Surprise year

I suspect that the Blazers will be pegged as a fringe playoff team, hopefully fighting for a play-in, but I'm not sure even I can project where this Blazer team will end up this year.

This is a really fun and intriguing talking point. Especially since the Blazers have this blend of elder statesmen and explosive young talents who can contribute today a la GSW, Miami, Boston, and so forth.

This is a lethal Blazer backcourt offensively, and having Payton, Hart, Little, and whomever between Keon/Shaedon gives a really potent two way 1 - 3 rotation. Jerami and Nurkic comprise a fun two-way front court, while Trendon gives optimism for an energetic backup with playmaking prowess. While I understand the concerns about the backup big man position, this may be a deeper, most capable team than most pundits and even fans project. The west is deep and talented, and although Utah will certainly not make playoffs there are at least 8 teams you could pencil in to make playoffs.

Little and Simons could become legitimate MIP candidates this year as I see both of them taking an even further leap.

That being said, I could easily see Portland making playoffs and even being a second round threat. Where do you think they'll end up in pre-playoff seeding?