Trail Mix: Blazers healing, Durant to miss the season
The Portland Trail Blazers are minutes from tip-off down in Phoenix where they will face the Phoenix Suns. LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Chris Kaman are all probable to play tonight, the team announced Friday morning and all expected to play in tonight’s game which will be shown on NBATV.
Aldridge played in Wednesday’s win against the Utah Jazz while Batum and Kaman did not.
Batum warmed up before the game and was in lay-up lines before eventually not playing a minute in the game.
But, the team chasing the Blazers in the division suffered a major blow for their present and future. Kevin Durant will have yet another procedure on his broken right foot. The official statement from the Thunder referenced that Durant’s right foot had shown “signs of regression” after initially showing progress.
This is not good. Obviously, people around these parts might instantly think of the feet problems that Blazers legend Bill Walton had which eventually resulted in a dispute with the medical staff and him leaving the team. Walton eventually found a way to stay healthy and win one more title with the ’86 Celtics as their sixth man but obviously the hope is Durant can return to star form sooner rather than later.
According to Zach Lowe of Grantland, the bone graft procedure that Durant will undergo is among the safest that can be done but it carries a 4-to-6 month recovery time which will rub right up with next year’s training camp. Either way, it’s looking more and more like a lost season for Oklahoma City and with Durant’s free agency coming up about 15 months from now, the noise “Loud City” will get very, very loud.
This week ESPN.com released their front office rankings which includes rankings for coaches, general managers and owners. According to ESPN’s panel of experts, the Trail Blazers are a top-ten franchise in every one of those regards.
Paul Allen and Vulcan Inc. came in ranked as the fourth-best ownership group. Neil Olshey was ranked the No. 4 general manager in the NBA (although his title is technically team president) and head coach Terry Stotts came in seventh among head coaches.
Given Portland’s success lately in their quick rebuild after dismantling the team in 2012, it should be no surprise that their front office and staff are held in high regard.
The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman did a nice feature about why each Trail Blazers player chose their number. It’s pretty cool to learn the sentimental and sometimes random reasons why guys wear the numbers they wear.
Damian Lillard told TNT that he believes the Blazers can still make noise in the playoffs. He mentioned that the Blazers want homecourt but also said, “what good is home court if everybody is not healthy?” So, again, he reiterates Portland’s main concern about being the best team they can be heading into the post season rather than emphasizing seeding or home court.