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Do the Blazers Still Have a Chance?

I want to throw out a question today that's been on my mind for the better part of two years now...since Brandon Roy started having knee troubles really.  I've talked about it in several posts but we've never asked explicitly.

Do you see any chance that this team, as currently comprised, ascends to the elite of the conference or, heaven forbid, the league?  If so, how?

If you've followed the site for several years you probably know the evolution of my thoughts on this matter.  Back in 2007 everything looked sunny.  The Blazers couldn't miss.  I still maintain that had the players remained healthy over that entire span we would have seen them at least in the Western Conference Finals last year, if not in the NBA Finals.  The talent was that good.  Of course the Blazers blew out both knees on the way to converting their bunny layup.  Even with Oden in constant rehab I maintained that Portland had a shot.  If he could give them even a couple solid years over the course of his career, no matter when those years came, a mature Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Nicolas Batum would have been cradle enough for those elite dreams.  Then Roy's injuries started.  When it became apparent that they, too, were chronic the outlook changed.  We still don't know the exact prognosis for either Roy or Oden, nor are we entirely sure of the ceilings of Aldridge and Batum, but reading the tea leaves from the front office things don't look good.  They're scrambling for talent rather than filling in the last pieces of the puzzle.  They've also fired two GM's in two years...not exactly a sign of franchise health.  Those signs combined with deep doses of watching Roy try to play without knee jelly, have pretty much eliminated hope for me.  I'm now to the point of saying the Blazers need a miraculous health recovery in order to put the team back on track for elite status.  Otherwise "good but not great" will be their continuing legacy.  The "Need a Miracle" designation is also worn by roughly 25 other NBA squads, Portland differing only by having the raw materials on hand to make it possible, were those materials not scattered all over the floor.

But what say you?  Do you see any chance still?  Should I be asking Santa for new knees, better draft picks, or are the presents already there just waiting to be opened?  Weigh in below.

--Dave (