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Portland Trail Blazers "Plummet to Irrelevance"

Uncertainty, hope follow in the wake of Portland's summer moves.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Lee of the Washington Post has penned an article with a quick and clear point: the Portland Trail Blazers are venturing into unknown territory, forced to prove themselves all over again after the decimation of their roster this summer:

Four-fifths of the starting lineup responsible for back-to-back 50-win seasons exited last summer, forcing a playoff contender to suddenly fall back into irrelevance in the unforgiving Western Conference.

In the absence of so many familiar faces, namely a franchise anchor for nearly nine years in Aldridge, the Trail Blazers have been thrust into a project that is more like a redirection than a rebuild. They aren't exactly starting over, since they were already transitioning toward their current foundation, Lillard. But the initial results will at times be galling as General Manager Neil Olshey has invested in more uncertainty with intriguing but unproven talent.

Lee offers quotes from Olshey and Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts about the challenge and intrigue of starting over with a new team. He also points out how heavily the Blazers will rely on Damian Lillard:

After expressing frustration over being overlooked in a conference stockpiled with elite point guards last season, Lillard will either garner more attention by putting up insane scoring numbers or have a more difficult time beating out the likes of Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook or even Mike Conley on a losing team. But Lillard didn't have to be sold on the youth movement, Olshey said, though it will likely result in a rare lottery trip for an organization that has made the postseason in five of the past seven seasons.

"I think Dame wants to play with guys who want to be in Portland," Olshey said.

The article is definitely worth a read. And in case you miss them, you can usually find articles like this in our Fanshot section, posted by the indefatigable Dan Graves. Fanshots are in the right sidebar of the main page, towards the bottom.