I keep reading about the negatives around this blazer team. From bad help defense to a bench that isn't producing enough points. I think a reality check needs to happen around how "new" this team is in 2012.
The blazers have 2 returning starters from the tip off in 2011 (Aldridge and Mathews).
The blazers have 5 rookies on this team and 4 of them have played in over half of the blazers games. 3 are full rotation players and 1 has the most difficult job on the team. 2 needed a passport to get into the country.
The blazers have 9 new players on this team that weren't on the opening day roster in 2011. 2 of those are starters. Of the remainders 1 was a rookie last year and 1 was a second year player. Take a look at that bench and you will see players who just haven't EVER played together.
The blazers have a new head coach and are running mostly a new offense. Most of the assistant coaches are new as well. Although I don't think it really effects players the front office is all new as well.
Only 3 blazers have played significant minutes together before 2011.
If you look at most of the good teams in the nba they have played together for multiple years and have very defined roles. The blazers are still trying to figure all of this out on the fly.
I am excited to see what this team looks like in February once the new players feel a little more at home. Players get to know what their teammates are good and bad at to get the most out of them.