As much as you can sum up the work of 15 very tall, athletically blessed men over a month and a half in a few short sentences, here it is: They kind of suck right now, but Nate’s got some very promising young pieces playing extremely hard. A couple of specific notes:
- From the “apparently it’s optimism day” department: Jack, Roy and Aldridge look like the building blocks of a championship team. I’ll just say it. Yes, they’re a few years away; but this is a rebuilding team and I would defy anyone to point to a team with three first-or-second-year players with that much promise. If Portland can keep these three together for several years to come, we’ve got a lot of excitement ahead of us. And we haven’t even started talking about Sergio, Outlaw or Martell yet.
- I’ve heard some grumblings on email about the contract that Portland gave Joel Pryzbilla this past offseason, and how it could end up being a mistake because of LaMarcus’ play. Let me get this out of the way right now: That contract will not be a hinderance to the Blazers. Shot-blocking big men like Joel are not easy to find, he’s young, and I don’t think Portland would ever have a problem trying to move Pryzbilla if they so desired.
- And speaking of LaMarcus, what a pleasure he’s turned out to be. As John Hollinger said in his rookie review on ESPN.com today, “This guys is good…once he adds some muscle, he’ll be unstoppable.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
- Still hearing anyone complain about Portland taking Aldridge over Morrison? Yeah, me neither. I said at the time I had faith in that pick, and say what you will about Steve Patterson, he looks to have made an incredibly bold and correct decision there.
- The latest regarding Brandon Roy is that he’s hoping to be back practicing in a week, perhaps playing in 10-14 days. I suppose this is good news, although it feels like every two weeks we hear “two more weeks”, so we shouldn’t get too excited yet.
Western Conference Standings
Don’t look now, but Portland already has the second-worst record in the league 20 games in, and many people consider this season to be going well so far. Shows you far the team has fallen. Outside of Portland, things are looking a little bizarre. Here’s how the seedings would be in the west if the playoffs started today:
2. San Antonio
4. LA Lakers
5. Houston Rockets
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Denver Nuggets
8. LA Clippers
You have to love the Western Conference. The Hornets have a .530 winning percentage, and aren’t even in the playoffs. (FYI, that would give them the #4 seed in the East). The Southwest division has four teams over .500; the Pacific has three. The Atlantic and Southeast divisions over in the East? A combined one team. Unreal.
Back to the seedings, though. If things hold true – and they won’t, but for argument’s sake – how about that first-round Phoenix-Dallas matchup? And also, who do you think would be favored, the #1-seeded Utah Jazz or the #8-seeded LA Clippers? It’s going to be a very fun year of Western Conference basketball.
Maybe you’ve heard the rumor, maybe you haven’t: Allen Iverson apparently walked into Sixers “GM” Billy King’s office on Tuesday night and requested to be traded. That’s interesting, for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that you can bet Philly would much rather send him to the Western Conference than keep him within the Eastern. Iverson’s a score-first point guard; and anyone who has read this blog with any consistency knows how I feel about them. But AI can still get to the rim, he’s durable as all hell, and he fills up the bucket with points. Put him on a team with a good ball-handling distributor with size (which he has never for one season played with in his entire professional career, and no I will not accept Eric Snow as such), and he could be an absolutely deadly force. I imagine Denver will take a look, and don’t count out Minnesota, The Clip, or the Atlanta Hawks. Sounds weird I know.
And finally, I’ll leave you with a random non-basketball related note of the day. Follow along with me here for a moment:
1. Dwight Schrute looks like Ben Gibbard, the lead singer of “Death Cab For Cutie”.
2. Dwight Schrute appeared on HBO’s “Six Feet Under” for a full season.
3. During that same season, a “Death Cab For Cutie” song was featured in an episode, with the entire cast on-screen signing along.
Have a great weekend.