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Lessons learned from the Olshey era

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Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#1 » by JasonStern » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:05 pm

Was never a fan of the guy. Went out of my way to lampoon him, whether every poster got him or not. But I also defended moves that made sense. But blaming him for everything is passé. He's gone. Let's move on.

So what advice would you have for the next GM having lived through the Olshey era?

The obvious answer is "don't waste a top ten player in the league's prime by not providing him a supporting cast" - but then, how do you recommend fixing this? Take chances on players known as malcontents? Mortgage the future?

Or should things have been blown up long ago? Without relying on 20/20 hindsight, how do you know a blowup would have been better for fans/the $ operated organization than what happened?

Hopefully some questions to start some fun conversations.
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#2 » by JasonStern » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:14 pm

I'll start with the Aminu/Davis free agency. "Portland can't land free agents" (despite the University of Oregon doing so) has been a long-standing narrative. It seems like either there is a drop in being able to sell players to Portland, or just bad planning on free agent targets.

I'm not saying Portland is on the same level of a player destination as Miami, but one way to compensate for that is establishing a player-friendly winning culture that players want to play for. It always seems like Portland was in the top 3, but never closes.

So if we assume the "Portland can't land free agents" narrative is real, then that belief - as arguable as it is (Portland is still dishing out $130M a year in player contracts) - should be embraced. The Aminu/Davis free agency was perfect. Olshey found two second tier players and got them on reasonable/cheap declining contracts early in free agency. And both turned out to be serviceable players that met or exceeded their contracts.

The opposite contract to this was the Evan Turner contract. Overpaying for Plan C was highly unlikely to work. And as a result, you had a negative value contract. Portland likely should have shotgunned that money across 2-3 smaller contracts, then hoped that at least one player exceeded his expected performance. In that case, the other 1-2 contracts would not have been toxic. In fact, they would have been easy trade filler salary for another move.
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#3 » by Wizenheimer » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:23 pm

I'd say the most important trait of a GM is being able to objectively assess the players on the current roster. Their value to the team and their perceived value around the league. A major component of that is to not allow personal ego about players to distort reality

Olshey's biggest mistake, IMO, was his misguided decision that he could build a contender around the Dame/CJ back court. He never backed off of that. That was the basis of his disastrous spending spree in 2016. He had opportunities to pair Dame with elite players but he always considered CJ untouchable. And he held to that position as the majority of Dame's prime years passed by

maybe Cronin will be able to correct the course of the Blazer ship. But they are stuck on a 7-year reef of mediocrity right now. Might be that no captain could free the ship from that reef without major damage
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#4 » by JasonStern » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:24 pm

Next is end of the bench depth. Target young or in their prime players. DSJ has been solid. RHJ was a totally underrated role player. These are guys that shouldn't be getting playing time, but if they do - you want at least the potential of them proving something. The Anthony Toliver, Chris Kaman, Steve Blake, etc. signings could be rationalized. Bring in some veterans to help the young'ens. But that's honestly what the coaching staff should be responsible for.

I remember when Patty Mills got drafted in the 2nd round and took up the 15th roster spot. Wizenheimer hated the move at the time because it was him over some minimum player nobody can remember. Clownzano posted some long article that could have been summed up with "It's Paul's team. If he wants Patty as the 15th roster spot, let him do it." And then Patty Mills ended up having a very successful career. But most of that success came after his first contract. San Antonio took a chance on a young Patty Mills instead of an on-the-decline retread.

Now this can backfire. We all know my dislike for Mario Hezonja. But the problem wasn't signing Mario Hezonja - it was signing him to a two-year contract and building a team that necessitated playing Mario Hezonja. If Hezonja earned playing time, that's one thing. If he was gifted it due to injuries instead of skill, then an under-performing minimum contract player being a meaningful piece of your team shows poor roster construction/cap management.
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#5 » by JRoy » Mon Dec 20, 2021 12:39 am

Hezonja was a head scratcher for me; how could someone who played so much basketball be so terrible at everything.
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I was hoping and expecting this to be one of the first replies. You did not disappoint. Jroy have it all.
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#6 » by Wizenheimer » Mon Dec 20, 2021 4:03 pm

JasonStern wrote:I remember when Patty Mills got drafted in the 2nd round and took up the 15th roster spot. Wizenheimer hated the move at the time because it was him over some minimum player nobody can remember. .


and I remember you bringing that up about 800 times over the last decade

you know why I didn't like it? because I don't like tiny SG's. And Mills is a tiny SG. He was successful in San Antonio for one reason: because the Spurs welded him to Manu Ginobli. That combination worked. But Portland had no player resembling Manu. And it's no coincidence that Brooklyn signed Mills AFTER they got Harden. Mills can defend PG's, not SG's. But he's not a PG on offense so a team needs a wing who can run the offense if they go with Mills. Manu & Harden can do that. Blazers had Brandon Roy when Mills was a rookie, but Roy's knees were already failing

