Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview: Down with JJ Hickson

Team Capsule

The Blazers at one point were on the ups. They had Brandon Roy who was becoming a superstar and they had just drafted Greg Oden. Oden had some knee problems but that was okay cause he was going to be fine. The team was young and was ready to hit the next level. At least that’s what they thought and many of us thought. Greg Oden never overcame those knee injuries and Brandon Roy suffered injury after injury.

Last year was a lost cause for the Blazers. There was some hope but about halfway through the season management decided this team had no chance of winning an NBA championship anytime soon. The decision was to act sooner rather than later and the team began to tank. They fired Nate McMillan and finally hired Neil Olshey as the new GM in June.

The team made some new additions that weren’t very good and they look like they might be even worse than last year. LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!  START YOUR TANKS!

Biggest Strength: The fans

This fan base has gone through a few rebuilds already and they know it’s no fun but we all saw how the fans reacted after the Blazers were no longer the jail Blazers. The Rose Garden was once again electric. Portland has some of the best fans in the NBA and, even though they’ll be losing, those fans will be right there cheering them on night in and night out.

Biggest Weakness: Bad Contracts

Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not sure I completely agree with the way the Blazers decided to tank. It looks like they’re signing already bad veteran players (Talks of re-signing JJ Hickson) to short cheap contracts. If this is their method of tanking it’s a very high risk high reward. They’re going to be bad but if they flop in the draft they could end up with a bunch of useless players under contract making them even worse for even longer. If they instead signed a bunch of unsigned rookies/1-3 year guys there’s a chance of finding a diamond in the rough while continuing to lose. But tanking is tanking and there are multiple ways to do it. I might be completely wrong

Player to watch: Lamarcus Aldridge

Aldridge has shown he’s a patient guy. But how long is willing to continue to lose? He thought he was going to be on a team full of winners a couple years ago not one going through another rebuild. Pay attention to him. Does he look frustrated? Does he look like he’s giving effort? If Aldridge isn’t happy that could be a problem for the Blazers rebuilding plans.

Coach: Terry Stotts

Key Additions: G Damian Lillard, C Meyers LeonardG Will Barton.

The rookies should be fun to watch.

Key Subtractions: Brandon Roy

Team Trajectory: Down

This team is going to be a lottery team for a few years. They’re bad. Really bad. A winning team does not have JJ Hickson. The only good thing they have going for them is Lamarcus Aldridge and hope in their young players. The Blazers will need to show massive improvement in the next 3 years if they want to keep Aldridge happy. Aldridge is no drama queen but a player can only take losing and being the only good player on a team for so long. Sorry Blazers fans. Prepare for more tanking and a continued rebuild. If it’s done right you’ll be back in the playoffs soon.

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About Chris Barnewall
Hi I'm Chris. I'm from the Space Coast of Florida where NASA is. I grew up watching shuttles launch into the sky and watching the Orlando Magic on my TV. I hope by giving you my opinions and analysis on basketball we can have some awesome discussions on the topics I write. If you want to see some of the other random things I enjoy and talk about then go give me a follow on Twitter. @ChrisJandB Lets have fun with this!

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