Disclaimer: This is really premature. Really. Jumping the gun to fullest extent possible.
But the question presents itself all the same: Would there be any better story across the NBA than the Portland Trail Blazers sans Greg Oden going to the playoffs this season?
We discussed the Blazers in this space a few days back, when they had won seven in a row. Somehow, my usually jinxing touch didn't affect the Blazers, as they have won twice more since then and remain in the midst of a turnaround that has brought them from 5-12 and buried in the Western Conference to 14-12 and right in the thick of the action. Of course, it's early. There are 56 games to play and plenty of time for the Blazers to fade back into oblivion. There are plenty of teams out West that many think should be far better than the Blazers, and it is certainly likely that they will be when all is said and done.
But no one saw this coming. This team is playing and beating legitimate competition. These guys are playing team basketball and bringing excitement back to the Rose Garden. They are providing an unquantifiable boost to the basketball morale in Portland. This is a team that was left for dead without its savior from Ohio State. What a victory it would be for everyone involved if they could show the world that while the Buckeye man may be the deal-breaker, he isn't the whole story. Not even close. These folks -- multiple, not just one -- can really play.
They are hot right now. How long they can keep it up is anybody's guess, but it couldn't be more enjoyable to watch as long as it continues.
Count me on the bandwagon rooting for an extended season for the Blazers.