The questions that face the Blazers after a disappointing stretch run that threatens to shake the foundation of the roster are as profound as any the team has faced in the last 15 years, The Oregonian’s Jason Quick argues. The emergence of C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard, the disappointing play of Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez, and the rumors surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge‘s willingness to keep playing in Portland provide challenge and opportunity for GM Neil Olshey, Quick contends. Still, few options other than returning to the Blazers would give Aldridge the chance to play a lead role on a true contender, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:
- Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post doesn’t envision Tom Thibodeau emerging as the top candidate for the Nuggets job given the conflict of his defense-first philosophy and Denver’s desire for a fast-paced game, as Dempsey writes in a mailbag column.
- The decision to leave Florida for the Thunder that Billy Donovan reportedly made should have been an easy one, as Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel argues. He’ll have an “exponentially better chance” at a title in Oklahoma City than he would with the Gators the next two years, and if he fails and the Thunder fire him, he’d have his pick of top college jobs, Thamel believes.
- The numbers suggest that Donovan was no better down the stretch in close games at Florida than the oft-criticized Scott Brooks was for the Thunder, The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson writes.