is more optimistic than most
on the Portland Trail Blazers' trade of guard Andre Miller to the Denver Nuggets for Raymond Felton...
The upside is higher in Portland. Felton showed last season that he can be a pretty dynamic player, both in transition and on the pick-and-roll, when paired with an elite big man. He’ll get that in Aldridge. Felton might be even more willing than Miller to push the pace and weave in a faster style that meshes well with Gerald Wallace (Felton’s former teammate in Charlotte), Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews. Portland coach Nate McMillan loves to slow things down, but his roster has the kind of versatility that requires flexibility at the right moments. Felton can provide that, and the Blazers get to try him out as their point guard of the future without surrendering Batum or any other core assets.
This might turn out to be a lateral move for Portland, but if Felton manages to loosen up the spacing enough, the Blazers could be on to something here. The Blazers are a team of "ifs," but they are only one or two "ifs" away from being right in the thick of things in the Western Conference.
Portland did lose Fernandez, and they’ll miss his enthusiastic three-goggling and annual postseason meltdowns. Fernandez just turned 26, and he was little more than a bit player by the end of last season. He shot just 37 percent from the floor and a career-worst 32 percent from three-point range, and those numbers fell off terribly in the postseason. He’s a one-dimensional player in the half-court, and he hasn’t fared so well at that one dimension in more than a year.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter