Friday, November 7, 2008

Trailblazer Believer

Expectations for this team have been brewing and building for a while now, and it would be wrong for me to call Portland a "surprise" team in any sense; this ball club has received its fair share of recent hype. If you just took a look at their 2-3 record, it would be easy to to consider all the hype surrounding them unwarranted. In addition, they're still a very young team, have no superstar (Roy isn't there yet), and have an unproven/rookie (and injured) starting center.

However, if you turn on the TV and watch a Blazer's game, these flaws suddenly don't seem quite as important. 

These guys are exciting.

Though at times wild/erratic, these guys play with passion and energy. Offense isn't just ISO-ing one guy on the wing and depending on him to score. Each guy is willing to make the extra pass. No one is flopping around trying to draw stupid fouls. The Trailblazers do all the little things that make basketball fun to watch. Now I know that an exciting team doesn't necessarily make a good team, and this ball club's success is anything but certain given the competitive nature of the Western Conference. But here's why I think the Blazers will succeed this year: depth.

Portland has a glut of talented players that can play multiple positions. While this year it looks like Blake handles primary point-guard duties, Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez are both capable ball-handlers. Sergio Rodriguez is also a high-energy sub that provides a nice boost of the bench. Let's also not forget Jerryd Bayless, the quick-footed summer league standout who could receive a chance to prove himself later on in the season. 
On the wings, they have Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, and Rudy Fernandez. These guys provide the bulk of the scoring, and a nice inside-outside threat for the offense, each capable of penetrating and shooting the three. 
Portland's frontcourt is questionable, but has great potential. Lamarcus Aldridge has been solid since entering the league in 2006. He's a legitimate inside scorer and an adequate shotblocker. Greg Oden is athletic, but raw, unproven,and injury prone. However, if he develops his offensive game some more and can stay healthy, he and Aldridge will be a scary tandem in the middle.

Key Players to Success
  • Brandon Roy - Roy needs to be solid and consistent for this team to reach the next level. He needs to be able to handle the pressure of being the goto guy.
  • Rudy Fernandez - I hated him when he posterized Dwight Howard in the Olympics, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed. Rudy is instant offense, an European high flier/gunner that can score from anywhere on the floor. I can only see good things happening if Nate McMillian gives him consistent playing time. 
  • Greg Oden - The NBA has a ton of beastly bigs, and Lamarcus can't guard the best of them. Oden has the potential to be an Amare-Bynum hybrid, but needs to at least be Tyson Chandler-esque for the Blazers to succeed
Not only will the Trailblazers make the playoffs, they're going to pull a first round upset. Think Golden State Warriors circa 2007 playoffs. 

It's Official; I've joined the Portland Trailblazers Bandwagon

* I just watched what may be the best game of the 2008-2009 season. Portland just beat Houston in OT. Three back and forth buckets in the last two seconds of the game. Brandon Roy hits a buzzerbeater three pointer for the win. =)


kygojags said...

If you ever want to know what the hot bandwagon team is, just ask me... aka Dallas (2001-2004) Phoenix (2005) Golden State (2006-2007) Portland (2008) haha...

kygojags said...