Blazers Among Teams Ready to Make Noise in Playoffs

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IApril 16, 2009

DENVER - MARCH 05:  Brandon Roy #7 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives against the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on March 5, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers 106-90. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

With the NBA playoffs around the corner, all 16 team's have been decided, with three teams that didn't make the Dance last year.

While none of these teams might win the NBA Finals, but they can certainly make some noise in the postseason.  Each of these three teams has a case for potential playoff success and could surprise fans everywhere.

Breaking down the three playoff teams for 2009 that missed in 2008:

Chicago Bulls

The young Bulls have been revitalized by big trades and the drafting of potential Rookie of the Year PG Derrick Rose.

In addition, Ben Gordon can get as hot as anyone quickly and they have the added scoring of SF John Salmons and C Brad Miller.

But the loss of SF Luol Deng is a huge blow to the Bulls' limited chances to advance to the second round.

Regardless, this jump-shooting team can catch fire at any time and can extend a series into more games than teams such as Boston or Orlando may be willing to play.

Rose's playmaking ability will be crucial to their success. If he can adjust to the playoff intensity immediately and have superstar impact, he can decide the Bulls' playoff destiny.

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With nothing to lose in the playoffs, they can be very dangerous for whoever they play.

Miami Heat

Obviously, the Heat start and stop with Dwyane Wade. Young coach Erik Spoelstra has turned this team from feeble to fighting in one year and primed them for a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.

The NBA's leading scorer has had to do the most with the least, but has been a tremendous leader and catalyst in leading one of the youngest teams in the NBA.

Rookies Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley have been solid for the Heat along with the acquisition of C Jermaine O'Neal.

In order for Miami to have playoff success and avoid a 2007-like run that resulted in a first round loss, Wade needs to play like Superman.

In addition, they will have to steal one in Atlanta which, based on last year with Boston, is very tough for anyone to do.

If they do, expect a classic series between Miami and most likely Cleveland in the second round.

Portland Trail Blazers

This group has so much ability and they look like a good Western team a year ahead of schedule. Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are among the most dynamic duos in the NBA and are ready to break out on the national spotlight.

Portland appears to be one of the deepest teams heading in, with about nine or ten guys that can come in and produce.

In addition to depth, the Blazers are extremely athletic and possess tremendous X-factors in Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum.  Both are international stars and have three-point shooting ability to go with tremendous hops.

The true sleeper and gauge of the team's success is PG Steve Blake, who has ability to help lead the team and can contribute to this young squad. How soon do we forget that earlier in the year he posted an NBA-record 14 assists in one quarter?

With a very deep and talented young roster plus a good coach in Nate McMillan, there's reason to believe that this Portland squad has a chance to give the Lakers problems, should they meet.

At this moment, they can finish as high as third in the West, but they have to contend with the Rockets and Spurs in the fight for third.

Regardless, Portland has the best chance to make a lot of noise, and features one of the strongest home-court advantages in the West.

Anyone that comes to the Rose Garden is going to have their hands full against a talented Blazers group.