2009-10 Portland Trailblazers Predictions
by Justin Johnson - 10/21/2009
2008-09 Record: 54-28
Home: 26-14 Away: 19-22
Home: 20-19-1 Away: 18-23
Projected Starting Five: PG, Andre Miller. SG, Brandon Roy. SF, Nicolas Batum. PF, LaMarcus Aldridge. C, Greg Oden.
Breakdown: Portland made a huge jump in the Western Conference in 2008-09, tallying 54 wins and tying for the Northwest Division lead. This offseason they added veteran point guard Andre Miller from Philadelphia to provide a stabilizing presence at the point. Pairing Miller with young star Brandon Roy could make for one of most dynamic backcourts in the West, despite Miller's advancing age (33).
Roy is fast becoming one of the best all-around players in the conference. He goes relatively unnoticed to much of the country due the lack of visibility he gets playing in the Northwest portion of the nation. His ability to see the court and create his own shot, as well as clutch performances, has him poised to be a perennial All-Star.
The Trailblazers have a great deal of depth in the frontcourt with three players all being good fits at small forward. Nicolas Batum should get most of the starts as he was a fixture for Portland last season (76 starts) but has capable backups in Travis Outlaw (27 minutes per game in 08-09 and third on the team in scoring, 12.8 ppg) and Martell Webster should return from an injured foot that cost him all but five minutes of last season.
LaMarcus Aldridge, while frustratingly inconsistent at times, is also fantastic at others. He averaged 18 points per game last season and does not turn the ball over much for a big man. However, his rebounding has not caught up to his size and he has been pushed around in the paint. His development could be a measuring stick for the success of the Blazers.
Greg Oden, and his laundry list of injuries, is a cause for concern. His injuries have largely been bad luck and, individually, not reoccurring but certainly four major injuries in three NBA seasons has caused questions of his durability. Joel Przybilla is a solid backup but not spectacular.
The depth on the team is young, but encouraging. Jerryd Bayless did little to impress as a rookie, but from his time at Arizona the raw talent is certainly minable. Patty Mills was a scoring machine for the Australian national team as well as St. Mary's in college. His ability to be a spot up shooter can do wonders fro stretching the defense while on the court.
Portland Trailblazers Predictions: The Blazers have a lot of talent on the roster and a very good coach in Nate McMillan. The addition of Andre Miller could take them from 54 wins to 60 if he is able to duplicate his numbers from last season, but at 33 age could take a toll on his body. The backup situation is not that encouraging with Jerryd Bayless struggling at times in his rookie season and Steve Blake is serviceable at best. All in all this is a team that has good depth and a great mix of veterans and younger athletic players. Winning the division and getting a No. 2 seed would be a surprise but not a complete stunner. Look for at least another 50-win season and hope for a first round win in the uber-competitive West.
Futures consideration - BetUS
For such a young team a quiet 54 wins last season is encouraging. The team should be better this season and that makes Trailblazer fans beam with excitement. There is also value to be found here. Portland is a +1000 to win the West. While the odds on probability is that they are still a year or so away it would not be stunning to many astute basketball fans to see them make the jump this season as they already have tied the Nuggets for the Division last year.
Brandon Roy continues to get better, and his offensive numbers rivaled Kobe Bryant's last year. The lack of national exposure really hurts his chances at an MVP award but getting the team to 60 wins could do the trick. At +1500 it's certainly tempting.
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