Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Blazers

Three more thoughts on a night that Blazers fans may very well recall as one of the top two in franchise history (along with the 1977 title) when it is all said and done.

1. Boston Hates Portland. Could one team be any more bitter about another team right now? (Well, except for maybe the Suns and the Spurs.) Last year Portland swindled the Celtics by trading Bassy Telfair and a washed up Theo Ratliff for the #7 pick and a washed up Raef LaFrentz. It basically wound up being Telfair for Roy, which might turn out to be one of those trades that ends up on a "Top 10 Most Lopsided Trades" list someday. Now a year later the Blazers have snuck in and grabbed the top two pick that Celtics fans felt was rightfully theirs (although I'm not quite sure why). Those are a couple of beat downs, right there.

2. Stashing Some Good Luck. Nobody remembers this now, but Portland had the worst record last year and lost out on the top overall pick, sliding to #4. And they sure picked a good year to do it! The only guy who seemed to be a lock to be a good-to-great pro player was Roy and they got him with that acquired pick (via a trade with Minnesota). And the guy they nabbed at #4, LaMarcus Aldridge, has a decent shot to be the best player from the 2006 Draft. So I'd say it worked out pretty well. And a year later, they got the opposite result, nabbing the top pick in one of the most crucial drafts in recent memory. Really, they didn't get lucky this year, they got lucky that they were unlucky last year and now everything is balancing out. Or something like that.

3. Pritchard is the Man. Like most NBA fans, GM Bashing is a favorite hobby of mine. That said, there are a few guys that I love as general managers. Bryan Colangelo is obviously quite good. RC Buford has been great in San Antonio. Rod Thorn of the Nets is pretty solid. And I have a growing man crush on what Kevin O'Connor is doing in Utah. Kevin Pritchard definitely needs to be added to that list. By all accounts, he was the crafty wizard that orchestrated Portland's draft day domination last year, which - in light of the GM performances by John Nash and Bob Whitsitt before him - came as such a shock that the ESPN studio guys ripped the Blazers purely out of habit the night of the draft, before coming to their senses (or just being proven wrong, I'm not sure which). Not only that, but I read an interesting interview Pritchard gave to the Draft Express guys, and I loved the fact that he isn't trying to downplay this situation. The guy is embracing the moment and the challenge, and as a fan, that is all you can ask for. I'll leave you with this quote, which he offered when asked to put the pick in perspective:

Huge. Unbelievably huge. Franchise making. I don't know how to make it any bigger than that. That's pretty big, huh? Bigger than the Rose garden, bigger than our organization, bigger than the city of Portland. The whole state and the whole area revolve on the Portland trailblazers. As we go, so does the whole city so to speak. This has a chance to really change our organization and the city. Rip city again, here we come.


Josh Stump said...

Adam, good work. You know I love KP. He didn't just get Roy and Aldridge, but also talked Allen into ponying up another mil to steal Sergio at the end of the first round. He is brilliant and having talked to him a couple times, I can tell you he's a very real guy. A fan with a sports job and he's good. It's about time.

Jeff W said...

This is a huge summer for the NBA - free agency, awesome draft - should be a lot of player movement.

BTW, here's some draft-related info: How Caliper assesses potential picks -

Also, your Contact Us link doesn't work...