Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/29/12
Blazers for now Rip City fans have an uncanny ability to love and cherish their team, and as a result, the players are often considered Trail Blazers For Life instantly upon their arrival. The team has seen quite a bit of turnover the past few seasons, and with the current rebuilding process just getting under way, there are a handful of players who could disappear if the team can’t return to prominence this year. Elliot Williams Elliot Williams has the potential to be a rotation player off the bench for any NBA squad. His athleticism is top-tier in this league and he’s shown that he can produce when his number is called. The problem? The 23-year-old out of Memphis has had three season-ending surgeries in his three years with the Trail Blazers. Staying healthy is key around Portland, and with the inability to do so thus far, he may find himself looking for another team willing to take the chance. Victor Claver Victor Claver has yet to see the floor in regular season action, but at this point in his young career, it’s fair to question how well his game will translate to the NBA level. The 6’9” forward is the definition of a tweener, as his skill set doesn’t quite fit into either the small forward or power forward position. Claver may be able to make a living off his shot, but we thought the same thing about his fellow Spaniard Rudy Fernandez, didn’t we? Luke Babbitt must continue to improve if he wants to remain on the Trail Blazers long-term. Photo Credit Bruce Ely/The Oregonian Luke Babbitt Luke Babbitt went from perennial punch line to somewhat of a fan favorite with his performance late last season. He went from averaging three minutes and .8 points in January to 24.6 minutes and 8.6 points in the month of April. Babbitt is the kind of player who could thrive in a Terry Stotts offense, but that’s exactly why he’ll be heavily scrutinized if he reverts back to his old ways. The 6’9” forward has a very good shot, but when it’s not falling, it’s tough to find an area on the floor where he’ll find success. He’s not the most dynamic player, so he needs to make a name for himself as a lights-out shooter, and he needs to do it this year. J.J. Hickson Trail Blazers fans learned to love J.J. Hickson late last year, and they were thrilled to find out that the team re-signed him for the 2012-13 season. His deal, however, is only for one year, and by the time free agency comes around, he’ll be ready to earn his first big contract. Hickson is currently playing center for the Blazers, which means two things. First, he is extremely undersized, and two, he has a rookie center itching to take his starting spot. If Hickson is willing to play behind LaMarcus Aldridge moving forward, there’s a spot for him on this roster as long as he wants it. But Hickson is young, and he’s looking for a place where he can start and truly make a name for himself. Wesley Matthews Wesley Matthews joined the Trail Blazers after his first season in the NBA, and he earned himself a hefty contract that the Utah Jazz simply weren’t willing to match. Unfortunately for Matthews and his fans, that contract could be the reason he find himself exiting Portland sometime this season. John Hollinger of ESPN (Insider) has projected that the Trail Blazers are going to finish dead last in the Northwest division, and could look to trade Matthews at the deadline in order to create free-agent flexibility next offseason. If Matthews proves this year the he can be a consistent option on offense, his spot on the team is safe. If he can’t, the team may look to go another direction while continuing to rebuild. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB! © Bryant Knox for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment | Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share NWSportsBeat.com on Facebook Post tags: Elliot Williams, J.J. Hickson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Luke Babbitt, portland, Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Trail Blazers Blog, Victor Claver, Wesley Matthews
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tony Parker hopes to play 20 seasons with San Antonio Spurs

Pagano 'supremely confident' about chances vs. Pats

Nick Saban to Alabama fans: 'Don't have an arrogant attitude'

Kobe on 93rd ranking: ‘Don’t ask me about silly stuff like that’

Boomer Esiason: 49ers have ‘ruined’ Colin Kaepernick

Adrian Beltre ruled out for Game 2 of ALDS with back injury


Parise’s hat trick sparks comeback win in Wild’s opener

Report: Bill O’Brien won’t commit to Texans starting QB

Steve Sarkisian takes blame for USC loss to Washington

Dion Lewis signed extension to repay Patriots for giving him chance

Report: South Carolina to start Perry Orth at QB vs. LSU

Mark Giordano: Flames’ effort in opener was 'unacceptable'

H.S. QB ‘inappropriately’ touched center, suspended

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

T.Y. Hilton trolled Texans fans with bye-bye wave

Chip Kelly-to-USC hype train has left the station

Blue Jays surprise nine-year-old fan who lost father to cancer

Kershaw-deGrom to rival Arrieta-Cole matchup

Green Bay's deceivingly stingy defense

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Matt Hasselbeck was ‘on his death bed’ before Texans game

WATCH: Jets' Burmistrov lays dirty hit on Bruins' Bergeron

Report: Cowboys ban filming offense in practice with Patriots next on schedule

Maryland HC Randy Edsall responds on Twitter to firing reports

Pacquiao says he is in talks with Mayweather about rematch

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Women in sports this week: Is this 2015 or 1965?

Three reasons each AL team can win the pennant

Garrett addresses Hardy's comments about Gisele

Five outrageous predictions for NFL Week 5

Rex makes players do push-ups in practice after penalty calls

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker