The Trail Blazers came out Wednesday night for their game with Dallas very listlessly. In fact, the first half of their game even mystified their coach, who wasn't pleased with his team's passion, heart or energy.
It was the closest I've ever seen to Terry Stotts to throwing his team under a bus. I understand, though. Frustration is rampant among the fan base but it's probably nothing compared to what's going on within the front office, coaching staff and the team itself.
This is not a team accustomed to having its effort questioned. This isn't a squad that's had a lot of disappointing efforts. These are good people who try hard. They haven't given up.
What's the answer? I couldn't even guess. If the coaches or players knew, they'd be correcting it.
But what I do know is that once things start going south, it's hard to get them turned around. The losses pile on top of each other and begin to weigh heavily on all involved. They can even begin to shape the future as teams grow to expect bad things to happen or forget what they were doing to make good things possible.
What the Trail Blazers need is a reset -- and that's not always easy. Often it can come in the form of a trade, a new player or two can change the personality of team quickly. Sometimes, it's an event like a team outing or even a fight -- as the Trail Blazers had a few years ago at Golden State, an event that brought the team closer. I think Stotts may have been looking to make an impact in that regard with his pointed statements after the game.
His team needs a jiggle. A shake. A kick in the pants. Something to get it going again.
I don't think this team is essentially different than the one that met with success in the second half of last season. It just needs to find itself. If I knew the road map for that I'd sell it to Paul Allen right now and retire. But trust me, there is usually a way out of the doldrums if there is the talent to make it happen. I believe that talent is still here.
They just have to find a reset button.