FanShot

KP2 (Kevin Pelton) on Blazers Coming of age

5

"When the Phoenix Suns lost at the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers clinched their first playoff appearance since 2002-03, ending the NBA's longest active post-season drought. Because the youthful Blazers have built by drafting and developing their own talent, most of their players will be making their playoff debuts in a week. In fact, just two of Portland's rotation players -- Steve Blake and Joel Przybilla -- have ever played a postseason game, and they've only appeared in 14 contests. Add in deep reserves Shavlik Randolph and Michael Ruffin, and the Blazers' active roster (excluding Raef LaFrentz, who has not seen action all season due to a shoulder injury and is not with the team) has played a grand total of 489 minutes in 35 playoff games." His conclusion? "A deeper look confirms the notion that inexperience is not a major hindrance for playoff teams. Three of the six least-experienced teams won at least one series, with one even reaching the NBA Finals. There are reasons to pick against Portland in the postseason, starting with the team's poor road performance, but a young, untested roster should not be one of them." Good piece all around.

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