Add another NBA expert to the list of folks who don’t think the Portland Trail Blazers are gonna do all that much in 2018-2019.
It’s another darn smoky day here in the Pacific Northwest, which has me and most of Portland in a sour mood. So let’s talk about our favorite basketball team, the Trail Blazers, not getting any better, shall we?
For those of you who have been paying attention, there aren’t a whole lot of NBA watchers who think the Blazers have improved this offseason.
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And who can blame them for thinking that? After all, Portland lost Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton None of those guys are superstars, to be sure. But what did President of Basketball Operations …
You know what? I’m tired of typing out “President of Basketball Operations.”
Sorry. I’m not myself today. It’s all this choke-y smoke-y out the windows.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey
Who did Blazers GM Neil Olshey bring in to replace Davis, Napier and Connaughton?
Nik Stauskas, for one.
The optimist in me wants to say that these dudes — along with Wade Baldwin IV — will be an upgrade over Bazz and Connaughton. And I think it’s possible to make that argument. I also think it’s possible to argue that the loss of Davis will be made up by an increased load being shouldered by Zach Collins or Caleb Swanigan.
The pessimist in me, however …
(He’s the one who’s all irritated right now, rubbing his burning, smoke-filled eyes.)
That guy — the pessimist — thinks the addition of Stauskas and Curry is not much of an upgrade at all. And he also thinks that young Zach and Caleb aren’t quite ready to shoulder that big of a load. And he also thinks rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. will be good, but not good enough (not yet, anyway).
NBA writer Marc Stein is the latest to opine on the possibilities of Portland making a run next season. Stein is not impressed by the Blazers’ offseason.
When asked which team that made the Western Conference playoffs last season will fail to make the playoffs next season, Stein pulled no punches.
“Portland,” Stein wrote in an email to subscribers of his NYTimes.com newsletter. “Meh offseason. Only made the playoffs three games ahead of the ninth seed. And this season, Dallas, Los Angeles and Denver all should be better. It wouldn’t shock me to see some Damian Lillard rumors start flying this season.”
That’s not gonna make Rip City happy.
I tried to think of an argument against Stein’s prediction. But I just couldn’t see it.
Could just be all the smoke in my face, though.