As we've been talking about the Portland Trail Blazers rebuilding, relying on youth, a cottage industry has developed in the comments. Everybody seems to be picking a guy and riding him for breakout player of the season...the guy who's going to play well above expectations, earn time, maybe propel the Blazers to wins. So why not make it official? Today we're asking, for the record, who among the Blazers' lesser-known prospects will end up shining disproportionately to their current fame.
Obviously LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews don't belong in this discussion. We're going to eliminate Damian Lillard from consideration as well. The key phrase here is "exceeding expectations" and Lillard's are sky-high at this point. That puts him out of step with his teammates.
The list of potential candidates: Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams, Victor Claver, Luke Babbitt, Will Barton, J.J. Hickson, Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland. If you want to go off the board and make an argument for Ronnie Price, Jared Jeffries, or Sasha Pavlovic finally coming into their own, feel free.
Keep in mind that the expectations on a guy like Hickson, who's actually been in the league and done something, are higher than on Barton so J.J. will have to do far more than Will to emerge the victor here.
Register your opinion in the comment section, let us know why you chose your player, then bookmark this thread and come back to it next May for bragging rights.