Mills didn't make much sense for Portland...that's mainly why I didn't like it
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#7 » by wjun15 » Wed Dec 22, 2021 5:01 am

never draft Zach Collins over Bam Adebayo
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#8 » by red_power » Fri Dec 24, 2021 2:55 pm

wjun15 wrote:never draft Zach Collins over Bam Adebayo

Never have that much trust in a guy who resembles Meyers Leonard on a court.
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#9 » by GEE » Fri Dec 24, 2021 3:42 pm

Let's be clear, ZC was never the problem, in fact he is exactly what this team has been lacking since LA's departure. He played well for us when healthy, but just couldn't stay heathy. The Dame/CJ pairing has always been the biggest issue, further complicated by the Powell signing forever feeding Olshey's apparent love for players 6'4 and under.

I have a huge lack of trust with the Blazers medical staff since watching them try to reset ZC's shoulder in the locker room instead of getting images first. Such stupid treatment for such a huge investment. Add at least one botched surgery to that, and I think it's more than just bad luck or Zach's brittle bones.

And last, for all of you ZC haters out there, Mark my words... Zach Collins at just 24 years old, on a 3 year - $22 mil. contract, now on a team with a reputable medical staff and being coached by the best in POP and Timmy... HE WILL BE THE STEAL OF LAST SUMMER'S NBA FREE AGENCY!
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#10 » by Wizenheimer » Fri Dec 24, 2021 5:45 pm

GEE wrote:Let's be clear, ZC was never the problem, in fact he is exactly what this team has been lacking since LA's departure. He played well for us when healthy, but just couldn't stay heathy. The Dame/CJ pairing has always been the biggest issue, further complicated by the Powell signing forever feeding Olshey's apparent love for players 6'4 and under.

I have a huge lack of trust with the Blazers medical staff since watching them try to reset ZC's shoulder in the locker room instead of getting images first. Such stupid treatment for such a huge investment. Add at least one botched surgery to that, and I think it's more than just bad luck or Zach's brittle bones.

And last, for all of you ZC haters out there, Mark my words... Zach Collins at just 24 years old, on a 3 year - $22 mil. contract, now on a team with a reputable medical staff and being coached by the best in POP and Timmy... HE WILL BE THE STEAL OF LAST SUMMER'S NBA FREE AGENCY!


if you want to be a Zach fan, fine

but he won't be the steal of last summer's free agency

Nemanja Bjelica
Reggie Bullock
Spencer Dinwiddie
Robin Lopez
Kyle Lowry
Otto Porter Jr.
Hassan Whiteside
Devonte' Graham (RFA)
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Daniel Theis
P. J. Tucker
Lonzo Ball (RFA)
Doug McDermott
Garrett Temple
Georges Niang
Alex Caruso
Patty Mills
Elfrid Payton
DeMar DeRozan
Kemba Walker
Jeff Green
Enes Kanter
Dennis Schröder
JaVale McGee
Evan Fournier
Torrey Craig
Bryn Forbes*
Lauri Markkanen
LaMarcus Aldridge
DeAndre Jordan

those are just the free agents who changed teams, and a lot of them signed minimum contracts. Then there are the guys that were FA but re-signed with their teams:

Jarrett Allen (RFA)
John Collins (RFA)
Dewayne Dedmon
Richaun Holmes
T. J. McConnell
Abdel Nader
Cameron Payne
Bobby Portis*
Norman Powell
Duncan Robinson (RFA)
Max Strus (RFA)
Lou Williams
Maurice Harkless
Gary Trent Jr. (RFA)
Blake Griffin
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Frank Kaminsky
Furkan Korkmaz
Boban Marjanović
Will Barton
Frank Jackson (RFA)
Reggie Jackson
Cory Joseph
Nerlens Noel
Nicolas Batum
Willy Hernangómez
Alec Burks
Taj Gibson
Derrick Rose
JaMychal Green*
Josh Hart (RFA)
Armoni Brooks (RFA)
Gary Payton II

I mean, who is a better deal...Norm Powell at 17M or Zach at 7M?

