way to motivate these blobs, but that rings extraordinarily hollow. None of these players have reputations that show they give less than the best. And Nate was surely in the room when the front office decided to load up on these cynical veterans that he now apparently can’t manage. Look, if you can’t motivate your team you’re not doing your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s your fault. It’s unprofessional to continue to allow the basketball equivalent of excrement out there, while you don’t take responsibility.
The front office by committee has been a plain and simple disaster. The Blazers trade intentions are the most apparent West of Orlando, and that affects (the notoriously sensitive) Gerald Wallace and Jamal Crawford who chose Portland over a number of more competent organizations in the offseason. The fact that Portland’s front office leaks like a sieve with holes in it has made the trade deadline period essentially an auction where everything is for sale but nobody bids. A little bit awkward for the “merchandise” that nobody wants. And that’s not even delving into the last 12 months of personnel decisions which have left the Blazers bereft of assets or talent going forward.
Finally, Paul Allen is the one who’s left the front office in this state. Winning teams invariably have a strong and knowledgeable voice in charge of basketball decisions. The Blazers have Chad Buchanan scouting Anthony Davis, which will help when he phones his report in to Rich Cho in Charlotte. It’s a pathetic state of affairs. The whole house needs to be cleaned. Allen should fire all the basketball ops people, hire a new GM, and fire him just to be sure, then hire a good one. Nate McMillan needs to go. And Gerald Wallace, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby should also be dumped if for no other reason to see if the stench has rubbed off on Aldridge and Batum. This team is in a pathetic state, and the sooner it makes dramatic and massive changes, the better.