Mar, 18, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Raymond Felton (5) reacts to a foul with teammates Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford (11) and Portland Trail Blazers center Kurt Thomas (40) during the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Did Neil Olshey Fail His First Off-Season With Portland?

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?

e-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: BriscoXCI

Tags: NBA General Neil Olshey Off-seson

  • Hal

    Roy Hibbert and Nic Batum combined for nearly $30 million per season? With a CAP of 59 million this means 2 above average players would have wrapped up over 50pct of the teams available money allotment. The front office has gone from competent to desperate and no where in basketball does desperate have leverage. The team did a good job with the draft but not sure it takes the team to even a .500 playoff team at the moment. Off-season Report Card B+ Draft and D on Free Agency simply because the team did not appear to get any better, yet locked itself into a battle with the T-Wolves whom has an owner that tried to sabotage the teams future.

  • haha

    Rockets improved? What?

  • Eeyore

    Seems like we’ve entered another “Tom Owens” era. Tom was a great guy, but the Blazers were second-rate when he was the center.

  • Arni Phillip May

    Is anyone home?

  • Arni Phillip May

    I give him a D. The team is way worse than last year and we are headed for one of the worst records in the NBA.

  • Alan Bliven

    I think he did the best job possible considering the circumstances. I give him a B.

  • get down or get out of the way

    I think more like an incomplete. Definitely not a fail and i’m hesitant to say a C. He came on board minutes before having to catch a plane to the rookie draft combine. Had to land a coach.Had to fill out a roster because half the team was too old or sucked. Arrived at the door step of a key free agent at the stroke of midnight. Came away with some decent pieces from a weak free agent class, without mortgaging the teams salary cap or future. Navigated the whole Nic Batum debacle without fumbling it like Minnesota did. Retained J.J. Hickson, which no one thought was possible. Maybe came away from the draft with two steals in Lillard and Barton, as well as an athletic, agile potential future starter in Leonard. A grade for the off season hinges on how well the team plays and how much progress is seen in our draft picks; which we won’t know until the season is in play. The Suns, Rockets and T’wolves don’t really belong in the category of drastically improving. The hornets got freaking lucky, and I have reservations about how well Rivers will acclimate this year. If anybody drastically improved its the Mavericks and the Clippers. To say that Olshey handled things less than admirably given the circumstances is pretty shortsighted and semi ignorant.

  • geez

    and i give you a D for this article…. what did you expect him to do… sign dwight howard?… nash?… you just see with a fixed foxal length….