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Austin Link of TeamRankings.com writes about teams that would benefit from a shortened season on...

Austin Link of TeamRankings.com writes about teams that would benefit from a shortened season on ESPN Insider. -------------------------- The Trail Blazers are a solid team that challenged the eventual champion Mavericks in the first round of the 2011 playoffs. Yet they haven't yet lived up to the promise they showed a few years ago, largely because of injury trouble. There's no guarantee that the Blazers will get both Oden and Brandon Roy fully healthy, but if they do, they could become an elite team. Portland was also home to probably the best historical analogy here: Bill Walton. Walton got healthy for just under two seasons, and gave the Blazers an NBA championship during that time. Unfortunately his healthy stint ended 60 games into his second season, taking the Blazers' hopes of a repeat with it. In a shorter season, though, 60 games might have been enough for Walton to win Portland another ring. -------------------------- Link also writes that Blazers center Greg Oden would have "just about a 5 percent chance" of making it through an 82 game season without injury while he would have "conservatively" a 16 percent chance of making it through a 50 game season. Obviously, Oden is not on schedule to play an 82-game season. ed: bumped to front page, note added. -- Ben
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