Portland Trail Blazers: Why They Could Be Sleepers in the Western Conference

December 31st, 2011 by AJ Brady Leave a reply »
Don't read too much into Portland's 3-0 start.

None of the victories have been gimmes, but they have all been at home and none have been against an elite opponent. Their real challenges will start as they face the Clippers and Thunder on the road, and the Lakers at home in the next several days.

Nonetheless, there are many reasons to be optimistic if you are a Blazer fan.

Led by new acquisition Raymond Felton, Portland is finally pushing the tempo, which suits them very well. They are one of two teams (the other is Atlanta, who has feasted on cellar-dwellers early) to be in the top-five in offensive and defensive efficiency.

The Blazers played very well after adding Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline last year. Now, in his first full year as as Blazer, Wallace has played very well, a big part of the hot start.

But he is not the only recent acquisition to be a big contributor to this Portland team.

The aforementioned Felton, despite still playing his way into shape and some early sloppy play, looks to be a good fit and very helpful in pushing the tempo. Once he and LaMarcus Aldridge develop better pick-and-roll chem ...

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