You know, when you think about it “Hey, it could always be worse” is kind of a cruel thing to say to someone. Because if things go badly enough to justify you saying that to them? They likely haven’t just started going bad, or had one bad thing happen. Most bad things tend to happen in a series of events, leading up to the person being frustrated with how bad it has gotten. So next time, be really careful with who you say it to, because it may just make them feel worse as they stare down the long, dark pit that their life currently personifies.
Like, for example, Nate McMillan and the Portland Trail Blazers. Don’t say that to them. From the Oregonian following last night’s Blazers loss to the freaking Washington Wizards:
“Evidently, they’re not responding to me, because all these games look similar,” McMillan said. “So I asked them: ‘Is it clear what we’re asking you to do?'”
His words were met with blank states and silence.
“They didn’t say anything,” McMillan said. “The thing is, they didn’t have to say anything. I think the games show that. We’re not getting it done.”
Yikes. Someone give that man a hug.
Here’s the thing. This business? It’s not reasonable. That’s the assessment I’ve come to. There’s absolutely nothing reasonable about the everyday dealings of the National Basketball Association. There are a few people who behave reasonably, and those people are pretty successful. The San Antonio Spurs organization. David Stern (note I said reasonably, not fairly). Boris Diaw. It’s a short list. Most owners, however? Completely and totally unreasonable. And if we’re ranking the most unreasonable people in the NBA, the Vulcan ownership group of the Blazers has to be up there. Which means right about now they’ve reached that point where steam is coming out of their ears and they’re just shooting off their guns. Actually, that’s perfect. Think of Vulcan as Yosemite Sam.
Which means you should see Nate McMillan running across screen with Vulcan behind him firing his guns randomly in the air not actually hitting anything momentarily. But McMillan won’t do that. He’ll just keep doing what he’s doing, and hoping it turns around.
The problem is that we’ve seen this before. Not with Portland, but other teams. Teams have a shelf life without sustained improvement or success. Eventually they expire and detonate. And when that happens everything goes wrong, seemingly at once. The Blazers have held off the expiration date for years, but it’s just become too much for the fates to hold back. Oden, Roy, Przybilla, the defense, the offense, the works. You’re witnessing the end of an empire, just one that didn’t hold hardly any land and kept getting overrun by extremists.
The clock’s not just ticking on a blow-up of this team, it’s pounding like a kick drum.