HoopsHype.com Season Previews

LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum - US Presswire

2012/13 SEASON ROSTER
NUM
PLAYER
POS
HT
12
F-C
6-11
8
F
6-7
5
G
6-5
88
F-G
6-8
18
F-G
6-9
19
F-C
6-10
34
G
6-4
21
F
6-9
24
F
6-11
7
G
6-5
52
F
6-8
11
C
7-1
0
G
6-3
2
G
6-5
6
F
6-8
3
G-F
6-7
24
G
6-2
4
G
6-2
9
G
6-5

Portland Trail Blazers        

ADDITIONS:
Will Barton (University of Memphis), Victor Claver (Valencia Basket), Coby Karl (Montegranaro), Joel Freeland (Unicaja), Demonte Harper (Cibona Zagreb), Jared Jeffries (New York), Dallas Lauderdale (Turow), Meyers Leonard (Illinois), Damian Lillard (Weber State), Adam Morrison, Aleksandar Pavlovic (Boston) and Ronnie Price (Phoenix).

SUBTRACTIONS:
Raymond Felton (New York), Jonny Flynn, Joel Przybilla (Milwaukee), Craig Smith (Hapoel Jerusalem), Hasheem Thabeet (Oklahoma City), Kurt Thomas (New York) and Shawne Williams.

STRENGTHS:
Powerful forward combo with All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and French do-it-all swingman Nicolas Batum ... Aldridge is one of the most productive big men offensively in the NBA and Batum has some All-Star potential ... Rookie guard Damian Lillard will be a player to keep an eye on based on what we have seen so far ... Portland has a solid starting shooting guard in Wesley Matthews, whose durability and attitude is out of the question ... Pretty athletic starting five ... Blazers have good potential as a fast-break team now.

WEAKNESSES:
No depth whatsoever ... New head coach Terry Stotts will have to throw young and unproven players into the fire and hope they can bring something to the table ... Who's going to score in the second unit? ... Who's going to make stops? ... Too many new faces ... The franchise doesn't seem to be in win-now mode ... Emphasis will be put on developing the team's young talent rather than getting wins ... Rebounding will likely remain an issue unless Aldridge steps up in that area ... Doubts about playmaking ... Lillard was mostly a scorer in college and Nolan Smith has yet to prove he's a legit NBA player ... Extremely tough division ... Who's going to emerge as a leader for a squad stacked with young players?

PROJECTION:
5th in the Northwest Division / 11th in the Western Conference

PROJECTED STARTERS
PG: Damian Lillard Allen Iverson SG: Wesley Matthews Andrei Kirilenko SF: Nicolas Batum
The player everybody is excited about has to start proving if he's the real deal. Candidate for Rookie of the Year. Two-way player that competes hard. Efficient from three-point land. Has not missed a single game in three years in the NBA. Has length, athleticism and an ever-improving offensive game. His role with the Blazers should continue to grow.
Yi Jianlian PF: LaMarcus Aldridge US Presswire C: JJ Hickson Sixth: Meyers Leonard
Portland's offense should go through him. Fantastic footwork and jump shot. Defense and rebounding have room for improvement. Pretty strong and athletic. Averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds in 19 games with Portland. Can he keep it up or was that a fluke?  Hard to tell which of the bench guys will have the bigger role, but the Illinois center is already showing promise.