How about an early primer as NBA training camps begin to open? Yes? No? Oh well, we’re going to do it anyway. For this one we will head out to the great Northwest, one of our favorite areas of the country.
Besides, that is the best place for NBA basketball. Who honestly cares about the Eastern Conference? They’re all patsies compared to the Mighty West. This is a place where being 14 games over .500 doesn’t even get you in the playoffs. This is a place where the Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t even stand a chance.
This is a place where the 2008-09 Portland Trailblazers are going to try and start clawing up the ladder.
For his part, head coach Nate McMillan has already heard enough. It is, apparently, time to go out and do.
Seems like that’s fair enough. Especially since the roster looks pretty nice. Brandon Roy was an all-star, Grego Oden is going to return from microfracture surgery, Jerryd Bayless looks like a promising rookie and LaMarcus Aldridge is a solid power forward (and damn the Bulls for getting rid of him on draft night).
After finishing 41-41 a year ago, it appears the Blazers are ready to make the next step. That would be winning a little more on the road, where they were an excruciating 13-28 a season ago.
Problem is, the West is still loaded. The Lakers, Hornets, Spurs, Jazz, Rockets, Suns, Mavs and Nuggets will all be good again. And don’t forget about the Warriors.
Put the Blazers in the East and they’re already a playoff team. As it is they have a tough climb up into those top eight spots.
Think they can do it? We like their talent, but aren’t so sure they’ll be able to leapfrog so many good teams. But maybe. Who knows.