Here's the new mantra for savvy NBA teams: "Chemacterility." Why haven't you heard the term before? Because I just made it up. But it's an amalgam of three concepts that have formed the foundation of the Duncan era in San Antonio: chemistry, character and (cap) flexibility.
Although their initial rebuilding plan centered on creating cap space after 2009 and stockpiling enough assets to swing a KG-like deal, the Blazers sped things up this season by becoming the poster boys for chemacterility. They've also left the average NBA fan perplexed. After all, Boston's resurgence makes sense because they have three All-Stars; the Blazers have one emerging star (Roy) leading a mishmashed collection of youngsters and role players. They're a good raw team, but 13-in-a-row good? Without Oden? After they thumped a more talented Raptors team on Dec. 19, Jason Kapono told reporters, "Their chemistry is so good right now, and that's so hard to deal with."
Have you ever heard anyone blame the other team's chemistry for a loss? Me neither. Clearly the Blazers have stumbled onto something.
There's been no stumbling involved. Kevin Pritchard has carefully crafted this team with "chemacterility" in mind from the day he took over as GM. It might be working faster than anyone expected but it's nothing close to an accident.