Zach Lowe of Grantland.com has written his 2012-13 NBA preview, divvying the league up into tiers. He includes the Portland Trail Blazers in his final tier -- "In the lottery, defined by uncertainty -- along with the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings.
Portland Trail Blazers
You can see the vision here: LaMarcus Aldridge as the top-20 overall centerpiece, with Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews working the wing and Damian Lillard orchestrating. In the big picture, it's unclear if the talent mix and the developmental timing will work well enough to keep Aldridge happy over the last three years of his deal. Batum or Lillard will have to make a leap, and fast, for that to happen, since Matthews - a solid player - appears to have hit something of a developmental ceiling.
Every player beyond those four is either totally unproven as an NBA commodity, or proven as a bad one. Portland will have to turn down options on just about all of their young guys to have meaningful cap room in either of the next two summers, so it's unclear how they'll find impactful help.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter