After a 2015-2016 season of presenting stunningly accurate Trail Blazers preseason and pregame predictions, I have pretty much taken the 2016-2017 season off because they have for the most part been kind of boring. I was caught in the malaise of the listless play and predictable sports pundits’ trend to write them off. But, for the most part, I had diminished interest because of the reasons previously presented here on the blog.
And then March came, and like every other Blazers fan, I became excited again with their renewal and suddenly competitive play. With the addition of Jusuf Nurkic they seemed to wake up and find their mojo once again. As I was lying awake at 4 a. m. in the morning, I was struck by some inspired realizations about what the true meaning of this moment may be. Part of that realization is that in March we were getting a glimpse of the 2017-2018 Blazers ascent into an elite status within the league.
In my 2015 articles I mentioned the likelihood of their dramatically increased productivity in 2017-2018, and now the picture becomes clearer. The numbers suggest it is time for their ascendency and that they come into their own during the 2017-2018 seasons and establish themselves in the 2018-2019 season. CJ, who I picked as my star of the future in 2015, comes into his prime and emerges as a major force along with other teammates. The current bench players such as Pat Connaughton (who was my draft sleeper pick) and Jake Layman have a chance to become contributing rotation players.
Most important, perhaps, is that we will see the true basketball genius of Terry Stotts come further into light along with recognition of his tactful approach to developing his payers unique abilities. He will establish himself as one of the premier coaches in the league. Expect POBO Neil Olshey to do his part in using the draft and key trades to add another catalyst to their success.
In short, the short span of March 2017 has revealed the direction that the Blazers are headed, and that bodes well for the organization and its marvelous fan base.