Monday, May 08, 2006

Fear and Self-Loathing in P-Town

I debated with myself on the subject of my first post for TMFF, and it took me a long time to choose my beloved Blazers over the despicable Lakers. But in the end, I realized I love the Blazers much more than I hate the Lakers - and that is saying a lot.

So, because I love them so, let me tear into them for a second. It is no stretch to say that Portland is currently in its worst crisis of its existence. What once was a proud and storied franchise has now become slightly worse than the Knicks (by two whole games). That, in itself, makes me shudder. Nevertheless, there's nowhere to go but up, right? Right?!

Alright, so we will have a top-4 draft pick in this year's lottery - yep, THIS year's, which I hope, I hope, I hope, I hope, proves actually to be full of chocolately goodness rather than the bread and butter it appears to be. Adam Morrison, please prove those bastards wrong. Andrea Bargnani, please be the next Dirk and not the next Tskasavkdajvdaillli. LaMarcus (you know you're my boy, right?), be Chris Bosh OS X, not Sam Bowie XP (ooooh, outta left field, a PC jab). For the love of all things basketball, please let the Blazers draft one of these fine gents, and please, please, please sell some goddamn jerseys.

Well, I am getting ahead of myself. This is all hoping for the future; but let's see what is in our immediate past that needs to be rectified. In order, the three real "cancers" of the team (in the world of sports, the term "cancer" is definitely benign rather than malignant, because, let's face it, it's sports):

1. Paul Allen (Owner): Yep, the Paul Allen, owner of the Blazers for the past 18 years. While I can appreciate the two trips to the finals using his sweet, sweet moola, it has become all too clear that this guy is not a real business man. I would liken him to George Steinbrenner, only without the eye for talent. He spent buttloads of money on talent, giving up a nice chunk of his earned fortune, and what did it get us? A lot of trades that ended up better for the other team (no need to thank us, Detroit). Paul Allen has two failing companies. His cable venture is deep in the red, and, by comparison, the Blazers are in the pinkish-white. If you look into his corporate past you'll see that his running a company has never been successful - his leaving a company has, however, been immensely successful for both him and the company. He knows how to make an exit, and all I can hope is that he can make another.

2. John Nash (GM): According to HoopsHype (an excellent NBA resource, by the way), Nash's best move of his tenure with the Blazers has been sending Rasheed to Atlanta for Ratliff and Shareef (there was some change thrown in, but that's the gist). That was his BEST move? Rasheed has been called the best player in the league by Scoop Jackson, Shareef has been called a good player playing on bad teams, and Theo, well, he's just Theo - he's a role player in a league where that role is ever-disappearing - and he's old. By the start of next season, neither Shareef (already a King) nor Theo will don a Blazer uniform. WHAT A MOVE! (Aside: Rasheed'll always be a Blazer to me.) So that ought to sum up the fine job John Nash has done. Oh, should I mention that previously Nash worked in the Nets' and Wizards'/Bullets' front office? Should I also mention the surge in both franchises post-Nash? Didn't think I needed to.

3. Steve Patterson (President): Grow a pair! So far his best accomplishment the "no duh" move to help Houston get an NFL franchise. What? Football in Texas? What a wash that'll be! Santa H. Claus, a friggin' retarded kitten could come up with that. C'mon, Stevie, let's get back to the way it was in the Rockets' front office during the Hakeem years - make some critical moves, like, oh, I dunno, promote Kevin Pritchard.

You better believe there is a whole lot more wrong with the Blazers, and usually, I am an optimistic sort, but if it keeps going the way of the douchebag some other city in the union is going to be cursed with this franchise. Changes need to be made, and from all indication, it appears as if the top two above will be shilling themselves in other ventures, but who will take their place remains to be seen.

So, I offer my fearless predictions for the coming months:

1. Kiki Vandeweghe named General Manager.
2. Blazers receive the 3rd pick in the NBA draft.
3. Blazers select Andrea Bargnani (aka the Genoa Salami of NBA meats).

Whatever happens, there is one constant, one surety next season. The Blazers will at least tie the season series with the Lakers, and really, that's all I ask for.

(For more awesome Blazer bloggin action check out the following sites: OregonLive Blazers Blog, BlazersEdge)

Image Courtesy of Build A Bear.

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