In my opinion, this organization adopts the mindset of a pretender, not a contender. From the coach, to the GM, to a large portion of the fanbase. Regardless of whether you believe our roster, health, coach, or GM is good enough, it's apparent to me that the overall mindset and aura of the team will have to change if they actually want to get to where they want to go. I'm going to compare a contending mindset and a "pretender" mindset, and I want you guys to think about which fits the Portland Trail Blazers. 1.) Contenders make the most of what they're given, pretenders talk about why they can't. 2.) Contenders are accountable and look for ways to improve, pretenders brush off their flaws as either unfixable or as "no big deal" 3.) Contenders don't rely on excuses, they simply try to improve. Pretenders make excuses. 4.) Contenders aren't happy with anything but top-level success, pretenders are happy with anecdotal success, moral victories, and marginal success You can come up with more comparisons, but to me, the Blazers fall squarely under the "pretender" category. 1.) All season long, we heard excuses for why the Blazers couldn't have any sort of success while they lost to teams like Golden State (without their entire starting 5) , New Orleans (without Ingram or Zion), New York (by 24), Cleveland (without Love), Minnesota (by 14), etc. Teams will lose these games, but these would be unacceptable losses by a team with a contender mindset, especially if they still had their top 2 players. However, all we heard was why they couldn't win these games. Why it was too difficult for them to take care of business against these teams. We didn't have enough to take care of business. These losses were brushed off with an attitude as if it was "just one game" and therefore not important. This was from the fanbase, but I also got this feeling from Terry Stotts as well. This extends to Neil Olshey as well, who constantly talk about how free agents won't come to Portland, how they have "limited tools at their disposal", among other things. Whether this is true or not, these are excuses for him not doing a better job as our GM. The top GMs in the league wouldn't focus on this limitations, they'd get creative and try to figure out how to make the most of the situation they're given instead of bemoaning their limitations. Olshey doesn't seem to have that mindset. 2.) Speaking of Terry Stotts, his lack of accountability all season long was disturbing. I rarely (if ever) heard him say he could've done a better job. I rarely heard him go in-depth on the issues plaguing the team and how they needed to be fixed. The general narrative was "They made some shots, we missed some shots, we're injured, what can we do". 3.) How many times did we hear how we couldn't do certain things? How we didn't have the personnel to improve defensively over the course of the season. How we didn't have the personnel to do anything more than run one defensive scheme (which we ranked 28th in defensively). How many times did we hear "we didn't make shots" as a blanket excuse for any issues are offense had during the course of a game? 4.) Now the organization and fanbase is talking about how their happy with how things went. How their proud. Note that they just took a step back from a WCF trip to losing in the 1st round in 5 games. But I'm sure that was due to (insert excuse here)... BONUS: We've seen how this team plays down to their competition and how they get complacent when they're up big in games. Are we sure this wouldn't happen in regards to overall regular season success across multiple games? Are we sure these awful mental lapses would fix themselves just by having a "better roster"? I don't think they would. I don't like the vibe coming from the organization. I love this team and want to see them contend, but the mindset isn't there, at all. I also don't believe it's just going to happen with a better roster, as I think our coach, GM, and a large portion of our fanbase have adopted this mindset. I'm a die-hard fan, I want us to contend, and badly. Sometimes I wonder if that want isn't matched by the organization itself. I know a lot of people will reply telling me why I'm wrong while using the excuses that I outlined here, but that might prove my point. Or maybe I'm wrong. I'm not sure.