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It’s been a tough time for fans of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Before the season began, if there was a team that was expected to battle the Los Angeles Lakers for supremacy in the Western Conference, it was the Blazers. The respective projection systems of John Hollinger and Kevin Pelton were bullish on Portland’s chances of winning the West. Why? The Blazers had a rash of injuries last year, yet were able to win 50 games. If Portland could avoid the injury bug, there was enough talent and depth for them to make a run at a championship.
In other words, the expectation was that the Blazers would experience a regression to the mean with injuries. Fast-forward to today and the outlook for Portland in the present and future is getting bleaker as time moves on.
Aside from losing Greg Oden for the season as he undergoes microfracture surgery again, Brandon Roy — the Blazers’ franchise player — is suffering slow deterioration in his left knee that is not deemed fixable and as a result, no longer allows him to perform at an All-Star level. The kicker is that Portland was aware of Roy’s condition when they offered him a max contract in 2009, yet former general manager Kevin Pritchard acquiesced to public pressure and contract demands.
It should also be noted that Roy dealt with surgery on his right knee leading up to the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Needless to say, the Blazers are in a precarious position right now as a franchise.
To gain more insight on the beat in Portland, I enlisted the opinion of Ben Golliver of Blazersedge and gathered his take on a variety of topics — Roy’s injury and its significance to the Blazers, Oden’s future, and more.
What does Brandon Roy’s fall from grace mean for the franchise?
I’m not sure we should call it a fall from grace, perhaps a fall from graceful drives to the hoop. It’s not yet clear what the long-term ramifications of Roy’s bad knees will be, but expectations are significantly lowered in the short term, and hopes for competing for a title in the mid-term are slowly slipping away. A lot depends on how effective Roy can become in his limited state, and how well he adjusts mentally to the physical changes. If he is a productive and efficient (but limited) player this time next year, it will make life significantly easier for new GM Rich Cho. If not, his five-year contract is a huge weight on the team’s salary cap.