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Blog Entry

Preseason Primer: Portland Trail Blazers

Posted on: September 20, 2010 9:04 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 10:06 am
 
Portland loathes expectations. Expected to compete for the West title? Down in a burning wreckage of knee bones and perimeter shooting. Unable to hold on to the playoffs? Say hi to a massive winning streak to glide into the playoffs. They are never predictable, that's for certain. As we continue our Preseason Primers , we take a look at the noble hope of the Northwest, and if this is finally the season when things don't go wrong for the Blazers.

Portland Trailblazers

Training camp site: Portland, OR

Training camp starts:   Sept. 28 

Key additions:  Wesley  Matthews (free agent)

Key subtractions:   Juwan Howard (free agent), Martell Webster (trade), Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Andre Miller, PG; Brandon Roy, SG; Nicolas Batum, SF, LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Marcus Camby, C 

Player to watch:   Greg Oden. Guy's gotta get healthy sometime, right? Oden has been and remains the missing piece of the puzzle for the Blazers, even with the addition of Marcus Camby. If Oden can reach a significant portion of his massive untapped potential, he could be a difference maker for the Blazers, completing the team that's been constructed over the past five years. It's unknown if Oden will even be available for camp, or how much he'll be participating. But even that says something. Oden's got to bounce back hard, and get back to where he showed flashes last year prior to the injury. That's the only way the Blazers can make the jump they need to this year. 

Chemistry quiz:   Who's the ticking time bomb? That's the question, and it's multiple choice, with several "A and B and C" type choices. Last year, Andre Miller and Nat McMillan blew up at one another during a low point. The two reconciled things and seem to be on better ground, but there's been consistent trade chatter involving Miller since he was signed as a marquee free agent in 2009. And that's just the start! Travis Outlaw and Steve Blake, two longtime Blazers were traded last year, along with Martell Webster before this year's draft. And, oh, yeah, Rudy Fernandez is involved in a messy, gross situation where he's demanding a trade and talking about sitting out the next season , even after rejecting a trade to New Orleans. This is all before we get into LaMarcus Aldridge's longterm problems with the club, and the attention showered on Greg Oden constantly. That said, McMillan has done a tremendous job keeping the team together and helped lead them to the playoffs last year. If he can keep them together this year, it'll be another award-worthy performance.

Injury watch:   Ha. Ha ha ha. Hahahahahaha. Sorry. That's mean.

Well, let's see. Brandon Roy struggled with an ankle towards the end of last year, but that should be fine. Greg Oden is recovering from a broken patella, slowly. Joel Przybilla also broke his patella and tore ligaments, then reinjued it in the shower. Marcus Camby is no spring chicken. This team is one bad turn, a helicopter and a few tents from becoming a M*A*S*H* unit. If any team is worthy of karmic bonuses resulting in a clean bill of health this year, it's Portland.

Camp battles:   Center's going to be a big one throughout the year, but with Oden not near 100% by any stretch of the imagination, Camby has it on lockdown. Nicolas Batum continues to be one of the better developing small forwards in the league, and his overall play should keep him locked in above the rookie Babbitt. An interesting one? Point guard. Miller was terrific at points last year for the Blazers, but when he wasn't, Jerryd Bayless was increasingly better. Bayless is a fierce competitor. If he were to make a significant jump, that one could get ugly really quick.

Biggest strength:   Depth and Brandon Roy. That's the formula, which is why the injuries const them so much last year. Additionally, Brandon Roy's going to have to climb back out of the pool and onto the pavement of great players after a downturn last season. The Blazers absolutely must have Roy as a top ten player in the league if they're going to compete for the Western Conference Finals, along with all the other things they need to happen. But Roy has shown he can do it, and they still have considerable depth, arguably more, with Matthews to give Roy a breather, and young talent mixed in with the vets.

Glaring weakness:   You mean, besides spending more times on their backs than Luke Walton? (You thought I was going for a sex joke there, didn't you?) The team's gotta stay healthy, which isn't something they can avoid, outside of moving to Phoenix and hiring their training staff. On the floor, the offense can stagnate considerably when Roy's not on the floor outside of the handful of nights where Miller goes nova. The other players need to develop into go-to scorers, at least a few. LaMarcus Aldridge in particular has had low expectations which he's exceeded yet not received credit for the last few years, but now he's going to have to be a big-time power forward for the Blazers. If he doesn't show he can get to the next level, he may find himself on the block as the Blazers look for the missing piece.

Comments

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 8:12 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Portland Trail Blazers

Just a couple points:

1) How exactly are the two draft picks (Babbit and Johnson) key subtractions ? Shouldn't they be key additions, especially considering the strong summer league play from Johnson?

2) The ticking chemistry bomb seems way off - this team fought through a really tough season last year because of their depth and commitment to the team. All those injuries brought the players closer and increased how much trust they have in each other. Hard times either divide or unite locker rooms, and we know the Blazers locker room handled last season tremendously.

3) This is the only place I have read about Aldridge having long-term issues with the team. Granted the fans see a lot of potential in him that may or may not be there, but his value to the team is not in doubt (hence the huge contract extension he got).

4) Depth is definitely a strength of the Trailblazers, but why did that make injuries cost them so much? I thought depth was the answer to injuries?

5) LaMarcus has had extremely high expectations (at least in Portland) - people hoping for a 20 - 10 or 21 - 12 stat average and getting only 18 - 8. Not much of an interior offensive game and not as effective on the defensive end as a man that mobile could be. The organization sees more potential from him and has for several years.

So just make those few changes and this preview will start to be reasonably accurate.

Also: Reinjured, Nate McMillian, M*A*S*H, cost.

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Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Wow.

Was this meant to be a joke, or are you really THIS BAD at what you do? This is irresponsible journalism. You clearly know very little about what you write as many of what you state is simply wrong. Shameful indeed...




Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 2:00 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Portland Trail Blazers

I was going to say the same thing... Facts need to be checked before they are posted. I was so confused the entire article, hardy any of it was correct.  Maybe someone that actually knows something about the Blazers should be writing these articles.



Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:40 pm
 

This is shameful journalism, or whatever this is

There are so many errors, overstatements, unfounded opinions offered as facts and jokes made in poor taste I don't know where to start:
1. Broy was hammy and knee, not ankle.2. Pryz was tendon, no fracture.3. Aldridge has long term problems with the club? You're going to need to explain this.4. Histerical laughing at PTB injury woes? Really?5. Another injury joke keying on Bill Walton's back problems (a period he admits he thought about not wanting to live?)?6. Babbit and Johnson as subtractions? And Johnson as a free agent?
Clean it up CBS.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com