2009-10 NBA Season Preview: Portland Blazers



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




Portland Trail Blazers (Last Year: 54-28)

Depth Chart:

C: Greg Oden/Joel Przybilla

PF: LeMarcus Aldridge/Juwan Howard/ Jeff Pendergraph

SF: Martell Webster/Travis Outlaw/Nicolas Batum/Dante Cunningham

SG: Brandon Roy/Rudy Fernandez

PG: Steve Blake/Andre Miller/Jerryd Bayless/Patrick Mills

Head Coach: Nate McMillan (5th year)

2009-2010 Team Salary: $59.1 million

Projected 2010-2011 Team Salary: approximately $59.4 million



Off-Season Grade: Passed

Portland entered the postseason figuring to be one of the major players in the free-agent market since they had plenty of cap space. But the Blazers were unable to land their top two targets, Hedo Turkoglu and Paul Millsap. So Portland instead settled by signing free agent point guard Andre Miller to a 3-year, $21 million deal.

It isn't clear how Miller will fit in with the Blazers. He likes to have his hands on the ball most of the time, but so does Portland's star, Brandon Roy. Miller begins the year coming off the bench, backing up Steve Blake.

Other than that, Portland didn't make many major moves, just adding depth up front by signing veteran Juwan Howard. The Blazers did however reach contract extensions with young superstars Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, ensuring they will remain in Portland through the 2014-15 season.



2009-2010 Outlook:

The Blazers will look to build off of a breakthrough 2008-09 season in which they won 54 games and tied for first in the Northwest Division. Miller brings some stability to the point guard position while Roy and Aldridge will continue to grow as the faces of the franchise.

There will be two telling factors for just how good this team will be this season. 1. Can Greg Oden stay healthy and become a force inside? 2. Will there be enough production from the small forward position with Nicolas Batum expected to miss a good chunk of the season due to shoulder surgery? Getting Martell Webster back after an injury-plagued 2008-09 season will help. One thing is certain, the days of being the Jail Blazers are long behind this rising franchise.



Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

Reaching long-term deals with Roy and Aldridge handicaps the Blazers cap space for the next couple years meaning they won't be major players in free agency anytime soon. Darius Miles' contract will FINALLY come off the books after this season while valuable veterans Blake and Travis Outlaw will become free agents. The young talent is still growing in Portland, so they won't need to do much besides be patient and hope their youth continues to develop.

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 7th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




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Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

Reaching long-term deals with Roy and Aldridge handicaps the Blazers cap space for the next couple years meaning they won't be major players in free agency anytime soon. Darius Miles' contract will FINALLY come off the books after this season while valuable veterans Blake and Travis Outlaw will become free agents. The young talent is still growing in Portland, so they won't need to do much besides be patient and hope their youth continues to develop.

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 7th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com








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