Alright, let me start this off saying this is a homer pick. In no way are you going to convince me any other way that this won't happen.
The Portland Trail Blazers will in the 2011-2012 NBA finals. In my opinion, they already were up there in the rankings for the top talent in the Western Conference. There was a key point in the 2010-2011 season where our GM had to make a decision: we were in the middle of the pack and we could make a move or we could blow up the team, spread the pieces and get draft picks and young players. On the day of the trade deadline the Blazers traded for small forward Gerald Wallace. That was an obvious move forward.
The problem was the same one that seems to hold back the Miami Heat: chemistry. The team needs another 20-30 games before they really are sure what their individual roles are in each game. If not for poor chemistry, then the trendy upset pick of Blazers over the Mavs would have gone through and they wouldn't be NBA Champions.
Go to ESPN right now and they will just talk about how good the Mavs are, while in the first round of the playoffs, more than half picked Portland to win. Why did they pick the Blazers to be the future NBA champs? Because they are more talented.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a huge breakout year, and if he ever learns to be physical, he could be an All-NBA power forward. We addressed small forward already with the move to get Wallace. Center is a rotation of injury prone and former No. 1 pick Greg Oden and Marcus Camby. If Oden, by some miracle, can stay healthy, then this team will be dangerous in the front court. Yes I'm assuming he comes back, you don't let 7'0" 23-year-olds just walk out on you like that.
That just leaves the guard positions, where Portland just minutes ago traded for Raymond Felton. Felton also was in Charlotte and was Wallace's teammate. Even though he only played in 21 games last year and didn't start a single one, he should be a good depth player to take minutes away from Roy, who is a great player, but one you can't overuse in the regular season.
Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews are also pretty good guards, but there is no promise that we won't trade these guys, so I won't comment much on them; same with first round pick Duke point guard Nolan Smith.
Look at the Western Conference. The Lakers (ahem, that means Kobe) is getting nothing but older and older each year. They all already have rings, and they admitted that that was part of the reason they didn't give their total effort in the regular season last year. San Antonio is even older than the Lakers, and the door for a championship in mid-Texas has pretty much closed on them.
Then what? You got the Mavericks and maybe the Thunder as possible title chasers. Portland matches up better against the Mavericks than almost any team in the NBA, except at the PG position, which they hopefully solved this offseason. The Thunder are pretty much a two-man team, with the second guy thinking he is the No. 1 and the first guy being one of the most overrated in the NBA, and acting like he is No. 2.
In four years, this team could have the same lineup coming into the playoffs.
I'm just saying that if a 2011-2012 finals comes down to a last possession against LeBron and his South Beach giants, don't be surprised if the team against him has the lineup of Smith, Roy, Wallace, Aldridge and Oden.