Trailblazers Are The Blueprint For Future Champions, Once They Win Their Share
The Trailblazers are the deepest team in the NBA right now.
No other team can match the amount of depth they have, save maybe the Lakers or Celtics.
Simply put, they have an amazing starting lineup, and have a good bench backing that up their starters.
Everything is in place and they are poised for a championship run once Oden is back and if he can stay healthy.
Nothing is holding them back from dominating the NBA, and they have all the parts to do so.
Brandon Roy is the undeniable leader for the team.
He is the face of the franchise now and for years to come.
He makes everyone around him better.
Roy last year had a pretty disappointing year, not statistically, but because of injuries. He dealt with knee problems in the season, and tore a meniscus in his knee late into the season, causing him to miss a couple games in the playoffs. That's when the magic happened.
Roy returned in Game 4 of the series against the Sun, and showed what a leader he is. 8 days after surgery, he came back and led the Blazers to a win. He played for the rest of the series, but the Blazers inevitably lost in 6 games to a team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Roy has started out impressively this year. He is averaging almost 22 PPG and has 4.2 RPG and 3.2 APG to go along with those. He is also averaging 2.2 SPG. I imagine these numbers will only go up, because Roy is a play-maker, and those assists should see a rise as the season goes by, and as he gets back into game rhythm, his points should rise also.
Ah, Lamarcus Aldridge.
He's always been one of the better Power-Forwards in the league, but people are always picking at him for something.
Last season, the main complaint was that he never went to the post.
He answered his doubters, and put on 20 pounds of muscle over the summer. And it has shown in his first games. He is getting to the post and finishing, and is finding ways to get easy open baskets.
One thing LA does extremely good is free himself up for an alley-oop. Heck, he's so open, even Camby is throwing him some oops. He does a good job of spinning around his opponent without them knowing, freeing himself for the easy 2 points.
His rebounding has improved, though not statistically.Watching Aldridge's game now, Camby's teachings have really shown. Instead of going after every rebound himself, Lamarcus has learned to tip the ball out to guards for an extra possession. This rebounding effort put up by both him and Camby is helping a lot until Greg Oden returns.
Batum is a rising star, no doubt. Year by year, he has increased his scoring abilities. He has noticeably improved his shot from beyond the arc.
In under 30 MPG, Batum is posting numbers of 12.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.4 APG and almost 1 SPG with only 0.6 TO. May not be amazing stats, but its what's behind the stats.
Batum is able to perform at this level while still guarding the other team's best player, which is the impressive part of Batum's game. He's 6'8 and has a wingspan of about 7 feet. With this length, he disrupts passing lanes and is able to put a hand in his man's face anytime.
He is also athletic, and can easily beat a team down the court for an easy two points. He is frequently on the receiving end of alley-oops, and has learned how to finish better in the paint, as he now knows how to fake players out on his way to the rim and finish with a soft layup with either hand.
The Supporting Cast
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Portland also has an amazing supporting cast who can come in and produce anytime.
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Portland has a good vet as their main play maker.
Andre Miller has gone over 600 games without missing a game, and he's not slowing down.
He averages a humble, yet respectable, 18 PPG, 8 APG, and 3.4 RPG. His assists are rising from last year, and so far it's shown.
He also is able to get into the pain for easy points, shoot the mid range shot, and post up smaller guards due to his size.
Backing up Andre Miller is rookie Armon Johnson.
Johnson hasn't had the minutes to show it yet, but form the laying time he does get, he looks like a good pickup. He has hit some threes with time winding down. He also is able to finish at the rim with either hands. His ball handling has been a slight concern, but not a big one.
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Portland has two great players defending on the wings.
Batum was mentioned before, but theres another, too.
Wesley Mathews is a sophmore who went undrafted last year but was picked up by Utah, where he played amazing defense.
With both Mathews and Batum will be able to make teams work for their points, and Portland will be able to keep a man on two different players who are good scorers, like a team like Miami or Golden State.
This way, the Portland makes role players try to beat them, and drains energy from the other team's main players.
Low Post Defense
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Portland, when healthy, is the best low post defense team. They have a group of 4 players 6'11 or taller, and all can block shots, but at different rates.
Aldridge will get in there and get his block once per game, but Camby, Oden, and Joel Pryzbilla handle the dirty work of contesting everyshot and cleaning up on the boards.
The reason I said when healthy before is that Oden and Pryzbilla are both out with injuries. Oden has had to dealt with injuries alot, but last year in his 20 games played, led all centers in the league in PER.
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These duties mainly go to Fernandez and Armon Johnson, who can both put the ball in the basket.
Fernandez broke the record for most threes made by a rookie 2 years ago, and he is getting back into that rhythm in the first games.
Johnson, as said before, can score off the dribble or spotting up.
Cunningham can be mentioned here to, as hes created a nice midrange shot that teams need to respect.