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I have recently rejoined the CelticsBlog family and I'll be doing their previews for all 30 NBA teams in their annual SBNation team preview project. Each article includes a breakdown of last season, a recap of the team’s summer, a full depth chart, keys to this season and predicted standings.

Next up is your beloved Portland Trail Blazers. Here's a snippet:

X-FACTOR - Bench Production
As excellent of a season as the Trail Blazers put together last year, one thing they were certainly lacking on a consistent basis was strong bench production. This summer, they lost their top bench performer from last year's squad in Mo Williams, and they're going to have to find a way to produce at a higher level.

Portland has added some solid pieces off the bench this offseason by upgrading at backup center with Chris Kaman, along with replacing Williams with a quality veteran like Steve Blake. The biggest key off the bench, however, may end up being C.J. McCollum. The electric combo guard began his rookie season behind the ball as he suffered a broken foot prior to his first year as a pro, and only played 12.5 minutes per game in 38 appearances. With that said, McCollum is one of the most talented players to come out of the 2013 draft, and he is eager to burst on the scene. He may very well act as the top source of offensive production with the second unit in 2014-15.

As long as the Trail Blazers stay healthy, you can expect a similar kind of regular season as last year, where they reach the 50-win plateau and earn a mid-seeded Western Conference playoff spot. Once we hit playoff time, advancement comes down to matchups and execution but this Blazers team is going to have a chance to make an even deeper run.

If Portland continues to improve defensively and the second unit can give them more of a lift than last year, this team can make some noise as a potential Western Conference finalist. In 2014-15, you can expect the Blazers to be one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the NBA and the potent duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard is only going to get better as we move forward.

Sit back and enjoy, Blazers fans. Rip City is on the rise.

2nd - Northwest Division
5th - Western Conference

At the top of the article, we have also included a link to the Blazers Edge 2014-15 Trail Blazers preview.

What do you guys think of the team this year, Blazers fans? What are your expectations?
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