Thursday, September 13, 2007
Look On The Bright Side, Portland
With the heartbreaking news that number one overall pick Greg Oden will miss his entire rookie season due to microfracture knee surgery, the collective thoughts of Trail Blazer and NBA fans alike is, what now?
Oden's injury surely puts a damper on Year 1 of the Trail Blazers revolution era. They still have '07 ROY Brandon Roy, 7-footer LaMarcus Aldridge, Channing Frye, Martell Webster, James Jones, and Steve Blake, but the injury to their franchise rookie could potentially deflate the collective spirit of the team before the season even started.
But, for fun's sake, let's pretend that the Oden injury is a potential win for the Blazers. Let's say the Blazers got lucky again in next year's lottery and ended up with a chance at one of the top-flight guards that could make them extremely dangerous (and a potential dynasty in the making) in 2008.
Before June's draft, I was thinking that some NBA teams in desperate need of a point guard (Memphis, Atlanta, Clippers, etc.) should wait until '08 when the crop of pgs is in abundance. As good (and solid) Acie Law is, Hawks fans may have wanted a more dominant (and exciting) point guard to make up for Billy Knight passing on Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Raymond Felton in '05. Maybe that's the reason Clippers GM Elgin Baylor took Al Thornton instead of taking a guard in the first round.
Imagine Portland or Seattle running with Derrick Rose at the point. Or the O.J. Mayo lighting up Los Angeles, only this time for millions as a Clipper. Or Eric Gordon suiting up for his hometown team in Indiana. Or Tywon Lawson as a King in Sacramento or dishing passes to Dwight Howard in Orlando.
The Trail Blazers have talent at every position. Oden (whenever he gets healthy), Aldridge, and Pryzbilla in the middle; Frye, Raef Lafrentz, and Josh McRoberts at the four; James Jones, Darius Miles (whenever he gets healthy), and Travis Outlaw at the 3; Roy, Webster, and Sergio Rodriguez at the 2; and Jack, Blake, and second-rounder Taurean Green at the point, which is their weakest position.
A few injuries here (besides the huge one they already suffered) and some close, bad losses there, and the Blazers could (read: will) end up back in the lottery in May, possibly with an inside chance at getting a top-5 pick in the draft and a potentially potent squad that would absolutely scare the West for years to come. Think of a starting lineup of Rose/Mayo/Gordon/Lawson, Roy, Jones, Aldridge, and Oden. That team could be a suprise squad come playoff time.
Of course, if Oden isn't healthy or gets hurt again, forget we ever had this conversation.