Friday, April 21, 2006

Worst Season Ever?

As the year comes to a close many are speculating that this season was the worst in Trailblazer history. Among these stands Trib columnist Dwight Jaynes. Admittedly, designations like "worst ever" are a matter of taste. Which is worse, root canal work or gall bladder surgery? Brussels Sprouts or Lima Beans? Nevertheless, I would argue there have been much worse moments for our favorite team than this. Bill Walton going from championship superhero to lame trade bait in the space of 24 months was pretty devestating. I remember getting a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard Clyde all but ask for a trade on a radio program. But even if you consider those "moments" rather than "seasons", I would still argue that the waning years of the Whitsitt era were worse than the current juncture. Whatever you thought of the team's talent base, between Bonzi, Rasheed, Qyntel, DA, Ruben, and even Damon you couldn't swing a cat around the locker room without hitting someone who was publicly embarrasing the squad in one way or another. Fans were seething, not just at a couple of individuals, but at the whole organization. Just the mention of the name "Trailblazers" brought winces and groans from all directions. And between the huge payroll and the number of players involved, there seemed no way out of the quagmire.

Compare that to this year. Are fans still upset? Sure. 21 wins will do that to you. But in contrast to years past, most of the complaining seems to be directed at a couple of players and perhaps the owner. It's localized and specific rather than the generic abandonment typical of 2004. And most of those same people will amend their complaint with a list of the things they like. Between the development of Blake, Jack, Telfair, Webster, and Khryapa, the possibility of keeping our two-headed center, the advent of more new talent through the draft, and the new attitude that McMillan is trying to install in the team, there are reasons to be hopeful. And whatever problems we do wish to divest ourselves of probably amount to making a trade or two and then moving on. None of these things were true a couple of years ago.

At the beginning of the season the two big hopes were that we were finally done with the purging/reconstruction of the team and that the contracts we signed the summer previous were not a mistake. Neither of those things turned out to be true, and that's disappointing. But we're still a lot further along in the process than we were, and you can begin to see light, however dim, at the end of the tunnel. As long as we have the courage to stick with the process--not just of going young, but of rebuilding with the right kind of young players--there's reason for Blazer fans to have their chins up despite the abysmal record. And having your chin up is a lot nicer than having it constantly on the ground in shock.

Tough season? Yup. Bad season? Ok. Worst time in team history? Naw. That's in the rearview mirror.



Blogger ignacio said...

I was more turned off by Rasheed than anything else I can recall. It was such a waste.

Remember when we thought he was mentally ill? It was sickening to see how he managed to control himself when coached by Larry Brown.

This was a tough season, however. One factor here is that when we were winning a few games due to Zach or Ruben it was difficult to take much pleasure in it. Zach just isn't goodlooking or articulate, and we all knew Ruben was on the way out the door.

I wanted to see Martell and Travis develop, Telfair or Jarrett Jack. At the very end of the season, even though we lost, there was some reason for hope.

7:03 PM  

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