Last season was the year the Portland Trail Blazers were going to rise up from “team on the rise” to “championship contender.” Expectations were high.
The basketball gods hate expectations. They smack teams with them down every year. Just for spite. Last season the Blazers seemed to get the brunt of their wrath.
This season, Brandon Roy comes in getting healthy and having figured out a more Zen way to deal with pressure — remove expectations as he explained to 95.5 The Game in Portland (via Sports Radio Interviews):
“What I thought about all summer is, how can I take pressure off my teammates? The number one thing that I came up with is that we are going to cross out the expectations part. We are going to prepare this season and we’re not going to have anybody come up to us and say, ‘You guys were saying you are going to do this and you are not there.’ We’re going to take all of that pressure off of us and we are going to prepare to be a really good team. We’re going to prepare to be as good as we possibly… At the same time, we’ve got to work. Work, work, work to get better. If we do that and get closer as a team and kind of get that chemistry that we’ve had a season ago. We feel like we’ve got the talent but first we have got to work to get there.”
The real key to the Blazers living up to the now non-existent expectations? Brandon Roy staying healthy.
The basketball gods were cruel with that last season as well. Hopefully this year will be different.