Being Average Sucks: 2003-04 Portland Trail Blazers

The 2003-04 Portland Trail Blazers were a sociological experiment gone horribly wrong. This was the final year of the “Jail Blazers” era. A well-earned moniker given to the team by the local media that quickly spread nationally. Ruben Patterson (sexual assault), Rasheed Wallace (weed), Qyntel Woods (weed/dogfighting…yes, dogfighting), Damon Stoudemire (weed), Darius Miles (weed), Zach Randolph (you name it), all played for the Blazers in 2003-04 and all had issues with the law.

The 03-04 Blazers will also be remembered for their Feb. 9 trade that sent Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person to the Hawks for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Theo Ratliff and Dan Dickau. In December, the Blazers traded Bonzi Wells for Person and a first rounder.

Let’s see how they perform…my take: not enough white guys (that sounds bad).

Inserting Willie Green into your starting lineup would be a major upgrade.
Their starting five following the Sheed trade for the rest of the season was Mighty Mouse, PG, Derek Anderson, SG, Darius Miles, SF, Zach Randolph, PF and Theo Ratliff, C. This starting five went 15-13. Not bad. The aforementioned Ruben Patterson and Dale Davis came off the bench for the Blazers. WG would not be an upgrade. I’m not sure if fast Willie would ever be an upgrade actually.

Poor attendance
15th. Right in the meat of mediocre. This is good. Plus fans in the pacific northwest were tiring of the Jail Blazers’ tomfoolery. So the attendance numbers were probably falling rapidly.

Win less than three games in the playoffs
Okay, this is my bad. The Blazers did not make the playoffs in 2003-04 season. Major oversight on my part. That being said, it was fun looking up half the roster’s mugshot photos.

At least two white guys in their regular rotation:
Aryvdas Sabonis left the team after the 02-03 season.Vladamir Stepania played in 42 games and the pride of Hatboro-Horsham, Matt Carroll played in 20, but no, the Blazers lacked the needed two white guy minimum to maintain mediocre status.

Wow! that’s Mediocre! Factor
Blazers were only one game below .500 (24-25) before trading Wallace and managed to finish their remaining 33 games at one game above .500 (17-16). Unfortunately, I think the 2003-04 Blazers were just caught in a downward spiral. Like when Dorney Park takes a picture of your screaming face in the middle of a roller coaster. The year before the Blazers won 50 games. The next season, the Blazers only won 27 and fired coach Maurice Cheeks mid-season. They were a talented group, led by Wallace, but in the end, they were just a bunch of screaming faces. Fun to research, but probably not the most mediocre team since 2000.

Check back for the 2010-11 Philadelphia 76ers.

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