When the Portland Trail Blazers first announced they’d be taking on Neil Olshey as the general manager to fill the year-long vacancy since Rich Cho had been fired in May 2011, he was looked at as the Annointed One… kind of. After turning the L.A. Clippers into (nearly) a power-house team in the stacked Western Conference, we all believed Portland would be the next NBA franchise to rise from the ashes of its 28-38 ’11-’12 regular season.
He even tossed around phrases like “re-tool, not rebuild,” to make us feel as though the franchise would be back into the playoffs with just a few additions and tweaks to the roster.
Yet as the NBA pre-season approaches nearer and nearer, it’s becoming increasingly evident how much work remains to be done with this unfinished product we call the Portland Trail Blazers.
A lot of it is Minnesota’s fault. They tied up $45 million in that ridiculous offer sheet the Blazers matched for Nicolas Batum. Another part was the failed Roy Hibbert experiment. Had the Pacers decided not to match Portland’s max offer, this conversation would be completely different.
But alas, here we are, and without Hibbert, or any other decent center on the roster, the Blazers are left with rookies Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland to show some type of semblance of interior protection.
Good luck with that one.
Olshey definitely fixed Portland’s point guard situation by going out and grabbing Damian Lillard in the Draft, and he also, craftily, named both Terry Stotts AND Kaleb Canales as head and assistant coaches.
He also re-signed J.J. Hickson to a one-year deal, brought in (for what it’s worth) “Sasha” Pavlovic, and got something (Jared Jeffries) in return for unrestricted free agent Raymond Felton.
Most importantly, the Blazers new GM has kept them in position to sign a marquee free agent NEXT season.
So maybe this off-season wasn’t a total fail, right?
He failed to join the club of drastically improving Western Conference teams (Lakers, T’Wolves, Hornets, Suns, Rockets, etc.), but the overall out-look for the future still looks bright.
Olshey gets C- from me. What’s your grade?