Originally written July 16, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
PDX Mad Man Neil Olshey came to the Portland Trail Blazers after quite some time with the Los Angeles Clippers, watching that team go from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. Similar to his tenure with the Clippers, Olshey was greeted in Portland by a complete mess. The Blazers had been inefficient in recent years, fans were beginning to mock the team, and they weren’t being respected by their NBA counterparts. Olshey seemingly changed all of that in just over a year. Now there aren’t many GM’s in the league who could have completely revamped an organization in just one year, but Portland seems to have gotten lucky with Olshey. Coming to the Blazers right before the 2012 NBA Draft, he executed an amazing draft strategy that saw Portland snag Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard. While Leonard still has to develop into a more intimidating big man, all Lillard did this year was be unanimously named the Rookie of the Year. He joined Blake Griffin, David Robinson, and Ralph Sampson to unanimously win the award. Olshey has been outstanding in year one. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Aside from the two high draft picks, Olshey also got great talent in the second round, selecting Will Barton, a player with a lot of potential who didn’t see that many minutes in 2012-2013. Earning high accolades for his first draft, Olshey then went into free agency with a fire in his eyes. Though he missed on Roy Hibbert, he managed to help secure JJ Hickson, retained Nicolas Batum, and secured several veterans and rights to players who could have been extremely valuable to the future of Portland. While some of these assets have left/been traded away, Olshey appears to have the knowledge and poise to build a successful basketball organization that will see itself be perennial contenders. That may have even occurred this year, too, had Olshey been willing to trade some valuable future assets to other teams that were more than interested. He did not do so, however, as he valued the future potential of his team more than a short term, one-and-done season. I definitely like the way this guy thinks. Though they did miss out on the playoffs, the Blazers’ organization has been putting together quite the offseason already, especially with the combination of the 2013 NBA Draft and free agency. Like they did in the 2012 draft, Portland and Olshey selected a player from a lesser known school with a high pick. C.J. McCollum, who figures to be the third guard for the Blazers, was drafted with the 10th overall pick and could be an impact man in the future. Also securing Allen Crabbe in the draft, Portland then made waves in free agency. Trading two future second-round picks to Houston and the rights to two Greek players, Olshey brought in Thomas Robinson, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He’ll need to find his form again, but this player still has all the potential to dominate the NBA. Olshey didn’t stop at Robinson either, as he and Portland managed to sign Dorell Wright and Earl Watson while taking part in a three-team trade that saw them acquire Robin Lopez and Terrel Harris. The Blazers’ bench that everybody was mocking last year appears, at least now, to be one of the deepest in the league. Olshey has been a savior for an organization that was previously in a mess. He’s reinvigorated the fan base, brought top talent to Portland, and created an atmosphere around the team that will make big name players come to the Rose City. There aren’t many bad things to say about his tenure, and I fully expect him to continue leading the Blazers down the road to success. Great job Olshey, keep it up. Grade: A CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

What to watch in the NL Wild Card game

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Larry Donnell benches himself in fantasy, loses because of it

Josh Gordon says NFL’s drug policy is harrassment

Steve Smith: Ron Rivera hid in his office after cutting me

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

Report: Carson Palmer's nerve injury 'still lingering'

Adam Dunn to retire after 14-year MLB career

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision, will learn from it

WATCH: Mayweather shocked someone doesn’t know who he is

Who is the new face of MLB?

NHL 15 predicts the LA Kings win the Cup again

J.J. Watt buys his mom a new car for her birthday

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

Aaron Rodgers says smoking gesture a tribute to Jay Cutler

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

Major League Baseball's 2014 All-Disappointment Team

Jeter introduces 'The Players Tribune,' 'The Voice of the Game'

Grading each NFL's team's play at quarter-season mark

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

What to watch in the NL Wild Card game

Sammy Watkins calls out EJ Manuel

Donnell benches himself in fantasy and loses

Gordon: Drug policy is harrassment

Who is the new face of baseball?

Steve Smith blasts Panthers coach, GM

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.