Preview Sort Of Thing: Portland Trail Blazers
October 20th, 2008

I write this post while speaking from inside a pair of Portland Trail Blazers shorts. It’s not the smartest choice of garb right now, given that it’s essentially snowing outside. But I’m wearing them anyway, because I’m a maverick, who doesn’t play by the rules, a Mad Max gone maniacal, a man whose killing expertise and suicidal recklessness make him a Lethal Weapon to anyone he works against. Or with.

I own these shorts for two reasons:

1. As a cutting edge fashionista, I firmly believe in the simplified yet magnetic beauty of novelty oversized black shorts.

2. When I bought them back 2002, I counted myself as a Portland fan.

Over time, this feeling has dissipated. As my NBA fandom has gone from “hardcore” to “oh Jesus just shut up already”, my allegiance to the Bulls became firmer than a Kevin Lyde backscreen, before slowing dying away into more of a general NBA kinship. Through that timeline, any Blazers allegiance was left by the wayside.

However, I never retracted the right to be able to crank that support right back up when I wanted to. The time for that is now.

(Note: I’m not claiming to be a Portland fan, even if I do invoke The Shorts Clause as a defence of any such claim. Instead, I am an NBA fan. And right now, all NBA fans are Portland fans. Or at least, they should be.)

Everything is coming up Milhouse in Portland. The team has the best collection of young talent in the league, and easily the best that I’ve ever seen. Not even the 2002/03 Denver Nuggets can rival these bad boys. Every position is three deep, with the only hole in their rotation being at starting small forward, and even there it’s all relative, as the duo of Nicolas Batum and Martell Webster have plenty of talent between them.

(By the way, I’m calling it now. Channing Frye to sign with Memphis next summer. Evidence? I have no evidence. I need no evidence.)

Portland has flair, athleticism, passing, shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking, creativity, fundamentals and Steve Blake. Forget being a team “for the future” – this is a team for both the present and the future. Rather than sacrifice talent for excitement, Portland combines the two, particularly from the bench, which houses exciting little bunnies like Sergio Rodriguez, Jerry D. Bayless, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez, and Joel Pryzbilla. This sheer depth also allows them to lose little when the starters come out of the game, especially on offence. If there’s a mismatch somewhere on the opposing team, Portland has someone who can expose it.

There are some drawbacks, though. Portland’s roster is so full of talent that it might not allow for players to fully develop, as the team offers at least two quality options at every position. Additionally, the core has shown to be rather injury-prone at a young age, specifically Brandon Roy and Greg Oden, and financially, Portland will be on the hook for a lot of salary, particularly if the salary of Darius Miles is….

…..wait, what? What the hell am I saying? Those aren’t important at all. And some of them aren’t even real drawbacks. Sorry. I think I felt obligated to be negative for a minute there, when it just wasn’t necessary. This is nothing to feel bad about with Portland right now. The talent is stacked, the future is blinding, the owner will pay for it, and the fans are on alert.

*Puts on XXXL Rasheed Wallace jersey, bought for a staggeringly cheap price after Sheed’s trade to Atlanta, even in spite of the fact that it’s at least three X’s too big for him. My re-allegiance is complete*

Let’s embrace this.

Posted by at 8:02 PM