Out of all the teams in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers are, bar none, the most interesting team. With Brandon Roy's retirement due to unstable knees, the Blazers are left with a more-than-viable team.
The signings of Kurt Thomas and Jamal Crawford have only made the Blazers stronger, and with newly acquired starting point guard Raymond Felton, this team could potentially have a lot of upside.
But don't giddy-up your horses yet, because a lot of things have to go right for this team in order for the Blazers to be successful.
For one, LaMarcus Aldridge needs to stay healthy and must learn how to be more valuable than just a stat-producer—he needs to learn how to be a leader.
Raymond Felton also needs to be a good fit in order for the Blazers to work. Last season, many Blazer fans seemed to be in agony when Andre Miller was their starting point guard, saying that he was too slow and too old to help the Blazers win, but please be careful for what you wish for. Felton is a young, talented and faster point guard, but he is not yet quite proven. For this very reason, Felton will indeed be the key to the Blazers success.
If—and this is a BIG if—Felton can repeat—or do better than—what Miller did last year, and if Crawford can fill that sixth-man role in a Blazer uniform, the Blazers can be more than a first-round playoff team. They may even be good enough to contend in a couple years.
With many variables in mind, only time will tell how the Blazers will do.