Wake Me Up!
Following a long summer after a 2010-2011 season of failed expectations, one in which the Trailblazers were expected to take that next step to becoming one of the elite teams in not only the Western Conference, but the NBA in general, the Rose Garden faithful were ready to welcome in the Denver Nuggets for the Blazers home opener on Thursday night.
After losing both Greg Oden and Brandon Roy to injury last season, the Blazers brass brought in “all-everything” swingman Gerald Wallace to fill the void on the perimeter and help ease the load off of emerging LaMarcus Aldridge.
Taking a chance on Oden in the offseason, signing “The Big Injured” to an $8.8 million one year deal, and welcoming back a rumored to be healthy Brandon Roy, the Blazers lineup finds itself with immense depth this season.
Imagine after all the smoke clears and the music stops, the fans will still be showing their appreciation to a starting lineup of Raymond Felton, Roy, Wallace, Aldridge and Oden. Scary!
Assuming that all their overseas contracts are released and the Nuggets pen Earl Smith to a new contract, the Mile High franchise will still struggle for an identity this season, their first opening night minus Carmelo Anthony, who after seven years, starts his season in the Big Apple.
While the Nuggets found that the ball moved a lot more last season once Anthony moved East, the team was minus a “go to” guy.
Aaron Afflalo, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and former Blazer Andre Miller certainly provide the Nuggets with a respectable core, but none of those players can be defined as an elite player at this stage of their careers.
When the final buzzer sounded on November 3rd, 2011, the jam packed crowd of 21, 000 plus at the Rose Garden left happy as the Trailblazers kicked off the 2011-2012 season with a convincing victory over the Nuggets.
Or at least that is what fans could have only hoped for as Portland, the stadium and the game remain locked out, at least until the end of November and most likely beyond.