This is a much more in depth Blazers preview.
Here's a small part of it:
Here's a small part of it:
Who We Like
1. Brandon Roy. The $80 million man is the team's leader, heart, and soul. He's the best player, the top playmaker, and just an overall nice guy. Why wouldn't we like him?
2. LaMarcus Aldridge. Unfortunately for Aldridge this is always going to be Roy's team, but he could be just as important to the team's success. Aldridge is the Blazers' best post scorer and has range out to the three-point line, plus his post defense has improved a lot over the past couple seasons. With an almost-unblockable high jump shot in the post – a la Rasheed Wallace in his heyday – Aldridge could still stand to improve his rebounding a tad.
3. Greg Oden. Is he better than Kevin Durant? Nope. Will he ever be better than Kevin Durant? Probably not. Should we hold that against Oden? Absolutely not. Unfortunately for Oden his career will always be linked to Durant's, but he still has the ability to become a monster of a defender in the NBA and he will never be asked to be more than the third option – if that high – on offense as long as Roy and Aldridge are around. Given that, the chances he is ever a 20-10 player are very slim…but 15-15 isn't out of the realm of possibility at all. Oden has very good defensive instincts and when healthy and comfortable (such as just before getting a bone chip in his knee in February) has nice hands around the basket.
4. Andre Miller. Andre Miller is not going to talk much. He won't be a media favorite and he's not the type of point guard to get someone's face on the floor like Chris Paul, but even after 10 years in the NBA Miller is a threat for a triple-double when he steps on the floor and his demeanor demands full effort from his teammates. With a young and athletic team he will want to push the tempo – and it's been a long time since Portland had a point guard who could consistently do that with success. Watching him direct the offense from the post should be quite the joy for Blazer fans.
5. The Bench. Assuming Nicolas Batum takes the starting job at the small forward spot – or even if he doesn't and the spot goes to a healthy Martell Webster – Portland's bench is full of players who have been starters. Steve Blake started for the team the past two years. Przybilla started for four years. Webster was a starter in 2007-08. Travis Outlaw has started off and on. Rudy Fernandez has had much success as a starter for Spain in international play. Veteran addition Juwan Howard has had a lengthy NBA career most players strive for. This bench is deep and talented, and as long as everyone accepts their role and stays ready in case of an injury, this bench could be the best in the league. Along with the experience and leadership it boasts excellent shooting (Fernandez, Webster, Blake), good post play (Przybilla), good rebounding (Przybilla, Webster, Outlaw), and some outstanding athleticism (Webster, Outlaw, Fernandez). That's a recipe for postseason success.