Two a Days: Portland Trail Blazers Preview

Damian Lillard is on the rise to elite status.

Damian Lillard is on the rise to elite status.

By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)

2012-13 Record: 33-49

Projected 2013-14 Finish: 4th in the Northwest Division

Projected Starting Lineup

Damian Lillard, PG
Wesley Matthews, SG
Nicolas Batum, SF

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF
Robin Lopez, C

Key Reserves

(R) C.J. McCollum, G
Mo Williams, G
Thomas Robinson, F
Dorell Wright, F

In this addition of Two a Days we’ll be moving away from the strengths and weaknesses of each team – and we will now just focus on an overall synopsis of each team.  The Portland Trail Blazers are an intriguing team because of players like Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge.  Both are All-Star type players who would be coveted by any team if they were available.  Aldridge is signed through next season, and he will be due 15 million dollars in 2014.  It will be interesting to see if the Blazers latch onto Aldridge long-term, or if they will shop him to a contender this year or next.  The Blazers don’t have a good bench, and they might be better served to trade Aldridge to boost the overall talent of the team.  The Blazers also have a lot of money invested in small forward Nicolas Batum.  I think the Blazers will try to move one, if not both Batum and Aldridge before their contracts run out.  Although there is some uncertainty of the future of the front-court, the back-court is set for the foreseeable future.  Second-year point guard Damian Lillard is one of the most explosive guards in the league.  Lillard is on his way to being an elite point guard, and the Blazers may have found the perfect person to be his running-mate.  Rookie C.J. McCollum is expected to do big things in Portland this year, and his scoring ability is his primary skill.  He and Lillard could form a dynamic scoring duo.  Lillard and McCollum remind me a little bit of John Wall and Bradley Beal, with Lillard having more scoring capabilities than Wall.  With McCollum and Lillard in place, and a few tradable assets, the Blazers can start to build for the future.

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