Twenty Three Years Later…

The last time the Portland Trailblazers passed on a college phenom because the respective position was filled, they missed out on Michael Jordan.

Lets hope it doesn’t happen again.

The Blazers are already stocked with post players and they could use talent at the swingman. But if GM Kevin Pritchard knows what’s good for him, he’ll take the phone off the hook and ignore any trade offers or advice to draft Kevin Durant. No, Durant isn’t Sam Bowie, but Greg Oden is the only answer. Even if the team is swollen at that spot, draft the best player and work it out afterwards. It’s better to have him and be able to make a trade later than to regret not having drafted him at all. Does anyone think that Oden’s value is going anywhere but up? So pick him and experiment.

No matter how much the game may open up in the next decade, Oden has the athleticism and skill set to keep up and is certainly equipped to dominate the half court game. He has the wingspan and mobility of a condor and pairing him with another seven foot wunderkind in LaMarcus Aldridge gives Portland a frontcourt that could feast on the Western Conference well into the future. Zach Randolph has elevated his game to All-Star status, which is why there’s no better time to trade him. No matter how far he’s come, he’s still the expendable player in this situation. Just as Ricky Davis was jettisoned far from an impressionable LeBron James, Z-Bo and Darius Miles should be shopped to officially end the Jailblazers era. Headcases that they are, they’d still fetch some spare parts and a quality point guard to complete the backcourt alongside Brandon R.O.Y. Jason Kidd? Mike Bibby? Jason Terry? Mike Conley? This could be a playoff team next year. Best believe Bill Walton broke out the special stash tonight.

And it was all shitty just a week ago. The Sonics had no GM or a head coach and looked as though their next playoff appearance wasn’t even going to be in Seattle. Owner Clay Bennett wasn’t getting the legislative support he needed for a new stadium and was involved with an increasingly bitter relationship with the media. Assuming that everyone will be more inclined to work things out now, the team should have their pick of coaching and managment talent to steer them deep into the playoffs. If they choose to re-sign Rashard Lewis, with Durant and Ray Allen the Sonics would have the personnel to rip and run with the best of ‘em.

Who didn’t fax their resume into Seattle front offices tonight?

But who knows what will happen in the upcoming weeks? Except that which was already promised to be an eventful offseason just got all the more interesting. We’re heading into a summer with Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter and Jermaine O’Neal on the market and Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett (allegedly) on the trading block.

Specualte to your heart’s content, just know that Durant and Oden will both end up with the swoosh. Some things are just meant to be.

17 Responses to “Twenty Three Years Later…”

  1. I’d like somebody to tell me what’s bad about having multiple athletic talented 7-footers on your team. Why would anybody want to avoid having too many very good post players?

    Then again, the Texans drafted Mario Williams.

  2. Damn, I forgot Portland has Jarrett Jack at PG! He’s nice. And the Blazers have four centers!!! That might be a blessing in disguise. One adage NBA execs adhere to is, “You can’t teach size.” That means there’s a market for duds, I mean dudes like, Jamaal Magloire, Luke Schenscher, and either Raef LaFrentz, or Joel Pryzbilla.

    Magloire and Schenscher def can go. Then there’s Darius and Z-Bo and Dickau – they can get jettisoned, too. So many teams love Magloire still… maybe the Warriors can use him as that center who can run and block shots and doesn’t need a play called for him (not that G.S. is that big into play-callin’). Schenscher? Maybe the Nets can use him? No. How ’bout Philly? All they have is Dalembert and Steven Hunter. Maybe the Grizz or the Clips?

    Maybe package Magloire and Z-Bo and Darius for the Grizz’s 4th pick – or even the Sixers at 12?

  3. Portland has got major chips to use. Draft Oden, and then work out where your excess of height can go. But if they pick Durant, they definitely are making a mistake. To have Brandon Roy and Greg Oden together…wow.

  4. Think about this, Greg oden, a great defensive player, will be coached
    by Nate McMillian, who was a great defensive player. A nucleus of Oden,
    Aldridge, Roy, and Jack, damn. If I’m Kevin Pritchard (who was one of
    the few who had issues with the Jail Blazers era.), I would be trying
    to set a record to see how fast I could get rid of Randolph and Miles.

    In the case of Seattle, why keep Rashard Lewis when I can plug Durant
    in at the three-spot and have him play apprentice to Ray Allen with
    Robert Swift and Chris Wilcox grab any missed shots with Luke Ridnour
    and Earl Watson (no need for another shooter) running the point.

