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Smith: Blazers Will Aim To Avoid Northwest Division Basement

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Sekou Smith of NBA.com has a rundown of the Portland Trail Blazers as they head into the 2012-13 season. -------------------------------- Avoiding the Northwest Division cellar this season is the first goal for [coach Terry] Stotts. With the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets already locked into those top two spots and the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves on the rise, that leaves the Trail Blazers basically no wiggle room within the division. ... The expectations for this crew are basically non-existent, what with all of the change that has gone on the past 11 months. That doesn't mean there isn't anything to be excited about where the Trail Blazers are concerned. If his performance during the Summer League was an appetizer, [Damian] Lillard has the potential to be one of the breakout stars from a deep Draft class. And if Leonard just stays healthy and contributes on a consistent basis, he'll have outshined his big man predecessor (Oden). -------------------------------- -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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