I was watching Portland and Dallas go at it last night and there were moments when I was blown away -- mostly in the first half -- by the way Portland moved the ball and moved bodies on offense. Hey, I'm a guy who spent most of the last three seasons complaining about the lack of those things with Nate McMillan's stagnant offense.
And what I saw at times last night was beautiful. When this team is clicking, it's getting everyone touches, it's moving and playing the most unselfish brand of basketball we've seen around here in a long time. And it's important to remember, that doesn't always show up as wins. Especially on a team with Nic Batum struggling with a wrist injury that seems to make him not even want to take shots, a roster without much help off the bench (Nolan Smith posted another one of those minus-16 performances in nine minutes) and an undersized center who doesn't defend very well.
This group plays hard. It competes to the very end every night and you just count them out against anybody. It's getting way more accomplished this season than I ever expected and I'll be the first to admit it.
I really appreciate the way Terry Stotts has approached this team. He's created a very unselfish group of players who trust each other, help each other and pull for each other. And I also believe the front office, led by Neil Olshey, has been critical, too, in being patient with this group -- holding onto the right pieces while sticking firmly to the plan for the future. Olshey's reward, I believe, is finding out that this core group may be a little bit better than any of us thought. The foundation for a very good team is here -- it's just a couple of pieces away.
And whatever the scoreboard shows, well, that's not all that important at this point. This team has promise -- something I wasn't sure we saw last season at this time.