Aside from the play of Andre Miller, Greg Oden, and Jerryd Bayliss...The Portland Trail Blazers preseason has been one disappointing performance after another.
They play no defense. None.
They run the offense (heck, the game) with no passion.
Travis Outlaw is taking one lousy shot after another.
Spanish superstar and fan favorite Rudy Fernandez has this "I'm not gonna be on this team long..." look on his face.
Head Coach Nate McMillan is frustrated.
Team leader and two time All Star Brandon Roy is calling out his teammates.
Last year the Blazers turned the preseason into a rock concert!
Because they have not done so this year, should the fans be worried?
Should the team?
In all honesty, last season, the Blazers were still a team who just wanted to win some games...any games. They were the league's second youngest team and just winning was a spectacular accomplishment, more or less winning 54 games and gaining home court advantage in the playoffs!
But they were taken out in the first round by the Houston Rockets.
They lost to the big kids on the block.
Now the Blazers want to be the big kids on the block.
So they did what youthful team do to gain such respect...they took in a few big kids (Juwan Howard, Andre Miller, Jerryd Collins, and Ime Udoka) to help them along their way.
Part of being a big kid on the block (or so they imagine) is biting your nails through the preseason. After all...the 2010 year is about making the playoffs and winning.
The Blazers feel confident they can win enough games to make the playoffs...
But they are playing garbage preseason ball and scaring the pants off of their fans.
What should Portland do?
I suggest two things:
First off, cut Ime Udoka and Collins from the team. Each has enough talent to get picked up by other teams in the league and their departure will lessen the distraction to the players that the franchise has developed over the last few years.
Keep a less talented player who will be able to deal with less bench minutes.
(In fact, it was just announced on the radio they will do just that...)
This move will make more playtime for Rudy and Outlaw...who killed it last season coming off the bench and should not have their playtime put at jeopardy.
Second, announce that Andre Miller and Greg Oden will be inserted into the starting lineup. They have led the team in most major statistics during the preseason and have earned a starting role.
This move will let the team know what their roles are and enhance team chemistry.
In conclusion, we will know 10 games into the season what the Blazers 2010 season is going to be like.
The two aforementioned moves will ensure that those opening ten games are a success.
Or so I hope.