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Grinding Through the Offseason: Portland Trail Blazers edition

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We already know who makes up their dynamic duo. We have seen many Damian Lillard last-second shots. We witnessed this team reach the semifinals of a loaded Western Conference bracket. Should we still consider them under-the-radar? Did LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers reach their peak last season? Hold up before you say "yes" to those questions...

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When the topic of the NBA's Western Conference comes up among you and your friends, and you start listing out the great teams that make up the West, how long does it take you to bring up the Portland Trail Blazers on that list?  Definitely not first.  I will give you that it probably isn't necessarily last...maybe...

The Spurs continue to fight the relentless adversaries of age and injuries.  The Thunder continue to stress about Kevin Durant's future.  The Clippers continue to get more notoriety for areas outside the court, whether due to its ownership change or Blake Griffin's Kia commercials (no, thank YOU, Blake...).  The Rockets continue to see how much off-court drama of their own that they can provide, no matter if it involves carelessness or egos.

Do you know who's next up in the standings from last season?  The Portland Trail Blazers.  And for the record, it's extremely difficult to find a clear-cut internal adversary of their own...let alone any negative off-court headlines.  All we know from the media from this past offseason is that LaMarcus Aldridge wants to re-sign with them after next year, and Steve Blake and Chris Kaman joined the fold.  These are just the right type and amount of headlines that Terry Stotts and Blazers fans want.

Can we add "being snubbed from Team USA" to the list of things that increase Damian Lillard's level of motivation?  Did Aldridge reach his peak season last year?  What can Blake and Kaman provide this team which will return most of its playoff roster?  Chris Lucia of Blazer's Edge was very kind to join us and provide the answers to these questions and more!