Zach was a 'problem' for Portland because he couldn't stay healthy. He was also a problem because Olshey had idiotically invested two picks in him and as usual, in the face of reality, Olshey's ego got the better of him and he doubled down on the bad 2017 draft bet. That's why Zach was the default starter at the beginning of the 2019 season: because Olshey had cleared the roster of any meaningful competition for playing time at Zach's position. Just like he did for CJ and to a lesser extent for Simons

that 2017 draft was a disaster. Portland could have come out of that draft with Bam Adebayo & Dillon Brooks; or with Donovan Mitchell & Thomas Bryant; or with John Collins, Jarrett Allen/OG Anunoby & Dillon Brooks. Instead they got 2 seasons of Zach Collins and 45 games of Caleb Swanigan.....yeeeeeeeesh
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Re: Lessons learned from the Olshey era 

Post#11 » by GEE » Fri Dec 24, 2021 6:45 pm

Wizenheimer wrote:
GEE wrote:Let's be clear, ZC was never the problem, in fact he is exactly what this team has been lacking since LA's departure. He played well for us when healthy, but just couldn't stay heathy. The Dame/CJ pairing has always been the biggest issue, further complicated by the Powell signing forever feeding Olshey's apparent love for players 6'4 and under.

I have a huge lack of trust with the Blazers medical staff since watching them try to reset ZC's shoulder in the locker room instead of getting images first. Such stupid treatment for such a huge investment. Add at least one botched surgery to that, and I think it's more than just bad luck or Zach's brittle bones.

And last, for all of you ZC haters out there, Mark my words... Zach Collins at just 24 years old, on a 3 year - $22 mil. contract, now on a team with a reputable medical staff and being coached by the best in POP and Timmy... HE WILL BE THE STEAL OF LAST SUMMER'S NBA FREE AGENCY!


if you want to be a Zach fan, fine

but he won't be the steal of last summer's free agency

Nemanja Bjelica
Reggie Bullock
Spencer Dinwiddie
Robin Lopez
Kyle Lowry
Otto Porter Jr.
Hassan Whiteside
Devonte' Graham (RFA)
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Daniel Theis
P. J. Tucker
Lonzo Ball (RFA)
Doug McDermott
Garrett Temple
Georges Niang
Alex Caruso
Patty Mills
Elfrid Payton
DeMar DeRozan
Kemba Walker
Jeff Green
Enes Kanter
Dennis Schröder
JaVale McGee
Evan Fournier
Torrey Craig
Bryn Forbes*
Lauri Markkanen
LaMarcus Aldridge
DeAndre Jordan

those are just the free agents who changed teams, and a lot of them signed minimum contracts. Then there are the guys that were FA but re-signed with their teams:

Jarrett Allen (RFA)
John Collins (RFA)
Dewayne Dedmon
Richaun Holmes
T. J. McConnell
Abdel Nader
Cameron Payne
Bobby Portis*
Norman Powell
Duncan Robinson (RFA)
Max Strus (RFA)
Lou Williams
Maurice Harkless
Gary Trent Jr. (RFA)
Blake Griffin
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Frank Kaminsky
Furkan Korkmaz
Boban Marjanović
Will Barton
Frank Jackson (RFA)
Reggie Jackson
Cory Joseph
Nerlens Noel
Nicolas Batum
Willy Hernangómez
Alec Burks
Taj Gibson
Derrick Rose
JaMychal Green*
Josh Hart (RFA)
Armoni Brooks (RFA)
Gary Payton II

I mean, who is a better deal...Norm Powell at 17M or Zach at 7M?

Zach was a 'problem' for Portland because he couldn't stay healthy. He was also a problem because Olshey had idiotically invested two picks in him and as usual, in the face of reality, Olshey's ego got the better of him and he doubled down on the bad 2017 draft bet. That's why Zach was the default starter at the beginning of the 2019 season: because Olshey had cleared the roster of any meaningful competition for playing time at Zach's position. Just like he did for CJ and to a lesser extent for Simons

that 2017 draft was a disaster. Portland could have come out of that draft with Bam Adebayo & Dillon Brooks; or with Donovan Mitchell & Thomas Bryant; or with John Collins, Jarrett Allen/OG Anunoby & Dillon Brooks. Instead they got 2 seasons of Zach Collins and 45 games of Caleb Swanigan.....yeeeeeeeesh


Okay, so I massively overstated by saying "THE STEAL", but I do believe he will be one of the bigger ones. This really wasn't my main point though... It was stated in the first, and second paragraphs... not the last sentence. It was Olsheys love of short SGs, that has been the MAIN problem, Not Collins. At least that is the points I was trying to raise. My thinking our teams' medical staff has been questionable in the past, and that Collins' career may be far from done were points two and three.

With that list you provided, another thing comes to mind: With all that big-name player movement, How did we end up with so little? Makes me pissed to also think we had lots of opportunity, but clearly missed the boat on trading CJ for significant or equal value. I think it's gone down quite a bit since this summer.

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