Portland Trail Blazers: Reality Check

Mike TurnellCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2008

    With an average age of 23.5 years, the Portland Trail Blazers are one of the youngest teams in the NBA.  Aside from this, their enormous potential and seemingly unlimited assets make them a hot topic for wild predictions and expectations. 

    Let's take a look at how other extremely young teams have fared throughout NBA history:

    1.   1953-1954 Baltimore Bullets: 16-56

    2.   2000-2001 Chicago Bulls: 15-57

    3.   2007-2008 Portland Trail Blazers: 41-41

    As you can see, being the third youngest team in NBA history didn't stop the Portland Trail Blazers from reaching a .500 record and third place in the Northwest Division.  Add in The #1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft in Greg Oden, Spanish league MVP Rudy Fernandez, and Vegas Summer League MVP Jerryd Bayless, and you are bound to jump to the conclusion that the Blazers are going to be the next NBA dynasty.

    What I'm saying is this: don't put that unfair pressure on them.  As I look through countless forums that state Oden as a shoe-in for the Rookie of the Year, Brandon Roy being the next MVP, and the Blazers winning the championship as soon as next season, I begin to worry.  I worry that these kids will fold under these expectations that are damn near impossible to live up to.

    Please remember that there is a very big possibility that Oden gets re-injured.  Remember that this team was beginning to slow down near the end of last season, and that was without having to endure the arduous task of the playoffs. 

    Finally, please don't convince yourself that a group of 23-year-olds are guaranteed to step onto professional basketball's biggest stage and beat out the world's best.

    With all of that in mind, however, I am excited for this team.  As a huge Trail Blazer fan, I really think that in a couple of years this team can contend for a title. 

    But please, as fans, don't be disappointed if the Blazers don't make it out of the first round next year. Don't even be disappointed if they don't make the playoffs at all.  As Kevin Pritchard has said, we are in this for the long run.

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