After a whopping two consecutive decades of making the playoffs, the Portland Trailblazers find themselves about to miss it for third year in a row. After countless occurrences of players fighting, doing drugs and playing badly, the team owners had enough and shipped Stoudamire, Wallace and Bonzi Wells out. Now the Blazers find themselves in very odd territory?rebuilding.
They do have a good young core. Sebastian Telfair is having his coming out season this year, and is showing a Tony Parker/Damon Stoudamire type game. Zach Randolph isn't flashy or robust, but he is a great finesse shooter from midrange and can hit hook shots with ease. Those two are the main ones to build the team around. Martell Webster has shone capability of hitting the outside shot, and Joel Pryzbilla has emerged as a double-double player. So they have a decent starting five, they just need to put it together.
The Blazers are a tad too young to compete. The team averages 25.5 years old, which is just behind the Hawks for youngest NBA team. Like all inexperienced teams, they commit a ton of foolish errors. Right now they are 19th in the NBA in turnovers, 28th in rebounding, 30th in FT%, and 30th in PPG. That's all you need to know to comprehend why they're losing.
But the big monkey on the Trailblazers back is chemistry. It was Hubie Brown who said that passing leads to chemistry, not the other way around. The Blazers are last in the League in Assists Per Game, an obvious prevention for them winning. Speaking of chemistry, Ruben Patterson (who somehow survived through the Rasheed Wallace/Scottie Pippen days) is in a got-to-go situation. Allen Iverson at least can debate with coaches because he deserves it, but who the hell is Ruben Patterson? He's had confrontations with Dunleavy, Cheeks and now McMillan. The behavior problems will begin to stop when Ruben departs.
The Western Conference is so deep in a not-so-good way that the last-place Blazers are a mere five out from the #8 seed. At the moment they're bottom feeding to many statistical categories to compete and improvement has to start with passing. Another equally large problem is Zach Randolph, who after recuperating from a knee injury is still feeling pain. If he has to have knee surgery, then that's bad news. The knees are the first to go for big-men, and if Randolph loses them then the Blazers lose any chance of succeeding this year..We specialize in writing gambling articles on football, basketball, and baseball.
By: David Pincus