Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011-2012 NBA Preview #11: Portland Trail Blazers

Aloha... this one hits close to Ryan's heart to say the least...

Roster Breakdown (Starters in Bold)
  • PG - Raymond Felton, Nolan Smith, Armon Johnson
  • SG - Wes Matthews, Jamal Crawford, Elliot Williams
  • SF - Gerald Wallace, Nic Batum, Luke Babbitt
  • PF - LaMarcus Aldridge, Craig Smith, Earl Barron
  • C - Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Chris Johnson

General Thoughts

This team has been through a lot this offseason. Brandon Roy had to retire abruptly due to degenerative knees (I still can't talk about it) and Greg Oden was lost after a checkup with his surgeon experienced a setback and is more than likely out for the year.....again.... Just like that... two pillars of the franchise (I could debate if those merits should have held up this long some other time) are gone and probably not coming back. Fortunately enough, LaMarcus Aldridge transformed himself into a true force in the middle last season and no doubt he'll be looked upon to do the same again this time around. A full year of Gerald Wallace should help because there were times where he didn't know where to be out there. The new guys (Ray Felton and Jamal Crawford) are intriguing because they both are uptempo players... and this system run by Nate McMillian has been notoriously slow... sign of change?... I really hope so... rarely do players regress in any uptempo situation and I think it can be mutually beneficial. As a sidenote... we have the oldest centers in the league... Camby and Kurt Thomas both played in the mid 90s lol. Regardless they are both good protectors of the rim and should contribute greatly. I'm interested in seeing which young guys (Nolan Smith,Elliot Williams and Armon Johnson) will get minutes and what they can contribute. (Ed: Kurt Thomas is the man, continue...)


While I'd love to say Nic Batum normally... and he is one ...I think the elephant in the room is health... these guys need to be healthy... but would anyone be surprised if they weren't....again?... No one can really explain injuries because its so random but it seems like Portland has had more injuries in recent years than other teams combined. They need a reasonable clean bill of health to be a dark horse candidate in the West. (Ed: I'd throw in the Wallace/Batum dynamic, do we know what the crunch time 5 is here?)

Predicted Finish

6th in the West

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