Brandon Roy gave Blazer fans a reason to smile on Friday night; in his second game back from surgery he nailed two clutch three’s in the final minutes to rally his team past the new look Nuggets. It was a big win for Portland, who got everything they could handle and more from the young Nuggets.
They had another reason to smile a day earlier after acquiring Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats for a collection of scraps and draft picks. It was a no brainer for Portland, who send Joel Pryzbilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first rounders for the tough-minded Wallace, the greatest player in the Bobcats short history. Wallace, an all-star last year, is a rebounding fiend, a top tier athlete and superb defender, all traits that fit well in Portland. His athleticism allows him to play both the three and four, adding versatility to the frontcourt, and yet another guy alongside Batum and Matthews capable of guarding talented wings. The trade also strengthens a strength, giving them three big men who can pull down 10 boards and insurance for Marcus Camby should he be unhealthy come playoff time. While it does not address their most pressing issue, shooting, Wallace stretches out the lineup nicely for Portland, who have had depth issues all year.
It’s a high value acquisition for the Blazers as well, getting a very good player, a borderline star, at minimal cost. Meanwhile, its a straight salary dump by Charlotte, who are handcuffed by the contracts of Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw among others. Going nowhere fast with a ceiling no greater than a six or seven seed, Charlotte looked to cut payroll, and Rich Cho was opportunistic grabbing the athletically gifted forward.
The Blazers are gaining momentum and if Brandon Roy can keep doing stuff like he did the other night, they are going to be a tough out. If they remain healthy, no one will want to see them in the playoffs – and whoever does will have their hands full. When you can rebound and defend you’re going to have a chance in this league, and with Roy at least on the court, they have two go-to guys during crunch time. Now that Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are no longer part of the division, the trail will be less bumpy here on in for the Blazers.
It’s a stretch to call them a championship contender, but considering the collective state of mind in Portland around New Years, the season outlook is as bright as you could have hoped for.
About the Author
Written by Brandon Marcus
I am 25 year old native New Yorker. I went to the University of Florida where I got my degree Sports Management. I am a die hard fan of the New York Giants, Knicks, Mets and the movie, Die Hard. I'll be covering the Portland Trail Blazers, but also will keep my eye on the league as a whole, and will drop in from time to time with some random thoughts.