Blogtable: Changing Fortunes

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Changing fortunes: Nets or Blazers? | First-time All-Star | Fixing a fatal flaw



VIDEO: Aldridge leads the way as Portland handles Brooklyn

Which team’s current fortunes will change most drastically in the weeks ahead, Portland’s or Brooklyn’s?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: I understand that the schedule will toughen up for the Trail Blazers, but I think the urgency — wait, make that downright panic that will take hold of everything Nets if their struggles continue means significant change will be inevitable, one way or the other. Even though the Eastern Conference standings would seem to tolerate a fairly casual approach, with .500 or so good enough for the playoff spot (and reset button) that really matters to Brooklyn, the spotlight on this team is too hot for that. Something will have to give very soon with these guys.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: With the Blazers running a very efficient offense to become one of the pleasant surprises of the early season, I’m not expecting a sudden collapse.  But they’ve won seven in a row and neither do I think they’ll continue playing at an .800 pace.  Portland will come back to earth and that doesn’t mean the Blazers are the negative side to this answer. I’ve never thought the Brooklyn Boys of Bummer were going to work and the talk about contending for a championship was laughable.  Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are old, Deron Williams is lost, Jason Kidd is clueless and Nets are just a lot of wasted rubles by Mikhail Prokorov.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.comIf by drastic change you mean lose a game here or there, I guess Portland. They can’t keep winning all their games can they? I like this Blazers team. They’re pretty complete. LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star bordering on superstar and Damian Lillard may soon be both. Wesley Matthews is shooting the lights out, Nic Batum is the all-everything and Mo Williams has greatly aided the bench. And let me mention the handy addition of Robin Lopez. As for the Nets, I’m not sure how much more drastic things can get. Oh, hold on, just checked the schedule and five of their next seven are on the road and that includes at Minnesota, at Houston and at Memphis. Good luck, coach Kidd.

Garnett and Kidd (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Garnett and Kidd (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE)

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comPortland’s, but only because it’s not realistic to keep up this pace, while it’s possible Brooklyn really is bad enough to collapse. The Blazers were positioned from opening night to take the next step and make the playoffs, and this is why. They should improve again once C.J. McCollum joins the lineup.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comBrooklyn. The Blazers aren’t the second best team in the Western Conference, but their offense can sustain their position as a playoff team, maybe in the 6-7 range. That team can really shoot. The Nets aren’t necessarily a title contender, but they are a top-five team in the East once they get healthy and get it together offensively. Even if Kevin Garnett’s age is catching up to him, a team with that much talent isn’t going to rank in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency for very long.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comEyeballing the upcoming schedules for these two teams does literally nothing to provide insight as to how either Portland or Brooklyn will play in the coming weeks. Both have rough Decembers looming and absolutely no rest for the weary. The law of averages tells me that things will change most dramatically for the Trail Blazers, mostly because they’ll come back to earth from this current run they are on. It’s inevitable. But that won’t be a bad thing. They’ll remain on a playoff trajectory, provided all of their major players stay healthy (or as close to it as possible). I honestly think the coming weeks look tougher for the Nets, whose identity is still in question. I’m asking the same question now I did when this collection of stars was put together … Whose team is this anyway? … which is apparently the same question Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and perhaps most importantly Brook Lopez are trying to answer themselves. They have time to sort out the mess, but when are they going to flip a switch and instantly become the contender they assumed they’d be this season? I don’t see it happening before the end of the calendar year. Fact is, Jason Kidd ain’t walking through that door people … well, at least not in uniform.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I was at the Portland/Brooklyn game on Monday night in Brooklyn, and there was quite a contrast between these teams. The Blazers seemed assured and confident, a team with one direction, while the Nets were confused and tired. Which team has more profound tea leaves? I think Brooklyn has a pretty clear path to improvement — the most immediate help Brooklyn can find is getting Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams healthy. Any team basically adding two All-Stars will be improved. So if I had to pick a team to have a dramatic change, I’ll go with Brooklyn. And really, considering they’re 3-7 right now, can things get much worse for the Nets? Wait, pretend I didn’t ask that …

Adriano Albuquerque, NBA BrasilI think Portland is for real, so I will say Brooklyn is bound to get things corrected and become at least a decent team, instead of the mess that we’re witnessing right now. If that doesn’t happen, we might start hearing clamoring for a new coach …

Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA GreeceWhen Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both say that they are “angry”, you should fasten your seatbelt. Or, ya know, hold to your armchair if sitting by the computer. The two veterans are ready to take things over in Brooklyn, so from that point of view something good (or just something better) is going to come out of it. Also, for the sake of the argument, the only way the Nets can go is up.

