The talk around the NBA so far (media wise) about the Blazers has been overwhelmingly mediocre, at best. Most of the writers don't give the Blazers a chance of making it out of the first round, much like Dallas last year. Looking at the Blazers this year I can't help being struck by the similarities between this year's version of the Trail Blazers and last year's vintage of the Dallas Mavericks.
Which team am talking about here?
They are led by an all-NBA talent at power forward, a player who has range and efficiency. Boast a defensive-oriented veteran center with injury issues. A sixth man who is dangerous, but prone to streaks and droughts, along with more than one question about his defense. The rest of the team is made up of Tweener Forwards with good, but non-traditional, skill sets, and fast young point guards who have potential, but aren't proven to be consistent.
Am I wrong in thinking that the Blazers have a massively underrated team, much as Dallas did last year? Aldridge, Wallace and Felton, with Crawford providing spark off the bench feels an awful lot like Nowitzki, Marion and Kidd with a dash of Terry. Obviously Felton isn't a future hall of famer, but Aldridge is leaps and bounds a better defender than Dirk, making the comparison fairly close. Toss in a little healthy Camby and you have the defensive presence that Chandler provided.
I'm not calling championship here, but I do think the Blazers have the potential to make a lot more noise than most of the media is willing to give them credit for.