Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Many, including myself have said the Portland Trail Blazers would not be very good this season.  This may still prove to be true.  But if nothing else, the Blazers may become a team of intrigue.  Through three games, the Blazers have defeated the Lakers, Rockets, and played a solid game against the Oklahoma City, narrowly losing to the Thunder in their home opener to begin the season 2-1. Damian Lillard is playing up to, if not beyond, expectations, averaging 21.3 PPG, 9 APG, and 4 RPG.  To be honest, all of the Trail Blazers’ starters are playing well.  LaMarcus Aldridge is picking up where he left off last year.  Nicolas Batum is too.  Unfortunately, that means he is playing inconsistent.  J.J. Hickson, despite being undersized at the center position, is playing with a lot of energy and is averaging nearly a double-double per game.  Wesley Matthews is the go to guy on the defensive end and has moments in which he is a knock down outside shooter.  Collectively, the Blazers’ starters are challenging their opponents.  Despite the commentary from fans and pundits, they are playing a competitive brand of basketball that is fun to watch. As predicted, the Blazers bench is neither deep nor especially talented.  But a few guys are making the most of their minutes.  Meyers Leonard’s stat line is not necessarily impressive.  For a young rookie at the center spot, he holds his own.  You can see he is learning by the minute and doesn’t back down from stars like Dwight Howard.  This should prove to be valuable experience that will pay dividends in years to come.  Luke Babbitt in spurts has come in and played some good minutes.  Against Oklahoma City, his outside shot was effective and he seemed to play with confidence.  This could not always be said about Babbitt’s play the last couple of seasons.  Nolan Smith is a high effort guy, but he is a considerable drop off from Damian Lillard. In just a short time as head coach, Terry Stotts is a stark contrast to former coach Nate McMillan.  His motion offense is not only entertaining to watch, but seems to give a number of players opportunities to fill up the stat sheet.  He also has a knack for working the officials.  Something McMillan the stern, but stoic leader never really was able to execute.  It’s peculiar, but essential skill that gives the players the impression the coach has their back.  Thus far, the impression is his players respect him. The season is young, three games old.  Never the less there is a cautious optimism in the damp fall Portland air for this young Blazers team.  The team is playing with energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie.  These are the essential ingredients for a team that may be a little short on talent.  If the Blazers can continue to play high effort inspired basketball, they will at the very least captivate fans.  Could they sneak into the playoffs?  Best not to look too far ahead, there is a lot of season left. -- Patrick Hughes is on Twitter. Follow him at @phughespdx
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Five reasons the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl

Bill Simmons fires a shot at ESPN colleague Ray Lewis

Which teams are most squarely on the bubble?

Tiger Woods: 'There was blood everywhere' after tooth incident

Jerry Rice: Asterisk needed if Patriots win Super Bowl

Pete Carroll ok with Robert Kraft despite Patriots firing

Tiger on wearing mask: ‘Not a lot of brown dudes at ski races’

Putting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pieces together

Brodeur to retire immediately and join Blues front office

Michael Bennett talks about sex superstition, calls reporter gay

As Patriots prepare, it's easy to forget about Hernandez

Marcus Mariota's younger brother will play at Oregon

Marshawn Lynch on Media Day: 'I'm here so I won't get fined'

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

'Goodell Must Go' mobile banners heading to Phoenix

NFL pushing College Football Playoff to change its schedule

Can the Yankees avoid paying A-Rod's milestone bonuses?

Tom Brady once got locked in a high school locker

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Putting the Cavs’ pieces together

Super Bowl XLIX: Key people to know

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

Bill Simmons fires a shot at Ray Lewis

NFL pushing CFP to change schedule

Can Yanks not pay A-Rod his bonuses?

Petition started to remove Pats from SB

On John Wall's adidas J Wall 1 NYC All-Star Edition

NFL approved Pats' under-inflated balls?

Six best Super Bowl coaches of all-time

Five key matchups for Super Bowl XLIX

Early Big Ten predictions for 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.