Blazers polish one move: the spin
The most telling thing about your Trail Blazers this week wasn't that it took three-quarters of a season to decide that a motion offense might work. It wasn't even Zach Randolph's sucker punch. No, it was one little line in the box score Wednesday morning.
The line that told you Qyntel Woods played Tuesday night against Golden State.
The story broke late Monday that Woods was hurtling through the Terwilliger curves on Saturday at more than 80 mph in a look-at-me vehicle while smoking pot. When police pulled him over, Woods used two credit cards and his own basketball trading card for ID. Apparently he left his Malibu Grand Prix driver's license at home. And he told the startled police that he'd had a problem with the drug for years and couldn't quit.
Instead of throwing Woods Ñ by all accounts a nice kid Ñ into rehab, the Blazers threw him into a game, after assuring the local citizens that there is no drug problem on the team.
Sure. Twenty-five percent of your active roster gets busted in one season, and it's nothing to worry about. I think what they're saying is: We got drugs, no problem.
This isn't going to be a treatise on the evils of drug use. I'm not going to attempt to tell you a lot of NBA players don't smoke pot. I will tell you there is a stupidity problem on this team. You don't see three Lakers or three Kings or three Mavericks busted in one year for drug possession.
If you want to do drugs, don't hop in a conspicuous car, bust the radar gun and have weed residue in the ashtray. That's pretty easy, isn't it?
For me, players this dumb, this lacking in focus, can't possibly help you win a lot of games. And the fact is, for this organization, it's always much more a matter of spinning these incidents after the fact than it is stopping them from happening in the first place.
One source told the Tribune this week that when Bonzi Wells got into that little beef with Maurice Cheeks a few weeks ago, the coach wanted him suspended for two games. The front office cut it to just one. You know, they were worried about how a two-gamer would look to the public. Mike Dunleavy ran into the same thing when he wanted to take action against an out-of-control Rasheed Wallace.
The Bob Whitsitt philosophy is quite clear: Minimize the public relations impact, not the actions. Cover up, when you can. Spin the truth.
Whitsitt hopes he can just once win that dastardly race: the dangerous yearly question of whether these tainted players can help his team win a championship before they physically attack one another, implode as a team or get arrested.
That's business as usual for the Blazers.