What are the Portland Trailblazers playoff possibilities?

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Answered by: Scott, An Expert in the NBA Basketball Category
Being a not only Portland native, but also a current resident of the City of Roses, I've been hearing all kinds of hype from other Portlanders about the Portland Trailblazers playoff hopes this season.

The duo of Damian Lillard and Lemarcus Aldridge is sure to be exciting. Nic Batum and Wesley Matthews are primed for breakout seasons for very different reasons. Mathews needs to prove he can be a starter after a lackluster season last year, and Batum needs to prove that he's worth the money Paul Allen spent on him or face the wrath of a billionaire owner and a loyal and vocal Blazers fan base. The veterans that are sure to be riding the pine most of the season, baring some injuries, seem excited in their role of being more teacher than on the court threat. Things are seemingly coming together for a very young and raw Blazers team. Unfortunately, all these positives wont result in the Blazers making the playoffs, this season anyway.

There is no doubt that if players stay healthy, which can be a big if for any player suiting up for the Blazers, this team will return to prominence within two seasons. It just wont be this season. Portland fans need to realize this before the season gets underway, especially with a team looking to ride the coat tails of aging stars, and future hall of famers, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to the NBA Championship coming to town on opening night. Fans need to realize that Lillard, who is likely to be a candidate for rookie of the year, will have some mistake riddled games that will remind them of some of the "point guards of the future" of past seasons. Teams will be more prepared to defend an offense centered around Aldridge, who will struggle to make the All Star game this season, and Batum and Matthews have yet to prove they are nothing more than above average defenders with streaky offensive skills.

If the Blazers get a quality center that can protect the paint and fight for rebounds, either in the budding potential of Meyers Leonard, or through free agent signing or trade, then they will be set for years to come. They would have a starting 5 that consists of an All Star, a rookie of the year candidate, two wing players that can shoot the 3-pointer or drive hard to the hoop and a big body that stuffs up the paint and fights for loose balls. That is a scary starting lineup that no team will want to face in the first round of the playoffs. The pieces are on the table, it is just up to Coach Terry Stotts to start piecing together the puzzle.

The Blazers have tons of potential, and an unknown ceiling of talent. However, that talent is incredibly raw, and will never be fully realized if not given the ability to grow and learn. There will be mistakes, missed shots, bad games and frustrated players and coaches, but from that will rise a young and talented team. As fans, we need to sit back and enjoy watching the growth of this young team which has 5 rookies who are all likely to see court time. It is going to be a long season, but sit back and enjoy it because there are sure to be some very memorable moments. The Portland Trailblazers playoff will return to the playoffs, they are just a season or two away.

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