Portland Trail Blazers: Bologna or Filet?

Michael WhittenbergSenior Writer IDecember 28, 2007

Who would have thought the first double-digit win streak of the season would come from the Portland Trail Blazers?

If anything, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, or even Boston were expected to be the first to pull it off.

Obviously that hasn't been the case, as the Blazers have won 12 straight games.

Their current hot streak isn't all that surprising to me, but is unexpected.

Coach Nate McMillan has showed he can win during his days in Seattle.  And to think I questioned this guy when he left that talented Seattle team behind to coach Portland. 

Youth might be the only thing holding them back right now, but McMillan has a squad full of smart players.

However, they are a team which struggles on the road. If you didn't notice, only three of their games during this winning steak were on the road.

That said, this team has an excellent future ahead of them.

Getting rid of Zach Randolph was best for this young and talented team. 

Draft picks Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, both taken in 2006, were the perfect guys to start building the team around. 

The progress they made during the 2007 offseason was, in my opinion, tops in the league.

First, Portland drafted Greg Oden, Taurean Green, and Josh McRoberts.  Then, they acquired Steve Blake, Channing Frye, and James Jones. 

In his sophmore season, Brandon Roy has blossomed into an all-star caliber player, averaging 19.0 PPG.   LaMarcus Aldridge has also come around in his second year, averaging 17.7 PPG. 

That said, Aldridge has shown a few holes in his game, with his inability to rebound consistently and block shots.

Aldridge even missed a few games during the twelve game winning streak, which makes the team's accomplishments even more impressive. 

The role players on the team have stepped up nicely.  Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster, Channing Frye, Jarrett Jack, James Jones, and glimpses of Steve Blake are prefect complements to Roy and Aldridge.

Even Joel Pryzbilla has become another key guy on the roster, averaging five points and seven rebounds per game. 

One thing the team as a whole could use is a pure shooter to complement Roy.  Defense is another missing link, as they have given up over 90 PPG during the winning streak.

So that begs the question, are the Blazers bologna or filet?  For now, neither. 

They would be in the playoffs as of today—but because of the youth and lack of road wins, I can't quite give them a name yet.  They have only three road wins on the season, and rest have come from inside the Rose Garden.

If they do somehow fail to make the playoffs, don't be disappointed.  Things look very bright for this team next season.

Top pick Greg Oden has yet to play a NBA game, and should give the Blazers an added edge when he returns.Not only will he bring them much needed defense, but rebounding as well.

This team is a little ahead of its time right now, which should make them even scarier in the future.