Look at How Far We've Come...
Entering this off-season, the Blazers were a mess. They couldn't shoot, they couldn't rebound, couldn't make the big plays, couldn't play defense consistently, didn't have a GM, had unresolved ownership issues and no GM, and looked like they were only going to continue to alienate the fan base even further.
What a difference three months makes.
In that period of time, the team has made 8 trades and undergone a drastic reshaping of the roster.
BEFORE: We had a rotation at C that was uncertain due to Joel Pryzbilla's impending free agency and Theo Ratliff's increasing age and proneness to injuries at the most inoppurtune times. When either one of the bigs got hurt, we were reduced to giving either Z-Bo or HA! significant minutes and basically eliminating any chance we had a being competitive in the process.
AFTER: Portland has one of the strongest center rotations in the West after re-signing Pryz, a feat many thought was impossible, and adding All-Star center Jamaal Maglorie. If either one of these two players gets hurt, Raef LaFrentz is a more than capable fill in. Also, in a worst case situation, the extremely talented but raw LaMarcus Aldridge will get a chance to see some minutes and aid his development into a future star. Both Pryzbilla and Maglorie are both hustle players who defend and rebound extremly well.
BEFORE: Portland lacked an impact scorer outside of Zach Randolph who could be depended on to give you a consistent offensive performance each night.
AFTER: Brandon Roy looks like he is going to be that player, and is almost a lock for ROY. He also appears to have the potential to be the late-game playmaker that this team needs desperately.
BEFORE: Our shooting was extremely weak and inconsitent, and the offense could not spread the floor for number 1 scoring option Zach Randolph.
AFTER: Portland now has a plethora of shooters capable of spreading the floor, including Brandon Roy, Martell Webster and Raef Lafrentz.
BEFORE: Portland continued to alienate their fan base.
AFTER: Portland's made significant progress towards a re-connection, namely the flurry of moves and creative marketing ploys such as the $199 season ticket.
BEFORE: The Blazers were on the verge of being sold, and the team's future in Portland was uncertain.
AFTER: Paul Allen changed his mind, and has committed to owning this team long term.
All in all, Portland has drastically re-shaped the team into a squad that I think can be competitive this coming season due to our increased lineup flexibility, the addition of impact rookie Brandon Roy and the added defensive presence of Maglorie and Roy, as well as the continued development of Zach Randolph and the rest of the young guys. Yes, there all still moves to be made. The top two in my mind would be ridding ourselves of Darius Miles and Juan "I Shoot Way Too Much for a Midget" Dixon.
Who do I credit for this team's drastic turnaround?
Kevin Pritchard and Steve Patterson.
My alliegence to John Nash at the time of his departure was well known, and I doubted the potential of the other two "amigos". However, they have made believers out of me with their previously un-shown agressiveness, their progress towards reconnecting with the fanbase and the flurry of moves they have made to actually improve the team in areas that needed a drastic upgrade.
Congratulations guys, and keep up the good work.