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NBA Blog Previews: Portland Trail Blazers

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Continuing the previews for the season that will now start late... if ever.  Yeehaw.

Next up, the Blazers.

2011-12 Portland Trail Blazers Preview: National Edition - Blazer's Edge

Portland's core strength lies with their group of forwards.  LaMarcus Aldridge had a break-out season in 2010-11, averaging 21 per game by mixing post moves and alley-oops with his standard face-up jumper.  Though welcome, Aldridge's improvement wasn't impossibly dramatic.  He'll likely be able to sustain that level as long as he's the focus of the offense.  Former Bobcat Gerald Wallace and French phenom Nicolas Batum are his wingmen, both defending well, Wallace providing scoring and Batum distance shooting.  That's as solid of a forward rotation as you'll find in the league.

The backcourt situation is shakier.  Newcomer Raymond Felton replaces Andre Miller at point.  Portland still has a hodgepodge of untried players in reserve with no clear backup to Felton.  Defender Wesley Matthews mans the shooting guard position with the hobbled Roy in the wings.  The name power is there but the Blazers have yet to put together a consistent guard attack since Roy's knees buckled.  They'll need great performances from Matthews and Felton to keep up in the West.  Center is an area of concern for Portland.  Marcus Camby has seen better days.  Behind him lies a huge void.  Unless Oden returns to decent minutes Portland will be playing small lineups frequently.

Remember when they got Oden and we envied them so much?  Remember when Roy was the one that (sort of) got away from us because of the Telfair trade?  Yeah.  But with that said, they are building there and headed in the right direction despite the injuries.