Blazers to disappoint next season? A counter-argument
Among the teams that BR feels will let you down next season are the Lakers, Clippers, Cavs, Raptors and your Trail Blazers.
The Blazers made this list? Okay, let’s look at the five arguments made as to why BR says Blazer fans should not get their hopes up and let’s see if in fact, you should be feeling good about next season in Rip City.
But what about the all this money being tied up?
Blazers fans know that Portland has some really big contracts on the books right now and BR wants to reiterate that “given the shape of Portland's financial books—bloated beyond all reason—this core will likely be trimmed this summer, not expanded.”
Counterpoint: We all know Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has no problem spending money if it’s going to improve his team and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey recently talked to ESPN about how Portland can use their Trade Exceptions to make some potential off-season moves:
“We’ve got two really good trade exceptions… So it’s an advantage we think we have relative to the marketplace where we don’t necessarily have the cap room but we have a lot of liquid contracts and we do have two major trade exceptions where we can absorb players that we think can fit into our group that can advance this group going forward come playoff time next year.”
But, what about Dame and CJ?
According to the BR article, the Blazers are not going to get any better until their superstar backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are no longer teammates.
Counterpoint: The two players themselves don’t want to see that happen and who better than to judge the situation then the two in this position?
At the 2018 Blazer exit interviews, Lillard had this to say on this narrative that he and CJ should be split up:
“I don’t agree with it… I think it’s that simple. I think that’s the easiest thing to say, but I don’t agree with it.”
McCollum also talked at exit interviews about the idea that he and Dame need to be broken up if this team needs to get to the next level:
“I don’t think it’s right to want to make those type of drastic changes.”
Too easy of an argument that can go both ways…
If you look solely at the regular season record and how the standings shook out, then you see that the Blazers had just a three-victory advantage over the ninth team. And with that, BR is saying that is, of course, a very small margin and not a good sign for things to come.
Counterpoint: Does anyone else think this is not a fair way to look at the seeding in the West? You could say this about most Western Conference teams.
And, let’s look at it as if the Blazers were the No. 9 seed. Then, we’d use this argument too, but say “oh the Blazers were only three games out of the third spot….” So??? There’s that. Plus, in Olshey’s ESPN interview this week, he had this to say about the Blazers regular season:
“We’re not going to lose sight of finishing third in the West, winning the Northwest Division in a year that was hyper-competitive. But we’re also going to realize that we need to kind of view our future this summer through the lens of how are we going to be more impactful and play at a higher level come playoff time next year.”
What’s going to happen to the Blazers role players?
There’s potential for Portland’s rotational players to get even worse next season, according to Bleacher Report.
Counterpoint: But, what about the thought of the Blazers using their Trade Exceptions to improve the bench and get more veteran role players?
Plus, how can you not look forward to seeing what Blazers rookie Zach Collins will look like after having a year under his belt and an offseason to bulk up?
There’s always potential for either a stronger second unit or a bit weaker, but maybe we just like to look at the glass half-full.
In Bleacher Report’s defense, it did start their article titled “NBA Teams Set to Disappoint Us All Next Season” with this sentence:
“Prepare to get pessimistic, folks.”
Well BR, sorry, we wanted to do the opposite.