You know how some people are almost relentlessly upbeat?
Like the Michael Scott character on "The Office."
I actually support that. In general, there's not much to gain by whining, so you might as well look at the bright side. (Once in a while you have to just admit everything sucks, for credibility's sake. But all in all, I'm for being upbeat.)
The Blazers GM is, to his credit, one of the League's most relentless sunshine merchants, at least in the media (and for all I know, in private too). He found some little good thing to say even through all of the Greg Oden microfracture, and that's no small feat.
Today he more than held up his end of the deal.
The Oregonian's Jason Quick posted a story about heated and extended shouting match between Andre Miller and Nate McMillan. Among other things, an issue was a certain kind of insubordination. Miller, says Quick, told Jerryd Bayless to make a key free throw in the closing minutes of a loss to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile Brandon Roy and the coaching staff were telling him to miss it.
(Down two with 4.3 seconds left ... one free throw left. Conventional wisdom is to miss, but I wonder which one really is the better strategy. A make, you're down one, can foul and have a shot even if they make two free throws. Miss it, they get the rebound, and they could go up four. Another key factor: Do you have a timeout? If so, the make would look better than without.)
Quick's initial story was very short, and promised an update. It sure seemed to be sign of a team in turmoil. Not to mention, McMillan had benched Miller for almost the entire fourth quarter, even though the veteran had been playing really hard.
Once I read the initial report, I thought to myself: I bet somehow or another Kevin Pritchard is going to spin this as a positive event. If he can succeed at that, it's a sign he's one of the best sunshine merchants out there.
Well, how do you think he did? Quick recently updated his report with the following:
"I encourage open and honest dialogue, I think that is always good,'' Pritchard said. "I think it can be (healthy). We have the ability to take it one of two ways and I believe in the character of this team, and you know, I think we can come together.''
Pritchard said the exchange was "normal."
"On every team I have ever been on ... guys have opportunity to speak what they feel. That's OK. The question is, can we become better because of it. Either you can or you can't. I'm hoping we can.''
Pritchard and McMillan both said there would be no punishment forthcoming.
"Absolutely not,'' Pritchard said. "We don't muzzle people. It's like being in a marriage. If you don't say something it builds and builds, then it's said, and when it is and it is honest and open, you can get better from it.''
It's not typically very sunny this time of year in Portland. But Kevin Pritchard is like one of those tanning beds. Plug him in, and he'll bring the sunshine. Nicely done, sir.