The 2008-2009 season is slowly starting to near with each minute. And there’s that sense of enjoyment and excitement that comes with it, especially with this season. Why? It’s simple. Rip City is back in Portland, but more importantly, it’s throughout the northwest now. As sad as it may be that Seattle no longer has a team to call its own, they have a team in which they can root for that is on the up and coming that’s just down south on I-5.
There’s a lot of reasons to be excited for this young team though. I was reading an article written by a local blog that covers Blazers news called Blazer’s Edge about reasons to root for the Blazers, so I felt I would list my own reasons for why people should at least keep an eye on these guys.
1. Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and Lamarcus Aldridge are the next Big Three. It’s obviously not the same kind of big three that Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and KG bring, but they bring a lot of energy and athleticism to the court. It will be great to finally see them on the court together. Oden will be doing monster dunks, Aldridge will be shooting from the perimeter and providing a defensive rebounding presense to complement Oden, and Roy will help run the offense and give everyone on the team opportunities to get on the scoreboard.
2. The rookies join the set. When I saw Bayless online during the summer league, I was mighty impressed with him. He had this composure and fearlessness that is hard to find in rookies. To attack the basket and shoot effortlessly was a sight to see. It felt as if the organization had the steal of the 2008 draft in Bayless. While he will likely make the transition to point guard, that ferocity and aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball will definitely provide a big boost to the team.
Rudy Fernandez joining the Blazers is going to be exciting as well. For those that didn’t get the opportunity to see him play in the Gold Medal game in the Beijing Olympics, you missed out. I think the play that made him big was the dunk that he did on Dwight Howard. He provides a lot of energy to the court and will be another offensive threat on the court. Great jumpshot, winning attitude from his days in Spain, and great game overall.
3. Team-first attitude but with energy. I think this is probably one of the bigger reasons to follow the team. It’s hard to find a team that does this these days. The only team I can really think of off the top of my head is the Detroit Pistons. These guys are focused on success. They’re not greedy for the most part and they work well together. And they stand up for each other as well. Prime example of this is the last Lakers/Blazers game last season.
4. No attitudes or egos to worry about. The NBA is a lot about big names and big egos that run around the court. But it’s hard to really find one on this team. They may get attention, but not for the wrong reasons. They let their game do the talking, rather than their mouths.
5. They’re going to be a fun team to watch. I don’t think you can say that they aren’t. With the addition of Bayless and Rudy to go with all the other fearless players on this team, like Roy, Oden, and Outlaw, you’re going to see a lot of dunks and blocks this season. Last season alone provided so many games that resulted players from the team being on the highlight reel. This season won’t be a letdown, especially with Oden and his monster dunks and blocks.
But just think about it. Is there anything you can really say badly about this team? They’re a young team, and yes, with inexperience, but that’s fine. It’s what happens when the team consists of such young stars. Mistakes will happen. But they’re growing up together throughout this process and it will be great to see them mature together as a team and really learn what it takes to finally succeed and become a force in the NBA. And with a coach like Nate McMillian to keep them down to earth, they will have the elements that will help them contend for a title in the years to come.