Friday, January 12, 2007

They're not walking through that door

I want to respond to something I read on Blazer's Edge last night.
I've been excited to see Z-Bo put up good numbers this year partly because I like to see any Blazer do well but more because I'd like his trade stock to skyrocket. He doesn't feel like a Blazer I can pull 100% for. I can't picture him mixed in with Clyde, Terry, Jerome, or Buck, and I guess that's my measuring stick.
The Sports Guy has brought up a certain Rick Pitino speech numerous times over the years in his articles about the Celtics. This infamous speech told the city of Boston that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish weren't walking through those doors. (Sorry I didn't use quotes, I'm going off my memory, so that may not be verbatim.) Every time Simmons brought it back up I thought his point was to show people how badly Pitino handled a city with such a rich basketball history. Pitino should have embraced the Celtics culture and history rather than breaking with it. So the Sports Guy seemed to be suggesting. But I understand why Pitino felt the need to say those things. I know that Portland doesn't have the same sort of history, but we do have a great history. This team and city were the picture of a successful small market team. But, at the risk of being the bad guy, here is my response to that quote on Blazer's Edge:

Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, and Buck Williams are NOT walking through that door. Zach Randolph doesn't need to be able to play with them, because the last of those players left ten years ago. I loved that team. I grew up watching those guys. But constantly comparing our current players to them is NOT helping the team or the culture. Patterson and Pritchard have been helping the team and culture by trading away some people, letting others walk, and bringing in new guys who buy into a culture of responsibility.

I don't want to forget about that team. It really was a great team. But that team never won a championship. That team had a few guys who weren't perfect off the court. And most importantly, the way to win in any league is not to recreate a former success, but to figure out the best way to find new success. So we shouldn't be trying to get that team back anyway.

Of the champions in recent years, the Pistons are the only team that could be compared to a previous successful version of that franchise. Part of the reason for that is the GM being one of the players from the earlier version. But even so, the two championship versions--while similar--were certainly quite different. Firstly, even though the more recent team was defensive minded and tough, they also had a reputation as being a bunch of good guys. That wasn't the case with the back-to-back teams in 1989-1990. And both relied on good guards and role players, but that's not the same as trying to find someone "like Isiah, like Joe, like Bill, like Dennis" etc.

I think that we should stop holding the team up to it's shadow, and instead start looking at what we have. There may still be changes that should should be made. Those changes shouldn't come because someone wouldn't have been able to play with "Clyde, Terry, Jerome, or Buck,"
but because moving the player is necessary to make the team and the culture of the team the kind that will bring success back to the rose city. I hope it happens soon, and I still believe that it could happen in 2009 if management sticks to the plan.


Josh J said...

A great performance put on by the blazers tonight. And wouldn't you know it - 3 point shots that went in!

Anonymous said...

I think his point was not so much a comparison in play, but in personality.

Zach is a tough player to love because so much has been negative about him in the media. There's also some frustration on my end about him learning to think quickly and pass out. Zach takes too long to decide and that allows teams to predict his moves.

He IS getting better, and I'll give him props for that, but i just don't freaking LIKE the guy.

That's how i read the post because that's also what i feel.

Also, if you take a look, Zach scores a lot of points/rebounds in garbage minutes which skews his stats. Many times, when it matters, his stats aren't that great.

Something to think about. I'm not saying it happens all the times, but it does happen a bit.

The game is also being skewed towards the guard/running game with the rule changes and Zach is a hinderance there. I'd love to trade him and find another running powerforward or center.

I agree about needing strength in the low post, but we have aldridge for that.

I'd like to see zach mag and jack traded for the last piece of the puzzle and a back up pg.

That said, I don't see that happening until the draft. I believe our pick there will affect the future of the team.

josh said...

Yeah, I think you're right. As I re-read my post I realized that I focused more on the playing together aspect than I'm sure was intended. I've flip-flopped on Zach for a while, but at this point I'm convinced that he really likes playing with Brandon and Sergio, so that he might be willing to put in even more effort.