The Blazers may be fading — the loss was their ninth in 11 games — but this team looks like it’s on the way to becoming a true force in the Western Conference. Even with last year’s rookie of the year and this year’s leading scorer, Brandon Roy, out with a right ankle sprain, imagine this lineup next year:
PF LaMarcus Aldridge — Looking like Dwight Howard of the West
SF Travis Outlaw — 6-foot-9, long and still quick enough to stay with Kobe Bryant
C Greg Oden — If you think Andrew Bynum is a shot blocker . . .
SG Brandon Roy — an All-Star in his second year, looking like Dwyane Wade of the West
PG Steve Blake/Jarrett Jack — they could do better.
A capable versatile bench with Martell Webster looking like a protypical sixthman, James Jones, Channing Frye and Joel Pryzbilla are no worse than solid.
If the Blazers upgrade at point guard — Sam Cassell might be a perfect fit, Beno Udrih wouldn’t be bad, and Baron Davis and Allen Iverson could opt out — and add a shooter or improve the ones they have, the scary part is that Oden, Roy, Aldridge, Outlaw and Webster are 20, 23, 22, 23 and 21. Yikes.