Two Views: Ex-Blazers has attitude, work ethic to succeed in the NBA after injuries

As a Blazers fan, the past several years have been frustrating when you consider that by now they were supposed to be a Western Conference powerhouse led by the trio of LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy and Greg Oden.

Oden and Aldridge were supposed to be the new age “twin towers,” with Oden providing the power and post presence while Aldridge provided finesse and post offense. With those two in the post and one of the league’s most elite players in Brandon Roy at shooting guard, it seemed the Blazers could have achieved a decade of dominance in the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference.

Instead they were plagued by injuries, and Brandon Roy’s career is over. And now we’ve learned that Oden’s going to give his career one more shot. On Aug. 6, he said he would return to the NBA as a member of the Miami Heat.

As a Blazer fan, I’m conflicted. A part of me doesn’t want to see him do well in another uniform. But another part of me wants him to shut up all of the people who have been calling him a bust.

No one is sure what to expect from Oden this season. I know that when he’s healthy and on the court, he’s very effective. He can control the paint like few players in the league can. If he can bring that to the Heat, they’ll be completely unstoppable.

Like me, a lot of Blazers fans are conflicted, and some are even angry about it. I’m not, but I would say I’m worried about it.

Reaction to non-news

When I say a part of me wants Oden to do well, that doesn’t mean I want to see him become an all-star caliber center. I just want to see him be able to stay healthy and contribute. If he comes back and becomes one of the league’s best centers, I do think that will be a dagger in every Blazer fan’s heart.

If Oden can stay healthy and make it to Dec. 28, that’s when he’ll make his return to Portland. It will be interesting to see how the fans will react. I have a feeling that they’re going to boo him, but I don’t feel that they should. I also don’t think that they should cheer him either.

I think the reaction to him should be one of indifference. He didn’t hurt the Blazers franchise at all. In fact, fans should be proud and excited about the team’s bright future with Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum.

But if Blazer fans do boo Oden when he returns in a Miami uniform, it’ll be because they’ll think he betrayed them or that he’s the reason that the Blazers aren’t where the fans want them to be.

I believe that Blazers fans are obsessed to the point where it’s annoying. I’ve read fans post threads on online forums like, “who should be the 15th man?” and I see an actual debate among fans about who that should be. Their reaction to non-news is astounding.

On top of that, they’re always looking for something or someone to blame for the franchise’s failures, from owner Paul Allen to former coach Nate McMillan to Oden to the referees. Somehow, even Roy was blamed at one point for being too selfish.

I’m not sure if Blazers fans are the best in the NBA, but they definitely are the most obsessed. I do look at them with disdain because most of them are illogical or they’re gullible and buy into the ridiculous hype provided to them by the team’s announcers.

For many years I used to be one of those fans I just described. I remember getting angry that the Blazers’ preseason games weren’t being televised, I would tune in to Trail Blazers Courtside every Monday night and listen to two hours of nothing, and I’d watch every summer league game.

But one of the most ridiculous things I did was sitting down to watch a team scrimmage that was shot on a camera phone and actually taking it seriously. Another ridiculous thing was debating the importance of the signing of Michael Ruffin when they signed him a few years back.

Don’t get confused, I still love the team, but over the past three years I’ve become disgusted with those types of fans and nearly the entire organization. It’s embarrassing to listen to a Blazer broadcast, whether it’s on television or on the radio.

My outlook on the Blazers team is positive. I love the direction in which they’re headed and I’m confident that Lillard will lead the Blazers in the right direction. With a little luck they could be a playoff team this year, and I’m very much looking forward to that.

As for Oden, the fans should be happy for him. I wish him the best of luck, although I am a bit worried that he’ll be too successful in Miami.

If he is, I won’t be angry at him, I’ll just be a disappointed Blazer fan.

Aaron Sass has been a Blazers fan most of his life. He vividly remembers the 2000 Western Conference finals against the Lakers, which is one reason he describes himself as a very frustrated, but passionate, fan.

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