Many people nowadays look at the Thunder as the future franchise, and face of the NBA. I mean all of Durant's points scored and all of Westbrook's flashy dunks can catch the viewer's eyes. The OKC Thunder generate a lot, and I mean a lot of media today, and that is keeping the true future from stepping forward.
In comes the Portland Trailblazers. The Trail-who? That's a general response many get when even mentioning the name. "Oh, they're that team that's always at the bottom of the standings right?" My reply, "No you have them confused with the Wolves, the Blazers are the ones who won 50 games with 311 missed combined games becuase of injury,". "A team could do that?"
It really is sad how little media attention Portland gets. Yes, it is a small market, but that doesn't mean they are bad. On the contrary, they are the complete opposite. You see, the Blazers are in quite a unique situation.
They have a point guard who can easily get his points and used to lead the league in assists in Andre Miller. They have a young, aspiring wing player in Nicolas Batum, who, in his second year, is already a lock down defender and three-point marksman. Then comes Lamarcus Aldridge. LA is a tremendously talented PF who can post up, put the ball on the floor, and shoot. If he played defense more consistently and rebounded a slight more he would be an All-Star lock.
We move on to the team's best and most consistent player, Brandon Roy. What can the guy not do? He shoots the ball extremely well from mid-range and is an above average three-point shooter. He has the prettiest handle you can ask a 6'6" guard to have, and lastly he can create shots for himself and his teammates, making them look better.
But sadly, the one thing that keeps Portland off of everyone's minds when it comes to winning, Greg Oden. This is no knock on his play, as the guy can play. He averaged close to 12 ppg, eight or nine rpg, and well over two bpg, despite playing only 24 mpg in over 20 games this year. Wait what? 21 games? Isn't the NBA season like 82 games long.
Yes, and that's what it leads to. Oden has been held back completely from his potential due to injuries. If he were to stay healthy, anyone would take him over Durant in a heartbeat, not because he is better, but because a really good big man is more important than a outstanding wingman.
Factor in Portland's bench with lock down defender Wesley Mathews, former DPOY in Marcus Camby, solid shotblocking center in Joel Pryzbilla, explosive scorer Jerryd Bayless, the shooter in rookie Luke Babbit, and Fernandez if he stays (which I personally doubt) and you have what maybe the best bench in the NBA.
All Portland needs to do is stay healthy. Once that is checked, next is winning a playoff series, once those two are done, and all the players develop fully, there's no telling what this team is capable of. And yes they will win rings, not because of the overall team, but just because Brandon Roy is just THAT good.
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