Another exciting installment of our Q&A series with bloggers representing our opponents. Today it is our pal Dave from SBNation sister site and interwebs titan Blazer's Edge. As always, head over there to see my answers to Dave's questions.
ClipperSteve: It's been a roller coaster season for you guys. In fact, if you take away the 17-1 stretch, the Blazers are 12-27, which is more in line with expectations for the season. Is there a sophisticated explanation for this team's ups and downs that goes beyond 'hey, young teams are inconsistent'?
Dave: The full analysis is here.
Long answer short, in addition to being inconsistent young teams get fatigued. Every player hits the wall at some point. Ours is so big we might as well be barbarians trying to get into China. You see the fatigue--physical, mental, emotional--in a variety of ways. Guys are limping. We don't get loose balls and rebounds. Shots fall short. Our free throw attempt advantage has dwindled and our free throw percentage has plummeted. Guys don't have their heads in games. Portland fans are getting frustrated with this but I always invite complainers to go out right now and run a marathon--two if you can already do one. Eventually you might get there but I bet your form stinks by Mile 14. This is the first marathon ever for most of our key players. Lamarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy are already passing their minutes played all of last season. Guys like Webster, Outlaw, and Jack haven't had near this much responsibility either. This is a learning experience for everyone.
ClipperSteve: Despite the inconsistency, in looking up and down the standings, there's no team in the NBA with a brighter future right now. Tons of young talent, Oden and Fernandez on the way, and cap space in 2009. How's it feel?
Dave: Like you finally got the courage to ask out the girl of your dreams for a Friday dinner/movie/hot tub date. She said yes, but it's only Tuesday.
ClipperSteve: Last I checked, Rudy Fernandez was leading the ACB in scoring. What's the word on his arrival in the NBA?
Dave: A bunch got made of a recent comment where he said he was focusing on his team's season now, that he has a two-year contract, and that he's not thinking about the NBA. That's what any good professional would say. His season will end, his contract will be bought out, and he's coming. However I don't believe in any guy until I've seen him--at least in Summer League but preferably against NBA competition for a year or two.
ClipperSteve: I guess the only downside to all of this is the roster glut. It seems like the Blazers are going to have to part ways with some players they like in order to have room for others they like even more. Who is on the way out the door, and can the Clippers have them? Please?
Dave: Sure! All we'll need is a healthy Elton Brand, Al Thornton, two Clipper Dancers sent directly to me, plus a guarantee that neither Billy Crystal nor Frankie Muniz will follow after your players and try to become Portland fans.
Thanks Dave. Keep up the great work at Blazer's Edge. I'm looking forward to the game tonight. I wish the team were going to put up more resistance, but it looks like there will be no Cassell and no Kaman. But get ready for the Nick Fazekas Experience!