Can Portland Compete against Los Angeles with the Andre Miller Signing?

Brandon RibakSenior Writer IJuly 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 30:  Andre Miller #7 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to the bench against the Orlando Magic during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Wachovia Center on April 30, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

When you take a look at the Western Conference, it seems as if the Lakers are at the tippity top, with San Antonio not too far behind.

The third through eighth seeds are literally unpredictable, especially with the amount of free agent signings thus far during the offseason.

Today, the Portland Trail Blazers offered veteran point guard Andre Miller a three-year, $21 million dealwith $14 million guaranteed and a team option for the third year.

The major question now is if Miller does accept the contractwhich his agent, Andy Miller, stated he willdo the Portland Trail Blazers emerge as the No. 3 seed in the West? And if so, can they compete against the big and bad Los Angeles Lakers?

A few things need to be taken into consideration regarding to the Blazers team as a whole.

 

Can Greg Oden become reliable and consistent for Portland next season?

This question is by far the biggest concern for the Trail Blazers heading into the upcoming season.

We all know Oden's history of injuries, beginning with when he was forced to get microfracture surgery on his right knee and missed his entire rookie year, to falling down with another injury during his first career NBA game.

The NBA world views Oden as a walking hazard that gets injured by every gust of wind that hits him.

So, can Oden prove the world wrong and break out in his second healthy season with the Blazers?

If for whatever reason he remains healthy all year long and produces consistent averages, the Blazers will certainly be a top contending team in the West.

Many Blazer fans have stated that it takes over a year to fully recover from knee surgery and that Oden was not 100 percent all season long during his "rookie season."

 

Will the Blazers young talent and inexperience inevitably be their downfall?

 

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