Thursday, August 27, 2015
Filled with excitement/dread.
I'm getting close to wrapping up the Spring Cleaning trade posts, although there are plenty of teams still available for all you latecomers and slacker types. Royal Phil of Royal Card Review sent over most of the Cardinals Opening Day team set along with several Blazers from Panini's NBA Hoops set from a couple of seasons ago in exchange for a stash of Royals card. The Cardinals are doing really well (which makes me nervous) so there isn't a whole lot to talk about there, although the Pirates refuse to lose (which also makes me nervous).
Instead, I'll dip my toe into the Blazers discussion... another thing that's making me nervous. Everything is nervous. Thanks to a mercurial guy who was more or less holding the entire fate of the franchise hostage opting out of his desire to become "the best Blazer ever" (his words), the front office dug up the lawn and turned over all the topsoil at 1 Center Court. Aside from aspiring rapper/shoe mogul Damian Lillard and a guy who looks like a 7'1 Justin Bieber, the roster has pretty much been reset.
There's a couple of young promising players left from the previous two playoff teams, however, and they'll likely see a significant increase in opportunities if not minutes this year. Allen Crabbe was a terrific player in college and made some spot starts in place of Nicolas Batum last season, but he was mostly utilized in certain matchups as a defender. His offense hasn't developed in the pros yet, though that may be due having heavy restrictions put on him by design.
CJ McCollum (not C.J. as his trading card and Wikipedia entry suggest) is another 3rd year guard, but he is leaps ahead of Crabbe in terms of his offensive game. He shined during a stretch late in the season when Wesley Matthews' Achilles injury fatefully sealed the Blazers season, and is expected to compete with Gerald Henderson for a starting spot this year alongside Lillard.
This could and probably should be an awful NBA season for the hometown team, but it will at least be a fresh start for a lot of players.