16-24. 12th place in the conference, 6 games behind a playoff spot. That's what the season has boiled down to so far. Forgetting last night's win, this season has been a failure.
Although I suppose that's subjective based on your opinion. There are two schools of thought regarding Portland right now ... with one of them being, "this team wasn't going to win it all anyways -- might as well not make the playoffs and get a better draft pick anyways." The second school of thought is more along the lines of "you should always do everything you can to win every game, so don't settle for not making the playoffs."
If you're a part of the first school of thought, you are probably thinking that where Portland stands now may end up doing itself some good, for several reasons. 1. If the season ended today, Portland would have the 8th pick in the draft. Given their glaring need for a shooting guard, that may put them in a position to grab an impact player. 2. The team is spiraling downward into the toilet faster than you can say "Zach Randolph's bruised knee". Perhaps this will force Nash to make a move? It's clear that something needs to be done.
I would counter with this argument, however. Suppose for a minute the front office had resigned itself to this being a lost season, without a chance for the playoffs. Looking towards the future, you've got a very nice young nucleus of Zach Randolph, Darius Miles, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and the #8 pick to build around. So then I would ask, why in the name of God is Sebastian Telfair not getting more playing time? Damon Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel are both free agents after this coming season, leaving Telfair as the only point guard on the team. Assuming neither return, Portland will undoubtedly sign a veteran presence this coming offseason to take the pressure off of Sebastian. As well as the offense has flowed with Telfair in the game, you can't expect a player -- especially one out of high school -- to go from playing 7 minutes per game to full-time starter duty. So you've got to know what kind of minutes this kid will be able to handle.
Something for you blazer fans to ponder today. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the team and grade out the first half of the season, position-by-position.