Well, the 2012-2013 season has ended, and boy was it entertaining. As fans, or course we wanted to see more wins this season. We finished with a record of 33-49, which was about expected. We were supposed to be within the 30-35 win range, and we are. However, I saw a few season predictions saying we would only win 20 games. To the authors of those predictions, I say this: “EAT IT!!”
As everybody knows, the Blazers bench was the worst in the league, posting a mere 17 points per game. That is ATROCIOUS! However, just earlier today, Blazers GM Neil Olshey came out and said that the team would be “aggressive” in the offseason in an effort to improve the bench.
But what exactly does “aggressive” mean? Before this season, Olshey took a swing for the fences and extended an offer sheet to Indiana center Roy Hibbert, who at the time was a restricted free-agent. The Pacers, however, matched the offer. Regardless, I liked the move at that point, and I still do. Expect more of the same this offseason.
Back to the point: this season. This season was really meant to be a rebuilding, or as Olshey says, “retooling” season, and it showed. The retooling was a success. At point guard, we got rookie sensation Damian Lillard. At shooting guard, we kept a fan favorite in Wesley Matthews (a.k.a Iron Man). At the small forward position, we resigned Nicolas Batum, started paying him the big bucks, and we got results, especially in the first two-thirds of the season. At power forward, we continued to use two-time All Star LaMarcus Aldridge. At center, we were starting JJ Hickson, a fan favorite who put up numbers consistently.
We have four pieces of our future set. Hickson is the lone “unset player” from that group. Looking at our current roster, here is what I personally expect to happen:
- Damian Lillard – still under contract
- Wesley Matthews – still under contract
- Nicolas Batum – still under contract
- LaMarcus Aldridge – still under contract
- JJ Hickson – probably won’t return to the team – will earn big bucks elsewhere
- Victor Claver – still under contract
- Will Barton – still under contract
- Eric Maynor – unrestricted free-agent – wants to return to Portland
- Luke Babbitt (a.k.a the CHALUPACABRA) – probably won’t return
- Nolan Smith – probably won’t return
- Sasha Pavlovic – ???
- Jared Jeffries – was waived this morning
- Elliot Williams – unrestricted free-agent – wants to return to redeem himself
- Joel Freeland – still under contract
- Meyers Leonard – still under contract
Now, a look at the season (again). In the first 50 games, we were 25-25, which was GREAT. We were winning close, comeback games. From there on out, we finished 8-24, including a 13 game losing streak to end the season. Portland was in the playoff hunt for the eighth seed until the last three weeks, and that was surprising to most realistic Blazers fans.
This season had its highs, like Lillard’s game-winner over New Orleans and the amazing comeback over Dallas, but also had lows, like the two (unfair) losses to the Los Angeles LAKERS (a.k.a David Stern and his posse of refs) all the way to the 13 game losing streak.
In one word, how would you describe this season? I would have to either go with “roller-coaster” or “youth-movement.”
I’ll talk to everybody again during the offseason, keeping track of all the moves the Blazers make in a summer that could potentially make or break this teams chances for the playoffs in the next 5 season time frame.
Until next time,