The unofficial tip-off to a Portland Trail Blazers season doesn’t begin on the hardwood: it starts in a dark luxury suite beneath the Rose Garden stocked with chicken strips, Jones soda, and spicy turkey wraps. This is, of course, Media Day, a chance for the local press to get their first cracks at the players after a summer spent apart, and the first bit of actual team news in months. It consisted mostly of variations on a theme: a player sits down in front of an array of microphones and answers questions for 10 minutes, and then takes off for individual interviews. For the most part, the Blazers stuck to a couple of optimistic talking points, namely, “Greg Oden has improved a lot over the summer,” and “We’re aiming to win the division outright.”
The big stories at this year’s edition were the additions of veteran point guard Andre Miller, power forward Juwan Howard, and small forward and Jefferson High alum Ime Udoka, and how they’ll mesh with the team. Of course, there was also a definite undercurrent of intrigue about playing time, as the Blazers have seven players dueling for three starting spots. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to see how all of this turns out. Fortunately, the wait won’t be too long.