    Bottom line, the two L.A. teams had better get on the ball because
    the two Northwest teams just got a head start on next year’s playoffs.

  5. BTW, I can’t wait to read Simmons explain how the Celtics got screwed.

  6. In the perfect world Seattle gets the number one pick and Portland gets the number two pick. Portland is relieved of the pressure to pick Oden and Seattle gets what they actually need in the middle. It just seems that with Rashard Lewis still pretty youthful at the scoring forward position and Ray Allen still quite capable of putting up All-Star numbers, what Seattle really needs is the center while what Portland needs is the slashing, scoring three/four with backcourt capabilities.

    I remember a few years back the Wizards, then Bullets, had a similar overflow on the frontline. They had Webber, Howard and Rasheed not to mention Ben Wallace. All of them were dumb young but you knew they weren’t going to be able to stay together for very long. Sure enough, the Bullets traded ‘Sheed for Rod Strickland, who gave them three good years at the point. Then they felt the need to separate Webber and Howard after Webber had a few run-ins with the law. Then Ben Wallace got away. What they had left was an overpaid, underperforming Howard.

    Sometimes too much young talent is not a good thing. The Bulls had a similar situation a few years ago as well. You never know who is going to pan out and ultimately you have to move someone. There really isn’t any way Alrdridge and Oden stay together for very long, which only means who gets traded and at what cost to the franchise.

  7. Agree with Hnic: The move would be for Portland to trade down (and take the heat) to #2, and maybe get something out of the deal (Ridnour, to be used as trade bait? A three-way deal? A couple of future #1’s?). Then Seattle gets Oden, and keeps Lewis.

    Because the Sonics, if they cut Rashard loose and replace him with Durant, might get younger, but not better. It’s pretty much the same team, and I don’t see how they become a playoff team. Maybe if they keep Lewis (and run-n-go), or sign and trade Lewis for something (a post player), but just doing Durant for Lewis… not making the team better.

    Now Oden in Seattle… that makes sense. And Durant in Portland gives you this starting five: Alridge, Randolph, Durant, Roy, and Jack. That’s money in a few years….

  8. HNIC & SML-
    No way…. why not have twin towers where Aldridge is the traditional center and Oden is the center/forward? Why not package Z-Bo, Darius, and a couple of those 7-foot stiffs on the bench for another draft choice and valuable bench players?

    Des-
    That Lewis-Durant combo is exactly what I was talking about with maxa. last eve.

  9. Yall don’t think Portland could use a veteran in that mix? They look way too young to me. If they could pull Billups or Kidd, then we would be cooking w/ Crisco.

  10. dwil,

    My reasoning for a Oden-Aldridge front line is my feeling LaMarcus
    is a better offensive weapon than Oden (his turnaround J is money),
    whose offense consists of a baby hook and a follow-up slam. Which is
    fine, but if that’s your number one option, Portland would be back in
    the lottery the following season. I believe the Blazers need a stone-cold
    scorer at the three. Someone who would just fill it up on offense and be
    acceptable on D. Gerald wallace would look good here, but his outside J
    is shaky. Your thoughts…

  11. Des-
    Then why not be super-devious and make a run at Rashard Lewis? THAT would be something!

  12. dwil,

    heh, heh, heh. C=Oden, PF=Aldridge, SF=Lewis, SG=Roy, PG=Jack.
    Bench= S.Graham, Udoka, Rodriguez, Pryzbilla (?). Scary.

  13. …scary and Niiiiiice!

  14. dwil,

    Someone @ The Big Lead proposed a Randolph for Richard Jefferson
    deal. Playoff experience + inside/outside game. Nice. Your thoughts…

  15. I have never been sold on Richard Jefferson. Too many 3 for 16 games. A bit overrated, in my opinion. I do like Lewis going to Portland though.

  16. Oden/Aldridge can’t be matched up. Not at all. On either side of the court. Durant can’t create that kind of problem.

  17. Diggi,

    Totally agree with you. Durant is a potentially great player, but
    Oden can be an impact player. His presence would be wqrth 10 wins, it
    would completely change the atomosphere of the franchise (which is why
    Randolph and Miles would have to go.), and he would restore pride to the
    city of Portland. I’m sorry :-), Oden and Aldridge could be the next
    Olajuwon-Sampson. Or at least be what it could have been.

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