It has reached that that time of the year again to ponder upon Portland s fortunes of fate for the NBA season to come. Right up front I am saying that the magic number is 56 wins plus or minus three. This is assuming there are no major injuries, accidents, or events that distract from the goal of the season.
If I had a flux capacitor 100 buzzigawatt thermodynamic computer, and a lot of time to waste, I could probably provide a close probability of such happening for all of the expected playoff teams. However, since I have neither, I will have to go with the same assumptions as the NBA redundants and pundits that there are no major unforeseen incidents to detract from this assessment.
If Pau Gasol stays healthy he will, along with dispersing wisdom to the young, provide far more punch than the redundant pundits of the NBA predictably pronounce. Hassan both behaves and enjoys, while pouring in points and preventing well the other team from doing so. Anfernee comes of NBA age and will be a significant contributor by the end of the season. The two small giants will be improved and contribute consistently as always. Rodney continues his form from the play offs. Gary Trent remains more inconsistent than ready for the big time. Nassir needs more time to flourish. Bazemore fits and adds to the Blazers fight.
Zach is back and improved, but not yet a star. Hezonja is a pleasant surprise and dark horse for the sleeper award this season. Tolliver produces well for his pay. Skal gets some additional minutes and turns in some exciting moments. Jaylen Hoard is an x-factor question mark, and is more likely to surprise than disappoint. This says he could outperform Nassir Little this first year. Nurk will be able, as they say, to take his time coming back. He will flourish by the end of the season and contribute, but is not yet back to his full steam of the 2018-19 season.
Imagine this for starters: Dame, Baze, Hood, Zach and Hassan, Four players who can pop the three pointer, and harsh defense in the front court. It would be tough for anyone coming through Hood, Zach and Hassan. What happens to CJ you ask? Try this for a second team: Ant, CJ, Mario, Tolliver and Pau Gasol! FIVE players who can hit the trey all on the floor at once!
True, the defense would be a little porous. However, most second units in the NBA suffer when it comes to defense. I cannot image any other team having that much fire power in their second unit. Takes pressure off of Anfernee, and lets his natural abilities prosper and take over. Would TS have the imagination to go so far out? You still have a lot of potential talent left with Trent, Hoard, Nassir, and Skal. Any one of them could be fit into a rotation as they blossom and produce.
Certainly credit has to be given to Neil Olshey and his contribution to this year’s roster. It is probably his finest year considering the limitation of reserves in the cash register and position in the draft. Now it is upon Terry Stotts to demonstrate his best with this diverse and potentially loaded talent pool.
One thing might be mentioned that no one in the organization will tackle, because of a little issue called their job! That is the Paul Allen factor. He clearly was attached to this team, supportive in their progress and enthusiastic about seeing them succeed. The numbers indicate he was more involved in the process than will be spoken about in public. He clearly had player favorites and put his stamp upon selections and decisions. He could at time micro manage and let his strong will be known by subtle means or simple parental pressure. Clearly that was his right as an owner to see it done his way.
With his passing Neil has increased freedom to make basketball decisions by basketball people. And, Terry will be able to coach more comfortably in his zone. It would be great to see Stotts loosen up in his public communication and let go of the dead pan stoic persona, thus allowing his known humor and more sparkling personal presence to shine.
I am a big believer that life goes on in various forms, and that in Paul Allen’s soul progression he will soon see the success he always wished for. It seems Dame has made it his destiny to stay and make the Blazers NBA champions. The management and coaching staffs are poised to make this happen. They are attracting the player combinations to bring them closer.
With the power vested in me, I declare that they are going to reach their goal within the next two or three seasons! I am old man numbers and that’s the way I see it!
Subject to change upon illumination! 🙂