Close, but no cigar. The Blazers surprised us (except for old man numbers), entertained us (including old man numbers) and put together an exciting and accomplished season. I have already repeatedly pointed out organizational tips and suggestions as viewed through the numbers. These still apply.
It is clear the Blazers could use a strong and steady scoring, rebounding and defensively competent small forward. They probably have not had such a small forward since Cliff Robinson. Khris Middleton would be an excellent numerological fit if acquired through free agency. A couple draft potentials that could numerically fit would be Cam Johnson and Grant Williams (converted to a small forward). Similarly, the Blazers could benefit from a power forward with the same pedigree as mentioned above.
They would improve dramatically with someone who could go head to head with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Paul George. But, then, who wouldn’t you might ask! Imagine the outcome of the play offs if they had LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward rather than Aminu!
The Blazers should have a better shot at getting a stellar free agent after the successful results of this season. They have Curry, Turner, Hood, Layman, Harkless, Aminu, Leonard and possibly Collins to put together in combinations that could attract some pretty substantial draft choices. Or combinations could be made to snare a star quality player in trade. Yes, some of these players are free agents and it would require some of Neil Olshey’s magic.
The verdict is still out as to the status of Terry Stotts. He is liked by his players and has proven to be a good coach. But is he going to be a great coach? He has had time to demonstrate so, and has not reached that status. One wonders what “Pappy” Popovich or Steve Kerr might have done with this same bunch?
As presented before, Terry Stotts has a couple major 5’s, which is the number of versatility, experimentation and alternative ways of getting things done. In several ways he has shown that and then turns around under stress and gets crazy conservative and conventional. Here are some stretch your 5 imagination thoughts: If you keep Aminu consider playing him at small forward. Or, maybe play Kanter at center, Nurkic at power forward and Zach Collins at the small forward. WHAT! Why not? He is young, quick and can probably guard the Jameses and Durants and Georges as well as any defender. Zach has already shown that he can get in the way and handle the little gnats running around as guards. He is a small framed power forward and even with weight work will not match the biggies in size or mass.
The numbers suggest a year ahead of some major housecleaning. Will Neil Olshey go to Los Angeles? Will Terry Stotts still be here? Will we have a clue as to who might become the next owner? Stay tuned.
(6/2/19) Proposed dressed for success numerically potent line up for 2019-20. Dame, CJ, Khris Middleton (free agent), Lamarcus Aldridge (trade: ET, Moe, Aminu, & Zach Collins), Nurk. Next: Simons, Trent, Hood, Leonard and Kanter. Then: Old pro or waivered youngster, Curry, Layman, draft choice and Skal.
(6/14/19) I beg a numerological difference of opinion with the Casey Hodahl article of June 4 2019 with the statement, “and most rightfully assume that a rookie selected with the 25th pick isn’t where Portland is likely to find the help they’ll need next season”. I have indicated picks that could surprise all and do contribute the first year. That also assumes Terry Stotts can get by his morbid fear of playing rookies (Dame excepted) and get the rook on the floor to gain real court learning. An alternate numerical fit at SF, for example, might be Taurean Prince or possible draft sleeper Dylan Windler.