Mike Acker of the Willamette Week offers an in-depth season preview for the 2013-14 Portland Trail Blazers at SheridanHoops.com.
The real pro move pulled by [Blazers GM Neil] Olshey this offseason was basically creating two teams. There's the group that consists of Aldridge, Matthews, Lillard, Batum, Lopez, Wright and Williams, and then there's the unit that consists of Lillard, Leonard, Robinson, McCollum and a combination of Crabbe, Barton, Claver and Freeland.
The first team is built to win games now; the second team is built to win games in the future should that first team fail in their prime directive.
The offseason signings are all trade bait; should they prove otherwise, they're all on short-term, small-money contracts. All of Portland's young players are raw but also cheap. Barton and Crabbe are second-rounders. Claver, Freeland, Lillard, Robinson, Leonard and McCollum are all rookie-scale guys.
If it all falls apart for Portland in the early going, Olshey is in a perfect position to ship out his older, more expensive assets and be more than halfway to a serviceable roster before the start of the 2014-15 season. More than that, though, there are going to be stretches this season where the Blazers will trot out three lottery picks from the 2012 draft and a lottery pick from the 2013 draft. Not many teams have that option.
PS Thanks to TheGlide in the FanShots for getting there first.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter