Extreme Makeover: NBA Edition
Ladies and gentlemen, your opening day roster for the 2005-06 Portland Trailblazers:
Not too pretty. But then, something incredible happened: GM John Nash was fired (Note to Jim Dolan – Notice that Paul Allen just fired John Nash. He didn’t make him the coach. He didn’t sign him to an extension after a 30-win season. He simply fired him). President Steve Patterson took over and appointed a man by the name of Kevin Pritchard to be his assistant. A year later, Patterson was out, Pritchard was in control, and the Blazers were competing for a playoff spot in the most competitive conference in NBA history without the services of the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.
Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, your 2008-09 Portland Trailblazers:
LaMarcus Aldridge[img_assist|nid=1379|title=Brandon Roy|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=320|height=213]
Now, I’ve been a Knicks fan my entire life, and for the past seven years or so, I’ve felt what it’s like to root for a team that can seemingly do nothing right. I can sympathize with what fans in
2006 NBA Draft:
Assisting Patterson, Pritchard helps turn Tyrus Thomas, Sebastian Telfair, and Viktor Khryapa into LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy. For those keeping score, Telfair, Khryapa, and Thomas combined for 19.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8 assists per game this past season while Brandon Roy was blossoming into one of the best all-around players in the NBA (19.1, 5.8 APG, 4.7 RPG) and LaMarcus Aldridgewas putting up 18 and 8 per night.
Quick, Bulls fans: Imagine LaMarcus Aldridge feeding off post passes from Derrick Rose for the next ten years while Tyrus Thomas misses practice and clashes with coaches on some other team. Okay, where was I?
2007 NBA Draft:
No longer an assistant, Pritchard makes a splash in
With his next trick, he didn’t pull a rabbit out of his hat. No, this was far more impressive. He turned a cancerous, out-of-shape, one-dimensional power forward into Channing Frye. That’s not even the most amazing part. The thing about this deal that makes it truly magical is that he had New Yorkers, myself included, thinking that we robbed him.
Finally, he used Paul Allen’s deep pockets to purchase the 24th pick from the Phoenix Suns: Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez. Fernandez, who will be joining the Blazers for the coming season, just finished a year in
2008 NBA Draft:
After what can only be called a successful season for the Blazers, Pritchard turned a late lottery pick into Jerryd Bayless, a player that many scouts believe was a top-5 talent. In that same deal, he also acquired Ike Diogu from
All of this leads me to ask one question: Are we absolutely positive that Mike Eruzione scored the game-winning goal against the
He’s done a miraculous job in
Finally, he’s given hope to all fans of bottom-dwellers. Granted, he’s at an advantage with one of the richest owners in all of sports. But he’s proven that rebuilding efforts don’t have to be long and painful. For the first time in years, I am actually optimistic that the Knicks could be a contender again in my lifetime.