It's been a rough couple of years for fans of the Portland Trail Blazers, with the promise of a future championship team coming after the 2006 and 2007 drafts, it was common knowledge that they'd be a contender by now. Well, they are, but not with the core stars that they thought they would have. Instead of Roy, Oden, and Aldridge, it's Aldridge, Lillard, and Batum. They are an exciting team to watch, especially for betting on the nba odds over the rest of the season.
Before the season started, people thought the Blazers would be a fringe
playoff team at best. They've shocked the league through the first 30
games, and have the best record in the western conference at 24-6. One
of the reasons they're playing at such a high level is the play of
LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging career highs in points and rebounds.
The evolution of LaMarcus Aldridge is one of the more pleasing things to see in the league. When he was first drafted, he was a tall, skinny pick and pop power forward who was an average rebounder and would get pushed around on the low block. Since his rookie season, he's gradually gotten better, and one of the reasons for that is by changing his body. He has a lot more muscle and is bigger now than he was when he came into the league. If you look at pictures of him now versus his first three years in the league, he looks significantly different. He's also become a high level rebounder, and one of the few big men in the league who's effective on the low block.
Most NBA analysts don't think the Blazers can keep this up, citing the fact that this Blazer team was not very good last season and ended last season on a losing streak with the same core players. However, starting off the season with the best record in the west is no fluke, and the Blazers could very well end the season with the number 1 seed in the west.
Are the Blazers the best team in the west? No. Clearly they're still unproven, and the playoffs are a whole different animal. Are they a top 3 team in the west? Sure. Many people think Oklahoma City and San Antonio are better than the Blazers, and I agree that San Antonio is but I don't buy that OKC is. Yeah, OKC has the best scorer in the league in Kevin Durant, but Russell Westbrook just got hurt again and they don't have anyone who can stop LaMarcus Aldridge on the low block. They also have the worst starting center in professional basketball, Kendrick Perkins.
At the end of the year, I believe Portland will make it to the Western Conference Finals, and they very well could take whoever they play in that series to 7 games. That team will likely be the Spurs, and I think the Spurs are just too good and too experienced to lose a playoff series to the Blazers right now. Many people may think I'm crazy for picking the Blazers to go to the Conference Finals, but there's just something about this team that is telling me that they'll go deep in the playoffs. But whether they do or not, the Trail Blazers are currently the best story in the NBA right now.
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