Prediction-42-48 wins(over .500)
The Blazers are pretty much set this off season. With maybe a few exceptions in bringing in some people for the preseason and late additions to the Summer League, This is what our Roster is looking like
*McCollum will split time at SG
Depending how Crabbe does in summer league, he could jump in front of Barton, if we are looking for more shooting off the bench then slashing, crazy, hectic play that Barton provides, but as Wesley and CJ provide pretty good shooting, I feel Barton is going to be good for a change of pace.
I may be wrong, but I think we are the only West team that is not going to make anymore moves for the next few weeks. We have our 15 players, and we are looking pretty set. Based off what we have now and what other teams have now, I feel we are sitting right in the middle of play off race. Here is why, and I will start off with the worst teams that people really shouldn't argue with.
Utah Jazz-20-25 wins. Looks like they are going for Wiggins. The Spurs were find horrendously for sending a couple marquee players home early so they could rest and not have to play a back to back on a nationally televised game against the Heat. The Heat one, but barely, but fans complained, and Stern fined them. Why the heck are teams allowed to throw away a WHOLE season? Its pretty obvious what they are doing here.
Phoenix Suns-24-30 wins. So they got Eric Bledsoe, and they have Gortat and Dragic... and thats where the fun stops. Alex Len will develop for them(maybe?) however any team that has Beasley starting is not going to be a serious threat. I suspect they will finish just ahead of Utah.
Dallas Mavericks-26-32 wins. They have Dirk, and they got Calderon and Harris. They will be able to score and make pretty passes, but this team is going to be down right horrible at defense. I can see them trading Marion to a contender at the deadline and going for the Wiggins Sweepstakes as well. Dirk may want to go for one more title, and he is not going to get it in Dallas, so he is a potential blockbuster trade this year as well.
LA Lakers- Yea they are going to be bad. No need for Kobe to rush back and strain themselves. If he wants to play a few more years, he might as well just take this off. I would honestly amnesty him, save themselves the 30-50 million(i didnt look it up but with that luxury it has to be up there) a team might pick him up, if Kobe doesnt likes who picks him up, he can wait till his contract expires and then signs back with LA to finish his career the following year. It would be best for them to TANK and reload. But I dont even know about their draft picks. Better luck next year.
Sacramento Kings- 30-35 wins. The received Vasquez from the Pelicans, and also signed Landry to a four year deal. Solid moves as Evans wasnt' doing too much for them, and they needed to part ways. This team is not going to go anywhere though till Cousins grows up. They need to put together a solid .500 year before I have any faith in them whatsoever. Blazers will be better then them as well.
The next teams is going to be where the Blazers are going to be competing against for a playoff spot, but I feel we are going to have the edge.
Minnesota Timberwolves 37-42 wins
This year Minnesota might break through. They have a great coach and a solid starting five, however I do not see them being better then us throughout the course of our year. I am happy to say our BENCH is deeper then theirs, and I would also say our starting 5 is better then theirs as well.
New Orleans Pelicans-38-42 wins
I feel the pelicans have a few more moves to make, maybe getting rid of Gordon as he does not want to be there so Tyreke can play in his natural spot. I do not know who is going to play Center for them though. Davis is great at shotblocking as well as Withey, but neither of them are going to be able to defend large Centers. This team is incomplete and has depth issues, but if they can stay healthy, they will be intriguing, as Monty Williams is a good coach. We will be better then them as well though.
Denver Nuggets-42-48 wins
Denvers biggest asset has been depth. well there 'almost' star player is gone in Iggy. It is reported that Danilo will not be back till the middle of next season, leaving Denver with out to great prospects. Andre Miller could still be on the move as well. They also lost their depth in Center by giving away Koufos for Arthur with Memphis. I do not know what they were thinking in that trade. They will still have a solid roster, without terrible drop off from their primary to secondary, and they have the benefit of playing together, so they will already have chemistry, but they are still missing a star.
So there are the teams I feel that Portland can be in front of this year, putting us at least in the 7th seed. The top of the standings I have like this
San Antonio(Will never bet against them till they actually fail to win 50 games one year or Timmy Retires)
Golden State-Barring injuries, this team is going to be sick. adding Iggy is going to be big for them.
Houston(could move up if they do some movement and bring back shooters for Asik)
Oklahoma City-Losing Harden hurt last year. Losing Martin hurts this year. Someone needs to step up or OKC will start to fade, as other teams are really starting to step up.
Memphis-we could be better then them. We will see how age affects them.
So there you have it. I am predicting a 6 or seventh seed with an above .500 record this year, but we will have a solid chance against anyone in the playoffs, except maybe the Clippers. They are stacked.