David Aldridge of NBA.com has a lengthy column on the Portland Trail Blazers that surveys a number of topics and talking points bubbling around the team.
A quarter of the way through this season, the Blazers have obliterated what looked to be their limit, calmed their star player and brought Rip City back to its loud, proud past as one of the league's best crowds.
Portland's 21-4 start, the best in the West after Damian Lillard's game-winner Sunday night in Detroit -- on a jumper, of course -- beat the Pistons, has made the Blazers relevant now, not a couple seasons from now. With Lillard on his rookie deal and Nicolas Batum under contract through 2016 (Portland matched Minnesota's $44 million offer sheet in 2012), the Blazers were thinking it would be more like 2015 or '16 before they made their move -- assuming they could keep All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge in the fold.
It's the time of year when fans can chant "M-V-P" and Aldridge can smile, though he doesn't believe it. The Blazers are the story in the NBA so far this season. The trouble is, there are four months to go before the playoffs.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter