Posted by Neil Paine on October 20, 2010
Welcome to our 2010-11 NBA Blogosphere Previews, in which we contact the finest team bloggers on the web and ask them to contribute their thoughts on the squad they cover. What follows is their take, along with the team's depth chart (courtesy of ESPN.com), projected 2011 stats via our Simple Projection System, and polls where you get to have your say. Enjoy!
Portland Trail Blazers
Coach: Nate McMillan
Record: 50-32, Finished 3rd in NBA Northwest Division
Pythagorean W-L: 51-31 (11th of 30)
SRS: 3.18 (11th of 30) ▪ Pace Factor: 87.7 (30th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 110.8 (7th of 30) ▪ Defensive Rating: 107.1 (15th of 30)
2011 Depth Chart (with 2010-11 projected per-36 minute stats ... yellow = newcomer)
The Greg Oden Waiting Game
After a summer that saw relatively little roster turnover – a Wesley Matthews signing here, a Martell Webster trade there – the Portland Trail Blazers have looked surprisingly inconsistent and unfinished so far during the preseason.
This can mostly be attributed to the continued absences of centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, who are both rehabilitating from serious knee injuries, and the loss of backup big man Jeff Pendergraph to a season-ending torn ACL suffered during a preseason game in Utah. The Blazers will look to compensate for their temporary lack of interior depth by slowing the pace down, sending five guys to the glass on both ends of the floor and shooting a ton of threes. Matthews and maturing French forward Nicolas Batum give Portland two reliable spot-up threats to space the floor for both all star Brandon Roy and versatile power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Portland will use this improved perimeter versatility to keep pace on offense and will also try to outlast teams by employing a high-energy second unit that features foul-drawing savant Jerryd Bayless, hard-working Dante Cunningham and (at least for now) Spanish marksman Rudy Fernandez.
Given the roster’s evident talent, the organization has been hungry for a deep playoff run dating back to last fall. But despite coming off back-to-back 50-win seasons, the vibe during training camp has been all about lowering expectations and waiting-and-seeing for Oden’s return. The only problem? Nobody seems to know when that will take place. So while a third consecutive trip to the playoffs seems a virtual certainty, specific goals for these Blazers are left to balance indefinitely on a single surgically-repaired patella. Again.