18 Comments

  1. aron says:

    *Correction: it should have been Joe Johnson instead of Josh Smith LOL

  2. J says:

    Brooklyn should turn things around but I will say the Blazers as more likely to turn it around (the wrong way). They have been very impressive but I don’t know whether they can keep winning where as Brooklyn has the star power…

    You know what ima say brooklu=yn now that I think about it I should probably backspace and start over but meh who cares BROOKLYN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. aron says:

    Deron “the coach-killer” Williams should step it up a notch. He’s not playing like the all-star that he was back when he was in Utah. I can’t believe i rooted for this diva back then when he was coached by Sloan..

    Deron has become mediocre.. The Nets with its souped-up roster is slowly crumbling down.

  4. aron says:

    This “old” souped-up Nets team is comparable to that of the “old” Lakers team back in 2003 composed of HOF Malone and Payton. Formidable in paper but dysfunctional when playing. The only difference is that the “old” Lakers team back then were far more potent than this copycat Nets team. The “old” Lakers managed to become the WCF champion only to be trashed completely by the Pistons in the finals while this “old” Nets team, I’m not even sure if they can manage to win a playoff game.

    Kobe and Shaq were the complete 1-2 punch in the back and front court and compare them now with Josh Smith and Deron “the coach killer” Williams of the Nets is laughable to say the least.

    Coaching staff. Easy, Kid can’t hold a candle against Phil.

    New York really can’t seem to find a break.

  5. Karlo Garcia says:

    Portland. For the 1st time in a long time they have not got that much injuries. The next 3 games for the Blazers are challenging with Chicago,Golden State & New York, I would expect them to win 2 out of the 3. The way Portland is playing
    right now the only way is up!

  6. Boston fan says:

    Some Guys talk a lot about Irving and we never see the real things in nba…Damian is in 2° season and until now he got excelent numbers,getting better on D and become a real leader of this team…The future in Portland is much brighter than Cleveland…But look who many posts about Damian..no one…about Irving…10?20?

    • dustydreamnz says:

      I would say Lillard is more consistent than Irving but Irving would be more brilliant on his good days than Lillard at this stage.

      • kkk says:

        Im a goona go out and say it, Lillard is a better player than irving. irving can do one thing, and that is score, he can not defend he can not set up team mates for easy buckets. Lillard is improving on defense, playmaking and scoring, 2 – 3 years from now Lillard will be one of the best point guards in the league. Heck if Lillard was in the east he would prolly be the best point guard in that conference.

  7. jc says:

    I think the Blazers will be able to be a 2 seed in the West, just not this season. Lillard is good, but hasn’t reached his ceiling yet; Robin Lopez is solid, but can’t be the starting center on a championship team; and while Mo Williams has helped a lot, their bench still isn’t as great as it needs to be. Once Lillard reaches is full potential, the get a slight upgrade at center, and a deeper bench they will be a force to be reckoned with.
    Meanwhile, the Nets aren’t going very far this season. As a Celtics fan, I love KG and Paul Pierce but KG is done and Paul is probably better suited for a bench role at this point. This team will go as far as Lopez and Johnson can take them, which in my opinion is maybe into the second round of the Playoffs, but no farther.

  8. Me says:

    Blazers are the 3d best NBA team Right now i don’t care what other disappointed fans talk about my Blazers 9-2 tells all we played last season against top teams better than weak teams without bench this season will be much easier

  9. Requiem says:

    Nets should trade DWill and Lopez for LeBron

  10. Brent says:

    I had Portland pegged as a 6 seed in the West this year, but they might finish even higher. They’re on a roll and as long as they continue to win the games they SHOULD win, they could be looking at a 50-54 win season.

    The only thing keeping me from writing off Brooklyn completely is the fact that 41-41 will get you the 6 seed in the East. I had them 5th going into the season but I’m thinking more like 7th or 8th in reality.

  11. B-Baller says:

    Beginning of the season all the “experts” said Portland wouldn’t make the playoffs. Now they are all saying between 8 and 5 seeding. No faith. Meanwhile the most expensive teams in the league are struggling like crazy.

  12. dd def says:

    i know it’s early and i know the schedule has been relatively kind thus far, but i’m so excited about my blazers this season. it’s really cool to finally see us get some recognition around the league. my hopes is to finish this month strong and take that into the real test that will be december. we’ll see how things look come the new year. haha. but in the meantime: RIPCITY BABY!!!

    • New Yorker says:

      I live the Blazers, they are not a top 2 team in the west, but I hope they will make the play-offs. About Brooklyn, I have to say I was right again. Just like the star studded Lakers last season. I predicted it would not work where most predicted them going to the finals. Same here, I think Nets might make the play-offs, but just barely. Out in the 1st round.