Portland Trail Blazers: Where Could They Be?

Tyler Robinson@trob2416Contributor IIFebruary 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Brandon Roy #7, Nicolas Batum #88, Andre Miller #24 and Marcus Camby #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers watch a Los Angeles Lakers freethrow during the first half at the Staples Center on November 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Blazers (28-24) currently sit in the eighth spot out in the Western Conference.

Portland is poised to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year, despite injuries to the likes of Brandon Roy, Marcus Camby and Greg Oden.

In the absence of Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge emerged as one of the game's top power forwards and has thrived in his new role as Portland's go-to guy. The Blazers are actually sitting pretty good considering everything that has happened, but things could be better, they could be so much better.

Portland built a foundation in the 2006 NBA draft. The Blazers acquired LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 2 overall) from Chicago (for Tyrus Thomas) and Brandon Roy (No. 7 from Minnesota).

During this time, Portland shipped out guys with off-court issues like Zach Randolph and Bonzi Wells. They were going to build a contender with guys you could get behind and cheer for.

The following season the Blazers came away with the No. 1 pick. They had two options: Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. At the time, Oden was being compared to legends like Patrick Ewing and Tim Duncan. He was a can't-miss guy and Portland made Oden their pick.

The Blazers had put themselves in a position to be real contenders. In just a few years, the Blazers were expected to challenge the Lakers as the West's top team.

In the 2008-2009 season, Portland made the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Brandon Roy was an All Star and was going to be the franchise's cornerstone for the next decade. Aldridge was a young upcoming star in the making, and Portland's future looked very bright. Once Oden got completely healthy, the Blazers were going to be a force to reckon with.

The 2009-2010 season was much of the same. Portland was good, they made the playoffs but were bounced in the first round for the second straight year. The verdict on the Blazers was that they had a "good" team, but they would be a "great" team if they could get everyone healthy.

This season has been let down; there isn't any other way to put it.

Sure, Portland is 28-24 and they'll probably make the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Heck, we also found out that LaMarcus Aldridge is a big time All Star player (whether he's in the game or not). Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum are great young players, and they should be in Portland for a while. There is still some hope.

But the damage has been done. Brandon Roy's knees are shot—period. He's probably never going to be the player that he once was. It's unfortunate, but true.

Greg Oden has been plagued by injuries since the day he came to Portland, and who knows if he'll ever get out on the court and play a substantial amount of time. 

Roy and Oden were supposed to be Portland's big guys. They were going to take us deep into the playoffs every year. 

This time four years ago, Portland thought they'd have a team that would be competing for championships right now and for years to come.

The Blazers still have a good team, don't get me wrong. But they should be a great team.