2015 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
The 2015-16 Portland Trail Blazers season will be defined by some major changes to the team’s roster over the offseason. Longtime superstar LaMarcus Aldridge left the franchise in the offseason, leaving the Trail Blazers with a major scoring hole in their front court. Portland will have to rely even heavier on star point guard Damian Lillard, who is expected to take an even higher percentage of the shots this season. Despite the departure of Aldridge, Portland still has one of the best defensive front courts in the Western Conference, with Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu both crashing the glass for near double digit rebounds a season ago. Without Aldridge, it is hard to consider the Blazers a threat to win the Western Conference this season, but Damian Lillard has turned into a legitimate superstar in the NBA, and the heights that the Blazers will soar in 2015-16 will rest solely on his shoulders.
2014 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers rebounded from an off year in 2012 and had an outstanding 2013-14 NBA season. The Trail Blazers won 54 games, and Portland made the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2011. Led by superstar LeMarcus Alderidge, Portland dismantled favored Houston in the first round of the playoffs earning the Trail Blazers their first playoff series victory since 2000. When looking at the 2014-15 Portland Trail Blazers schedule, the question is whether or not the Blazers can take the next step and turn into one of the NBA Western Conference’s elite teams. Key acquisitions for the Trail Blazers in the offseason were Steve Blake and Chris Kamen, who add much needed playoff experience to a young Portland team. Still, the Portland Trail Blazers will only go as far as their star duo of Damien Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge take them. Look for the Blazers to be a matchup that no one wants come playoff time.
2013 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
Portland had a rough go of it in the 2012-13 Season, winning only 33 games for 4th place in the Northwest Division. Management let every bench player go that was not already under contract, and used the cap space to pick up Robin Lopez, Mo Williams and Thomas Robinson. While everyone knows LaMarcus Aldridge by now, be prepared to hear a lot more about Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum. Lillard was last season’s Rookie of the Year and they’ll need an even bigger performance from the youngster to get back to the postseason. The Trail Blazers will open the season in Denver on Nov. 1 before returning home for a three-game homestand against the Spurs, Rockets and Kings. Other key home games will be vs. Chicago on Nov. 22, vs. Oklahoma City on Dec. 4, and vs. Miami on Dec. 28.
2012 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
Over the past several years, the Portland Trail Blazers have dealt with major injuries to star players and massive contracts that simply didn't result in success in the win-loss column. As a result, during the team's tumultuous 2011-12 campaign, the Trail Blazers fired coach Nate McMillian, traded away a series of their expiring contracts and decided to embark on a full-scale rebuilding project to plan for the future. While the team finished with a 28-38 record last season, the team is hoping that its new blend of savvy veterans and young talent will be enough to get them back into the Western Conference playoff conversation and back to the glory days of the franchise. During the middle of the 2011-12 season, the Trail Blazers got serious about their rebuilding project by shipping off former cornerstones like Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford. The team brought in new coach Terry Stotts, who brings a wealth of experience to the young rostewr. While the team scored a series of lottery picks like point guard Damian Lillard, center Meyers Leonard and guard Will Barton, the Trail Blazers' upcoming season will largely be predicated on the ability of the players on their current roster to play up to expectations and fulfill the promise they had when they were signed in the first place. The Trail Blazers' scoring attack revolves around their duo of dynamic forwards, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldrige. Both of these players have All-Star quality talent, but it’s the pieces that surround them that will make the difference in the team's playoff chances. At point guard, the keys to the offense will be handed to the rookie Damian Lillard, who will be spelled occasionally by Nolan Smith and Ronnie Price. At the shooting guard position, Wesley Matthews and Will Barton are solid, if not unspectacular, while at center, the Trail Blazers boast one of the best in the business in J.J. Hickson. Ultimately, with a strong starting five, the Trail Blazers will need a welcome boost from their bench players to put them over the top in the Western Conference playoff race. The Trail Blazers have succeeded in dumping some of the large contracts that have held them hostage over the past several years, but this year's season will be judged on how quickly the young players come along and whether or not the team can successfully build for the future. The team is loaded with talent and if they come along a bit sooner than expected, the Trail Blazers could be a surprise playoff team before all is said and done.
2011 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
While the post-lockout era began with sad news for Trailblazers fans—the too-early retirement of one of their native sons, Brandon Roy—what is left on the court is enough to carry them on. Forward LaMarchcus Aldridge is one of the most exciting and intriguing in the league, and his breakout 2010-11 season left fans in the Rose City eagerly anticipating what he can do to follow it up. With the forever-young Marchcus Camby and a group of young players like guard Wes Matthews and forward Nicolas Batum, the Trailblazers were emerging, but it was the mid-season trade for forward Gerald Wallace from Charlotte is what made them stronger and a true playoff contender. Traded at the deadline, Wallace brought a ferocious play that might have been missing from the Blazers, evidenced by his leading the team in steals despite his limited time there. With a whole training camp and start of the season soon to be under their collective belts, The Portland Trailblazers will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch in the NBA.
2010 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers suffered through a litany of injuries last season, but still managed to sneak into the playoffs before losing to the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Portland now returns healthy to begin the season, and expectations are high as the team is loaded with the most talent it has had in years, and fans are looking forward to a deep playoff run. Perhaps the biggest injury to hit the Blazers last year was to Brandon Roy. The 6-foot-6 guard is one of the most dynamic scorers in the league if he's healthy, and averaged over 21 points a game last season. Highly touted center Greg Oden has yet to make an impact in his young career, but he has a tremendous upside and can play a big role both offensively and defensively if he can stay on the court. The Blazers also made several moves during the offseason to improve their lineup, highlighted by the addition of Wesley Matthews, should be solid off the bench. Although they lost Travis Outlaw to the New Jersey Nets, Rudy Fernandez has proven he's a capable young players, and barring another injury-plagued season, there's no reason to believe Portland won't contend in the Western Conference.
2009 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
The Portland Trailblazers look like one of the best teams in the NBA as they head into the 2009-2010 season. The young Portland squad was a 4 seed in the playoffs last season and has no doubt set their sights on making the Western Conference Finals this year. The Blazers are led by SG Brandon Roy, PF Lamarcus Aldridge and spark plug Rudy Fernandez. If Portland Head Coach Nate McMillan can keep the Trailblazers improving, and the team stays healthy, then the Blazers should be one of the premiere teams in the NBA for years to come.
2008 Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers are potentially the next great NBA dynasty. With Greg Oden, Brandon Roy and loads of young talent supporting them, the Portland Trail Blazers are likely to be a team to be reckoned with for years to come. Watch a game in the famed Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, and you’ll see one of the brightest young teams play in front of the loudest and most supportive set of fans in the NBA.