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

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal


Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

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.

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

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

Company Info
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.