Since 1970 the Portland Trailblazers have been the best show in town. After seven years of being a franchise, in 1977 our All-Star Center Bill Walton led the team to a championship gold against the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers, giving Portland sports national attention for the first time in history.
Fast forward to 2015 and an early exit round one in the playoffs versus the Memphis Grizzlies. LaMarcus Aldridge, our most prized player, left the team in free agency and three other starters follow suit, consequently, leaving one loyal Blazer…Damian Lillard.
Under the headship of Damian Lillard, the new-look Blazers are looking like a team to be reckoned with in the highly competitive Western Conference. With a completely different starting lineup from last season, the Blazers have started the season 4-9.
Some key additions to the team are starting 6’10” small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who boasts great ball handling skills and an above average shooting touch from beyond the arc. At his height, Aminu has already caused some headaches for opposing teams defensively, and at just 25 he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on moving forward.
Thanks to the expertise of general manager Neil Olshey, over the past few years the Blazers have done a phenomenal job drafting and developing talent.
Guys who were rookies with very limited playing time have been forced to step up and make important contributions to the team. CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard are the two players that stood out thus far, and an honorable mention goes to Allen Crabbe for his scoring prowess off the bench.
As Oregonians, and by default Portland Trailblazers fans, we have much to be excited for this coming season. Head Coach Terry Stotts has been at the helm since 2012 and the team has fully bought in to his program. This makes for a promising season that has already shown some sparks. Now be prepared for some fireworks.