Patience has paid off for the Blazers’ franchise. Their re-building youth movement is now seeing results as Portland is a true threat in the Western Conference. But what can they do this off-season to try and become one of the elite teams in the league?
By: Peter Christian and David Kay
’09-’10 Season in Review:
It’s difficult to say a 50 win team suffered from some hard luck, but the Blazers did. They finished 4 games worse than their record the previous season with much of the same players. Injuries played their part, sure, but this season just had a different feel for the Blazers. They didn’t seem like the team on the rise anymore although they didn’t look like a team that had arrived yet either. Brandon Roy was just shy of his 2009-10 pace but still proved worthy of being a go-to scorer. LaMarcus Aldridge was an 18 and 8 player, and young players such as Martell Webster, Nicolas Batum and Jerryd Bayless all took big steps in the progression as NBA players. Yet, the team was never a bona fide threat to contend in the Western Conference.
This all goes without mentioning the black cloud hanging over the franchise that is Greg Oden’s knobby knees. The #1 overall pick in 2007 has played in a total of 82 of a possible 246 regular season since being drafted and is the giant seven foot tall elephant that wanders into the room every time someone discusses the Trailblazers future. Oden showed glimpses of being a dominant center to start the season, but those glimpses were suddenly cut short by another season ending injury in early December. With Joel Pryzbilla also missing the second half of the season due to injury, Portland was forced to trade for Marcus Camby and signed him to a two-year extension worth about $17.7 million.
Check out the Blazers off-season needs and salary cap situation.
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