Sinobas wrote:We had a nice bench until it needed to be dismantled due to the summer 2016 fiasco...the chickens came home to roost.
That's not completely accurate. Roster turnover is cyclical. In the Lillard era, you have had two peaks. First, in 2013-14:
That and the 2014-15 teams were darkhorse contenders. 2014-15 saw the Blazers acquiring a 6th man scoring option in Afflalo, signing Kaman, and bringing back Blake.
But then you had Matthews tear his ACL and the team basically fall apart. So now it's the offseason and you're looking at massive luxury taxes to keep a team that underperformed together. You have UFAs in Aldridge that bails, Matthews that gets a max contract from Dallas despite torn ACL, etc. So the Blazers blew it up. Traded Batum, let Lopez walk, etc.
In 2015-16, they overachieved. This lead to a drunken spending spree by Allen and Olshey, which is great if you come away with value for the money you spent. But the cap went up dramatically, and so the Blazers decided to try to outbid nobody on players like Turner and Leonard, and outbid equally desperate teams on players like Crabbe.
So now Olshey has his hands tied a bit spending wise and actually acts responsible, landing Aminu and Davis on reasonable contract cap-friendly deals. Just imagine if he did this the whole time. Not expensive serviceable depth that could be used as trade pieces without other teams balking.
But hindsight. Instead, Olshey threaded the needle, avoiding luxury taxes until this year. Lucking out occasionally (the Nurkic trade), and acting desperately other times (Crabbe for Nicholson). But this year is the year that the 2016 spending spree hit the fan.
Unlike in 2015, the CBA prevented the Blazers from keeping last year's team together - presuming new management would even consider it given the cost ramifications. Cohesion is underrated when it comes to NBA teams. Gone are the nuances learned over years that players like Aminu and Harkless spent playing with the Dame/CJ core. Also, journeymen like Kanter and Curry couldn't be retained, and available replacements with what the Blazers had to offer were downgrades. These cycles happen.
So now here the Blazers are. Hood is a decent starter or solid bench player pre-injury. Ariza is a crafty veteran. Labissière was an average productive player prior to his injury. None of these players were available for the bubble. For most teams, even making the playoffs would be a fantasy at that point. Plus you had Trent Jr. stepping up, your choice of either Collins showing promise or Whiteside being free to be aggressive on defense, Simons (despite not living up to the hype) and Little at least showing flashes that they can become rotation players in the league. The idea that we have no bench is a bit unfounded. In been here, done that before fashion. it was just overly injury prone and incapable of developing the chemistry needed to win at a high level. Dame masked a lot of this, but could only do it for so long.
Depending on the results of Dame's MRI this afternoon, we might be looking at a couple of rough rebuilding years.