In 2009, the Blazers exceeded some people's expectations, but had a disappointing first-round loss to the Rockets. They need to make some changes to avoid the same type of disappointment in 2010.
Brandon Roy is a superstar. He can score on anyone from anywhere, he is a great team player, and he has shown the ability to lead a winning team. He also showed that his teammates are not on his level.
Roy is ready to contend for a championship right now and he needs some new help to make that happen. He is only 24, but he is so good that I can't imagine him getting much better.
That is why the Blazers should improve the rest of their roster right now. If the Blazers turn some of their young pieces and cap space into some experienced help, they could win a title as soon as next year.
The Blazers need to improve at point guard, backup power forward, and small forward if they are going to win a title next year, and the options are out there.
Artest, Turkoglu, and Brandon Bass are unrestricted free agents who could help the Blazers win now. Another possibility would be to trade for Steve Nash.
Artest and Turkoglu would be expensive, but would definitely take some pressure off Roy.
Bass is a banger who runs the pick and roll well and would be a good change of pace from Aldridge.
The cheapskate Suns might be willing to trade Nash now that they are no longer a playoff team, and he is still a great player.
I don't see the Blazers signing a big free agent like Artest, so I am hoping to see Bass and Nash in Blazer uniforms. They would have to give up some young talent to get Nash, but I am not against trading Batum, Bayless, and company, if it means title contention next year.
As for small forward, Artest and Turkoglu provide options, but they are unlikely and risky. And with Nash at the helm, Webster and Outlaw could shoot open jumpers all day.
Adding Nash and Bass to a core of Roy, Oden, Rudy, Aldridge, and Przybilla would be incredible. Webster and Outlaw could handle the SF spot, and Blake could backup Nash. Maybe this isn't the best they can do, but it sets them up to win now without blowing up the future. It keeps the young core intact and doesn't spend too much.
This team is so young that it seems ridiculous to expect them to win a title next year. But Brandon Roy is ready to win now. So let's surround him with the players he needs to get it done. What do you think? Am I too impatient?
By the way, Oden needs to improve his conditioning (see photo).