FanShot

HoopsWorld: Changing of the Guard in the NBA?

Western Conference Portland Trail Blazers: After cruising through the Western Conference as a consistent postseason threat over the majority of the past decade, the Trail Blazers took a step back this past season. Injuries and locker room disarray dismantled what could’ve been a promising season as Portland finished 2012 with a dismal 28-38 record. One positive to finishing as a lottery team was that Portland secured the sixth overall pick and if this team can stay healthy, the Blazers have a legit shot at securing the final playoff spot in the brutal Western Conference. The young and supremely talented cast in Portland has been slept on by many this offseason, but this Blazers team has all the tools at its disposal to be a factor in the West next season. Potential Breakout Stars: LaMarcus Aldridge – While already one of the most talented players and an elite scorer in the NBA, Aldridge still hasn’t been able to establish himself as a household name. Another dominant season for a potential playoff team in Portland could go a long way in changing that perception of Aldridge, who finished as the seventh-best scorer in the NBA this past season. Damian Lillard – The top point guard selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, Lillard will be relied on to contribute right out of the gate next season for the Blazers. Lillard possesses all the tools but he must prove to be a quality distributor on the NBA-level if Portland wants to make the playoffs.

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