Blazers owner Paul Allen reflects on season, expects a summer of change
Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said that before embarking on the season, he felt the year would be “interesting.” Over the previous summer, the team had transitioned with a new general manager, coaching staff and roster full of young and undeveloped players. Certainly, prognostications had the Blazers ready for a compelling ride of highs and lows.
So by Wednesday, the final night of the NBA regular season and the conclusion of these 2012-2013 Blazers, Allen looked back at the “interesting” year and predicted the upcoming summer will be just as intriguing.
“I certainly expect there to be some (turnover),” Allen said, while speaking about the future. “Given some of the areas we need to improve, there’s definitely going to be turnover. We have a number of unrestricted free agents and so yeah, there’s going to be some turnover. That’s part of what’s involved in rejuvenating and re-tooling and building back up the strength of your team. So, it goes with that part of the process.”
In meeting with reporters before the Blazers faced the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, Allen used upbeat terms to describe the overall season – highlighting the progress of young players, namely the five-time Western Conference Rookie of the Month, Damian Lillard, and praising the work of his general manager Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts in their first years with the organization.
“I think they’re both doing a very good job,” Allen said. “I think you saw Terry institute that new brand of basketball to start out the season. As compared to the styles we’ve had in previous seasons, I think it’s refreshing, unselfish style. In terms of how Neil did, I think we did very well in the draft, there’s no question about that.”
Allen, much like his fan base, was surprised at the team’s early season success when the Blazers reached 20-15 and stayed within shouting distance of the playoff picture for much of the season.
“I think everybody was a little (surprised),” Allen said. “ I think Damian is an even better player than we all anticipated.”
However, Allen repeatedly recognized the elephant in the Rose Garden – the team’s 12-game losing streak entering the season finale. During the recent slide, the Blazers have allowed opponents to average 107 points per victory. In reaction to the team’s biggest problem area, Allen echoed his general manager in anticipating the Blazers will target interior defense and a player who can help protect the rim. Also, Allen said the team will seek to bolster the bench, which ranks last in the NBA in scoring average.
“Although the end of the season has been disappointing,” Allen said, “and it’s always painful to miss the playoffs (but) I think there’s some encouraging progress.”