ANSWER IS: What are …
Or, exactly what Portland’s owner recently told Kevin Pritchard [GM] …
Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen tells his GM: Go for it
Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has told general manager Kevin Pritchard to upgrade the team’s roster for next season, adding suspense, intrigue and pressure to what already figures to be a critical juncture in the team’s pursuit of a championship.
“Overall, our timeline has moved up,” Pritchard said last week after one of several offseason meetings with Allen. “We need to take it to the next level.”
Although Allen wants improvement every season, this summer’s edict comes at a crucial time. The Blazers are one of the league’s brightest teams on the rise, coming off a 54-win season and the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2003. A bad trade, or free agent flop now could be the difference between a dynasty or a dud.
The big question, of course, is how Pritchard goes about improving the league’s second-youngest roster?
Does he listen to coach Nate McMillan’s desire for experience? Does he flex the team’s enviable muscle in the free agency market? Does Pritchard relent to his daring, go-for-it nature and make a blockbuster trade? Or does he sit on his hands as he did at last season’s trading deadline, when he made no moves in order to let his young team progress “organically”?
“Those propositions haven’t come to the forefront yet,” Pritchard said in the waning days before Thursday’s draft.
It’s a jumbled picture right now, with many possibilities and options open to the Blazers. But this much appears to be certain: The Blazers will be a major player when the free agent market opens July 1, and they are open to trading out of Thursday’s draft.
Upgrade the team’s talent for next season?
As is, the Blazers’ player roster for 2009-2010 is already slated to be amongst the very best in the NBA:
PG – Steve Blake, Sergio Rodriguez, Jerryd Bayless [Brandon Roy?]
OG – Brandon Roy, Martell Webster [Rudy Fernandez?]
SF – Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez [Travis Outlaw?]
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw, Channing Frye
C – Joel Przybilla, Greg Oden
despite being the second-youngest average aged in the league.
Upgrade the team’s talent?
Is Paul Allen joking????????
The view from here says that now is NOT the right time for the Blazers to attempt their first dive from the High Tower.
Portland [Kevin Pritchard, GM/#1 and Nate McMillan, Head Coach/#2, below] has done a terrific job rebuilding their house, from the ashes which were left following the 2005-2006 season, when they won just 21 games, by:
#1. Drafting and trading in a masterful way, i.e. 2006 NBA Draft; 2. 2007 NBA Draft; and, 3. 2008 NBA Draft …
#2. Posting increasing Win Totals for 3 successive years, i.e. 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and this past season.
Now is the Lakers’ time to shine in the spotlight of the Western Conference, as the Blazers’ young guns gradually acclimatize themselves to life in the Playoffs … by going deeper and deeper each season, for the next 2-3 years, i.e. dabbing their toes in the water this year, swimming for the deep end next season, treading water thereabouts for a while [i.e. bobbing up and down] and ONLY THEN being in an actual position to dive-in, headfirst, for the treasure that lies at the bottom of the sea, where only the very best Jacques Cousteau’s can go … without incurring the bends.
Yes, the Blazers have 5 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft [i.e. No. 24, No. 33, No. 38, No. 55 & No. 56] but by swinging for the fences TOO SOON, in their development as a TEAM … instead of simply allowing more of their own players to evolve naturally and then adding key free agents at a later date, as need be, to get over the “proverbial” hump … they run the very real risk of seeing their hard work go up in a puff of smoke, right now, by adding the wrong player [e.g. Hedo Turkoglu] at the wrong time to an already potent mix.
Patience is a virtue … especially in the NBA … for those seeking to become The VERY BEST in their chosen field.
The current situation in Portland fits into THIS category.
Minor tweaks are okay. Seismic ones are not.
Time is on your side. Be Patient. JUST LET IT HAPPEN.