Playoffs or Bust?

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To make the playoffs or not to make the playoffs, that is the question that the Blazers must answer. As of today, before their game against the Nets, the Blazers are 2.5 games behind the Lakers for the 8th and final spot. According to the number crunchers at ESPN, they have a 6.2% chance of making it. The Lakers just lost World Peace for 6 weeks (the season) and the Jazz are in free fall. It could come down to Dallas and Portland. While I’d like for Portland to actually have the ability to draft a good player in the 1st round come June, the Lakers or Jazz may make that impossible if they both struggle down the stretch.

 

To win is to make the playoffs. If that does occur, it surely looks like a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Spurs or Thunder. Would that really be worth it? Do the players have anything to gain from that potentially abysmal showing? The team has numerous holes and a lack of depth and a trip to the playoffs for four games won’t do anything to alleviate these issues.

 

The Blazers will have some cap-space this summer but I would like them to lockup Hickson for a few years. A cheap and talented SG in the 1st rounds could go a long way in helping them improve dramatically next year. In January and February, when Batum and Matthews sustained nagging injuries, the team turned to over-matched players that further stressed the remaining starters. When a team has to turn to Pavlovic for minutes, you know the bench needs some serious off-season attention.

 

This off-season will be very important to the maturation of the young Blazers. Lillard will be ROY, Batum will be all of 24, and Leonard has shown promise of late. Hell, Hickson is only 24 as well. They could have a very good group of young players. Maybe this is the summer to commit fully with Aldridge or seek avenues to increase the talent of the team by trading away its greatest asset (It worked for Denver!).

 

Playoffs run or not, I’m very interested in seeing where this ride will take us. I’ll root for them to crush the Thunder or Spurs, I’d just rather them take this year off so they can be more formidable next April. 

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Rookie of the Year? Also, First Post EVER!

ImageWe are Blazer fans here, Blazer experts, even. But Damien Lillard should not be the Rookie of the Year for the NBA. Don’t get mad at me. Actually, wait, if you disagree, let me know why you think he should be ROY.

ImageAs of now, Andre Drummond has played spectacular. His rebounding, scoring, shooting are sensational, especially for expectations. Per 48, he’s averaging 17.8 point’s on 60% shooting, 18.3 rebounds, and 4.1 blocks. His big knock is minutes played but it isn’t his fault his coach is an idiot. Compare that to Lillard, who has been very good as a rookie but not sensational, Per 48 of 23.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 7.9 assists on 47.2% shooting from 2 and 35% shooting from 3.  

Drummond has been out for a spell with a hurt back but I’m writing this a theoretical space as if his minutes could be within the ballpark of Lillard, Davis, Waiters, or Beal.  Can he get back healthy? I hope so because he is fun to watch. Do I expect him to get at least 1 vote, all I can say on that is I hope so.

If Lillard has a rough last twenty games, and Davis has a solid last twenty, I’d vote for Davis. Lillard has more of a load to carry and his rookie numbers are similar to Westbrook and Rose, players he was compared to coming out of college (that is encouraging as a Blazer fan). I just want to point out that there are other rookies who are more efficient than Lillard. 

My wish going into the 2012 NBA Draft was to get Damien Lillard with the 6th and hoping Drummond fell to them at 11 or they could move to 8 with Toronto to get him. Meyers Leonard has started to come on lately but Drummond dunking lobs from Lillard would have made this a very fun season of development.