There is nothing like being away from technology for a couple hours and watching from afar as things starts brewing.
That’s what happened today when I was blindsided by this “uproar” surrounding Bill Simmons’ annual NBA preview. My UberTwitter was going nutty. I was tempted to just ignore this and take it for what it is. An entertaining columnist making a bold prediction in a pre-season article. I’ve done this before, I mean a few years back I swore up and down the Bobcats would make the playoffs for unknown reasons. Sometimes you just go with an angle. Of course Blazer Nation had…strong reactions when they saw Simmons’ comments. But he had some valid points, especially on Andre Miller. He’s said some of the same things we have said on this very blog. Miller and Roy both need the ball. Miller works better in a more uptempo, free type offense whereas Coach Nate likes more control. If you’re a Blazer fan and you don’t understand the hell of a job that Coach Nate is going to have to do getting this team to buy in than you’re being a bit naive. I have no problem with him saying that this iteration of the Blazers is going to be “The “You Thought We’d Take Another Leap, But Instead We Went Backward Because Expectations Were Too High, We Tinkered With Our Chemistry And Our Young Guys Tuned Out Their Coach” Team.” That doesn’t mean it’s true, but it’s happened before — Chicago is the easy reference there. Nate’s only going to play the guys who buy in and I doubt Roy is going to let people get out of line like that. But I digress.
However, saying the Blazers, who return exactly the same team, plus Andre Miller (over Sergio Rodriguez), the return of Martell Webster and a ton of guys entering their second year are going to go 41-41…that’s where I draw the line. That’s just silly. I can understand doubting whether this team is going to get the chemistry together. If guys are going to accept their roles. If Roy/Miller are going to get things going in the right direction. I can get wondering if Roy and Aldridge can maintain their hunger now that they have their paychecks. I can see questioning if Nate McMillan can make this work. Going on a national platform and saying this team is going 41-41…that’s a bit much. I’m not sitting here taking it personally nor am I going to blow a gasket because it’s clearly not the most logical prediction. And if somehow Portland does go 41-41 I will apologize and then blame him for cursing us. I just don’t see it happening. Portland went 41-41 in 2007-08. That team featured the same Roy/Aldridge/Blake/Outlaw/Webster/Pryzbilla core. Surrounding by James Jones/Jarrett Jack/Raef LaFrentz/Sergio/Channing and Von Wafer. No Oden. No Miller. No Rudy. No Batum. And that was the year all 8 playoff teams in the Western Conference won 50+ games. Our talent has improved and the West just isn’t as good. Simple facts. Sometimes it’s best not to overthink the little things — particularly during preseason. Still, ridiculous prediction or not, it made part of your day more interesting, didn’t it?
Besides, if you really want to flame Simmons there are plenty of his Oden comments floating around the web. Some of them are quite thoughtful, some are quite ignorant. Season predictions just aren’t really much to get riled up about.