All sorts of predictions are flying around right now with the start of the 2008-09 NBA season just 2 weeks away, and some bold ones were made toward the Portland Trail Blazers. Maurice Brooks of ESPN.com is heading up the NBA Awards Watch this year and is really loving "your" Blazer team.
In his Rookie Watch, he bascially lists Oden's only competition as Michael Beasley out of Miami. Here is the tidbit given towards GO:
As a defensive force, he will do a lot of impressive things that will help Portland win but won't show up in the box score (singing isn't one of them). Portland has enough players who can score, so it is counting on Oden to rebound and anchor the defense.I'm not necessarily seeing this as a shoe in award for big GO. In fact, I would put Beasley, OJ Mayo and (gag me on this one) Kevin Love ahead of him. The Blazers have way too much talent and way to many players to spread the ball around too for Oden to take this award. Just look at last year with Kevin Durant; he put up stats as the only option Seattle had while many would argue that Al Horford had a much more productive year. We'll see with this one!
Now, Brooks also takes a look at coach of the year in his Coach Watch by giving the early nod to Nate McMillan. Here is his tidbit:
Although the West is loaded, Portland will find a way to squeeze into the playoffs. McMillan has a problem most coaches would love to have -- finding enough minutes for his roster stacked with young, talented players.Handing out coaching awards before the season starts is like predicting the BCS, it's absolutely impossible. I love Nate and the Blazers, but I'm not getting my hopes up with this one. The guy probably deserved it last year with the huge turn around of this franchise, but that didn't seem to be enough. And now this year, the expectations are even higher and only time will tell if these boys can live up to the hype.
It's always exciting to see our local boys brought up in the award talk, but we've got a long season ahead before any of this stuff can really be taken seriously.