NBA Playoffs Adopt-A-Team: Portland Trail Blazers, Because They're Underdogs With A Rabid Fanbase

Dave of SB Nation's Blazers blog Blazers Edge lists the many reasons you should root for the Blazers this spring. 

Why would you root for the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs? Let me count the ways: 

1.  Cool uniforms. Don't underrate the importance of cool uniforms. 

2.  Underdog status. When in doubt, upsets are more fun, right? 

3.  A rabid fan base. No matter what the standings in the series you can bet that Blazer fans will be LOUD in the Rose Garden. At full crescendo, the environment almost takes on the cultural momentum of a World Cup match. Don't you love getting caught up in something like that? Of course you do. That's why you watch the World Cup, right? It can't possibly be for the soccer. 

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4.  A chemistry experiment going right. The Blazers have been an odd petrie dish in the last few years. They started from less than nothing five seasons ago. Their best players were also their worst malcontents. They weren't winning. They blew it up and started over completely. Through some shrewd maneuvering and a little luck in the draft they stocked up with talented, young players. Too many talented, young players really. There wasn't court time for all of them to develop. Last year's playoffs showed obvious holes in the armor. The Houston Rockets bushwhacked the Blazers early and the youngsters couldn't make it up. But in the past year Portland has focused on mixing veterans in with their young talent. Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, and Juwan Howard provide a solid base from which those young guys can launch. All three veterans are playing good-to-great basketball. The team looks more cohesive and controlled. Whether that transformation makes any difference in the post season remains to be seen, but it's interesting to watch nevertheless. 

5.  A never-say-die attitude. Make no mistake, the Blazers were dead in the water this season. When they lost Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla in quick succession the heart got ripped out of their defense. Sustained injuries to Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez tore apart their depth as well. Brandon Roy's injuries lopped off their collective head. Roy's recent meniscus tear is only the latest in a devastating string of blows this team has suffered. Yet somehow they just keep getting up and saying, "No, no!  It's just a flesh wound!" Somehow they create wins where most teams would have limped off to the lottery. Coupled with underdog status this should make rooting for Portland a no-brainer. 

 

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6.  The chance to adopt early. Everybody likes to be on the winning side. Everybody likes to look like a genius by getting on that side before anyone else. This team won 54 games last year with a squad so young they might as well have suited up in diapers. The team won 50 again this year with less than half of a roster, playing guys who were 10th-13th on the depth chart when the season started. If there's even the slightest chance of decent health in the future you have to believe this team is going somewhere. Claiming fandom this post-season allows you automatic renewal in the better years to come. 

7.  Meet friends the easy way! It'll seem a tad self-serving but it's not an exaggeration to say that the Blazers have one of the biggest online followings of any team in the league ... comfortably THE biggest if you count per capita. Most of those Blazer fans are smart, cool, people. Most of those Blazer fans also love the lift that this time of year brings.  Pop over to Blazers Edge and start a fanpost asking why you should be a Blazer fan. You'll get 100 responses and make 1,000 new friends (literally from all around the globe) before the day is done. 

8.  Batum and Fernandez. With Brandon Roy basically non-functional the most interesting players to watch for the Blazers will be Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez. In Batum you will see one of the quietly-rising defensive players in the league ... a player who is also beginning to discover a boundless offensive confidence. He has been superb shooting the long ball this season and his stop-and-pop jumper off of the drive is a wonder to behold. His ability to chase down fast-breaking opponents and swat their layup attempts to kingdom come has become legendary in Blazer circles. 

 


 

Fernandez has struggled this year but when he's focused, energized and hitting his shots, he's a dynamo, stealing the ball, canning the three, passing and dunking with equal ease. Though neither is at the stage of coming through every game, both can be thrilling. 

9.  We're not the Lakers. 

10.  Did I mention the cool uniforms?    

 

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